Holy cow it’s cold! We are having one of the coldest winters on record and it doesn’t look to be changing soon. We are all looking very closely at the 14-day forecasts and there is hope in sight.
Out of the next seven days the best fishing days look to be this weekend. It will be cold with possible snow but it won’t be too cold. Steelhead will bite in cold weather, especially if they are fresh, so heading to the Vedder this weekend is not a bad idea.
Cold days have very little effect on winter chinook fishing as long as the wind doesn’t pose a problem. There has been some wind so keep your eye on the marine forecast. We have had good reports from the harbour, up Howe Sound and even across the straight.
The Squamish will be a challenge any time we have such cold temperatures. That said there is hope in the long term forecast and you can read about Matt’s predictions for when to get out in this week’s Squamish report.
With the cold weather we thought it was the perfect time to feature the new Simms Challenger jacket. This jacket is perfect to combo up with waders or look at the bib pant and jacket combo for a high quality, cost effective option for fishing from the boat. The Hex Camo is a very cool color and at $269.99 for the jacket and $269.99 for the bib you get all the bells and whistles, like a sunglass cleaner and smooth lining that Simms is known for at a very competitive price. To make things even better we are offering them both at 10% off this week only at the shop! Check out Jordan’s review below and come down to the shop if you are looking for a piece like this.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Stay warm and get prepared for the upcoming season by joining us in one of our awesome January classes – from fly tying to on the river courses we have it all this month!
Fly Fishing Egg Patterns
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 18, 2017 Guided: Jan 21 or 22, 2017
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided: Full Day
Steelhead Float Fishing
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.
Date: Jan 23, 2017
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Tying Essential Steelhead Patterns
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.
Date: Jan 24, 2017
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction to Fly Tying
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This Introduction to Fly Tying 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 fly tying materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Jan 25, Feb 1 & 8, 2017
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRIDAY FEATURE PROJECT
New from Simms for this upcoming season (or current winter chinook season!) is the Challenger jacket. A step up from the Contender, this jacket has everything you need at a great price point.
Unlike its big brother, the ProDry, which is made from Gore-Tex, the Challenger is constructed of 2-layer Toray to offer 100% waterproof and breathable durability.
I was able to get my hands on one pre-release, to take it for a few test rides and I will have to say that this is one of my favourite pieces from Simms. Not as light as Gore-Tex shells, this jacket offers enough of its own weight to keep you warm with just a t-shirt on during the later spring and summer months, yet is cool enough that you aren’t drenched in sweat – even if you decide to use it for multiple applications like I did such as hiking/wading as well as on the boats. During the winter or on cold, wet days, a simple puff or base-layer is all that’s needed to keep you warm and dry.
Just some of the great features include:
- Simms’ Challenger features 2-layer Toray® fabric with fully taped seams for 100-percent waterproof, breathable performance.
- Revive cold hands in fleece-lined pockets and dodge hard rain by ducking inside a
- 3-point adjustable storm hood that conveniently stows in the collar.
- YKK® VISLON® center front zipper with a storm flap for added protection.
- Dual draw-cord adjustable bottom hem customizes fit
- Dual kill-switch anchor points add on-the-water safety.
There are lots of extra little features tucked inside that I won’t give away, but I will say that you’ll appreciate each and every one of them. Come on down to the shop and check them out, both the Challenger jacket and bib are 10% off January 6 – January 12, 2017. I’ll be more than happy to get all techy with you and show you more of this awesome jacket that I myself can’t wait to keep using.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
Well it’s been a cold start to the steelhead season on the Chilliwack/Vedder and it looks like it could stay that way for the rest of the month. Some anglers have ventured out into the cold and have been rewarded with the odd fish. Making an extra cast or two into likely holding water can be the difference between catching and not. Fish will be less willing to move to your presentation with the colder water temperatures, making sure you get the right drift is critical.
Make sure to dress appropriately, you don’t want to cut your day short due to you being unprepared. Wool is your friend when it comes to winter fishing. Simms Fishing Products has a great line of layering pieces for the cold weather angler, come in a check out our selection. We are fully stocked on steelhead baits such as custom tied jigs, pink worms, and roe bags as well as a great assortment of hand tied steelhead flies. Remember you must have purchased a steelhead stamp on your license in order for you to angle for steelhead, you can find that info here http://www.fishing.gov.bc.ca
Squamish River Fishing Report
Some of my best memories are hiking the Squamish with snow coming down. I have had some very memorable fishing days on the Squamish this time of year but some of my most hated fishing memories are hiking the Squamish when it is negative 5 or colder; feet are frozen, guides are frozen and the fish are popsicles, not eating on the bottom of the river.
In January and February we can have absolutely lights out fishing but we need warmer weather and coloured river water. This happens when we get some rain and warmer days. The sweet spot seems to be around 4-6 degrees. Temps below zero are tough and below -5 are almost futile. It might be worth heading out this weekend but next week we are seeing a major cold snap so I am looking at the 15th through the 17th as it looks to be warming up around then.
Bull trout are hyper temperature sensitive. When conditions are right they are extremely aggressive and some even call them stupid when it comes to eating flies. When the water temps are cold and the water is clear this flips on its head. Their metabolism shuts down and they simply stop eating.
Egg fishing is absolutely the way to go in cold weather. The fish do not have the energy to chase streamers. Fish very pale coloured eggs and light 5lb fluorocarbon tippet. I have had good days in cold weather and funnily enough we hook more rainbows when things get like this. I assume their metabolisms don’t shut down as dramatically in the cold water. That said don’t go out when you’re seeing temperatures around the minus 5 mark.
I am watching the forecast and the second we see +4-6 degrees in Squamish you will see me on the river!
Capilano River Fishing Report
With the water levels on the Capilano these days, this is definitely a great opportunity to hone your skills fishing low and clear conditions! With more snow and cold weather in the forecast we can expect these conditions to prevail for at least another week. A couple of steelhead have started to trickle into this system so if you are looking for something local this is potentially an option. All the traditional steelhead baits, lures, and flies such as roe, shrimp, colorado blades, pink worms, egg sucking leeches, flash flies, and popsicles will work. Please keep in mind that this river does not receive a large return of winter steelhead so please treat them with care and remember that it is strictly a catch and release fishery.
Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave River can be a fun little fishery that is possible to hit for a couple hours after fishing a few of the other major steelhead rivers out in the Fraser Valley. While it is a short river, it is home to a number of species at this time of year including rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, and steelhead. Both gear fishing and fly fishing can be effective here for all of these species. Spinners, spoons, colorado blades, trout blades, and small pink worms are all good bets and should be part of your winter trout/steelhead gear arsenal. If you prefer to catch them on the fly then break out the egg patterns, egg sucking leeches, and woolly buggers.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
We had a great start to 2017 with multiple trips this week and awesome fishing!
There seems to be good numbers of chinook pretty much everywhere with fish in Vancouver Harbour, Howe Sound, and the Gulf Islands. I honestly can’t think of a spot where I haven’t heard of or had good fishing, so if you have the time, book a trip as the next month or two should be great. It is hard to believe how fast November and December have flown by, but with fishing so good, it always seems to go by too fast, so don’t let that happen to you and get a trip in the calendar now.
As usual this time of year, the water is clear and the bait is on the bottom. That means keep your gear on the bottom because that is where the chinook are hunting for bait. Top producing flashers have been the Green Onion Glow, Salty Dawg and Chartreuse Glow or Green Glow. Top spoons have been any Pesca spoon in 3.5 or 4.0 with some green, blue, chartreuse, and glow on them. Some hot ones this week were Gut Bomb and Double Bubble. The Kingfisher spoons in 3.5 have also been doing well, like the Irish Cream and Kitchen Sink.
This week we were out testing some of the new Pesca spoons and they should be on the shelves late January. The results were pretty impressive, the new shape has great action and the fish seem to agree, as this spoon has been red hot the past 2 weeks.
The fish are also getting bigger, with Eddie’s guests this week landing one that was just over 15 pounds.
One interesting thing to note is bait size. Some of the fish this week have had rather larger herring in them, some anchovies, and some shiners! The herring would have been well represented by a 5.0 spoon maybe even a 6.0 size. The anchovies by a 3.5 and the new spoon I have been talking about is a perfect anchovy size. The shiners are small and a 3.0 or 2.5 would be a good choice. If you do get a legal fish and decide to keep it, I would recommend quickly gutting it on the boat to see what it is feeding on and make sure you have the right size spoon on. It can make a big difference, especially if they are on small bait and you have a big spoon on. They don’t seem to like that.
See you on the water or in the shop.