This week we are seeing a massive dump of water today as the report comes out. If the weatherman is on his game, it will blow out most of the major river systems around Vancouver.
We have intel from the Chilliwack and Squamish. Both saw challenging conditions last weekend and the Chilliwack had a substantial slide on the upper river. They both came into perfect fishing levels mid-week but we are watching this closely and are concerned about how the heavy rain will affect things.
We also have an overview reports on the Harrison System and Stave in this week’s report. It is time to start looking at these systems and the reports are starting to trickle in on these systems. Check out the detail on them below and know they are both great options over the next 3 months.
On the saltwater front we have battled the rain this week and enjoyed some good trips but would for sure like to see a stretch of sunny days in the forecast. Fishing has been consistent as has prawning, so if the rain persists, get out that rain gear and heater and get out there!
February is almost here and with it we’ve got a full lineup of courses for the month including our first Introduction to Fly Fishing Course and the always popular Introduction to Spey Casting Class.
Last but certainly not least mark March 5 in your calendar for the Steelhead Society’s not to be Pub Night fundraiser.
On to the report!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
2020 Steelhead Society of BC Fundraiser
SSBC’s annual Pub Night fundraising event happens March 5, 2020. All proceeds from this popular and lively event go to habitat and conservation projects on behalf of wild salmonids and wild rivers. Each year, your generosity and support make Pub Night the society’s single largest and most widely supported fundraiser. There are silent and live auctions, raffle draws and much more. Stay tuned for more details closer to the event dat
Details on time and location to be released soon!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Join us in the shop this month for some great classes. We’ve still got a couple of spots in each of these classes so be sure to call in to the shop at 604.872.2204 and grab your spot before they’re all gone!
Tying Essential Bulltrout Patterns
Bulltrout / dollies ….. let’s just call them char 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 tiers who have taken our beginner course and have basic tying skills. Advanced tiers will find the first two patterns fairly easy but they can challenge themselves with variations of the last pattern. If you are an experienced tier you probably already know that sometimes the skill, effectiveness and beauty of many great guide flies comes from their simplicity. 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 4, 2020
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 tiers. 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.
Dates: Feb 11, 2020
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction To Fly Fishing
This course was specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. This course is comprised of two sessions; 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Dates: Feb 18 Seminar & Casting Feb 22
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
Introduction to Spey Casting
This 2-part course is designed to introduce you to the art of Spey fishing and establish the fundamental techniques required for basic Spey casts used on our local rivers.
Dates: Seminar: Feb 25 Casting: Feb 29 (Squamish)
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Casting Time: Full Day, Squamish
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Things have been a little volatile on the Chilliwack front this week. Fishing has slowly been picking up but sub-optimal water conditions have been marring a lot of anglers’ efforts. In addition to that there was a massive clay slide on Sunday by Rangers Run which is affecting all of the river below. That is not to say that it is unfishable. While the water remained on the high side there was still between 1-2 feet of visibility below the slide. This just means fishing more thoroughly and chucking bigger presentations.
We are in for a ton of rain just before the weekend so we shall see how badly the slide will dirty up the river. Expect some great water height early next week though as the levels taper off after our monsoon so keep an eye on that hydrograph.
Stave River Fishing Report
The stave holds a variety of species year-round which can result in some very interesting angling opportunities. It is also an interesting one to look at when water levels are an issue because it is dam fed and can fish well when other rivers are blown out if they don’t open the dam. With this in mind it is one you will want to be careful of because levels can rise quickly when they do open up the dam.
Throughout the winter, whitefish, cutthroat, and bulltrout will feast on salmon egg presentations. A small steelhead population is also present in the system, generally a later run towards the middle to end of February. As the weather begins to warm throughout March and April, the fry hatch kicks things into high gear as fly fishing fry patterns can result in some large and aggressive searun cutthroat.
The often overlooked Stave is a great opportunity for local anglers and we have heard ok reports in the last little bit. Whether you’re looking to drift a float, spincast some spoons or target picky trout on the fly. It’s a solid bet year round, as the dam ensures consistent water levels all through the calendar.
Chehalis/Harrison River Fishing Report
The Chehalis and Harrison have been pretty quiet as of late, with many anglers looking forward to steelhead and cutthroat fishing in the coming months. That said we heard a couple positive reports this week and it is time to start looking at the area as an option.
Both systems see steelhead, while the Harrison is more known for its spring cutthroat fishery.
With the Fall salmon season well over, the trout will have also gone up river to spawn over the winter. These same fish will drop back down with the emergence of the Spring fry hatch. When these fry start to hatch, the trout will start to key in on them as an easy high-protein prey species that are easy to pick off.
As explosive as this fishery can be, having the right fry pattern tied on or similar sized spoon/spinner can be key.
Lighter action spinning rods, or 4wt-5wt rods paired with floating lines and long leaders are a great place to start. Pair these up with small spoons/spinners or fry patterns and you’ll be ready to go.
As for steelheading, all your usual gear and flies will come in useful. Having a variety of tactics is the norm, and being able to cover changing water conditions can play a vital role in an angler’s success.
Small, medium, and large presentations in bright, subdued, and natural colours would round you out quite well. This goes for both gear and fly anglers alike.
One thing to keep in mind when exploring more canyon-esque systems is to be aware of current and forecasted water conditions as levels may change suddenly. These sudden rises in water may leave you stranded or in sketchy situations. Waning daylight should also be considered, especially if hiking in to the Chehalis.
Be safe, be prepared, and have fun,
Squamish River Fishing Report
We were out last weekend and though it was a beautiful day to be on the water the fishing was poor. We did see a couple fish taken but overall the conditions were challenging. The main river was high and brown but held about 2-3 ft of visibility. A few of the creeks were puking mud and this made visibility below them more of a challenge.
River heights of 3.0-3.3 were not idea for crossing and though it was fishable the high fast water limited fishable water and compacted the anglers that were out. Long story short is you see 3.0-3.3 in future weeks, expect similar challenges. The river dropped nicely and again we had good reports mid-week.
This weekend will be interesting and with 100-150mm forecast it probably will be out is not flooded come Saturday. Watch the levels and look for levels dropping to a 2.7-2.9 for best levels. We expect this to happen Sunday to Tuesday next week depending on how on his game the weatherman is.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Rain, rain, go away, I need to get out on the water today….. Well if you have been waiting for the rain to leave so you can head out, you are going to have to keep waiting. It’s been a wet week and it looks like more rain is on the way. Despite the rain we have had some fun on the water the past few days. With proper gear and a heater on board the rain is really no big deal and it sure keeps the crowds down.
Do the fish bite better in the rain? Not really, as usual it’s all about the tide changes and our bites this week certainly held true to that theory. High slacks and low slacks saw the bulk of the activity and as usual the bait and the fish were close to the bottom.
With the darker rainy days, the brighter gear has been producing well and a lot of our hits came on the Gibbs Lemon Lime flasher and a 3.0 Irish Cream spoon. Prawning continues to be well worth the effort too.
See you in the shop or on the water,