Happy Long Weekend! We hope everyone is enjoying the sun. It looks as though another weekend hot of weather is incoming. There is good news for those who do not like the heat though. We will see some mixed cooler weather starting Tuesday and for both the folks that don’t like melting and the fishing conditions, cooler weather is a good thing.
For all of our saltwater anglers this is a big report! In both the video and written version of the report we look at recent coho reports, upcoming new chinook retention opportunities and some up-to-date info on the sockeye numbers. Spoiler alert – We still don’t know for sure if there will be a sockeye opening but the numbers are interesting.
In this week’s written report, we have more detailed information on everything that Matt goes over in the video report, including an update on the Chilliwack where we are seeing red chinook pushing into the river but as is normal the fish come in waves and it can make for inconsistent fishing. Matt takes a look at water levels and we have an update on the general trends and how they are going to affect Chilliwack salmon anglers, trout river anglers and other river fisheries.
We also have a Capilano report where the water is getting low but there are still fish in the system. Taylor has more on this in his report below and Sterling rounds out the report with an interior lake fishing update.
If you need to get ready for your long weekend fishing trip we’re open regular hours all weekend and closed on Monday for BC Day!
Long Weekend Hours
Friday July 29, 2022 | 10AM-7PM
Saturday July 30, 2022 | 10AM – 6PM
Sunday July 31, 2022 | 11AM – 5PM
Monday August 1, 2022 | Closed
On to the report – If you want to see the Video Version of the report, Click here:
INDUSTRY UPDATES AND EVENTS
Pacific Angler Sturgeon Fishing Charters
If you missed our special mailout yesterday we are pleased to announce our new sturgeon fishing charters! We have been fishing the Lower Fraser for sturgeon for years, and myself since I was a kid. So, we are very excited to launch our new website and to share our passion for these amazing fish.
We call the Lower Fraser home and specialize in world class sturgeon fishing only minutes from downtown Vancouver. The Lower Fraser is very tidal and is constantly on the change, making it a unique but sometimes challenging fishery. Our guides have spent countless hours unlocking these secrets, so we know where to be as the river currents change with each ebb and flood. The end result is some truly amazing sturgeon fishing in areas that are often less frequented by other anglers.
We look forward to taking you out in our 22 foot Thunder Jet as you explore the uniquely scenic Lower Fraser and the mighty sturgeon that call it home. All only minutes from downtown Vancouver…
If you’re interested in getting out on the water and experiencing this fun fishery for yourself, give our charter line a call at 778.788.8582, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.sturgeonfishingvancouver.ca
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The summer chinook fishery on the C/V is generally a short one, with a large portion of the run returning to the river within a short 2-week window. With that said, the fishing continues to produce for anglers throughout the whole system. Typically, most remaining fish start to get quite dark from this weekend on until the end of the season
After a brief continuous drop, the river seems to be holding at a 2.5m stably. Very fishable, but not too low that fish are holding for long periods of time.
Anglers continue to have success with roe, large beads, yarn and blades.
Please note that Cultus and Chilliwack Lake sockeye are present and are often a by catch encountered while fishing for chinook. There is no retention for sockeye on this river indefinitely, please make sure you handle any by-catch with the upmost care.
Capilano River Fishing Report
Following an abnormally cool start to summer, the weather is finally doing what it’s supposed to be doing… it’s summertime, after all. As such, the Capilano is finally flowing at the expectedly low levels, which means that there will be very few fresh fish pushing into the river and making it past the weirs in the lower river.
As expected, the in-river fishery is slowing down considerably. Some skilled, ethical anglers are finding some success, usually at first light/last light, but overall, it’s been tough. Hyper-low water levels mean that fish are super spooky, and the fact that almost all of the fish that are around have been there awhile means that they’ve seen pretty much every presentation possible, so they’re incredibly tight-lipped. Fly-fishing is the preferred method for experienced Capilano veterans under these conditions, as small, drab-coloured flies such as Capilano Buggers can be fished deep on sinking lines.
Oftentimes, small “trouty” flies fished low and slow are the only thing that get results under these conditions, so think twice before grabbing your big, gaudy coho flies.
Gear anglers can still find occasional success while float fishing small presentations, although it is very hit-and-miss. Beads, yarn ties or micro jigs can get results, but be aware that the bait ban comes into effect on August 1st, so all natural bait and scents will be prohibited. Small spinners, spoons and twitching jigs can also produce results from time to time, but again, it’s inconsistent. These fish are very “stale” and are not going to be aggressive to chase and kill gaudy presentations. The upstream pools will be very clear, and you will be able to see fish if you have a decent pair of polarized glasses. It can be quite frustrating to watch fish repeatedly ignore your gear, but please resist the urge to resort to snagging/flossing.
The silver lining to the low water levels is that the beach fishery at Ambleside will finally start picking up; the longer the water stays low, the more fish will pile up at the mouth of the river. Fishing right at the river mouth on a low tide with spoons, spinners or jigs can be effective, if luck is on your side. Fly fishing can also be quite effective; small presentations that replicate Euphausiids, crab larvae or tiny baitfish fished slow and close to the surface can be quite effective at times. Be aware that the beach fishery is quite hit-or-miss, much like the in-river fishery, so success is never a guarantee, no matter how many fish are stacked up… much like their upstream brethren, these fish can get stuck at the mouth for a long time, which results in “stale” and “non-bitey” fish. Downsizing presentations and going with more toned-down colours can be beneficial under these conditions.
Remember that the Cap is a dam-controlled river, so water levels have the potential to fluctuate rapidly. Always pay attention to conditions and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if things get sketchy, or if you hear the newly-installed alarm system activate.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lake Fishing Report
There’s really not much to be said about fishing in the interior this week. It’s full-on summer doldrums across the province with the latest heat wave. A few high elevation lakes were holding on but I expect fish to be lethargic in water above 30′. If you do head out, I’d be using full sink lines or pulling gear behind the boat. Leeches, dragons, and booby flies are always summer staples and usually result in a few fish. You’re free to choose what you do with fish but most fish will have pretty pale looking flesh or will struggle when being released. Make sure you know how to release fish properly and spend the necessary time with them to revive them if you notice they’re extra lethargic due to the heat.
It’s really the time to be pulling willow leafs and plugs in deeper water as that’s where the most consistent action is going to be. We’ve got a really good selection on Brad’s Super Bait kokanee plugs, Lyman plugs, dogtail dodgers, wedding bands, and TKOs in stock so come check out what we’ve got. Taylor’s done a great job making sure we’re all stacked up on that gear for the rest of Summer.
Expect these reports to stay pretty similar throughout August until the weather starts dipping back into the single digit nights in September.
Trout Streams/ BC Water Levels Report
River levels are still very high for this time of year, but they are coming down fast. We heard good trout river reports from the major systems this week and though we are still facing access issues on the Skagit (if you missed it check out the report on the Skagit access from a few weeks back) fishing has been good.
Matt was out on the Thompson last week and though the water levels made accessing spots hard, the fish were happy. There was good dry fly fishing on classic large hoppers and then where the high water pushed into the trees, we saw good fishing with smaller brown caddis. Of course, the classic stone fly nymphs and streamers were also a great option.
If you are considering this fishery, we would still recommend waiting for water to come down and the runs to become more defined. Also, a note if you have not tackled this river, it is very hard to wade and you will need to cover lots of ground. Bring wading staffs, cleats and a mindset to put boots to ground.
Overall, we are seeing the Thompson drop as predicted at about 0.1 meters per day and that should mean nice high fishable levels next week. Matt did not observe any sockeye or chinook but they are coming. You will find that when we have a big salmon return it can turn off the trout fishing.
On the Skagit we are about 2 weeks behind on the water levels but the nymphing reports and streamer reports have been solid. We have not heard of major hatches yet, but we expect it soon if it hasn’t already started.
Lastly on the Fraser River front we are following the numbers closely because it plays a big role for both sturgeon and salmon fishing. The river is still very high, but sturgeon fishing is starting to pick up again as the water settles. With lots of water, tides play a big role in fishing success so spend time on your spot in figure out the key times.
The height is also a notable issue for sockeye. In the levels we are seeing right now fish are having trouble getting past Hells Gate and the Big Bar slide area. This will play a factor in the decision to open or close the fishery. We want to see the river drop but not too fast as to cause hot water temps at the end of the month into September.
Overall, the levels are in a good spot right now and heading in the right direction.
Good luck out there!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Lots to talk about in this week’s report, coho, chinook, sockeye and of course the weather.
Let’s start with the weather and then local fisheries.
If you are heading out this long weekend keep an eye on Saturday as Windy is showing some stronger NW winds, especially if you are trying to cross over to the Gulf Islands. It seems to have gotten better than previous forecasts though, so it will likely be a game time decision. Sunday and Monday look better, particularly in the afternoon. Those 2 days are setting up for a nice late morning crossing and some late evening fishing and a smooth ride home. Locally you will have your pick of spots and wind shouldn’t be an issue.
If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook then you will already know the coho fishing picked up this week. We had some good fishing off Point Atkinson and the Cap Mouth. On the calmer days we also found some schools of willing coho off South Bowen. The fish seem to be as deep as 65 on the riggers in some scenarios but as shallow as 25 in others. Stacking 2 rods on each rigger with a 20 to 30 foot spread is a great way to fish a lot of gear and cover a variety of depths. It also ups your odds of a double, which is not uncommon in this fishery as these fish don’t travel alone.
Productive coho flashers have been the Gibbs Twisted Sista, Green Onion Glow, Purple Onion Glow and Oki Tackle’s Betsy. Those paired up with a white hootchy with a shorter leader length of 24-28 inches has been productive. Spoons in nickel and silver finishes with some green or blue on them are also excellent choices. Some of our favorites are the Skinny G, Wee G, Kingfisher Silver Night Series in 3.0 and G-Force in 3.0. Leader lengths are 4-6 feet. Coho limits are 2 hatchery (missing adipose fin) per day, 30 cm or greater.
If you are heading across and fishing for chinook we have been fishing on Gabriola and close to bottom. That means depths of 180-280 on the rigger in most spots. Chartreuse glow flashers like Salty Dawg and Lemon Lime have been very good with chartreuse splatter back hootchies (OG140R), green splatter back hootchies (OG142R), and glow green stripe hootchies (OGX14R). Productive leader lengths have been 32 to 40 inches.
Local chinook opportunities are about to get a whole lot better on August 1st as area 28-6 opens for chinook retention. This area is basically West Van from Point Atkinson to the small point of land where the Pink Apartment is. Draw a line from point to point and fish inside of that and you are in 28-6. Limits are 1 chinook per day between 62 and 80 cm, hatchery or wild.
This will be a great area to fish in August as you can fish for coho and chinook at the same time. Most of the chinook encountered will be Fraser chinook in the 8 to 15 pound range and most of these will be headed to the Thompson River and are not stocks of concern, hence the harvest opportunity. Luckily these fish travel fairly shallow, usually in the top 50 feet of the water column like the coho, so encountering both at the same time is common. Area 28-9 is scheduled to open for chinook as well, on August 13th, so be ready for that. As we get later into August, we will also see some of the Capilano white chinook start to show up in 28-6 and 28-9.
Okay, on to sockeye. As the Chair for the Area 28/29 Sport Fish Advisory Committee, I am in weekly meetings with DFO to talk about sockeye. So here is the update. The early component of the run is now in the Fraser and it was well above the p50 forecast. This is consistent with strong returns seen in Alaska, Skeena, and Osoyoos Lake. Unfortunately, the river was very high and the fish have had difficulty navigating Hells Gate and Big Bar and have likely exhausted most of their energy reserves. This will result in not very many of the early fish on the spawning grounds, despite the higher than forecast return.
Luckily the Fraser is dropping like a rock and has gone from 60% higher than normal to 30% higher than normal in a week and that quick drop will continue with this warmer weather. This will be good for the summer run and fall run component of the sockeye return which will have more favorable migrating conditions. The general consensus is that we should see a good return this year and if that happens there will be some recreational harvest opportunities. Right now we have to sit on our hands and wait. The data is far from being in for the summer and fall components of the run and DFO won’t make any decisions until the picture is much clearer. If we do get an opening it will likely be in the back half of August and don’t expect much more than 72 hours notice. I will continue to provide weekly updates as new information becomes available.
See you in the shop or on the water,