We are almost in August and we are going to see some more warm weather this long weekend. The weather may affect a few of our fisheries but, overall, there are lots of fishing options right now. This week, we have reports on the Capilano where the river is low but beach fishing has been solid. We also have info on the Chilliwack and the Skagit where reports continue to be good as well as the Squamish.
Jordan tunes in with a pink salmon update as well. On the saltwater, we are hearing more positive reports from the fleet, beach anglers and up Squamish way. We’ll be back next week with a full saltwater report.
We also have a very cool carp article about how to hijack a Lake County vacation with basic spinning rods all the way up to the ultimate challenge of catching a carp on the fly.
Matt is back this week with the video version of the Friday Fishing Report where he has some cool flies, goes over the carp fishing article, and also talks pinks, water temps and chinook fishing. Click Here to watch the report on YouTube:
Last but not least the shop is closed this coming Monday for BC Day. Our long weekend hours are as follows:
Friday July 30 – 10AM – 7PM
Saturday July 31 – 10AM – 6PM
Sunday August 1 – 11AM – 5PM
Monday August 2 – Closed – We’ll see you on the water!
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
The Capilano is dry like it typically is in the summer. The river itself is still holding fish but they are notoriously tough to catch. First light and last light are your best bet and small olive flies fished on a full sink in the non-existent current of the deep canyon are the presentation of choice for this time of year.
The beach fishing off Ambleside has continued to be good. A large number of coho are now staged there and we have heard of a couple pinks mixing in as well. This fishery can be done on both gear and fly. Spinners, spoons, and buzz bombs can be effective when tossed on a spinning setup. With fly rods, you will want to fish small flies that imitate krill and crab larvae. We have a number of these flies tied by Andre who has had many years of experience on this beach fishery and has fine-tuned his flies.
Tides look good for the week with lows in the morning!
Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The Vedder/Chilliwack is continuing to fish well, despite being what I would consider low and clear conditions. There are still good numbers of springs pushing into the system every day, so there’s a mix of clean and coloured fish spread throughout the system. The low water is impeding the upstream progress of the fish a bit, so there aren’t quite as many in the upper as there normally would be… but they’re definitely still there, albeit a little darker than normal.
All the usual gear that has been discussed in previous reports is continuing to produce fish, with first and last light being when a majority of the fish are hooked. Having said that, I’ve noticed that a majority of my fish decided to bite after first light, sometimes when there was direct sunlight on the water… Springs can be weird like that.
We’re well into the summer chinook run now, so there will be a mix of clean fish and some not-so-clean fish. While it is true that red springs tend to go dark well before their meat starts deteriorating, there is a limit to this. As a general rule, if it looks “suntanned” (golden brown-ish), it’s probably fine. If it looks “sunburnt” (red and black), it’s probably not fine. There will also be some sockeye in the system, so be sure to treat them with respect. If you hook one, land it as quickly as possible and carefully release it to reduce pre-spawn mortality of an already threatened run.
It’s going to be hot this weekend, so be sure to bring drinks and stay hydrated if you’re heading out. Heat exhaustion while on the river isn’t very much fun… I speak from experience here.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Hello and welcome to my first report with Pacific Angler!
This week, I went to the Squamish River with my son, Alexander. As you can see from the photos, the level was great and it’s flowing nicely. The pinks are around as they are starting to trickle in. In past seasons, I have found that the run gets fully underway after the first week of August.
On the river condition front, the levels are looking good. The clarity is your typical summer green. This is caused by the glacial & snow melt that causes it to be this colour. The clarity is at about 6 inches. (*Note to readers, the water did dirty up after the writing of this report so something to take into account). There were a couple of seals at the Mamquam / Squamish confluence, probably chasing the schools.
We both fished our centrepins and I also brought along my fly rod. For the those using float gear, as the colour & clarity is not ideal, brighter colours with UV or glow are the “go to” for your terminal tackle. Alexander used a wool tie with cerise, bubble-gum pink, and chartreuse. Although the wool had UV properties, we kept the wool ties sparse. I’ve found that the sparse ties work great in this system.
I used a pink & pearl Dick-Nite in size 3. You can also use the nickel hothead (pink) Dick-Nite in size 3. This lure has brought countless pinks and cohos to the beach. Fish these lures on an 18” leader below a float. You don’t need to fish too deep as I find the fish rise to the offering.
Jigs tied in various patterns fished under a float is always an excellent option. Keep your presentation about 12 – 18” from the bottom. If you go too deep, expect that the river gods will accept your sacrifice and keep your lucky lure.
For those who are fly fishing, an 8wt single hand rod is ideal. All my fish have been caught no more that 2 – 3 rod lengths from shore. If your fly casting is like mine and could use some fine tuning, then that’s a good thing. I use a multi tip system with a 4 – 6’ leader (See our YouTube video on this). The multi-tip system allows your fly to be presented properly in the different water speeds and depths.
Of course, the fly patterns are going to be in the pink or chartreuse spectrum. With the clarity as it is, flies in size 4 & 6 will stand you in good stead. Once the water clears up, or angler pressure comes into play, then go to flies in size 8 & 10 tied sparser than usual. Don’t forget to dress the flies with silver or glow accents.
For gear guys in water with a bit of flow, a spoon works best. Spoons in weights from 3/8 ounce to ½ ounce work well in the slow to moderate flow. In the slowest or slack water use spinners in size 3 or 4. Pink & silver are your ticket to getting fish.
This is a great summer family fishery. Once the fish are in, they will be in the whole system. The crowds will form at the easy to get to spots. This is the first fishing experience for some. This can be frustrating for some anglers, so if you want to get away from the maddening crowds, then a short walk will find you a spot for solitude.
Also, a friendly reminder the Mamquam is closed to fishing. There are DFO signs everywhere so be sure to heed those regulations!
Tight lines! See you on the water,
Skagit River Fishing Report
Thanks to everyone who sent in water temperature readings off the Skagit. From about a dozen reports the water is hovering around 55 and that is excellent! There are some concerns about the slow water down by the lake but at least in the main river, 55 is ideal trout temperature. The fishing reports backed this up.
Anglers have been finding fish both on nymphs and dries. Some days there is not a hatch and the numbers are not great but we have heard of caddis and mayfly hatches. Smaller grey parachutes and classic stonefly nymphing have been the go-to. Come down to the shop and we can show you some of our favorites!
Keep sending in the water temp report. Take a thermometer and put it 1 ft down into walking speed water. We want to keep an eye on it this season. If things get into the mid/high 60s we should consider giving the fish a break. Email me your numbers email@example.com
Squamish/Howe Sound – The pinks are here! “Kinda”
John has given us a more detailed report on the Squamish above this week but I thought I would tune in with some more info. on beach fishing etc. This past week saw a push of pinks up Howe Sound. We’ve had solid reports from Furry as well as a few around West Vancouver shoreline in the past 3 days but it has not been on fire.
A number of fish also pushed up the Squamish and again we heard some good reports but we also heard of some days where anglers couldn’t find fish. The water coming out of Mamquam got very dirty yesterday with the heat so you may want to fish above where it comes in.
Long story short, the pinks have arrived but is not red hot yet. If you are fishing the Squamish for pinks it is open for catch up to a little above the mouth of the Cheakamus . (See official regulations for exact details) The Mamquam and all tributaries are closed to salmon fishing right now and the conservation officers have been out making sure everyone plays by the rules. Again, this fishery can get crowded and all regulations and the fish need to be respected or they may limit fishing opportunities further.
The first wave of pinks are usually bound for the Squamish River and Indian River, making them great targets for beginner anglers when seasonally opened. The Fraser Pink reports continue to be low and they are usually a few weeks behind the Squamish bound fish
As John mentioned above, spinners, spoons, and flies are all great methods for trying to catch these fish- just make sure your gear stays in the upper portion of the water column where they swim.
Small pink and chartreuse flies are always great choices when targeting pinks.
Custom patterns such as those tied by Andre and Jordan are great choices, and can hopefully help inspire you if you are tying your own.
For spinners and spoons, keeping them small to medium in size is perfect as this will help keep your offering near the surface. Crocs, Slims, Mini-G, Roostertails, and Mepps are all great choices but similar options shouldn’t be ignored.
Remember to help leave the beach cleaner than when you arrived, and to be respectful of other anglers.
The bend is your friend,
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Carp Fishing – How to Hijack the Family Vacation Lake Country Edition
Last week I was lucky enough to take some time off and head up to my uncle’s place on Okanagan Lake. It was not a fishing trip but I have spent quite a bit of time on the lake over the years and carp fishing has become something I look forward to between the wine tours and family time.
I know many of you head up to the same area and I am going to share some tricks on how you can literally use your child’s starter rod or that old spinning rod in the shed to catch fish. I will then talk about how to take it a little farther and get technical. Lastly if you really want a challenge, I have some tips for catching them on the fly, a feat that is not for the easily frustrated but one that is a ton of fun and great training if you like flats fishing down south in the winter.
So, let’s start with the lazy man’s carp game. Head out to any area on the lake (Okanagan, Osoyoos, Skaha and many lakes in between) and look for a nice place to set up a lawn chair with a large expanse of 2-5ft water near a drop-off. Use a basic bottom rig. Size 7 Egg Sinker is what I use with a small bead, small black barrel swivel and 3 feet of 10lb fluorocarbon with a small yet strong hook. Carp are quite hook sensitive so don’t skimp out on bulky cheap hooks. Size 10-6 hooks seem to work best for me.
I forgot the key ingredient! You will need to go to the super market and get a can of corn (cob corn works too).
Put 2-3 pieces of corn on the hook hiding the hook as much as possible. Now cast out the rig 30-50ft off shore. When the weight hits bottom reel in a few feet to straighten out the leader and put a slight bend on the rod. Set the drag on your reel so it keeps a bend in the rod but will give line easily. Now stick the rod in the lawn chair (a spiked rod holder is way better but not needed) and sit back and enjoy the view, or a glass of wine.
You will hook pike minnows and carp using this method and it’s a great way to get kids into fishing because they can be playing happily on the beach and when the fish bites you can yell them over.
Now I say this with tongue in cheek because true carp addicts will consider my “technical” setup quite basic. That said, a few small improvements to the “kids” rod setup we talked about above will make a noticeable difference. Use a longer rod. I run my 8’6 Medium coho rod for this fishery with 30-40lb braid mainline.
The big improvement is the bait – You get to be a baker and again it can be a fun time killer with the kids. Here is my basic recipe for boilies:
- Add 2 cups of flour in a large bowl
- Add 2 cups of bread crumbs
- Add 1/3 cup of milk powder and mix everything
- Add a table-spoon of fish sauce or garlic sauce.
- My Secret ingredient is one pack of Cherry Cool Aide powder
- Mix everything, add 2 eggs, and mix thoroughly
- Use your hands to make a large dough ball which has to be consistent and not falling apart
- Cover in plastic and let it sit for a few hours in a cold and dry place
- Put the dough in a bowl again, add a teaspoon of garlic powder and a cup of cornflower
- Knead the dough like you would with baking dough
- Use a spoon and make quarter sized balls, put them in a boiling water with a strainer, cook for 2 minutes and let them air-dry on towel. They say wait 24 hours but I can never wait that long and I have used them a few hours after the boil.
Now the second thing is to use a hair rig – Google this one but it basically puts the bait behind the hook and dramatically increases hookups.
Follow the same basic rig as we used with the corn but with the hair rigged boilie.
Carp On the Fly – Prepare for Frustration!
OK, last but not least, carp on the fly. First off don’t do this in an area you have been bait fishing in. The fish get smart fast. If you have a nice spot in front of where you are staying, choose fly or bait but don’t try both in the same area. If you have already tried the above method and hooked a few fish, go for a hike with the fly rod to get away from the educated fish.
Basic Carp Fly Setup
I run a 7wt but a 6wt or 8wt will work. Use a floating line and a 9ft full fluor leader in 12-10lb. I then tippet up with 3ft of 8-10lb fluorocarbon.
For flies, I have tried some of the carp flies that you will see on YouTube from down south but I have had the best success in the Okanagan with small (size 12-10) balanced nymphs or small balanced leeches (the 45-degree bend style)
Now head out and look for 2-4ft water. Position the sun at your back and cover ground. Proper wading boots are a must as you will not do this in flipflops.
When you see a fish don’t barge in. Move slow and watch. Cruising fish or ones sunning themselves suspended a few inches off the ground will very rarely bite. You are hunting for the right fish, a fish that is feeding.
A feeding fish will be slowly scanning the bottom and occasionally rooting around in the rocks and mud. When you see this, you are in the game. Wait until you see the fish make a move to feed on the bottom. This is your window to cast. Land the fly as close as you can without spooking him. I shoot for 2 ft but closer can work if it doesn’t spook him.
When the fly lands, get tight on the fly and let it sink. Watch the fish. If he starts moving for the fly on the drop get tight and do very slow short strips just to keep tension. If he doesn’t react wait until you think he is looking in the direction of the fly and do 2-4 sharp short strips to get his attention then pause. If he doesn’t see the fly, ease it out of the area and re cast. You might need to cast multiple times. If the fish is actively feeding keep casting.
The last tip is don’t give up. You might need to hit 10, 20, 30 even 50 fish before you find one that will react and bite but, they do exist and it is a real rush when everything goes right!
Hope this gave you guys some ideas on how to hijack your next Lake Country Vacation
PS: Carp fishing pairs beautifully with a Haywire Pinot Gris