Winter storm incoming! Actually… incoming might not be the correct word. If you are reading this Friday afternoon, we are probably in the thick of it or with any luck it has moved through.
A very moist Pacific frontal system stalled over the coast Thursday resulting in heavy rainfall for Metro Vancouver. The rain will taper off today as the front moves inland, but wet weather is in the forecast for the next few days and in the extended forecast as well. We will see rain lessening on Monday but things will also get colder so we could see snow for Squamish.
We won’t even try to sugar coat it. This is a bummer for fishing. Warm clothes and good raingear will be needed.
River levels as we write this report (Thursday) are surprisingly not going up yet. This is probably due to it coming in as snow in the higher elevations, but the temperatures are still relatively warm and we expect rivers to rise. As always there can be moments of brilliant fishing when river levels are fluctuating but they can be hard to time.
In this week’s report we will look at the Vedder River steelhead fishery, the Squamish bulltrout fishery and then the saltwater winter chinook fishery. We expect all three to have windows of excellent fishing over the next 2-5 days but this will be coupled with some days where you will wish you stayed indoors did some fly tying or logged some family time
Check out all the intel in the specific reports below and if you’re looking to stay dry check our January course listing for all or upcoming classes.
Last but certainly not least – mark you calendars for January 26, 2019 for the Steelhead Society of BC’s Annual General Meeting. Details are in the Industry Events and Updates section.
INDUSTRY EVENTS + UPDATES
Steelhead Society of British Columbia’s Annual General Meeting 2019
The Steelhead Society of British Columbia (SSBC) will be hosting speakers from the Wild Fish Conservancy whom will present on their selective harvest pound trap experiment on the Columbia River. Also presenting will be Dave Moore from the Harrison Fisheries Authority (Sts’ailes & Sq’éwlets Fisheries) discussing his time as a fisheries technician working with Interior Fraser River steelhead populations and collaborating with local Aboriginal populations for future strategies.
Date: January 26, 2019
Time: 10AM – 1PM
Location: 8555 198A Street, Langley BC
For more information and a meeting agenda visit the SSBC event facebook page.
SSBC Swag and Membership renewals/sign-up available at this meeting.
CLASSES + COURSES
The kids are heading back to the classroom – so why not join them. We have a great line-up of classes in January and early February. Check out all of the details below. If you’re looking for classes later in February check out our website for all of our February courses including Introduction to Fly Fishing, Tying Bulltrout patterns, Tying Intruder Patterns and Introduction to Spey Casting.
STEELHEAD FLOAT FISHING – Sold out, call the shop to join the waitlist!
In this fishery, 10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fish. This is your chance to learn from the 10%! Our 3hr evening seminar will educate you on the gear, water types, conditions and other key variables that put veteran steelhead anglers in that 10%. Mastering this fishery will make you the envy of your friends. Upgrade your seminar to include a fully guided day on the water, putting into practice your new knowledge with a Pacific Angler guide.
Seminar Only Cost: $50.00
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $275.000 per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar: Jan 14 Guided: Jan 19, Jan 20, Jan 26, or Jan 27 SOLD OUT – Custom trip dates are available
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Guided: Full Day
FLY FISHING EGG PATTERNS – 1 Spot Left!
This course is designed to teach you the secrets to one of the most productive presentations in the BC fly fishermen’s arsenal; nymphing egg patterns. This deadly method can be used for different species of trout, char, and salmon. During a 3-hour evening seminar we will teach you key concepts, strategies, and gear that will give you a well-rounded foundation during the seminar portion of the class. Then you will put those skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar: Jan 16 Guided: Jan 19 or 20
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Guided: Full Day
INTRODUCTION TO FLY TYING – 2 spots left!
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This course was specifically designed to give you the fundamental skills needed to tie proven fly patterns used here in BC for trout, salmon, and steelhead. This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Jan 21, 28 & Feb 4
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
TYING ESSENTIAL STEELHEAD PATTERNS – 2 spots left!
This course is designed for the fly tyer looking to get the best start on tying steelhead patterns. In the 3-hour evening seminar your instructor will cover everything from tying techniques, material and colour choices, size and weight. They will walk you through 3 essential patterns that will build a well-rounded steelhead fly box. If you’re looking to get yourself into tying your own flies for steelhead, this is the course for you. This course is suitable for fly tiers with a basic knowledge. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Jan 22
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
MASTERING LOCAL SALTWATER SALMON FISHING
Over 50 million salmon migrate past Vancouver annually. Learn how to catch these fish with a Pacific Angler. This course offers an in-depth look at the local saltwater scene. We cover the local saltwater salmon fishing for the entire year, showing you the how, when, and where. This course includes a 6hr weekend seminar and a fully guided day on the water in one of our Grady Whites.
Dates:Seminar: Feb 3 Guided: Feb 8, 9, 10, or 11 MORE DATES TO BE ADDED!
Seminar Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm – with a one-hour break for lunch. There are two restaurants on site for students to have lunch at their cost. Coffee/Tea and water will be provided.
Seminar held at Pacific Gateway Hotel – 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond, BC
Guided Day: Full day on the water
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Happy New Year to all you eager steelheaders out there! To bring in 2019 I’ve got some good news and some bad news regarding the steelheading on the Vedder. We had a bump of fish come through mid-week and a few anglers lucked out with some beautiful fish. However the river came up with the rains and we are expecting quite a bit of high water coming up with lots of rain still in the forecast for next week and above average temperatures. This doesn’t mean they can’t be caught, but you will want to search for those few holding spots that they will hunker down in and grind them out with bigger presentations. Think large profiles, bright colours, and lots of movement/flash to get their attention. Upsizing your bait works wonders as bait will leave a scent trail, but for those that don’t want to get messy with roe or shrimp you can still get them on artificials like size 4 colorados and 6 inch pink worms given that the river isn’t completely blown out. Most importantly, keep an eye on the forecast and water levels for the day you plan to go.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The storm is pounding the Squamish as I write this report but at least for now the water levels are holding. Even with an optimistic view, I do not see them holding much longer and expect high river levels this weekend. This might not mean unfishable conditions. There might be snow in the forecast up the valley and this will take the edge off any major river level issues. For today we expect fishing to be a challenge and it will probably drag into Saturday but if we start seeing the river drop Saturday/Sunday the bulltrout fishing should pickup and could be excellent.
Go prepared with larger egg presentations, spoons that have a heavier thump and streamer patterns with large profiles to combat potential dirty water.
When the weather has cooperated we have had good bulltrout and rainbow fishing over the last 5 days so it is well worth the trip if you can time the weather.
Good luck and see you all on the river,
Harrison/Chehalis River Fishing Report
This is a system that is not talked about much in January, but the Chehalis and Harrison have some interesting opportunities for bulltrout, cutthroat and steelhead. The system comes with some caveats and it is not for the angler that doesn’t like to hike, put boots to ground and on occasion climb some pretty treacherous terrain in the name of fishing.
The other interesting thing of note about this system is that rain effects if differently that the Vedder and other systems in the area. The standard joke is that if you don’t like the river level, go back to your truck, have a coffee and then check again. It blows out fast, changes quite often but then also comes back in shape fast.
We have heard of the odd steelhead and some worthwhile bulltrout fishing so if you are looking for an alternative know that it may not have many fish but if you put in the time it is worth the effort.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave can be a good one to have on your hit list when we see weather like this. You can drive out for one of the other systems and if things don’t go as planned the Stave is a good backup. It is dam fed so it doesn’t always blow out when there is a ton of rain. There is a good population of whitefish as well as bulltrout, cutthroat and steelhead.
If you want to target whitefish you will need very small hooks. Their mouths are small and the standard egg rigs don’t work well. If you go out, fish through a run with your standard bulltrout/steelhead setups but if your indicator or float keeps going down without hooking up, have egg rigs with small hooks ready to go. On a light spinning rod or 3-4wt fly rod they are a ton of fun.
They can open the dam at any given time and if you have waded to areas through deep water you might have issues getting back. Keep your eye on the water’s edge and be safe out there.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Happy New Year to all our customers new and old! Here is to a great year in 2019 and lets hope for another good saltwater year.
The New Year winter chinook fishing has been off to a solid start with good reports in all the major fishing areas such as Howe Sound, Gulf Islands, and right close to home in Vancouver Harbour. Some friends from Puget Sound also sent me some great shots of rather larger winter chinook as their season just opened up on Jan 1. Prawning has also been good, but crabbing continues to be slow as the traps have been full of undersize, so best to leave the crab traps at home right now and focus on prawns.
It’s going to be wet and windy this weekend, but not even the 90 mm forecast stopped Eddie and guests on Thursday. If you want to catch fish in the winter make sure you dress warm and have good rain gear, it can make or break your day. Wear a next to skin layer for warmth and wicking away moisture, then a fleece layer to keep that heat in, then a good breathable and waterproof layer. A heater is a good idea as well, especially to warm the hands up after pulling the prawn gear.
If you wait for no wind and rain you might be waiting for awhile, as the long -term forecast is rain, wind, then some more rain, then some more wind. If it is too windy to venture further out, try Vancouver Harbour as it continues to produce.
I was able to make it over to the Gulf Islands for New Years and there are some solid bait balls around and some nice size fish as well!
As usual, keep your gear fairly close to the bottom, cover water in search of bait, and then once you find it, start to work that area with some more focus. Our top producers this week have been chartreuse glow flashers like the Salty Dawg, Phantom, and our custom series in UV Chartreuse or UV Green. Hot spoons have also been chartreuse and green with some glow, like Irish Cream, Yellow Tail, and Green Glow. The water has finally got a little cleaner so the darker shades of flashers and spoons are also working, such as UV Purple Phantom and UV Purple Pacific Angler Custom, paired up with Herring Aide spoons in Kingfisher or Skinny G. That clear water was from the cold snap we had, but that might change a bit this week as things have warmed up and the rivers will be flooding, adding silt and debris into the water column.
As mentioned earlier prawning has been consistent and is a nice addition on a full day charter.
If you want to give winter chinook fishing and prawning a try, give us a call on our charter phone at 778-788-8582. If you are looking for some solid advice and all the hottest flashers and spoons, drop by the shop. If you don’t live in the area and want some gear, give us a call and we would be happy to put an order together for you and mail it out.
See you in the shop or on the water,