Long weekend incoming! We were complaining about a cool summer. Summer must have been listening. We saw scorching heat this week with temps in the high 30s in the interior. It looks as though it will continue to be warm this weekend but she is letting off a little and it should be an amazing weekend to be out on the water.
That said, the weather has shifted fishing a bit. The heat makes local lake trout fishing a challenge but Alex looks at how it affects our local bass fishing. Heat has its challenges when bass fishing but it is still a great option at this time of year.
Interior lakes are slowing or at least becoming more challenging with the warm weather.
Brendan is coming home from a 3 day trip to the interior as we are writing the report. It was a similar trip to Matt’s trip last week. It took some searching, but when he figured it out he put up good numbers on “meat” style patterns. We will have more details next week but if you are heading out lake fishing, expect a mixed bag of bugs and the best fishing coming early and late.
Beach fishing tides were also good this last week and will carry over to the weekend with low tides mid-morning. Check out the Capilano/Beach report for more details.
The saltwater fishing continues to be good both across the straight for chinook and coho locally.Jason has saltwater updates at the end of the report.
Matt is heading up river fishing this weekend. Rivers are still high but he has some details on what to expect from the Skagit and Thompson. He will have a longer update next week.
Last but not least, if you are a fly angler and are looking for a new line, there has been some big changes in Rio lines this year. They have some cool new technologies in their lineup and they are claiming that they have made the most durable line ever. So, what did we do? We destroyed one to see if their claim is true. Spoiler Alert – The results were impressive – Check out the full video review of the New Rio Elite lines here:
As always Matt has a bunch more details in the full video version of the report. You can check that out here:
If you need to stop by the shop, please note our BC Day long weekend hours:
Friday July 31 | 10AM – 7PM
Saturday August 1 | 10AM – 6PM
Sunday August 2 | 10AM – 5PM
Monday August 3 | Closed – Happy BC Day!
CLASSES AND COURSES
August is here and that is a month we take off from classes – watch this section in late August where we will highlight some of our upcoming fall classes. Be sure to check out our classes and courses page on our website.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Summer Bass Fishing
Now that the temperatures are soaring and Summer is actually here, some of our favourite local fisheries such as the local stocked trout have ground to a halt. This can be a tough time for those of us who enjoy these fisheries, though there are other solid alternatives to get the lines wet. While they are not our prized salmon or trout, there are some fish species that thrive in these warmer waters of Summer. One of which, the largemouth bass, can be found throughout many waterways in the Lower Mainland and can offer a lot of fun during the summer doldrums when our other trophy fisheries just aren’t happening
Summer bass fishing is intriguing as it presents itself as something that, on paper at the very least, would seem very easy to do. Bass like this warm and stable weather and they get aggressive when the water temperature is climbing, that much is true. However, optimal and suboptimal conditions still exist. At this time of year, we get water as warm as bath water, high light penetration, and more fishing pressure. These factors are your road blocks in summer Bass fishing, and to be successful you will need to adjust. Right now is a great time for checking off Largemouth Bass from the bucket list as it is much easier to fluke across a few aggressive ones, but it is necessary to get technical for those that wish to do more than catch a few lucky catches.
Though water temperature is obviously a huge factor in getting those bass off their butts, the other two prominent issues you will find yourself contending with are light penetration and fishing pressure. Like Salmon fishing, first and last light are your best options in the summer when it is hot out. These periods of lower light draw the bass out of whatever structure they are relating to and they will roam the flats searching for food. This is when you can crash relatively large reaction style baits through structure or in open water on large flats. This includes buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and frogs. Once the sun comes out and hits the water, most bass will either tuck very far into shallow structure or head out deep. This is when deep diving cranks, texas rigged craws, worms, and swimbaits come into play. In the case of shallow hiding spots, this is when you want to slow down and make multiple casts to the same target especially if you are fishing with the sun beating down on the water. You can employ more finesse tactics as well such as drop shot rigs on light spinning tackle and fluorocarbon leaders to further convince heavily pressured fish. As unintuitive as this may sound, try running less weight than you would normally use. This, in congruence with smaller bait profiles on a finesse setup will cause the baits to fall more slowly and thus more naturally.
The other thing to keep in mind is how much fishing pressure the local fishing holes get in the Summer. Bass are notorious for shutting down after getting fished over a bunch. This is when it is important to downsize everything and that starts with your bait. Go smaller on whatever you are using. If you normally use a 5″ swimbait, for example, go down to a 3.5″ swimbait instead. At this point it is all about matching the hatch and sometimes downsizing your lure, weight, rod, or line is all it takes to grind out a couple of bites.
In a nutshell, bass fishing in the Summer time can be great but there is still a very technical aspect to it as well. Keep an eye on all the factors we’ve talked about and this will give you a starting point as to where to look for these fish. While this time of year is not known to produce PB breaking Bass, it is still very possible to get respectable fish. If you need any help getting set up for Bass fishing or if you just have a few questions, come visit us at the Shop and we can definitely help!
Capilano River / North Shore Beach Report
Fishing in the Capilano “area” is definitely starting to pick up. With coho staging along the West Van shoreline and at the mouth of the river at Ambleside, anglers are finding opportunities to hook up on fish both in the river and in the mouth tidal zone. Recent weather hasn’t provided much rain to raise water levels in the river, so more fish have been stacking up at the mouth in the past few days.
When fishing the river, both fly and gear methods have proven to be successful. Fishing low light, ideally mornings but also evenings, with smaller presentations is what is working well for most. When fly fishing, a sinking line is preferred in the Capilano and allows for the best water coverage. Using smaller flies in olive and black has given the best results recently. On the gear side, small to medium spoons, spinners, and blades are great go-tos. Some good color combinations include chartreuse, gold or bronze + orange, and silver + blue.
If you’re looking to try something different and exciting, consider spending your fishing efforts at the mouth of the river. Accessed through Ambleside park, this fishery is at its best during low tides and low light. Look for early morning low tides that will allow you to walk across the tidal zone. Gear such as spinners and buzz-bombs are working very well. Fly fisherman are also having great luck. Andre got out Wednesday morning and put a couple on the board using small clouser patterns. Small shrimp and other flash flies also work great in the salt.
With the next week looking warm and sunny, consider heading to the mouth for some beach fishing, but don’t count out the river for other opportunities to get into some Coho. Stop by the shop for some river and saltwater tackle and more up to date tips.
Skagit River Update
I am heading up to the interior and am going to do some river hopping. I don’t have any bug details but next week I will share as much from the Skagit and Thompson as possible. The big one to look at this week is water levels.
The Skagit is lower than it was opening day last year but not by much. So, you will be able to cross if you are smart and a little brave. As always be safe. Plan how to get back before you cross and don’t push crossings right now if you don’t feel confident. A staff and a PFD might also be in your kit.
On the Thompson she is also high. I have fished her at similar levels and if my numbers are on, you will be right up against the bushes in many spots but the water clarity should be ok.
Long story short, it is not ideal conditions but it should be fishable.
Hopefully I will have good reports to share next week!
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder/Chilliwack has shaped up nicely over the past week and is fishing relatively well, especially considering the fact that it is about half a meter higher than it was at this time last year. Visibility is almost perfect – not too clear, not too dirty, and there are good numbers of both red springs and sockeye in the system. A majority of the reports of fish that I’ve heard of have been from the lower river although, I’m expecting that to change in the coming week as the fish make their way upstream into the mid/upper stretches of the system.
Red springs are suckers for roe, so it’s no surprise that float fishing with roe has been one of the top producers lately. Having said that, cured shrimp, beads, Colorado blades and jigs have all been producing and are worth having in your arsenal. Casting spoons, spinners and twitching jigs can also be rewarding in certain situations. Red springs are usually much less aggressive and much more skittish than their white-fleshed cousins, so fishing low-light conditions is very advantageous, especially if you’re a weekend warrior like me. Heavy fishing pressure, bright sunlight, swimmers, and a nonstop trickle of inner tubers don’t exactly make for ideal fishing conditions.
Of course there are also decent numbers of sockeye around, and contrary to popular belief , they DO bite, and often end up as bycatch while targeting springs. While the sockeye in the Vedder fight incredibly hard for their size, targeting them is not recommended, as these fish are part of the threatened Chilliwack Lake run and you are NOT allowed to retain them. Please handle any sockeye you hook as carefully as possible – land them as quickly as possible, minimize handling, keep the fish in the water, and DO NOT drag them up on the rocks. Practice proper catch & release procedures to keep this tenuous run safe.
The Summer red run typically peaks in late July/early August, and is relatively short and small as these fish aren’t particularly plentiful. This is about as good as it’s going to get until the fall-run salmon show up, so now is the time to stock up on gear and get out there; we’ve got everything you’ll need to hopefully land yourself one of these elusive “Grey Ghosts”.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Well it looks like it is going to cool off this weekend, if only slightly, and we are going to see some SE winds for the first time in a while. For those of us battling the NW winds of late, that will be a welcome change, just hopefully not much rain and too much SE wind.
If the winds aren’t too strong and you have the appropriate vessel, you may want to cross the Strait of Georgia and head over to the Gabriola and Nanaimo area. We have been making that crossing when the conditions allow and we have had some consistent chinook fishing. Be prepared to fish deep. It is not uncommon to be 200 plus on the downriggers this time of year. Our best producers have been black or blue glow flashers with blue or dark green splatter back hootchies. We also got some nice fish on 4.0 Herring Aid spoons in G-Force and Kingfisher models. Sometimes the chartreuse glow flashers and chartreuse splatter back hootchies are also working well; it depends on water clarity and how sunny it is. Try darker gear on one side and brighter on the other and adjust as the day goes on and what the fish are smashing that day.
Coho fishing has also been good. It seems it is getting more and more consistent off West Van down to the Cap Mouth each day. The beach guys are starting to get them and that is a sure sign the numbers are building. It has also been pretty good to really good off South Bowen, especially on the morning bite. Productive depths have been 35-65 on the riggers. White or UV white hootchies have been working well behind Betsy, Hot Dot, Green Onion, Purple Onion and Twisted Sista flashers.
There are some regulation changes as of August 1st. The main one for our area is you can retain one chinook a day from 62 to 80 cm in area 28-6. Here is the link to the Area 28 Map. 28-6 is defined by a line from Point Atkinson to that point of land where the Pink and Blue Apartments are in West Van just S of 21st and 22nd street. So, a reminder the Cap Mouth is not open for chinook retention until Sep 1 and then it will go back to the good old 2 a day. At least if you catch a chinook off West Van 28-6 zone while fishing for coho and it falls in the slot limit, you will be able to retain it.
The other area that opens up for one chinook a day from 62 to 80 cm is the SE side of Thrasher Rock in that portion of 29-5 that is W of the blue shaded section in this Chinook Non Retention Map. Note that 29-6, 29-7, 29-9, 29-10 are also closed.
It should also be noted I would advise against fishing in the Chinook Non-Retention Map area at the specific locations of the North Arm, T-10, and South Arm in August and say you are “coho fishing” and then catch a whole bunch of chinook. If that is what we choose to do as anglers, the next regulation you are going to see is “no fishing for fin fish” in that same map area and that will be the end. I don’t agree with the current regulations but defying them by fishing in these chinook hot spots off the Fraser Mouth under the guise of coho fishing is not going to make them go away. The best thing you can do is sign this Petition and support the SFI and PFA.
See you in the shop or on the water,