We are in for another nice week of weather. Temperatures should hover around the 20-degree mark and though there is the possibility of a little rain, there should be lots of sun mixed in. Fishing has been solid on the interior lake front and the ocean front. River fishing and beach fishing are still just getting started and we are also eagerly awaiting a couple fisheries to open on the first of July.
In this week’s report we will look at the fisheries going on right now but we also have an outlook for the Vedder River chinook fishery and Matt has his eagerly awaited predictions for opening day on the Skagit. Make sure to check both of them out below along with our other river ocean and lake reports.
On the course front Andre’s famous Fly Fishing on Beaches course is back for another season. See dates below in the classes and courses section.
For all you saltwater anglers it is time to mark your calendars and register for the 7th Annual Vancouver Chinook Classic. It sold out last year so don’t wait to register your boat. All of the registration details are in this week’s report.
CLASSES AND COURSES
School may be out but if you’re looking to get into the classroom join us for two of our great July courses.
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!
Dates: July 10 or July 16
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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 18 & July 22, 2018
Cost: $125.00 + GST
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
Vancouver Chinook Classic 2018
Save the date – it’s Game On for the 7th annual Vancouver Chinook Classic, the premier, nonprofit catch and release salmon derby fundraiser for the Pacific Salmon Foundation & Sport Fishing Institute. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the water again this August – fishing and having fun in the sun competing for the large cash prizes!
Date: Sat Aug 18th & Sun Aug 19th 2018
Venue: Pacific Gateway Hotel & Deckside Marina (previously known as Pier 73 Marina)3500 Cessna Drive Richmond
Prizes: 1st place $15,000 2nd place $7,000 3rd place $3,000
Entry Fee: $300 + GST per person
Registration: To make registration easier we have created an online registration process. Register online here: https://www.decksidemarina.com/registration-form
- Entry into 2018 Vancouver Chinook Classic
- Complimentary moorage
- Breakfast Saturday & Sunday morning
- Dinner Saturday night
- BBQ and awards ceremony Sunday afternoon
- Drink tickets
- Discounted room rates at the Pacific Gateway Hotel
If you have any questions please give us Deckside Marina a call at 604-970-4882 or email email@example.com
For more details have a look at tournament website www.vancouverchinookclassic.com
Thanks to all who participate, donate and support! We welcome all anglers from novice to expert and look forward to seeing everyone again soon – let the fun times begin!
Your VCC Derby organizers,
West Coast Fishing Club
Pacific Gateway Hotel
Mangum Dragon Tail
This week’s new product is the Mangum Dragon Tail, a cool new material developed by renowned Florida Keys guide David Mangum. This tail material, with its life-like movement is a sure thing for fish predators such as pike, muskie, bass, bull trout, tarpon, redfish, and any other fish that hunts other big-ticket meal items.
You can use it at its full length, or cut it down to size. There are also instructional videos on the internet on how to re-use the left over piece so nothing goes to waste.
Tied on a weighted fly seedless, you could swim it through reeds and pads for pike or bass. Tie it as a top-water pattern and snake it along the surface for tarpon or big bull reds. Check out this material in action in this video
The opportunities and ideas are endless.
If you’re curious about this new material designed by David Mangum, come on in to the shop or give us a ring!
Capilano River Fishing Report
The Capilano river is getting lower day by day. With the possibility of rain today, we could see them open the dam but we don’t expect any major changes to the river levels.
We have heard reports of coho in the salt around Bowen and Point Atkinson so there are lots more coho to come. These fish will start to stack at the mouth unless the water rises.
Right now the early fish are in the Cable Pool and other higher canyon pools. You can get these fish by swinging full sinking line with patterns like Cap Buggers, Mickey Fin, and basic small attractor patterns.
Unfortunately drift fishing isn’t an option as the water is low as you won’t be able to get good enough speed and drift. Tossing spoons and spinners is an option as it is a good method to see if there are any active fish.
Please release all steelhead and any wild coho with care.
Stay safe out there,
Chilliwack River Report – Red Chinook Overview
We’ve all had some fun with the lake season, but July is coming and that means river fishing is back! The first “big” run for the summer season is the red chinook run on the Vedder. I say “big” in quotations as while these fish are highly sought after for their table fare and their strength when hooked, their numbers pale in comparison to the later fall runs. Compounding the issue is high water during the first couple weeks of July and you are looking at pretty tough conditions. Hooking a fish isn’t easy, and after you’ve convinced one to bite they are no easy feat to land in the raging current. It sounds bleak, but I think of it as being more realistic. I don’t want to sugarcoat it or hype it up as the next awesome fishery. It is awesome, but it is tough. With that in mind it is fantastically rewarding and if you love just getting out there and maybe getting a fish as a bonus, then this is a fishery that might interest you. Though fish are already in the system by opening day (July 1st) and can be caught straight through to September, these season peaks at the end of July in terms of numbers of fresh fish moving through.
Float fishing for red chinook is an extremely popular method of taking these fish and in high water conditions at the beginning of the season it is basically the only method. These fish typically stay deep so you will need to get down to them. Don’t worry about finesse; big floats in the 30 to 35 gram range and enough lead to keep them upright are what you want. A big fish in big water needs big line, so load up your reels with 20 or 25lb mono and run 15 to 17lb leaders (can be fluoro or mono). As with any chinook, they are roe pigs so pro-cured roe is your first bet. If you don’t have any and can’t get any before your trip, thump big colorados through the run to stir up any aggressive fish. Later in the season other options open up as the clearer water will mean down-sizing your presentations and this is when single egg patterns and wool ties will work as well. Big spoons and spinners swung through a run can work well in this situation too. You will need a rod and reel combo that can handle a lot of torque and weight. Most of the salmon baitcasters or centerpin rods in the 9′-11’6″ medium to medium-heavy configuration will do the job.
Once the water clears up you can also fly fish for these beasts. 8wts or higher are pretty much mandatory. Big, bright, and nasty flies are what you want. Again, there isn’t much finesse in this fishery although it is possible to take them on smaller flies. Large streamers in chartreuse, blue, black, and orange will get their attention. Whether you do it on a single hand or a double is your choice, heavy sink tips are a must in order to get your presentation down and to keep it in the strike zone.
This is a really neat fishery and one of the first freshwater salmon opportunities of the year. If you need to get geared up or stocked up come visit us in the Shop and we will get your ready to take on these magnificent fish.
Skagit River Outlook
Every year I take some time near the end on June to look at the Skagit River. It is not open yet but if you spend some time looking at water levels and snow pack levels now you will be better prepared for trips next month.
The Skagit is debatably one of the most picturesque rivers you can reach within a day trip from Vancouver and it offers classic fly fishing opportunities. What we mean by “classic fly fishing” is that there is a healthy population of aquatic insects. This is unique because most of the rivers around the lower mainland are affected by cold glacial water, heavy runoff or a poor chemistry that stunts aquatic insect growth. This means good salmon and steelhead habitat but poor resident trout fishing.
The Skagit is the exception and supports a healthy bug population. That bug population in turn supports a healthy population of resident rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and bull trout. This bug population also challenges the fly fisherman to match fly selection and techniques to the conditions and available hatching insects. This is what I consider “classic fly fishing”. It is not always easy, but when you solve the puzzle the fishing can be excellent.
The Skagit can be accessed from both the Crows Nest highway at Sumallo Grove and then on the Silver Skagit Road, a 40 min dirt road that turns off highway 1 just before Hope.
The Skagit opens on the first of July and stays open until Oct 31st. The Skagit is a catch and release, bait banned, single barbless hook fishery. This keeps the population healthy so make sure your barbs are pinched and the fish are released gently.
Every year the big question leading up to opening day is whether the river will be at a fishable level? Many anglers rush out on opening day only to find that the water levels are too high to hike the banks effectively and the water is too cold for bugs to hatch. The published water level graph on the Skagit is directly affected by the water levels of the dam on Ross Lake and it is not always working so it is hard to use as a river height gauge.
This year’s snow pack was much higher in the Skagit area in February through May. It was noticeably higher than the 25 year norms. Many predicted a high water year but we had an early shot of warm weather and it knocked down the snow pack faster than last year. When looking at my numbers there is less snow in the mountains around the Skagit right now than there was this time last year and the water levels are a touch higher.
I expect things to be very similar to 2017 and a little higher than 2016. In 2015 we had a super low water year and on opening day the river was a ditch. In 2014 (if my numbers are correct) we had a very high water year and it was pretty much unfishable.
When looking at my predictions last year I was pretty close to the mark so I am gong to go out on a limb again and say we should be “OK” for opening day, “high but fishable”. The water had a blue tint last year and was quite cold but anglers caught fish and had fun. I have been wrong before and am eager to hear if anyone has been in the area to gauge the water levels in person but because it is still closed, it is a long drive to go look at a river, no matter how pretty it is. If anyone knows anyone who has been up, I would love to hear reports about the water height. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to give it a go in the first couple weeks of July the river will consistently drop. I expect it to be perfect around the middle of the month and then it will fish well until it gets cold in October. The weather over the next 2 weeks will play a big role. If there is still a ton of snow left in the mountain the heat will spike river levels but if it only jumps a little we can assume that the snow is beaten down and we should see good fishing soon.
If you are interested in this fishery come down to the shop and talk to me or any of the other guys. We can walk you through the set ups and access points. If you are heading out on opening weekend let us know how it goes. We will have more details in next week’s report as well.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
The heat is on this weekend with temps as high as 30 degrees. The Lakes in the 4000ft range are already warm. The big springtime chironomid hatches are done for the most part and now is the time to be focusing on bloodworms, damsels, caddis, and sedges. If you venture into the Cariboo, make sure to have a selection of dragonfly nymphs in your box. It is also important to have a good selection of both nymph and adult sedge. Trout can be extremely picky when it comes to adult sedge and caddis; having multiple patterns such as a Goddard caddis, Mikulak sedge, Tom Thumb, and elk hair caddis should do the job. Those looking for chironomid hatches should try lakes in the 4500 ft to 5000 ft range, or Tunkwa Lake as it stays cooler throughout the summer because of the creeks that run into the lake.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
As I am writing this report this morning at 5:00 am, just before I head down to the dock, it looks like I got lucky on the winds today. The strong wind warning has ended and that means I can get across to Gabriola or Nanaimo, and that is good news as that is where the best chinook fishing has been by far.
We have been confined to local waters for most of the week, and even had to hide up Howe Sound on a few days with winds pushing 30 knots SE yesterday at one point. Locally there are a few chinook around, mostly off South Bowen from Cowan to Roger Curtis, but it was too rough to fish there some days this week. Good rigger depths have been 90-150 in that area. When we couldn’t fish there we were at Hole in the Wall and found a few fish from 90-120 on the riggers.
In both locations we have been doing well on 3.5 Kingfisher and G-Force spoons with some green and some glow on them. Good choices would be Irish Cream and Trailhead. We have also been getting fish on bait, especially anchovies in Howe Sound as that as what the fish are feeding on. 5.5 inch anchovies in a UV purple or UV green teaser head has been productive. For flashers we have been using Green Onion Glow, Purple Onion Glow, UV Purple Phantom, UV Chartreuse Phantom, STS, and Salty Dawg.
The coho are also starting to show up! Lars was into a few coho yesterday morning off West Van before he had to run from the wind and hide up Howe Sound. There has also been good reports of coho out on the Hump when you can get out there. On some of the calm days there has even been coho visibly finning and feeding on the surface. Looks like we are off to a strong start for coho and it is now officially time to check out West Van for these fish. Try from Point Atkinson all the way down to the Cap Mouth and keep your gear shallow. Best depths are from just under the surface down to about 65 on the rigger on flat calm sunny days but generally you will have the best action in the top 45 feet of the water column. UV white, UV peach or UV white with pink hootchies are deadly, both in the regular size as well as the mini or squirt sizes. Try a shorter leader length, about 28 inches. In the shallower water try a Betsy flasher or Twisted Sista, Green Onion, Purple Onion, Purple Haze, or Green Haze. We have all the right flashers and hootchies in stock at the shop so stop by and see the guys today or this weekend and they will get you setup. If you need a confidence booster, the Capilano Hatchery already has over 1000 coho in the holding ponds, so the coho run has clearly started!
If you are going to make the crossing to Gabriola or the Nanaimo area, make sure you have lots of cable and 18 pound cannonballs. The fish have generally been pretty deep, just off bottom in 100-250 feet of water. Glow flashers have been the way to go, like Salty Dawg, any of the Phantom flashers, STS, Green Glow, Chartreuse Glow, and Blue Glow. Hootchies have been excellent as usual, like the green, chartreuse, or blue splatter back with a 32-35 inch leader.
Crabbing has been good but the commercial fleet is here so expect that to slow down considerably over the coming weeks.
Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook as I will be posting a few short videos this week and some pictures of our productive flashers, hootchies, spoons, and teaser heads.
See you in the shop or on the water,