It is family fishing weekend and Father’s Day! The bad news is that we are in for another unseasonably cool weekend. The good news is that the cool spring is making for some excellent fishing conditions that are well worth taking note of.
If you haven’t heard of Family Fishing Weekend, it is an annual celebration of fishing that coincides with the Father’s Day weekend each year. This year, the three-day event falls this weekend from Friday June 17th to Sunday June 19th. All basic fresh and saltwater licences are free this weekend so it is a great opportunity get together with family and friends and try fishing! Check out all of the details here.
In this week’s report, we will look at a couple fisheries that are affected by this cool weather. Taylor has a bass report where we continue to see a “strange” season. The spawning season has been extended in some lakes due to the cold but in others it has finished, making for good but unpredictable fishing.
We will also look at interior lake fishing. The reports on days that have settled weather have been excellent. Good chironomid hatches are still coming off, most water temps are cool but we are finally seeing more diverse hatches.
On the saltwater front, we are hearing the first whispers of coho. It is still not “hot” but it is well worth getting out. We will have more details on this in next week’s report but as of the writing of this report, the winds are looking good for the back half of the weekend, so get out there.
Lastly, we take a look at water levels. Many of our streams are at peak freshet right now. That puts them well behind schedule. Ethan has an update on the Fraser and Matt has some more details on the Chilliwack fishery where he has numbers on past stocking reports that will affect this upcoming salmon season.
In the video version of the report, Matt also goes into more details on the river levels and planning for summer outings. If you want to sit back and listen to the report, click here or read below for the details on specific fisheries.
CLASSES AND COURSES
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: (July 12 & 17), (Sept 20 & 24)
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
Introduction To Fly Fishing Trout Streams
Stalking trout on mountain streams defines fly fishing. In this course we will teach you the fundamental techniques for fly fishing trout streams; dry fly fishing, nymphing, and streamer fishing.
This Introduction to Fly Fishing Trout Streams course will get you as close to being Brad Pitt (A River Runs Through It) as you will ever be! This course is comprised of one 3hr evening zoom seminar.
Date: June 28, 2022
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Fly Fishing on Beaches
This single evening 3hr seminar will cover the basic principles needed to be an effective beach fly fishermen in BC from Howe Sound to the east coast of Vancouver Island. Topics covered will include rods, reels, fly lines, flies, tides, and techniques. Andre Stepanian, the instructor for this course, has been chasing salmon on our local beaches for over two decades. Remember, east coast Vancouver Island has a pink salmon run every year and last year the Capilano had 12,000 coho! Book this course early as we sold out all courses last year!!
Date: July 5, 2022
Cost: $50.00 + GST
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Update and Stocking Numbers
Last week, we looked at the water levels and snow pack on the Chilliwack. If you missed it take a look at last week’s report. Our rough prediction stays the same in that we can expect high water on opening day but I made a small mistake in some of the data on fish stocking numbers. I have done some more digging to get clarity. They have increased the numbers of chinook put into the Chilliwack but I was mixed up and they did not increase production on the summer chinook. For roughly the past decade, they have stocked 500,000 chinook into the Chilliwack from the summer fish. That said, in talking to my sources, the observed number of red chinook was noticeably higher last season. We have no science on this but it can be assumed it is due to better ocean survival, not increased production.
On the fall chinook, we will hopefully see an increase due to ramped up hatchery production. For the fall chinook in the brood year of 2018 (released 2019) they increased production from 1 mil to 1.25. In the brood year of 2019 (released 2020) production was increased to 2 mil and it has remained at that level since. They saw a sizable run increase of both 3 year fish and jacks last season and, consequently, are hoping for a sizable return this season.
These fish start showing up in the genetics test at the Albion as early as the last week of July/first week of August but, they are not seen at the hatchery until the 3rd week in September with the bulk of the run coming through from 3rd week in Sept to 3rd week October at the hatchery.
I wanted to keep everyone in the loop and we can all hope for both an excellent early chinook run and fall run this season.
Fraser River Sturgeon Update
The Fraser is in full blown freshet as of now. Due to the above average snowpack, the Fraser will more than likely see another considerable bump depending on the rate that the melt occurs. The Fraser is currently sitting just under the 9m mark. For reference a month ago, it was hovering around the 6m mark. Right now, if you’re boating the Fraser, be especially vigilant. Faster current, debris, tug boat wakes, and lack of experience, can all make for a bad day out on the water. The Fraser can be an extremely unforgiving river especially as the freshet pushes through.
As for the sturgeon fishing, there are still some excellent opportunities to be had. Shore fishing can be tough right now due to the faster current. Nonetheless, I’ve still been seeing consistent bite windows lately. I do expect the fishing in the lower Fraser to slow down throughout the freshet. But, as of late, peak high tides have been the most productive and consistent for me. Even at the high tide, the current is still very fast. So, heavier wedge weights in the 18oz-22oz range will be ideal right now. Switching up baits this time of the year can also be productive. The eulachon run has tapered off so sturgeon will start seeking out other baits as the last of the eulachon run ends. Although eulachons can be a year-round bait, they are oily, smelly and sturgeon will take them any time of the year. The sturgeon really key in on these bait fish during the spring. Trying pikeminnow, worm clusters/bags, roe bags or even a combination of them can be very effective.
As always, if you’ve got any additional questions or would just like to talk sturgeon fishing be sure to stop by the shop.
Ethan Da Silva
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lake Fishing Report
This past week we saw a similar trend as the last couple of weeks in the Interior. The Mayfly hatch has been more prominent on most systems, and while chironomids are still hatching, we are getting into a transition period where we can expect to see diets change to focus more on caddis, dragons and damsels in addition to the mayflies. It is also time to start stocking your boxes with some bombers, sizes 12-8.
Some lakes in the Merritt area have started to have significant bomber hatches, and so we can expect the higher elevation lakes to start soon as well.
We are expecting to see some sunny weather at the start of the week in the Merritt but, unfortunately, it will end with rain throughout the week. Kamloops way we are expecting to receive rain throughout the week. With some warmer temperature averages, start looking in deeper water for hatches, 20ft-36ft of water, fished most effectively by dangling a full sink line.
Entomology and gear talk aside, I would like to stress the importance of sun protection while fishing in the interior. As we progress into summer, the sun can be unsuspectingly dangerous especially in the Interior. We spend a lot of time in the sun while stillwater fishing, and having proper protection is just as important as having the right flies to ensure an enjoyable trip. My necessities include hats, sunscreen, sungloves, sunglasses, neck gaiters, ventilated long sleeve shirts and lots of water! We just got some awesome stillwater essentials to ensure you stay protected so swing on by the shop and have a look. They also make a great gift for Dad!
See you in the shop or on the water,
Bass Fishing Report
This year’s unseasonable and unpredictable weather has had a couple notable effects on our local bass fisheries, as one might expect. Water temps, weed growth and barometric pressure are all over the place, which can make the fishing somewhat challenging from day to day; one day, they’re feeding aggressively and smashing topwaters and buzz-baits, then they basically refuse to touch anything other than a Ned rig the next day. Post-front, pre-front, post-front, pre-front…
The weather has had a large effect on this year’s spawn as well. On a normal year, spawn would have been long over by now, but the lower temps and generally poor weather obviously delayed it this year. While the spawn is almost certainly over in smaller bodies of water, I have heard some scattered and somewhat unreliable reports of a few fish still on beds in some of the slightly larger ponds/lakes as of early this week.
You’ll want to have an assortment of gear on hand so you can cycle through it until you find something that’s working on any given day. Frogs, poppers, buzz-baits, lipless cranks, spinnerbaits and soft plastics such as swimbaits, craws and senkos will all produce fish in different conditions, so it can pay to bring a smorgasbord if you’re not sure exactly what’s going on out there. As a general rule, you’ll want to focus on areas with a lot of cover during bright, sunny days and save the open water for mornings, evenings or overcast days.