The first week of 2023 is in the books! It’s been a pretty good start to the year for river fishing. We are hearing positive steelhead reports from the Chilliwack and though the Squamish is back to low and clear conditions, bulltrout fishing over the last 10 days has been good as the water dropped from highs after Boxing Day. We have some damp relatively warm weather in the forecast for the weekend and into next week. This is good news. Consistent 5-10mm rain should keep rivers at a nice fishing level and though it is early in the season it is worth heading out.
In this week’s report, we have a Chilliwack and a Squamish update. The Squamish will get more water than the Chilliwack, but we do not think either will blow out. We also wanted to feature a fly video that Andre did last week. It is a cool, small steelhead pattern that should fish well in clear conditions or as a close out fly. Have a watch of that at the end of this week’s report!
Off the water and in the shop, we have some very good deals on items that we are carrying over from our Boxing Week Sale. If you missed making it down for the sale, we have a short list of some of the deals that are still on. Check that out below and come on down for some great savings!
Last, but not least, we still have some space for next week’s egg nymphing course with Matt on the Squamish. This course usually sells out but, we had a couple of spots open up and with some good levels of rain forecasted for early next week, the conditions could be perfect for the following weekend. We have a list of all our upcoming courses below so call in if anything in there interests you.
On to the report!
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.
Seminar Only Cost: $60+GST
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $300.00+GST per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar: Jan 11 Guided: Jan 14 or 15
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Guided: Full Day
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. He 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.
This course is suitable for fly tyers with a basic knowledge.
Dates: Jan 18
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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.
Seminar: Jan 23, 2023
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Warmwater Warm Up
If you’ve ever waded in knee-deep water or have been poled along shallow mangroves while chasing flats species such as bonefish, tarpon, snook, and permit, then this course is for you! During the course, your instructor will go over design concepts, fundamentals, and techniques for a handful of essential warmwater flies. Included patterns that will be covered will be shrimp, crabs, and baitfish, with different techniques and designs being demonstrated and shared throughout the evening. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A detailed list of what materials are needed will be supplied in advance of the course. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
This course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tyers.
Dates: Jan 24
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 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 25, Feb1 & 8
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
EXTENDED BOXING WEEK SALE SAVINGS
Great Items Still on Sale from Boxing Week!
We had a great Boxing Week Sale, and it was great to see all who came down to take advantage of the savings. We do still have a number of deals that we are carrying over until stock is gone. If you missed out on making it down check out the list below there are some amazing fly rods, spinning reels, waders and boots at crazy low prices!
G. Loomis NRX+ Fly Rods
These legendary fly rods are the culmination of years of research by the G. Loomis engineering team. Hand crafted in Woodlands, Washington with cutting edge materials and resins, some of the lightest and most responsive rods on the market.
NRX+ 690-4 Reg $1,179.99 now 20% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
NRX+ 4100-4 Reg $1,169.99 now 20% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Orvis Helios 3 Fly Rods
Award winning, top end, USA built performance with a 25-year warranty. One of the best rods on the market, hands down.
Orvis 890-4 Helios 3D Reg $1,300 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Orvis 790-4 Helios 3D Reg $1,300 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Orvis 5100-4 Helios 3F Reg $1,300 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Orvis 590-4 Helios 3F Reg $1,300 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Orvis 4100-4 Helios 3F Reg $1,300 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Orvis 490-4 Helios 3F Reg $1,300 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Redington Fly Rods
Redington Strike 4100-4 Reg $429.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Redington Strike 3106-4 Reg $429.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Redington Vice 490-4 Reg $309.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Waders, Boots and Soft Goods
Redington Forge Wading Boots $239.99 now 40% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Redington Benchmark Wading Boots $189.99 now 40% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Redington Escape Wader, LS $359.99 now 40% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Redington Crosswater Wader, S $209.99 now 40% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Men’s Tributary Stocking Foot Wader $249.99 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
G4 Wading Boot in felt and Vibram $399.99 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Tributary Wading Boot in felt and Vibram $179.99 now 25% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Flyweight Wet Wading Shoe, #9, Vibram $229.99 now 40% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Mustang Taku Jacket, Admiral Gray Reg $499.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Mustang Taku Bib Pants, Admiral Gray Reg $499.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Helly Hansen Gale Jacket, L Reg $134.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Helly Hansen Gale Bib Pants, L Reg $94.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Daiwa CC80HS LT Levelwind $114.99 now 30% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Daiwa Saltist 3000 to 8000 sizes $349.99 to $379.99 now 20% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
Daiwa Tatula 1000 to 4000 sizes $289.99 all sizes now 20% OFF! (STILL ON SALE)
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
It’s been an interesting week on the C/V system- the blowout at the very end of 2022 clearly caused a bunch of fish to push into the system, because I’ve been seeing and hearing of very respectable numbers of fish being encountered throughout the system already. Early January is usually quite hit-or-miss, but this season seems to be off to a promising start already. Of course, this could just be a fluke and it’s impossible to say if the relatively high abundance of early-run fish is an indicator for the rest of the season, but it’s nice to see, regardless.
Conditions as of writing this report are what I would consider to be almost perfect- 2′-4’ of visibility and running high enough for fish to move a bit and be comfortable, but low enough that they’ll still hold up in traditional steelhead water. It looks like the clay bank woes of last year are much less of an issue right now, so hopefully it stays that way for a while. Pink worms, beads, blades, yarn ties, jigs, gooey bobs and bait (roe bags, shrimp/prawns, cured roe, etc.) are all solid bets right now, and even the spey guys are finding a fair amount of success when the river isn’t too crowded… ya, love to see it! Slightly larger intruders in the standard colours (black, blue, pink, purple, orange) are solid bets if you want to try to swing one up on the starvation stick. Fish are spread throughout the entire system, so pick an area and go for a walk. Cover enough water, and you stand a good chance of at least getting a shot at a fish.
The weather forecast for the next 7 days shows a lot of uncertainty in terms of expected precipitation values, so it’s hard to say what the river will do over the coming days. Bring an assortment of different presentations if you’re planning on heading out over the next few days and be ready for a range of different conditions, depending on what mother nature does. Always cover as much water as possible to increase your chances of finding a willing fish and try to avoid wading in backchannels that would’ve been used by spawning salmon a few months ago.
If you’re new to this fishery, I’m presenting our “Float Fishing for Winter Steelhead” course this year on Jan. 23rd, and there’s still some room left to get signed up if you’re interested. Call the shop at 604.872.2204 to grab your spot.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The past week saw the Squamish and its tributaries producing some decent fishing opportunities for both char and trout. Cooler temperatures and not too much rain made for decent conditions throughout the valley.
We have some wind and rain coming up which once over should help produce excellent angling conditions as the river settles back down. These rain events mixed with cooler temperatures usually help stir up food and eggs, creating a buffet for resident and wintering trout and char.
If stripping or swinging flies over the next few days, one will most likely reach for a denser tip to help get the fly down and into the fish’s face during these heavier flows. Shorter tippet and denser tips are a great strategy when fishing faster moving, dirtier water- it helps keep the fly down and, in the zone, where the water is slower, and the fish are holding.
If drifting or fishing traditional methods, this might be a great time to dust off those sturdier 30grm-35grm floats for some casting practice on the level-wind or center-pin reels.
Beads, bobs, and blades are all great options for tempting these fish, as well as worm-jigs, spinners, and spoons.
As for flies, I’ll usually swing sculpins and similar on my lighter trout rods or trout-spey. Nymphing and drifting beads is also a great tactic for these trout, with indicators dropping adding a level of excitement to the day. As the season progresses, I’ll start swinging more attractor-style patterns in either bright or dark colours on heavier rods while looking for larger trout.
Come on into the shop and see us. Any of us would be more than happy to talk more in-depth with you on this fishery and walk you through the above tactics and gear, while also pointing out some of our personal favourites.
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
We’re Hiring – Join our Guide Team Today!
We’re hiring for our 2023 guiding season. Positions available include saltwater guides, sturgeon guides and freshwater guides.
The Night Hawk Steelhead Pattern
Andre dropped this fly-tying video just after Boxing Week and we thought it was cool. It is an interesting blend of more “old school” steelhead patterns like the boss, egg sucking leach or skunk mixed with some less conventional materials like glass beads and hot orange painted dumb bell eyes. This is going to be a great low water steelhead pattern, a deadly close-out pattern for both winter and summer run fish and it will probably be a solid coho pattern next fall. Check it out if you are looking for some inspiration when sitting at the vice. Click Here for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaiLtyu7Ja0