Here comes the summer! If the weather man is on his game we are about to get hit with the first big heat wave of the season and we are all excited! There might be a few clouds in the forecast for the weekend but the 14 day trend is clear skies and heat heading into next week.
What does this mean for fishing? Well for most fisheries this time of year the heat it good. It will slow the lake fishing and adversely affect the Capilano river fishing but the Skagit and Thompson trout fisheries are just getting good, and the beach fishing in front of the Capilano will pick up because it is unlikely they will open the dam on the river allowing fish to enter the river.
For saltwater fisherman, things have picked up a bit over the last week. That said coho fishing is still a bit slow. We have details on both the Capilano River and Ambleside beach fishing as well as the downrigger fishery along north van. Check out the reports below.
On the river trout fishing scene Matt drifted the Skagit for three days this last weekend and though they ran into a mixed bag of weather conditions the fishing was awesome. He has a very detailed report on the hatches, conditions and the set ups he uses for this fishery. We expect it to be very good this weekend.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our July courses have wrapped up so its time to look at August! While our Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon course for August is already sold out, if you’re interested in getting out on the water give us a call and we can add your name to the waitlist. If we have enough interest we may add another class. For those of you looking to get into fly fishing or perhaps get a bit of a refresher don’t miss out on Matt’s Introduction to Fly Fishing Course.
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. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Dates: Seminar Aug 22, Casting August 28
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Report
We are now reaching the peak season of the red chinook run, and we should see this reflected in increased red chinook numbers in the next little while. Typically this run has a short window of time between the 3rd and 4th week of July when fishing for these chinooks can be good to great. Verifying that, we have been receiving reports of fairly consistent success from anglers this past week. Many of the lucky anglers are hooking up early in the morning at first light and the majority of the bites are coming on roe and prawn tails, though size 3 and 4 Colorado Blades are a good artificial alternative. While the majority of the chinooks are still being hooked in the Lower River (The Train Bridge, Bergman, and Lickman areas are good bets), there are a few being taken up by the Prison Camp Run and higher. In addition to the red chinooks, sockeye salmon are currently in the river in good numbers and many anglers are hooking them as by-catch. They are extremely good fighters for their size, typically making powerful jumps and short bursts. As they travel in schools, if you find one you most likely will find quite a few more in that area. Krill or prawn tails can entice these fish to bite in the clearer waters of rivers like the Vedder. This can be a fun albeit STRICTLY CATCH AND RELEASE fishery, so if you do plan to fish for these Sockeye please treat them with the utmost care when releasing them.
We had some interesting water conditions this past week. While the water did not fluctuate greatly the river did turn brown on a couple of occasions, possibly due to storms up in the mountains that caused mudslides above the boundary. In both cases the water cleared to acceptable clarity over the course of the day and did not cause any major fishing disruptions. There does not appear to be any rain for this coming week, so we should be set for low and clear conditions. To compensate for this, 12-15lb fluorocarbon would be a good idea for getting the upper hand on potentially spooked fish.
Capilano River Report
The Capilano River has been low for a while now. However, this does not mean that there is lack of coho salmon. In fact, there are a good number of them staging in the river and some much larger than average for this time of year as well! There have been numerous accounts of fish in the 8-pound class and even bigger lurking in the deep canyon pools. Getting these fish to bite can be difficult in these low water conditions, but there are a couple of factors that you can use to your advantage. The first is timing. The best times for enticing a Capilano coho is in the early morning or late evening. The second factor is your fishing method. When the water is low there is very little current, rendering drift fishing with baits not very effective. A better bet is to cast and retrieve small spoons and spinners to these staging fish. A small 3/16oz Gibbs Croc or a size 2/3 Blue Fox Vibrax spinner can entice these tight-lipped Coho. For those that enjoy fly fishing, this can also be a great opportunity to get a Coho on the fly. A typical setup is a 6-8 weight fly rod with type 6 sinking line. A small olive fly such as an olive muddler minnow is a good bet, and Andre has tied up some winners such as his Cap Bugger that are known producers as well. Please keep in mind that there are steelhead currently in the Capilano as well and ALL steelhead (regardless of whether it is hatchery-clipped or not) must be released with care
Skagit River Report
Well, we put in 3 days last weekend exploring the river and saw a ton of water and a very diverse range of weather conditions. From drizzly overcast conditions, to sun, all the way to intense thunder showers, we saw it all. Just like the conditions we had a great variety of fishing results. We had some tougher fishing when the weather was not cooperating and some truly epic fishing when the fish and the conditions aligned.
For about 70% of the time we were nymphing. I use an 8-9ft custom nymphing leader when out on the Skagit. I build them with a 2 ft 20lb mono butt section. I then us a 4-6inch transition of high vis 10-12lb line. This gives me a visual reference so I can tell what direction my leader is going. It is also useful for high stick nymphing. Off this Hi Vis line I go 5.5 ft of 7lb fluorocarbon then using a tippet ring or standard blood knot, I tie on 15inches of 5lb fluorocarbon tippet. This leader sinks fast and is easy to cast. I anchor a small split shot above my tippet ring or blood knot.
The flies we used for nymphing varied from golden stones to prince nymphs, the ones that stood out and caught a bunch of fish were olive prince nymphs and olive zug bugs in size 12.
I have never seen a big hatch at this time of year and holding to form there were not a ton of hatching bugs but there were bugs coming off almost all day and each day we did see 2 very definable “hatches”. They were short lived but the fish did turn on to dry flies and if you had witnessed the hatch and knew what bug had hatched you could still fool fish on a dry fly when nothing was happening if you matched the earlier hatch. For the most part this hatch happened at 4pm plus or minus with a little flurry of bug activity mid morning as well.
We saw two major bugs hatching; smaller pale grey mayflies (size 12-14) and then very large grey-brown mayflies. This fish would rise to both if you matched the color but they preferred the larger size 8 mayflies. Parachute Adams, standard Adams and larger grey drake patterns were king and caught a bunch of fish.This could change and I would expect yellow caddis and green mayflies to be coming into the mix soon so be prepared. For dry fly fishing I use a 3wt so I can go down to 3.6lb tippet tied to a 9ft 5lb mono leader.
We drifted, hiked, crawled and bushed wacked pretty much the entire river. If you are thinking about drifting be prepared for log jams. We went prepared and knew that we would spend a ton of time pulling boats over jams. If this kind of thing is not your cup of tea then drifting is not recommended. That said it was fairly safe and easy drifting. A big shout out to the young guys who helped us find a route over the biggest log jam. We would have figured if out but you saved us a bunch of time. Thanks again!
On a last note we did see and hook a good number of bull trout. They seemed to be concentrated closer the lake. We got a few on nymphs and a few on streamers. I was playing with the new OPST commando heads on a five weight. It was a very fast action 5wt but I still preferred the lighter 4/5 recommendation (200gr). Overall I was impressed with the ability to fish tight spots with the line and it made casts I could not do with a single hand line. That said if the back casting area was available I would still prefer a single had sink tip line for accuracy and delicacy and at. (maybe I will get better with this line but on a 9ft 5wt with 8ft T8 and a medium/large fly I had no accuracy or control over 65 ft. If I have back casting room this is an easy cast with a single hand line and it is way more accurate.
For you new single hand casters thinking of a commando head I would defiantly recommend it but do not be fooled, it will not replace true single hand line for accuracy, delicacy and ultimately catching fish when these two thing are important. For example I do not recommend it for beach fishing, side channel coho fishing, technical nymphing, dry fly fishing, and clear water swung fly applications. Still, it is very cool line that I will be adding to my arsenal of line options. We did just get in a bunch of commando heads so if you are looking for one come down and I can walk you through setting it up.
Good Luck out there and remember the Skagit is a single barbless catch and release fishery.
Chehalis River Report
We have received a few reports from the Chehalis River over the past 2 weeks. One angler reported hooking a couple 8-12lb chinook salmon in the lower river at first light. Chinook salmon can be caught throughout the system during this time of year. As of July 10th, 15-20 chinooks were in the hatchery channel and that would indicate the fish are definitely throughout the system by now. Like the Vedder River, these chinook will start to enter the river late June and continue through the first week of August. Prime time is usually the last 2 week of July. Fishing procured roe and small pieces of prawn either procured or natural are a couple presentations that have worked in July for myself.
Due to the lack of rain in the forecast and a lower water level, enticing a bite may be a little tricky. Make sure you are on the water at first light and don’t be afraid to fish small presentations. Stick to fishing the deeper slow moving pools and keep your eye out for fish rising as Chinook salmon often show themselves throughout the day. This will give you an idea where the fish are sitting. If you are planning an overnight trip, the Chehalis river campground is a great place to stay and you are right beside the river and the fisherman’s trail.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
North Vancouver Beach Fishing Report
I finally saw a small pod of coho and a few jumpers a couple of days ago when I was out scouting. That said it was still relatively slow to get excited over this fishery but it at least it gave me hope that it is about to get good especially with no rain in the forecast. Unfortunately, for those fly fishing off the beach the tides are only good for today and Saturday and it do not get good again until Wednesday onwards. However, if you are fishing gear you can fish off the jetty or off a boat so get out there. I saw one get caught on a pink buzz bomb so there are fish around but because they are fresh still they are not showing themselves a lot. We are off to a little bit of a slower start but the coho are definitely big this year, bigger than the usual 3-5 pound fish so when you do catch one its worth it. So if you get a chance to go, always do so as any day, any hour, a school of fish might move in to the estuary and there is no crystal ball to tell us when that is.
Thank you to all the students that took my course, hope you will hook some coho off the beach soon.
See you on the beach,
Vancouver Salmon Fishing Report
Well we finally saw things pick up a bit this week. We hooked some nice chinook off the Bell Buoy throughout the week and we also made a few trips over to Gabriola and Nanaimo and came back with some nice chinook from there as well. The coho fishing has still been pretty slow but we are patiently waiting for them to arrive. There are reports of schools of coho out in the middle of the Strait of Georgia, roaming around feeding on bait, so these should be showing up along W. Van any day now.
As mentioned in previous reports, when fishing the Bell Buoy for chinook, glow flashers and bait in a glow teaser head is the ticket. For depths on the downriggers you should be in the 30-80 zone as these fish travel shallow and are basically staging and looking for the mouth of the Fraser River from the Bell Buoy all the way down to the South Arm of the Fraser. We have a good selection of bait teaser heads and glow flashers in stock and we always lots of anchovies and herring in stock as well.
It was nice to see some chinook this week so lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that the coho show up this coming week as they are now getting a little overdue!
See you in the shop or on the water,