This weekend is shaping up to be a great weekend to get out on the water! The weather is looking excellent and it will be good to get out there before the hot weather expected next week sets in.
This week, we have reports from the Capilano, both from the river and from the beach. Taylor has a report from the Chilliwack/Vedder with a focus on how to catch chinook as we are getting into prime time for that fishery.
For the saltwater anglers, we’ll be back next week with a full report. Fishing across the strait continues to be good but it may be tricky to get there the latter part of this weekend so be sure to keep an eye on the marine forecast.
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
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Summer is in full swing here at the shop and we are looking for retail associates to join our team for the late summer, fall and beyond! Full and part time positions are available.
Check out the shop posting here.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our classes have wrapped up for the summer season but we will be back in the fall with these exciting classes. Call the shop at 604.872.2204 to sign up before they sell out.
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: Sept 20 & 24
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
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 fishing materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Sep 27, Oct 4, 11
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
This past week, we saw the water on the Capilano drop down pretty significantly; at the time of writing, the river is sitting at a 0.3m. Typically in July through August, this is the norm and the lower levels make it challenging for fresh coho to make it past the weirs situated at the lower river.
The coho that remain in the system can prove to be quite tricky to entice. Low light hours and small presentations are key. At this time of year, a lot of these coho have been in the system for a while and can become notoriously “lock-jawed”.
Fly anglers fishing with full sink lines and small streamers generally have the edge on anglers using conventional gear throughout the summer. With that said, it is still worth a shot to toss a spinner or spoon in the right water. Capilano Buggers, Cali Neils, Kelseys Hope and Mickey Finns are my go-tos in a variety of colours. This is a fishery that requires a lot of determination and persistence, especially in the summertime.
Put some time in and you may be rewarded,
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
It’s the third week of July, and the numbers of summer chinook in the Chilliwack/Vedder system has ramped up significantly over the past week, as expected. This is prime time for this small run, so now is the time to get out there and put in some effort. The river is still a bit high but is dropping nicely, and clarity is very good- clear enough for fish to have no problem seeing gear, but just dirty enough to keep fish from getting super skittish. I wrote a bit of a “primer” a couple weeks ago, so check it out if you’d like to get up to speed on what to expect from this fishery.
Summer chinook can be caught in a number of ways, but it’s undeniable that the most effective method of targeting them is float fishing. Baitcasting or centerpin reels are by far the best options for this fishery; spinning reels can be used if no better option is available, but in my experience “spin-drifting” is like running a foot-race in rubber boots. You’ll want a 9’-12’ medium or medium-heavy action rod to pair up with your reel, and 15+ lb mainline- mono or braid will both work, but mono is generally the better option for float fishing due to its buoyant nature. Leaders should be at least 12lb; I run 15lb because these fish are incredibly strong, and I’m not a huge fan of breaking them off. An added benefit of a heavier leader is that fish can be landed quicker, which makes survival much more likely for fish that you don’t want to/aren’t allowed to keep, like sockeye. A leader length of 1.5’-3’ is more than sufficient for most presentations, there is no good reason to go any longer… the longer your leader is, the farther it is from your lead, and thus, the less control you have over what depth you’re actually fishing. Floats should be in the 25g-35g range, with the appropriate amount of weight added to balance the float properly. Bait, such as roe or shrimp, blades, gooey bobs, beads, yarn and jigs will all work, with pink, red, orange and chartreuse being productive colours. Hook size varies and should be adjusted based on the size of your presentation- but be aware that some hooks smaller than sz.2 can bend out on these fish, so going bigger is not a bad idea. Springs like to sit close to bottom, so it’s important to get your gear down to them; I find that they’re unlikely to come up to grab something that’s passing too far above their heads. As such, you should adjust your depth accordingly- you know you’re fishing effectively when you’re occasionally ticking bottom with your weights. Keep in mind, you should be ticking bottom, not dragging bottom- if your gear is dragging along the bottom, you’re dramatically increasing your odds of snagging either bottom, or even worse, a fish. Springs are aggressive and will readily bite, there’s absolutely no reason to floss them.
Summer chinook are strong, active fish that will happily sit in fast, deep slots that a fall chinook would avoid… keep this in mind when looking for spots on the “new” Chilliwack/Vedder. This isn’t 2021, you don’t need to find a slow, deep pool to find fish- the river is much higher this year, so fish aren’t getting stuck in the deepest pools like they were last year. All of the fish I’ve hooked this year have actually been in traditional steelhead runs- 3′-6′ deep, with moderate speed, between shore and the fast stuff in the middle. Consider treating this like steelhead fishing instead of planting yourself in one spot all day- some of the most successful anglers are covering water to find holding/travelling fish instead of sitting in one spot and hoping that the fish come to them.
Swinging spoons or flies can also be effective, especially when fish are sitting in/moving through the kind of water I described above. I wrote an article on spoon fishing for steelhead a while ago that can be found here (scroll just past the Chilliwack/Vedder report and you will find it), all of that info will still apply to this fishery. Twitching jigs also have the potential to work, but note that twitching works best in slow, deep pools- the exact kind of water that these fish are less likely to use. I’ll be honest, I bring a spoon/jig rod every time I go out for springs, but I literally never use it…
Fly anglers should be swinging fairly large intruder-style flies in pink, orange, blue, black, chartreuse or purple on fairly heavy sink tips for the same reasons as listed above. Short, stout mono leaders are a good idea, so leave the flouro at home. Heavier gear is recommended, as fly fishing for chinook is kind of like stepping into the boxing ring with Mike Tyson – you’re going to get beat up no matter what you do. Note that swinging flies can be tough in the C/V, mainly due to the amount of pressure it receives- it’s hard and not very polite to swing flies -or even spoons- in runs that are occupied by anglers who are float fishing… and most good runs will be occupied by float anglers, so the available water for you will be limited.
Remember that there will be a bunch of sockeye around, and they will often be encountered while targeting chinook. They can be quite aggressive, so it’s not at all uncommon for them to bite your chinook gear. While they fight remarkably hard and are a blast to catch, please avoid targeting them, as they are a protected species in the C/V system that may not be retained under any circumstance. If/when you do hook one, land it as quickly as possible and minimize handling to give it the best chance of survival- sockeye are notoriously fragile and they do not tolerate poor handling practices well at all. I know I probably sound like a broken record when it comes to sockeye, but every year I see at least one idiot dragging a sockeye up on the rocks before “releasing” it… or, even worse, some other idiot killing one because they’re oblivious to the regs. It’s our duty and responsibility as users of the resource to take care of said resource to ensure these incredible fish keep coming back for future generations- the Chilliwack Lake sockeye run is all natural and not enhanced by the hatchery, so it depends entirely on healthy adults making it all the way into the upper tributaries of Chilliwack Lake to spawn. Make sure those adults stay healthy- avoid fighting the fish to exhaustion, keep ‘em wet, minimize handling, and try to minimize encounters with sockeye.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lake Fishing Report
This prolonged spring has meant that fishing has stayed surprisingly decent throughout the interior. We’re usually well into the summer doldrums at this point but mayflies and caddis are still going strong with the overcast weather. We’re over the hump when it comes to chironomid hatches as the water temperatures are well above 65 degrees, which is usually considered the threshold for strong chironomid hatches. Apparently, bloodworms have been on the menu too on quite a few lakes in the deeper water column so have a few of those kicking around if you’re a chironomid only type of fisherman.
This weekend looks like it’s going to be a bit of a tipping point with very hot weather in both Kamloops and the 100 Mile area. The water was already warm but the lack of cloud cover means that the lakes are probably going to turn into soup. The lower elevation Kamloops and Merritt lakes have already been too hot to fish for quite a while but the oxygen levels are really going to drop in the 100 Mile and higher elevation areas. Break out the full sink lines with dragon, blob, and booby patterns. There might still be a few damsel emergences as they don’t struggle to emerge in the heat but don’t expect many monsters to be feeding subsurface. The smaller fish tend to stay active in the heat so they’ll likely be more eager.
Best of luck,
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano Beach Fishing Report
Beach anglers rejoice- the Capilano River has finally started to drop!
There have been some spotty reports of coho from the beach recently, but nothing solid. This should change in the coming days as the river continues to drop with the hot spell of weather we’ve been experiencing.
This weekend will see some great morning tides that drop below six feet in height, allowing anglers to get to the sand bar.
Tactics previously mentioned in past reports are still the way to go, with anglers having choices between fly and gear.
The same rod an angler would use in the river will work great off the beach, with 8’6” Medium-action rods being popular. 7-8wt fly rods for those throwing feathers are a great choice, with floating lines and long leaders rounding out the kit.
For flies, think small: krill, shrimp, and euphausiid patterns should fill a good portion of your fly box, with a few smaller flash flies or baitfish added in for good measure.
Stay safe and wade cautiously,