Heat wave incoming! It looks like another amazing week of weather, but the heat has some caveats when it comes to fishing. Local lake trout fishing will slow with this heat. We have some details as to how to deal with this in that section below. Interior lakes will still fish well at higher elevation, but fish will be going deep. Early season shallow tactics will not work. It is time to break out the sinking lines for chironomid fishing, deep cast and retrieve and trolling techniques. Sterling has details in the interior lake section and be sure to have a read of a report from Mike after his trip up to the interior as well.
Alex has tuned in with an outlook on the upcoming opening for the Vedder/Chilliwack River so if you’re getting ready for that fishery but sure to have a read of his report.
Jason will be tuning in next week with a saltwater report but if you are heading out this weekend make sure to check your weather when a heat wave like this comes through it often brings some big northwest winds with it.
Last week in the Video version of the report Matt took a look at water levels and his predictions for the Skagit, Thompson and Vedder rivers that usually come into shape mid-July. If you missed it check it out here.
Last but not least a friendly reminder that we will be closed next Thursday July 1 for Canada Day but we’re here regular hours the rest of the week.
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.
Dates: July 14 & 17, Sept 21 & 26
Seminar Time: Zoom Seminar 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
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 the Capilano always sees a strong run of coho! Book this course early as we sold out courses last year!!
Dates: July 6
Time: Zoom Seminar 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
Not much has changed on the Capilano since last week. Water levels continue to run higher than usual for this time of year, so the river isn’t fishing quite like it usually does… it’s high enough that fish aren’t really hanging out at the mouth in large numbers, but it’s low enough to make fishing difficult in the river itself.
As usual, your best bet when fishing the river itself is to show up absurdly early in the morning to beat the crowds, fish for a couple hours, then go home… there’s no real point in doing a “full pull” day right now. Beach anglers will have to deal with some less-than-ideal conditions this week, with some large tidal swings and no early-morning low tides. Gear anglers in the river will want to consider smaller presentations, such as beads, micro jigs, small pieces of bait, and stuff like that, while fly anglers will want to stick to the usual Capilano river patterns. Meanwhile, on the beaches, gear anglers have been having some success on spoons, spinners, and Buzz Bombs, while the fly anglers have been finding fish with small shrimp/crab larva patterns and other small minnow/attractors… so, nothing unusual about that. We’ve had reports of reasonable numbers of fish holding in some of the upper river pools; we’ve also had reports that these fish aren’t very willing… so, nothing unusual about that either! If you’re so desperate to catch a fish that you’re considering trying to floss or snag them, don’t.
As always, pay attention to your surroundings when fishing the Cap. Dam controlled rivers can fluctuate dramatically and without warning, so always keep that in mind. A forecasted heat wave this weekend is also something to keep in mind. While it probably won’t directly affect the fishing, it may prompt Metro Vancouver to reduce the amount of water coming through the dam in order to maintain reservoir levels… and it can also cause health issues for those of us stubborn enough to stand in the sun for hours on end. Stay hydrated!
Vedder River Fishing Report – Outlook
It’s that time of year again! After a month of being closed to fishing, the Chilliwack/Vedder River will be re-opening on July 1st for Red Chinook retention. Throughout the Summer, you will be allowed to harvest one Red Chinook in accordance with the daily limit; not only are they tasty but they are fantastic fighters too. Since their numbers are relatively small, compared to the White Chinook run in the Fall, you will want to keep the conditions on your side. First light or last light is your friend and keep moving if nothing is happening, all the while reading the water to make sure you are making those casts count. Sounds like Steelhead fishing? Almost!
While the river does open on the first of July, the water levels are typically through the roof still with freshet. This year, however, it doesn’t look like we have a ton of snowpack and the water height, while still very high, isn’t completely blown out right now. This bodes well for good water conditions coming up in maybe the second week of July. Third week is when things are usually prime and is typically when the run starts to peak anyways. Definitely keep an eye on the Chilliwack hydrograph if you plan to do an early July trip as the water conditions can either make it or break it.
What kind of gear do you need for this fishery? Heavy gear! While the Red Chinooks on average are 8-15lbs and smaller than their Fall cousins, they pull with a ton of ferocity. Not to mention that you typically have higher water conditions to deal with anyways. As such, leave the lighter rods and reels at home. Gear fishing with medium-heavy to heavy 10’6″ float rods is the popular method of choice for this fishery, with cured roe being the bait of choice for the most part though it is not the “be all nor end all”. Cured shrimp works well in addition to having some single beads, jigs, and colorado blades in your arsenal. The other gear method to target these fish is with a medium-heavy to heavy lure rod in the 8’6″-9’6″ range. Springs will readily chase down a big spoon thumped through a run or a heavy jig twitched through a deep pool. The last but not least way to target these fish is with a fly rod. Now this is where you definitely want to think big; 9-10 weight single hand or 7-8 weight double handed rods with heavy sink tips and big streamers. There is a narrow window of opportunity to target them on the fly in this river just because of the brevity of the run and the typical high run-off, but it can be done.
The Chilliwack Red Chinook fishery is the first of the salmon fisheries in the Fraser Valley, so if you can’t wait until October to wet a line in this river then here is your opportunity. Remember that these fish can be scarce at times so keep plugging away at it and keep covering water. If you need any help getting set up come visit us at the Shop and we would be glad to help you get geared up.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lakes Fishing Report
With this heat wave the local stocked trout fishing will be more challenging. Bottom riggs with floating baits is a good option to put your presentation close to the bottom where there is more oxygen for the fish. Come into the shop and we can show you this rig or check out this video Matt did a few years back with fishing with rod for a couple great simple rigs.
Interior Lakes Fishing Reports
Well, we’re in the heat of summer now. There’s always going to be exceptions depending on the lakes and their elevations but long lining chironomids or fishing boobies, blobs, and dragonfly patterns will be the ticket on most lakes. I managed to get out last weekend and was able to find fish consistently anywhere from 11 ft to 20 ft of water. The water temperature at the start of the weekend was 58 degrees Fahrenheit. By Sunday evening, the temperature in that same spot had ramped all the way to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The fish had all moved about 8-10 feet deeper. It took constant adjustments throughout the weekend to stay on them as the fish were starting to feel the heat of summer and were becoming lethargic.
Caddis fishing has really picked up on a lot of lakes as expected. Caddis pupae are not the easiest to imitate due to their zigzag emergence pattern but general patterns like careys and green haze patterns are fantastic imitators. I’ve also seen a lot of damselflies making their way to the reedy shorelines, which is where these general imitator patterns work great too. Of course, we’ve got a huge variety of caddis and damsel patterns in our fly boxes too if you wanted to get specific with colours and fly profiles. Stick with your olives, tans, and browns if you’re not sure where to start with these patterns.
Corbett/7-1/2 Diamond Lake Feature
As you know, I was up at Corbett Lake from June 14-18 and then at 7-1/2 Diamond from the 18th to the 20th. The latter, is definitely a more technical lake to fish as it is classic Eutrophic still water. Add into the mix the predominant swirling winds and the changing barometric pressures, the lack of fish rising or cruising, and one is left to rely on prior experience and ingenuity in order to target unwilling “biters”. I was successful, but the fish were few and far between. I found that trolling pumpkin heads would at least clue me in to where some fish were located. Anchoring up off the weed beds was also effective with an indicator over a black micro leech or a gun metal chironomid. When the winds subsided, fish did show themselves and I targeted them on the classic dry flies that are effective in the BC interior lakes.
Corbett Lake was a less challenging lake to fish but, again, with the changing barometric pressure and the unpredictable winds, fish were staying deeper than in prior weeks or during the same time frame over prior years. The most effective way to target these fish at the 25-30’ range was on a full sinking line with a booby or blob. Chironomids worked well from early morning until 11:00 am and then again from 5:00-8:00 pm. When the winds settled, dry flies presented in the shallows were the successful ticket. At other times, it was anyone’s guess in terms of getting a strike. There were plenty of hatches of Damsels, Dragon and May Flies although this didn’t mean that they corresponded to active surface feeding or takes. With a riffled surface, fish were feeding subsurface and so enter the nymph and emerger patterns. Toward the end of the week the lake was starting to warm and the fish were lurking deeper.
I was so busy trying to control the rod, the net, and the fish in the wind that it was virtually impossible to take photos and have safe and speedy releases. Sadly, I have no photos, but my releases were successful for someone else to enjoy a tug and a fight. These fish are big and many have wintered well in an aerated lake. The lake was stocked in May with Ted Brown’s Pennask strain, ranging from 2-5lbs. A few larger ones were also added to the stocking for this year.
I look forward to a return trip in late August or early September as well as my typical week in June for next year.
Tight lines and bent rods!