Another weekend of clear weather is incoming. Temperatures in Vancouver will dip a little on Saturday but on the 14-day forecast we expect average or slightly above seasonal temperatures. Overall, this will be good for fishing, but we would like to see some overcast days and a little rain to bring up the low river levels and to help with the fire situation.
The pinks have arrived in some places in limited numbers, and we expect things to ramp up over this week. Jordan has details in the beach report this week. The Chilliwack/Vedder has been a pleasant surprise this season and we are seeing strong numbers of early chinook in the system. Taylor was out this last week and has details from his days out on the water.
We are back with a saltwater report and Sterling has a lake fishing update. Finally, we have a Skagit and Thompson trout fishing update at the end of the Freshwater section.
CLASSES AND COURSES
Introduction to Fly Fishing
This course is specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. The course is comprised of two sessions; a 3hr evening Zoom seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Seminar Date: September 21 Casting Date September 26
Seminar Time: Zoom Seminar 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm – 4:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
There’s not a ton to report from the Capilano River itself. In the middle of Summer is when the water is lowest, and fishing is toughest. This does not mean there aren’t any fish, quite the opposite, actually. A number of coho are stacked in the canyon pools but by this point they have been in freshwater for a while and are not very receptive to a lot of presentations. This time of year, is when fly fishing reigns supreme, allowing you to get a lot more finesse and natural in the slow current than any bait or lure. Cap buggers or any other sparse olive flies stripped through the pools on a full sink have the potential for a bite. You will also want to couple this with first or last light as this is when these fish are a touch less wary, and you will notice an uptick in followers or interest during these windows.
The beach fishing at the mouth of the Capilano has picked up considerably. While we haven’t heard any reports of pinks coming through, yet the coho fishing has been decent. Both gear fishing and fly fishing are possible off of the beach. With gear you will want to fish spinners, spoons, and buzz bombs with a medium powered spinning rod. These fish can be readily taken on flies as well and we have a fly board dedicated to Andre’s beach flies. Once the pinks show up, which should be over the next week or two, pink coloured lures and flies will be your go-tos for that.
Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The previous week provided some of the best summer chinook fishing I’ve ever seen in the Vedder/Chilliwack system. As predicted, the lower river was absolutely on fire, with the lower stretches of the mid-section putting out a couple fish as well. The lower-than-average water levels have been making upstream progress a bit slower for the fish, so I haven’t heard too many reports of fish in the upper river, but that fishery usually doesn’t pick up until late July/early August anyway. Speaking of river levels, the river has continued to drop and is starting to get to a point where I would consider it to be low. Combine that with the very clear water conditions, and we have the potential for some slightly more difficult fishing from here on out. A lack of rain in the forecast means this isn’t going to be changing for a while.
All the gear I discussed in last week’s report has been producing fish, with first and last light being the most productive times, as usual. I’ve been having a lot of luck with artificial gear this year… mainly because I’m too lazy to fish roe.
The lower river has been very busy for the past two weeks, so they key is to try to get away from the crowds and to find some less pressured water. Springs are incredibly “bitey” fish, as long as they aren’t being harassed… if you can find a stretch of water with decent flow that is over 5 feet deep, it’ll probably hold fish.
There will also be variable numbers of sockeye rolling into the river over the next few weeks. While they are incredibly fun to catch and surprisingly “bitey”, the Vedder/Chilliwack populations are at-risk, and as such are closed to retention. Please handle any sockeye you encounter with extreme care to ensure their survival. Land them as quickly as possible, minimize handling, and keep ‘em wet.
Skagit/Thompson River Trout Fishing Update
Water levels have dropped fast on both systems over the last 2 weeks with water levels now noticeably lower than this time last year. This has made for good fishing this week and we heard good nymphing reports and a couple reports of mayfly hatches on the Skagit. We had friends report caddis on the Thompson and they also noted that the hoppers are now in good numbers on the fields and the classic hopper patterns off steep river edges are producing well.
Size 12 and 14 grey mayflies should be in the box for the Skagit and size 10 brown body caddis plus green or yellow bodied hoppers for the Thompson.
Though the fishing was good we are worried about water temperatures with the fast drop and warm weather. Make sure to release fish quickly on these systems and if anyone has taken water temperature readings we would like to know. Send them in to email@example.com . Take the temperature 6-12 inches down in medium speed moving water, not in the stagnant shallows. I want to keep a close eye on this issue this season.
It could come to point where we should put the rods down for a week or two in the hottest weeks of August if temps get too high.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lake Fishing Report
I wish I had some fantastic news for this week’s report but it’s much of the same as the last couple of weeks. It also doesn’t help that many of the best fishing areas are either under evacuation orders or alerts. The fly guys are always going to struggle in this persistent heat wave, but dragons, damsels, and blobs are going to be the key to success on the majority of lakes. It’s also entirely possible that quite a few lakes may get early bomber hatches too. For anyone confused, bombers are chironomids that have foregone emerging the year before and continue to grow for an extra year. I haven’t heard of any report, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the hatches show up 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. The majority of bomber hatches start kicking off late July and persist throughout August. They will typically hatch when the water reaches higher temperatures in the consistent range of 72ish+. You fish them the exact same way as I’ve detailed in previous reports, 1 ft above the bottom in 12-30 ft of water. I typically will tie the same patterns that work well for me in May but in larger sizes. I’ll fish a size 8-10 ASB chironomid with a black rib if the same fly in a size 14 worked well for me in May. Bloodworms and green/red butts are also a fantastic option during these hatches.
For the non-fly guys, you really can’t beat a deeply trolled plug. Plugs are a completely underrated option that people tend to neglect because they simply don’t look conventional. The reality is that the largest fish in the majority of lakes will be taken by a person who knows how to fish plugs deep. It’s all about finding the right thermocline and knowing how to get the most action out of your plug based on where you’re fishing. The best starting step is to look for suspended fish in the water column on your finder off the bottom and adjust. The best way to have a consistent presentation is through a downrigger but there are other ways to work around that problem like adding an inline weight. Come by the store and get one of us to show you how we rig our plugs for trolling. There are a lot of subtle things that you can do that will lead to a lot more success. Fishing plugs is a bit of an art but coming in and talking to us will hopefully inspire some confidence to try out a new method.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Locally things have picked up this past week. There has been some decent fishing for coho from Point Atkinson all the way down to the Cap Mouth. It hasn’t been red hot, but most mornings we are getting our shots at hatchery coho and a few pinks are also showing up.
A little further afield, off South Bowen up to Gower, the fishing for pinks has been very productive. Best depths have been 50-80 on the downriggers. There are also some coho getting caught, a mix of wild and hatchery fish. A reminder you can only keep hatchery coho with no adipose fin and there is still no fishing for chinook.
If you want to focus on chinook, you can try W of Gower Point as it is open in this area for 1 chinook a day between 62-80 cm (hatchery or wild). There have been a few caught from Gower and then trolling W along the shoreline in 100-200 feet of water, anywhere from 50-150 on the riggers. There are also some pinks and coho in the area.
We have been doing well for chinook over at Gabriola and Entrance when conditions have allowed us to cross. This time of year, the fish are generally deep, usually pretty close to the bottom as that is where the bait is. The fish we have cleaned have had 5-7 inch herring in their stomachs, so larger presentations have been productive like the larger cuttle fish hootchies, larger spoons and 5 inch plugs.
Crabbing has slowed down quite a bit from the commercial pressure in the harbour.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Beach Fishing Report
This past week saw a bunch of fish travel up Howe Sound towards the Sea-to-Sky corridor.
We had good reports from various guides and friends of the shop that have been running into pockets of them out in the straight as well as up the sound.
For those waiting for them to hit the beach, I’ve had a few reports of anglers encountering them while throwing small to medium spoons and sparsely dressed flies.
I imagine this next week will be the start of ‘The Pinks’ in good numbers, and that anglers will start to venture out in droves in pursuit of these fun and feisty fish.
Just like coho, the flood tied will definitely be preferred for those walking the beach as it helps push fresh fish in and towards the beach- making them in reach of those on foot.
Depending on temperatures, anglers can use this opportunity to beat the summer heat and wet-wade with a pair of shorts and good sandals or wading boots fit to size.
Gear doesn’t need to be too serious when targeting pinks, but it should be able to at least handle some light-duty saltwater use.
One of my favourite reels is the Daiwa BG as it is incredibly salt-friendly without the price of a true salt-proof reel. Keeping this in mind, these are not fully sealed reels and care should be taken to make sure they don’t go for a swim. They are however great for light saltwater use with the ability to handle a decent saltwater fish.
Pairing your reels with medium-action rods and some small pink spoons will put you into the game. With spoons and spinners being a popular choice, make sure to take a good variety in different sizes and weights as the fish may be at different depths and distances.
Please remember that various species of salmon may be encountered while targeting others, and to please make sure you know the differences before harvesting a fish.
Also, with the pinks come the people- let’s all work together to keep the beaches clean. There is a great movement in Europe known as #Plasticinthebasket , which is a collaborative effort among beach anglers to fill their stripping baskets with plastic debris throughout the day and to dispose of it properly.
Remember, the bend is your friend,