This week the weather looks good for Saturday and Sunday with a mix of sun and cloud. It’s forecasted to be very windy on the ocean this weekend which is typical when the warm weather rolls in. Be sure to review your marine forecasts before venturing out.
On the 15th we saw the areas around Thrasher Rock open for retention of one chinook in the slot limit 62 – 80cm. Jason was over there this week and caught some legal fish. He has more details in the Saltwater section and he also has a write up on how to target coho more effectively. This is a fishery that is picking up and coming up on prime time.
On the Chilliwack/Vedder front, we’ve heard of some fish but it is still super high. Alex has details on that in the river section. On the Skagit front, she is still high and a challenge to hike but there were some positive reports for the guys who bush wacked or drifted. More details on that as well as some bug observations in the report below.
Last, we have a cool piece on how to downrigger fish Lakes. Taylor has been out a bunch and he has an overview on how to do it as well as some good spots relatively close to Vancouver where you can give it a try.
As always click here for Matt’s Video Version of the report here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NVNB58dKek
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
Fishing the Local “Big” Lakes – Downriggers – Dollies and Kokanee
With a majority of the Lower Mainland rivers running higher than normal and interior lakes being plagued by unpredictable weather, you may be sitting at home wondering where the heck you’re gonna be wetting a line in the near future. Got a boat? If so, consider trying out some of the Lower Mainland’s unstocked lakes… you might be pleasantly surprised by the quantity, quality and variety of fish in them.
One of my personal spring/summertime favorites is Kawkawa Lake, located just outside of Hope. It’s home to some cutties, a few bulltrout, a bunch of landlocked cohos, and of course, the main attraction: kokanee. These delicious landlocked sockeyes average about a pound in this small lake, but fish over three pounds are not unheard of. This fishery can be easy, fun, and quite productive… if you have the right gear.
If you have downriggers, trolling gear such as small hootchies, wedding bands, Apex kokanee Specials, or small spoons like Gibbs Mini-Gs or Dick Nites behind a dodger or gang troll is a great way to find some action. If you don’t have downriggers, you can still troll the aforementioned gear, but your best bet would be anchoring in about 40 feet of water and still-fishing bait such as krill, shrimp, or single eggs near the bottom. Kokanee are schooling fish, so a fish finder is an invaluable tool, as it’ll tell you both where the fish are, and how deep they are. Kokanee like specific water temperatures, so if you find one school, the rest will probably be at the same depth, and kokes don’t often move up or down to chase gear.
My personal experience has shown that the best fishing is at the West end of the lake, from the rock wall to the outlet creek. If you’re anchoring, try the Northwest corner. Scent also seems to play a big part here and with Kokanee in general. The experiments I’ve conducted saw scented gear outfishes unscented gear 2-1, so consider stocking up on krill, anise and shrimp scents before heading out. Another thing to note is that this lake is, unfortunately, a major hub for water skiers, wakeboarders and tubers, so it can get incredibly busy on weekends if the weather is nice. This doesn’t seem to affect the fishing too much, but it can make for an incredibly uncomfortable experience… think fishing Sandheads in 20-25 knot Northwesterlies in a small boat. The solution to this is either to get there early and get off before 11am, or to take advantage of the many rainy weekends we’ve been having this year, as the recreators seem to be afraid of rain… and waking up early.
This fishery should stay strong through the summer, so drop by the shop if you want to get in on the action. We’ve got everything you’ll need to go get yourself some delicious landlocked Sockeyes; downriggers to dodgers, and everything in between!
Capilano River / North Shore Beach Report
Well it seems summer weather is finally here, as we’re not expecting rain in Vancouver for well over a week. This is both good and bad news for the Capilano, as water levels are so low that fresh fish aren’t moving quickly up the system, but an increasing amount of coho are stacking up at the mouth of the river. The fly guys have seemingly been out fishing bait or metal in the flow of the river, mainly on small buggy presentations such as olive leeches or small nymphs. Thus, I’d suggest to size down your gear if you are fishing tackle. Swap out your jigs and spoons with small Colorado blades or even just wool or flies. Rigging a swivel and an egg weight with an 8lb 25inch fluorocarbon leader to the same flies that are working for dedicated fly anglers can be very effective. The beach has been starting to heat up as well. Many coho are stacking up at the mouth waiting for a bump in water levels. On a low tide, these fish are well within range of both fly and conventional tackle. Andre’s beach flies are key for this system as a small, finesse approach seems to be the only way to get the attention of these fish. For conventional tackle, larger blue fox spinners, spoons, and buzzbombs are a great way to target the more active fish.
1. Watch the river levels here: http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/water/sources-supply/watersheds-reservoirs/seymour-capilano-river-levels/Pages/default.aspx
2. If the levels are high go river fishing if they are low go to the beach.
3. If you are beach fishing try to go on low tides so you can get farther out to the traveling lanes along the beaches. Check the Tides here: https://www.tide-forecast.com/locations/Vancouver-British-Columbia/tides/latest
4. Lower light days and times are key to get the coho closer to shore and the surface. This means overcast days or going early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Skagit River Update
We floated the Skagit this week. Fishing was productive but challenging. The river is still too high and fast to fish the normal runs where fish hold and with the high water they seemed to have spread out, holding in fast or overhung hard to fish water.
Crossing and bank hiking is still a massive challenge but if you can drift or don’t mind bushwhacking you can fish.
For hatches there were some smaller mays coming off and we hooked a bunch of fish on dries and rose a few more. Timing for dries was that typical afternoon hatch. I think the key for guys going up in the next couple days is to fish everything even if it’s kind of fast and see if you can find a longer run that slows down in the afternoon for some dry fly action.
Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder has shaped up nicely over the last week. Visibility is good and while the levels are still quite high it is very fishable at this point. Fishing is still a bit on the slow side but we have heard of a couple of lucky anglers hooking up. We can expect the conditions to continue improving right through the end of July and through the peak of the season so things should be prime in the next week or so.
The red chinook in the Vedder are not numerous and are not typically that aggressive so you can think of it like steelheading but with a twist. It can be tough to find one or two and even harder to convince those fish to bite. Focus on covering water and hitting first light; have a few different presentations at your disposal. Gear presentations that work include, but are not limited to, pro-cured roe, cured shrimp, colorado blades, Jensen eggs, beads, jigs, and spoons. Once the water subsides more there will be more fly accessible water as well, and these fish can be targeted with 8-10 weight rods, heavy sink tips, and large intruders in red, pink, chartreuse, and black.
We should see better numbers of fish starting to move through the system now. Please keep in mind that there are also Chilliwack Lake sockeye in the river currently and they are completely catch and release so handle them with care. If you need to get geared up for this fishery come visit us at the shop!
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
With the cool early summer, lake fishing is still a great option in the interior. Things are warming up however and you will want to start looking at higher elevation lakes. Matt and Jason were on lakes in the 4000 ft range this last weekend and saw water temps in the low 60s. With this they found fish holding in 20-24 feet of water. They did see some sedge hatches as well as intermittent Chironomid hatches.
In the video version of the report, Matt talks about some strategies they used for scouting a lake that you might find useful. Check that out above in the video link.
Going forward, expect mixed hatches and the good fishing leaning to the mornings and afternoons on lower elevation lakes. With more stable weather across the interior we still expect good fishing for another couple weeks.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
I have a lot to cover in this week’s report, coho fishing, chinook fishing, and a petition, so let’s get right to it.
Coho fishing was noticeably better this week with some solid action and catches of hatchery coho. It seems the best action has been around South Bowen in 300-500 feet of water, usually on a tide line if present. Productive depths have been 25-75 on the rigger, depending on time of day and how sunny it is. Later in the day and with lots of sun, try a bit deeper. Early in the day and on overcast days try a bit shallower. If it is too windy to try South Bowen then you can try Point Atkinson, along West Van and down to the Cap Mouth as there have been coho caught in all these areas. Reflective flashers like the Betsy, Twisted Sista, and the Hot Dot series have been working well with white glow and UV hootchies and smaller spoons like the 3.0 Kingfisher, Skinny G and Wee Gee in reflective finishes.
As most of you know, chinook are now open to retention in some areas and the details of where are covered in our previous reports Chinook Report
Or should we put in the map? Not sure how much room it is going to take.
We headed across to Gabriola and fished there up to Nanaimo this week and had some decent fishing for chinook and coho. The chinook were deep, as usual, and were 180-280 on the riggers depending on the spot. We marked quite a few coho further offshore and they were 75-175 on the sonar. Tough to take the hootchies off when in these waters as they always seem to get the job done. Blue glow flashers like the Oki Footloose and Gibbs Brain Freeze with a blue splatter glow hootchy are working well. You always want a green or chartreuse version of this setup in your arsenal too as it can be the ticket, especially on darker days.
Okay, so now that you know what is going on for fishing, it’s time to take a minute and read this petition and sign it. The chinook closures currently imposed on the Vancouver region are nothing short of gross miss management of the public resource. I have gone into the details in the past, so I won’t in this week’s report, but here is how you can be heard.
Please sign this right now, and let’s get thousands behind this and show DFO and the politicians we won’t stand for it. Get your friends and family to sign it as well; your and their access to this public resource depends on it.
Petition to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
· The public fishery in British Columbia depends on predictable access to marine and aquatic resources;
· The public fishery in British Columbia is a source of benefits, including food security, cultural traditions, recreation, mental health, employment and economic opportunity for hundreds of thousands of British Columbians;
· The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard and the Government of Canada have chosen to ignore viable and sustainable proposals from British Columbians for managing fisheries that may encounter Fraser River Chinook;
· The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard and the Government of Canada have failed to implement a coordinated, properly funded, comprehensive, ecosystem-based recovery plan and strategy to rebuild stocks and habitat for Fraser River Chinook; and
· The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard and the Government of Canada have failed to acknowledge the presence of other abundant Chinook stocks.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to amend the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ 2020 Fraser River Chinook salmon management measures to acknowledge the existence of abundant Chinook stocks elsewhere on the coast and allow avoidance zones and mark selective fisheries that have been proposed for times and places where endangered Fraser River Chinook are absent or unlikely to be present, and provide details to Canadians for the immediate development of a comprehensive recovery strategy and plan for Fraser River stocks of concern to be implemented as soon as possible.
See you in the shop or on the water,