• The Pacific Angler blog is your source for fishing reports, industry news, sales, events, classes, courses, guiding and destination travel!

    This blog will let you know what is going on in the local fishing scene; when to go, where to go, and what to use! It will keep you updated on the latest and greatest rods, reels, lines, lures and flies.

    It will keep you informed on weekly specials, sales events, and contests. We will also be highlighting some great fishing pictures, videos, and information on our trips around the world in pursuit of game fish!

    In short this is Vancouver’s blog for the fishing enthusiast! Intoxication may occur with excessive use, enjoy responsibly.

Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: June 23, 2023

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: June 23, 2023


Happy Friday!  This week we’ve got some great reports and an update for some upcoming fisheries.    

First off, for our saltwater anglers, we are seeing some amazing coho fishing out off Bowen. Jason has a detailed report in the saltwater section but in short, we have been hearing some of the old timer guides comparing it to coho fishing in the 80s! This also plays into our beach reports for Ambleside.  There have been a number of successful reports from the beach and with a couple factors playing into the mix we are predicting an excellent beach season. Last, but not least, we also have some predictions for when we might start seeing pinks show up in our local waters. Check those details out in the beach fishing section of the report. No, the pinks have not arrived yet, but will soon! 

This all sounds like great news but one of the reasons we are expecting a great beach season is that we are expecting low river levels across the province, and this will keep fish staging in the saltwater longer. We looked at the snowpack levels earlier in the month and we were concerned about low numbers. This trend has continued and there are now more up to date forecasts out for very low water levels.  Again, this will make the beach fishing great, but we will need to keep our eyes on river water temperatures over this season and the associated conservation concerns.  

With river levels in mind, we are going to look at a couple systems that are opening on the 1st of July. First up is the Chilliwack. Low water is great for the early season, and we are excited for this year’s chinook run. We have some details on what to expect from this fishery and its timing below.  Second, is the Skagit and we have updated info on this river and more importantly the road repair. Unfortunately, we will not be seeing access this season to the lower portion of the river via Silver Road. Check out the freshwater report section below for all the details.  

Lastly, on the stillwater front, we have an Interior lakes report for you this week. We have seen a relatively cool late spring season and it means the lake fishing continues to be good. Jason was up last week and has some detailed reports in the lake section for the report.  

On to the report!  


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. 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: Jun 14 & 17, July 11 & 15, Sept 19 & 23  
Cost: $175.00+GST
Seminar Time:  6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm



Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report – Chinook Outlook For Opening July 1  
With lower water levels than normal already, we expect the Chilliwack to be at a great fishing height by the time July 1 rolls around and the river opens. 

Due to the lower water, we anticipate good trout fishing right from the beginning. However, it’s worth noting that most of these “trout” are actually juvenile steelhead, averaging less than 12 inches in size. There is data to support targeting the hatchery juvenile steelhead, as they tend to stay in the river and outcompete wild fish. You are allowed to retain up to four hatchery “rainbows” under 50cm, with no minimum length, to address the issue of hatchery fish outcompeting wild fish. Occasionally, larger resident rainbows can be encountered in the mid-upper stretches of the river, and they can be a fun challenge to pursue using light tackle or fly gear. We kindly ask that if you do catch wild trout, please handle them with utmost care when releasing them. 

An average-size summer chinook that fell for a chunk of roe last year

During the summer, the primary focus shifts to the salmon fisheries. The Vedder/Chilliwack sees returns of both summer-run red chinook and sockeye salmon. However, the sockeye run is highly vulnerable, and the numbers fluctuate dramatically from year to year, resulting in a permanent closure on retention. Sockeye are delicate fish, so proper handling and catch-and-release practices are crucial to ensure their survival. Contrary to popular belief, sockeye can and do bite, and they are often encountered when targeting chinook. They put up a strong fight for their size and can be an exciting incidental bycatch. 

For chinook anglers, the big question is when will the fish arrive? This depends on water levels, run size, and timing. This year, we expect good water levels right from the start, but there may be challenges later due to limited water availability. We are also anticipating a good number of fish returning, so it ultimately comes down to timing. Historically, consistent reports of fish being caught start around the 10th to 15th of the month, although fish are caught almost every year on opening day. 

Next week, we will take a closer look at all the gear needed for the fishing season. 

Skagit River Fishing Report – Summer Trout Fishing Outlook  
The big news is that we can confirm that access to the lower portion of the Skagit River via Silver/Skagit Road will remain closed for this season. We spoke with the operations manager of the road recovery project, and there is a roadblock just past the turnoff for Silver Lake Campground. They are still working on repairing the 20-plus blowouts on the road to ensure it can handle runoff and regular public use. Due to the presence of large machinery and instances where the road will be physically blocked by construction for extended periods of time, they cannot allow people to access the park, knowing that a visitor might not be able to get out if there is an emergency.  

They plan to open the road to the public next April but expect ongoing road work to continue well beyond that date in order to restore it to a serviceable condition. 

As a result, you will need to access the river from the Sumallo Grove access off the Crowsnest Highway. 

With lower water levels, we anticipate that fishing will be good and accessible on opening day. However, please exercise caution, as even in a low water year, the flows will be strong during the early season. Fishing from the northern Sumallo access heavily relies on crossing the river to get to good fishing spots so be safe, bring a wading staff, and be prepared to hike.  

Another trout fishery worth looking at right now is the Thompson. Historically it would be too high to fish this time of year, but we are seeing good water levels right now and it is already open. If you are thinking about getting out somewhere, this might be a good option over the next couple weeks. 

Another concern for all trout fisherman this season is the prediction of record low water flows for the entire season. While we encourage people to enjoy the resource, it must be done with the utmost respect. If we experience hot summer temperatures combined with low water levels, water temperatures will become a concern. We anticipate management closures based on water temperatures if the current trend continues. In the meantime, please ensure that you practice good catch and release techniques on any of our rivers and handle the fish quickly and gently. 

We will provide additional information next week before opening day.  

Matt Sharp 


Interior Lake Fishing Report 
As usual for interior lake fishing when it comes to weather, you just never know what is going to happen.  For instance, I don’t think many lake anglers were expecting a hailstorm on the summer solstice, or earlier in the week to watch air temperatures go from the mid to high twenties down to 6C on some of the higher elevation lakes.  The wind also wreaked havoc this past week with gusts on some lakes reaching 40 plus knots.   

The good news about these fronts pushing through is water temperatures have remained moderate for the most part.  Some lakes in Region 3 and 5 that normally would have temperatures in the 65-70 range by now got back down to 58-60 F.  This will help prolong some of the better fishing opportunities before we head into the heat of July and August and the summer doldrums.  Many lakes known for their chironomid fishing are still having good to excellent chironomid fishing because of these moderate temperatures.  

The cloudy conditions have also triggered some good mayfly hatches and as usual this time of year the damselflies and caddis are around.  On one lake I recently had some great fishing on bloodworms.  As usual, this time of year you need to keep an open mind and be prepared with multiple lines, techniques and flies.  

Chronies and bloodworms were on the menu

As things heat back up, most anglers will now be focusing on higher elevation lakes that are 4000 feet or higher.  Many of these lakes will have excellent fishing in July and even into August.  So, if you haven’t got your lake fishing fix yet, there is still plenty of season left on these higher elevation lakes. 

See you in the shop or on the water,  

Jason Tonelli  


Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report 

Coho, coho and more coho!  If you are a regularly reader of this report, you will recall I mentioned the abundance of juvenile coho we were encountering this winter while fishing for chinook.  The hope was these fish would stick around in the Strait of Georgia (sometimes they leave for the West Coast) and we would have some good coho fishing this summer.  Well, it looks like they did stick around, as the coho reports up and down the Strait, and in particular around our area and Nanaimo to Comox, have been excellent. 

For those who can remember the 80’s, when this kind of coho fishing was normal, it is a nice throwback to those kinds of numbers and fishing.  We are seeing coho jumping, surfacing, attacking plugs and bucktails in the prop wash, all things we haven’t seen locally in many, many years.  

Our guide boats did very well for coho this past week, with limits most if not all days.  The limit is 2 hatchery coho per day, 30 cm min. size.  These fish will be from local hatcheries like the Capilano, Chilliwack, and Qualicum.  There are some wild coho in the mix as well, which should be carefully released.  I would recommend not netting the fish until you can confirm it is a hatchery coho (missing adipose fin).  The wild coho should be released at the side of the boat, not in the net.  Don’t worry if a few fish fall off in the process of trying to see if the adipose fin is there or not.  There are lots of fish around and lots of hatchery fish around.  Most days we are releasing hatchery fish by the end of the charter. 

Some happy customers with a limit of hatchery coho from a trip this week

With so many fish around, a lot of different lures will work, but let’s take a look at some of the most productive ones.  For starters, the fish are shallow.  As mentioned earlier, some anglers are literally getting fish in their prop wash on bucktails, plugs, or spoons with no flashers.  This is fun and very visual (you can watch them hit the gear), but if you are looking for maximum productivity, I would recommend using flashers and hootchies.   

Three of my favorite coho flashers are the Oki Betsy in silver, the Gibbs Twisted Sista in UV Purple blade, and the Oki or Gibbs Purple Onion or Purple Onion Glow.  Team these flashers up with a white UV hootchy like the Yamashita OAL12R or OA12R, a 20-28 inch leader, troll fast, and hang on.  You are going to get some fish.  Best depths have been as shallow as just below the surface down to 65 feet with the consistent zone being in that 45 to 55 a lot of days.  It does change though, so don’t be afraid to get the gear up shallow like 17 to 25 and if in doubt, pick up the speed a bit.  The coho prefer a faster troll than chinook so your speed over ground is often in the 2.5 to 3.5 mph but it depends if you are trolling with or against the tide. 

If you are thinking of booking a trip for some local salmon action, the time is now.  These fish should be around for awhile with more coming down the Strait.  The thing about getting them early in the season like this is that they are feeding voraciously and a lot easier to catch then when they stack up off West Van.  So try and get out there in your own boat as soon as possible or give us a call to book a trip at 778-788-8582 

A note on the crabbing:  The commercial fleet opened June 15 and have done their usual damage to the local crab stocks.  We went from getting easy limits early June to almost all undersized in the traps right now.  This is normal, and crabbing usually won’t pick up again until later this winter after the commercial fleet has put their gear away. 

See you in the shop or on the water, 

Jason Tonelli 

Beach Fishing Report  
The shop has started receiving the first positive beach reports and considering the forecast for major low water concerns, it seems unlikely that river flows will increase on the Capilano in the near future. Keeping this in mind, it is a good time to begin focusing on tides and planning morning outings. 

In the case of the Ambleside fishery, the concept is simple: early morning low tides are ideal for active fish and provide access to areas of the beach that are within casting distance of the drop-offs. 

There are some good to great tides over the next week with morning lows. We also just received a shipment of Andre’s famous beach patterns. The early Coho off Ambleside are euphausiid eaters and having a variety of small shrimp like patterns are extremely effective.  

We are fully stocked with a great selection of Andre’s beach patterns

If you are a gear angler medium to small buzz bombs and spinners are your best bet.  

Lastly, we know we will get asked “when are the pinks coming” so we finally have an answer or at least some historical records to look at. Here are some excerpts from the 8 years of reports (last 4 pinks years).  

JULY 23, 2021 “The pinks started hitting the beaches up Howe sound and some off the Capilano mouth” 

July 9th 2021 – “The odd pink has been caught while salmon trolling and more of those will be showing up very soon but nothing on the beaches yet”. 

JULY 19, 2019 – “We are starting to hear reports right now of fish in the Strait, Howe Sound and a few are being hooked in the Squamish.  They are not “in” yet, but anglers are catching fish and big schools could be arriving as we write this report.” 

JULY 7, 2017 – “I went out two days in a row last week to do a scout and see how things were on the beach. There were a couple of long-time regular patrons on the beach and after talking to them it was apparent that not much has been seen yet in the estuary.”   

JULY 21, 2017 – “Finally – We have some positive reports filtering into the shop from customers. The pinks have arrived at Furry Creek so make sure you head out there and take advantage of this fishery especially with the really good tides, all next week.” 

JULY 10, 2015 -“We are starting to hear reports of pinks off the beaches! It is early but multiple clients have managed to hook into fish and the saltwater fleet is starting to catch them while hunting for chinook and coho”  

JULY 17, 2015 -”Furry Creek continues to be really good with huge schools of pinks and some are already entering the Squamish.” 

So, the general trend for the arrival of pinks in our local waters is projected to be as early as the 10th of July, but more likely around the 20th-25th of July. However, it is important to note that this timing will depend on the size of the run and any regulations in place. Smaller runs typically exhibit a narrower bell curve of migration timing, resulting in a later arrival. 

We look forward to seeing you on the beach! 

Matt Sharp