We’ve got lots of good stuff in the report this week so we will keep the outlook brief. The weather looks “ok” but not great for the weekend. That said there are still options to get out. We have a detailed Skagit report, but the overall feel is that it is still too high to be good. On the Vedder we have had report of couple chinook but this system is in the same boat and “fishable” but very high.
On the lake front Aidan has an update on his trip to the Kootenays. This week Dustin is here to share some thoughts on a commonly overlooked fishery – the urban pier and beach bait fishery. This fishery is one that rarely gets talked about but is easy, fun and very accessible. Check out Dustin’s report on that.
Lastly Jason checks in with his update from the salt.
As always watch Matt’s video version of the report here:
CLASSES AND COURSES
Join Matt later this month in his Introduction to Fly Fishing Class.
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.
Dates: Zoom Seminar July 21. Casting July 25
Seminar Time: 6:30pm (Zoom)
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River / North Shore Beach Report
The reports this week from the Capilano were limited. We heard of a couple mornings where fish got bitey and there are a lot of fish stacked up in the upper pools. We heard of a couple fish off the beaches, but they are not schooling up. High tides in the morning made things hard but into next week we see some better tides for the beach fisherman. For some tips and tricks re: water levels and tides check out last week’s report.
Skagit River Fishing Report – Update
I had the chance to get out on the Skagit for a day earlier this week. More specifically the upper region of the river. I camped overnight to get an early start the next day, and it payed off. I found a few fish near the Skagit River Trailhead at Sumallo Grove.
I had luck primarily on the swing, which played to my advantage as I was finding it easier to roll-cast a larger presentation with the water levels being so high. In almost all the spots I fished, the water was up in the banks/bushes and moving fast due to high snow-pack melt and rain. That being said, the water was clear and visibility in the runs was good. After putting some effort in and bushwhacking off the trails, I was able to find some pretty nice water that wasn’t moving too quickly. As water levels hopefully continue to drop in the coming weeks, we’ll hopefully see more accessibility to fishable runs and people may be able to start crossing the river. The image below was taken by Brendon at Chitteden Bridge in the lower sections of the river the day after I was there. In comparison to last week’s footage shown in the Friday Fishing Video Report on YouTube, the water has dropped a solid amount.
As for bugs, there wasn’t a whole lot going on at the time. Although I was able to see adult female Mayflies dropping eggs on the water, I didn’t see any fish rising for bugs. Brendon mentioned that he had a few strikes on dry flies, so definitely make sure your box is stocked with dries, nymphs, and swinging patterns if you plan to head out.
In a few weeks water levels will hopefully have dropped to a more ideal level. As for now, there are definitely fish to be caught and it should only get better from here! Make sure to stop by the shop for some advice and gear.
Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder is shaping up nicely for our summer red chinook fishery. The water is still high but, at the moment of my writing this report anyways, is very fishable with a few feet of clarity. We have heard of only a couple of chinook caught and a handful of Sockeye by-catch but this is normal and it is almost like winning the jackpot when you do run across one.
With the water being on the higher side and coupled with a red chinook’s strength, don’t be afraid to beef up your leaders and go bigger on your terminal tackle. This water height is more conducive to drift fishing with roe, colorado blades, jigs, and single beads. However, in some spots there may be some feasible swing water for both lures and flies.
We have some relatively cool and stable weather coming up so we can expect the river to steadily drop. At this rate it should be mint by next week. The numbers will be accumulating by the day so we should start to see more lucky anglers moving into this coming week.
URBAN FISHING ALTERNATIVES
Spiny Dogfish and Coarse Fish
There are abundant spiny dogfish population in our local waters. Often times these fish are sneered by many fishermen as they ruin your bait or leader when you troll for salmon. However, due to their numbers and their aggressiveness towards baits, they also provide great fishing opportunities in our urban waters. They don’t run or jump like salmon or trout but they do pull down and put out a good fight on lighter gear providing a great alternative urban fishery. If you are a new angler the dog fish fishery provides you the easy experience of fighting a bigger fish.
They can be found in many areas in our local saltwater. Places I would recommend are Ambleside pier and Jericho pier. I personally had much more success during an outgoing tide after high tide on a sunny day.
When gearing up for them we recommend a bottom fishing rig with bait. They are a species of shark and their teeth can cut regular line like butter. You can use wire leaders to prevent them from cutting you leader line. Also, a hook sharpener is necessary as their teeth can ruin your hook.
You can get away with light to medium rods ranging from 6’6” to 10’. You do want at least an ounce of weight to anchor the bait off the bottom. For bait, you can use herring, anchovies, salmon trim and squid.
On top of the dogfish fishery, our local saltwater offers many coarse fish opportunities. You can catch a wide variety of species such as greenling, perch, flounder/sole, sculpin and goby.
Using ultralight gear is really fun for these smaller fish and some of the fish put out a surprisingly good fight. You can tie a drop shot rig with size 10 – 4 hooks and put a piece of bait on the hook. The reason I like to use dropshot rig is for the maximum sensitivity as you slowly reel back you slack line and cover the rocky area or kelp beds. The take can be very quick so you have to set the hook in a timely manner.
However, when targeting larger perch and flounder you need to cast further out. You can use a three way swivel to suspend the bait and wait for the bite to happen.
If you are interested in getting set up for one of the urban fisheries come by the shop and out friendly staff can steer you in the right direction.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lake Fishing Update – The Kootenays
This year, it seems an increasing number of anglers have been adventuring to the interior of the province in search of bigger and badder trout. The Kootenays however are often neglected due to the length of the trip, which is at a minimum 10 hours. However, if you’ve got the time and are in search of some other-worldly lake and river angling, it is a genuine destination. I’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Kootenay lake, and have got some great reports from the region.
Kootenay lake, once known for its Goliath Gerard rainbow trout has been inundated with an over-abundance of fish in the 20-25 inch range, causing a bit of an issue for the food chain. The rainbows are no longer getting large enough to eat the full grown kokanee, and have slowly but surely been altering their food source to the smaller kokanee fry and smolts. This is raising concern for the kokanee stocks as juvenile populations are now being decimated by the Gerard and bull trout population. Thus, retention has been opened up, allowing for anglers to retain large amounts of meat, and helping the stocks of kokanee as a result.
This conservation issue could not have been more highlighted in my trip to the big lake. Huge schools of Kokanee were slowly but surely being pushed within 10ft of shore and being terrorized by bull and rainbow trout. This created a fantastic shore fishing opportunity as good quality fish were easily in range of a fly rod or spin caster. Even through the gale force winds and scattered rain, we managed to catch fish on nearly everything in the box; spinners, spoons, bucktails, leeches, swimbaits, plugs, buzz bombs, oh the list goes on.
Unfortunately, due to the heavy snow pack and extremely temperate spring and summer we’re experiencing, the rivers are unseasonably high. Once August hits we should see a return to normality giving great angling options on many of the main river systems. The Columbia, Elk, and Salmo are some of my favourite options for both walking & wading as well as drifting in your favourite dinghy.
To me, the drive doesn’t much matter when the allure of fantastic fishing awaits. Not to mention it is one of the most beautiful locations in the province.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Well the good news is we are only 5 more days away from some increased opportunity for chinook as you can retain chinook in some regions as of July 15th. I have covered this in past reports, so if you go back in the reports to 2020 Chinook Measures: Our Response I go into great detail on the regulation and where you can and can’t fish for chinook (even C&R) and where you can fish C&R for chinook, and where and when you will be able to keep them and what the size restrictions are. In short, you can head across to Gulf Islands or Nanaimo, or NW up past Gower Point, and starting July 15th you will be able to keep a chinook in those waters. Make sure to read the article I wrote for more details if you haven’t already.
In the meantime, we have been fishing for coho along West Van and South Bowen. It has been hit and miss as the fish move around a lot. Best success has been on white hootchies with some flash inserts and chrome or UV flashers, fished 25-65 on the riggers.
I think I will do a special chinook report mid next week on some tactics for the areas that will be open to chinook retention and to remind everyone there is some opportunity for retention.
Also note we were finally able to get the Mastering Local Saltwater Course finalized. Thank you for your patience on this, as it took some time to find a suitable venue with enough space to support our Covid plan and social distancing. I am going to teach one course this year, so if you want to get dialed in on local saltwater salmon fishing, this is your chance. The seminar date is Saturday, July 18 and we go over a lot of information including winds, tides, safe navigation in and around Vancouver, Howe Sound, crossing to Thrasher, and of course lots on the hot spots and techniques to catch salmon 12 months a year around Vancouver. Then you get one day out on the water, fully guided by yours truly, and its hands-on learning. We sent a mailout late yesterday and the phones were busy, and it filled up fast. If you missed out on grabbing a seat in this course, phone the shop today ASAP at 604-872-2204 to be added to the waitlist and we may open up extra dates.
See you in the shop or on the water,