This week is a big report! We are announcing the winner of the Best of 2020 Fishing Picture Contest, we have a cool steelhead fly video from Jordan, Haiden takes an in-depth look at the newest Simms Wader and we also have intel on the Vedder and Squamish, where there is a lot of water coming this weekend but it could equal good fishing.
Last but not least, Jason is tuning back in on saltwater fishing this week and you will see that at the end of the report.
Let’s Jump right into the winner of the Best of 2020 Fishing Picture Contest. If you entered, thank you so much for sending in a pic! The response was amazing! Check out the Video version of the report because Matt goes through a bunch of the top photos. There were hundreds to choose from and a ton of amazing shots but there can only be one winner.
This year we picked a winner that wasn’t the biggest, wasn’t the rarest or the most exotic fishing picture but one that captures one of the coolest aspects of fishing – The Journey – It is hard to look at this stunning photo and not want to run down the hill to fish this lake. It’s also a little like the journey we were all on in 2020 with tough terrain but hopefully a downhill hike to our destination in 2021.
Congratulations Dustin N.! We will be sending you the details for your $100 gift certificate soon!
On to The Report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
February is just around the corner. Join us at the tying bench for these great courses! Just a few spots left in each!
Tying Essential Bulltrout Patterns
Bulltrout / dollies ….. let’s just call them char which are an interesting species. These fish have a diverse habitat, a very interesting life cycle and within the species they have very different characteristics in both size, color and feeding habits depending on their environment. The feeding habits are what we look at in this course. This is a fishing course within a tying course.
This seminar is well suited to tyers with intermediate to advanced tying skills. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Date: Feb 9
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tying Intruder Patterns
Steelhead fly fishing has been radically transformed in the past decade or so for two main reasons, Skagit style Spey casting and the Intruder style fly. This combination has proven to be absolutely deadly effective for catching steelhead. In this one night course you will learn about the specifics techniques and unique materials used to tie Intruder style flies. The way this type of fly is tied has evolved from the classic palmering style to a new composite loop style, and both techniques will be taught in detail in this course. In addition, we will talk about why this style of fly is so productive and different ways to rig the fly from stinger hooks to the original Intruder rigging. At the end of this course, you will have the skills needed to tie a variety of Intruder style flies from multi stage, monster flies for high water, average sized flies for everyday conditions, down to small, mini-intruders for low water. Note that this course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tyers. Course materials are not supplied but can be purchased at the course night or in advance at 10% off. A detailed list of what materials are needed will be supplied in advance of the course.
Date: Feb 10
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
The Prawn Hub Steelhead Pattern
In this fly-tying video, we learn how to tie a great steelhead pattern for any BC river or across PNW. It is a prawn style, 2 stage tube fly pattern that will test your Fly-Tying Skills but once you dive into it you will realize it’s not too hard.
Tube: Orange (Diameter to match leader strength)
Hook: OPST Swing Hook #1 (Hook to match target species)
Thread: UTC 140; Hot Pink
Dumbbell: Pro Tyer Intruder Eye 1/8th (Colour of choice)
FNF Jelly; Prawn
Rubber Leggs: Size medium Grizzly Barred; Orange
Jerry French Aqua Eyes (Any mono eyes will work)
Lagartun Flatbraid; Pink
FNF Jelly; Prawn
Saddle hackle tips; Pink
Ostrich; Orange, spun in loop to reduce bulk
Mirror Flash; Pink (Any palmerable flash will suffice)
Senyo Aquaveil Chenille; Bubblegum
Marabou 1: Spey Marabou; Shrimp Pink
Marabou 2: Spey Marabou; Orange
Flash: Polar Flash; Opal Mirrage
Shell: Teal Barred Flank; Fl. Orange
New SIMMS Guide Classic Wader
SIMMS has come out with a variety of new products in 2021. From the new Tributary Wading Boot design, to apparel, and arguably to the most exciting: the new Guide Classic series. This series includes both the Guide Classic Wading Jacket and the Guide Classic Stockingfoot Wader. This week, I’ll be focusing on the latter. First of all, the Guide Classic Wader is not adding another option to SIMMS’ wader lineup; It has replaced the Headwaters Pro Wader. Not to worry, if you are a fan of the Headwater Pro Waders you are not losing out with the release of the Guide Classic Waders. Here are the most compelling and need-to-know features:
The wader has 3-layer GORE-TEX in both the upper and lower portions, providing a breathable and lightweight yet durable design. GORE-TEX membrane contains 9 billion microscopic pores per square inch. Each pore is small enough to prevent water droplets from entering the wader while still allowing water vapor and heat to escape. The front leg panel is reinforced for puncture resistance and durability when hiking trails and wading in water. One of the nicest features that makes the wader fit incredibly well is the 2-seam system in the legs. The front and back centre leg seams allow for better comfort, easier articulation of the knee and overall a more durable wader.
The waist has low profile belt loops that accommodate the included 1.5-inch wading belt. The wading belt is adjustable for preference and provides essential safety when wading. Moving up, a pass-through chest pocket allows for additional hand warmth on those cold steelhead days. There is also a water-resistant top access chest zipper pocket and a flip out pocket, both for storing tools, fly boxes, and/or tippet safely. The inner zipper is compatible with the SIMMS Tippet Tender and Waterproof Wading Pouch.
The neoprene stocking foot features an anti-microbial finish, a streamlined hourglass shape and a built-in gravel guard with boot/lace hooks.
Why buy the Guide Classic Waders over the Freestone Waders?
Material – GORE-TEX vs. Toray Quadralam:
Although durable, the Toray Quadralam fabric in the Freestones is not as porous as the equally durable GORE-TEX fabric in the Guide Classics. The Toray technology is also less waterproof, and thus requires more layers of material in a wader that is made of Toray. This is why the Freestones have 4-Layers of Toray Quadralam, while the Guide Classics only have 3-layers of GORE-TEX. 1 Layer of GORE-TEX is also more breathable than 1 layer of Toray Quadralam. If you take all of that into consideration, a GORE-TEX wader with 3-layers will inherently be much more breathable but still achieve the same level of waterproofing and durability. 3-layers of GORE-TEX is also much more comfortable and malleable than 4-Layers of Toray. Compound that with the 2-seam technology in the leg in the Guide Classic Waders versus the 1-seam in the Freestone Waders and you end up with a longer lasting, more comfortable and more reliable wader. This is the main reason why the Guide Classic Waders are definitely worth considering over the Freestone Waders.
Also included in the Guide Classic Waders are the Neoprene gravel guards. These are more durable and prevent more particles from entering your boot compared to the gravel guards in the Freestone Waders that are made of Toray and have a gathered elastic bottom hem.
You also receive a flip out pocket with the Guide Classic Waders that is not included with the Freestone Waders.
Stop in at the store to pick up a fresh pair of waders and check out the other new gear for the 2021 season.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
We’ve had some fantastic conditions this past week on the Chilliwack. After the huge rainfall that blew out everything, the rivers have been steadily on the drop with the colder temperatures and the lack of precipitation. The Chilliwack in particular has had that perfect green colour most of the week below the Rangers Run slide, though it is starting to clear up quite a bit and with very little rain coming it will continue to clean up. Above the slide is already gin clear and has been for a while.
Fish are being caught throughout the system. There has been a fair amount of angling pressure which can be a bit daunting especially on the weekend, but this is one of those fisheries where you can go in behind other anglers and hook fish, and this is a symptom of the amount of pressure these fish encounter. Find some good water and you are probably fishing over a few of them at the very least. As we come into clearer water conditions, focus on fishing faster and covering water while downsizing your presentations and, more importantly, constantly switching up so you aren’t using the same thing as everyone else is.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Things got low and clear this week and with it we did not hear many reports. The river is below 2m right now which usually means tough fishing. The good news is it will warm up and there is a big dump of water in the forecast. This could mean excellent fishing when the river colors up as long as it doesn’t jump too high.
Historically, in the back end of January, we would be preaching all egg patterns with a dump of rain like this, but this season has been a little more challenging on that front. We would recommend fishing both egg/bead style patterns and larger streamer patterns if fly fishing. If you have the gear rods out, drift egg imitation but don’t leave the spoon rod a home. We love throwing spoons when water levels are bumping up.
Last week, we featured how we setup our egging nymph leader. If you are tackling this style of fishing check it out here!
Be safe, watch river levels and as always make sure to release every fish up the Sea to Sky way with the utmost care.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Reports
I wish had better news for the weekend angler, but the good old SE is coming and with it, a low-pressure system and some rain. It looks like we have 15-20 mm on the horizon for both Saturday and Sunday. The winds actually don’t look too bad, especially a litter further up Howe Sound, so if you don’t the mind the liquid sunshine it might be worth chasing some winters this weekend.
Not a whole lot of juicy info to dish out on the fishing side of things. We are about midway through the winter season as February approaches and so far, I would give this season a grade of average. I have seen better, and I have seen worse. Seems to be quite a few small fish around right now, like ¼ inch under the limit, which is a bit frustrating, but more keepers will arrive as the season progresses and resident Howe Sound fish continue to grow. If the min. size was smaller, like over on the Island, it would be easy limits right now. That being said, with you only being allowed 10 chinook a year, not sure I want to keep one smaller than 62 cm.
The harbour has seen some decent action, but like the last report a few weeks ago, the furry bandits are out in full force. Very frustrating that we have the potential for such productive fishing, literally minutes from downtown, but the seals are so aggressive. I do see pictures of fish from the harbour on social media though. I don’t know how you guys do it, as the second I hook up there I get sealed, despite my best efforts to get away from them. I think they have it out for me! Maybe I can distract them for the rest of you guys so you can enjoy this fishery. I would suspect things will pick up in the harbour later on in Feb. as more herring start to use the area as a pre-spawn staging ground.
It is that time of year where I am starting to get a lot of calls, texts, and emails about this year’s upcoming regulations. I wish I could report that we will be getting some sort of opportunity come April 1 instead of a no fishing for chinook regulation, but I am not at all confident that is going to be the case. That opportunity door is not completely closed, there is a chance, and there are many people working on this through a variety of groups like the SFI, PFA, BCWF, and through processes like the Sport Fish Advisory Board. I don’t have time to get into the details this morning, but I will provide more of an update in the coming weeks, perhaps with a special report next week, and how you can make a difference.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay dry, and see you in the shop or on the water.