We’re heading into a heat wave this weekend! If you’re looking to get out on the water and cool off Whistler Lakes have been fishing well and are a great option close to home.
If you can’t get out on the water this weekend be sure to spend some time getting your gear ready for the Chilliwack and the Skagit, both of which open July 1st. We are looking forward to chinook salmon fishing in the Chilliwack River and our resident trout enthusiasts have their gear packed to get to the Skagit River next week.
Beach fishing is starting to pick up. We’ve got some good tides coming up this weekend so now is the time to get out. If you’re heading out on your boat or thinking of a guided trip there are lots of options. Coho are now consistently showing up off of West Van and Hole in the Wall area up in Howe Sound is another great choice this time of year. Check out the beach fishing report and the full saltwater report below for all of the insights from our guides.
Come beat the heat in our air conditioned shop and take in a few courses this month and next. Matt will be teaching his always popular Introduction to Fly Fishing Trout Streams and there are still a few spots in two of Andre’s Fly Fishing on Beaches class. If you were hoping to get into our Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon and missed getting a spot in our June and July dates don’t miss out on our August date, details below.
Introduction to Fly Fishing Trout Streams – 4 spots left.
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 course will get you as close to being Brad Pitt (River Runs Through It) as you will ever be! This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar.
Date: June 29
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 3 courses in 2014!!
Dates: July 6 SOLD OUT, July 14 or July 22 Time: 6:30pm to 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.
Seminar: July 20, 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Casting Date: July 26, 2pm to 5pm
Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon
Over 50 million salmon migrate past Vancouver annually. Learn how to catch these fish with a Pacific Angler. This course offers an in-depth look at the local saltwater scene. We cover the local saltwater salmon fishing for the entire year, showing you the how, when, and where. This course includes a 3hr evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water in one of our Grady Whites.
Seminar Date: August 12, 6:30PM to 9:30PM
On the water: August 14 or August 16
PRODUCT FEATURE – LAGURTAN IS BACK!
It’s back!! This news is sure to put a smile on a lot of fly tyers faces! We all thought that Lagurtan was gone for good but we are happy to report that it is back and we have a great selection in stock.
Lagurtan is a high quality product that is worth every penny. Trust me! They have a great lineup of materials from flat braid, tinsels, floss, mohair yarn, stretch tubing etc. The colour variations on some of the products are plenty, which enables the tyer to be creative whether tying steelhead flies, chironomids or saltwater flies. I have tied a lot of classic salmon and Spey flies using their flat and oval tinsels in the regular and embossed versions. The most popular item is their flat braid, which comes in regular and mini size on a 5-yard spool.
A lot of contemporary steelhead flies and chironomids use mini-flat braids weather tying bodies or using it as a rib. With a huge selection of colours from bright to more natural colours for tying more realistic flies, Lagurtan has got you covered. Come in and check it out!
July 1st is opening day for the Chilliwack/Vedder River and it also is the start of the Summer chinook salmon fishery. These red fleshed chinook often referred to as “Red Springs” enter the river in early July and run till mid August. These are the first of the several species of salmon you can target on the Chilliwack this year. Fishing usually doesn’t pick up till mid to late July as there are typically more fish in the river by then, but if you’re itching to get out don’t hesitate to get out there on opening day.
Float fishing roe, prawns, jigs, and wool ties as well as casting spoons are great ways to target these fish for the conventional angler. Fishing heavier gear such as a 30gr or 35gr float can be advantageous as these fish will hold in faster and heavier water. Hook sizes 1/0 to 3/0 are your go to as well as 12lb to 20lb leader material but these aggressive fish can also be caught on swung flies such as General Practitioners, popsicle patterns, and intruders sticking with the red, orange, black, and blue themes. Blue and Chartreuse is a great colour combo for chinook as well.
When looking for holding water look for water 3-6ft in depth and with a steady walking pace to it. Don’t be afraid to fish heaver head ends of runs or faster seams as these fish will sit in the faster water as much as the will the classic holding spots. Cover as much water as possible but keep in mind it might take a couple casts for these fish to commit to your presentation. With very little snowpack this year and no rain river levels across the Lower Mainland, including the Chillwack, have been lower than average. This will make for a very interesting start to the salmon season.
Tight Lines, Sam Graham
The Capilano continues to be low and clear and with not a drop of rain in the long-term forecast we expect this to remain the same. Some folks have been venturing up to check out the river levels and we’ve had the odd report of coho in the system.
Your best bet may to be to do some beach fishing at the mouth of the river. When the fish can’t make it into the river they will stage at the mouth. Check out the beach report below for a full beach fishing update.
While there is only a few more days until the Chilliwack and Skagit open if you’re looking to get out and fish this weekend the Chehalis is open. We haven’t heard many reports from the river but don’t let that stop you from getting out and enjoying some fishing on this beautiful river.
Skagit River and Thompson River
The Skagit opens July 1st and we are already hearing solid reports from the Thompson River! I looked back on the last few years of reporting and it was very interesting to see the July reports on the Skagit and Thompson. For the most part the opening week is poor on the Skagit because water levels are too high making access challenging. This year we are hearing fairly good reports off the Thompson and water levels are looking good which leads us to expect good things for opening day on the Skagit.
Historically dry fly fishing has been rare on the Skagit this time of year but who knows with this kind of heat. Focus on floating lines and nymphing rigs for the rainbows with hares ears, golden stones and black stones. We have a great selection in stock. For bull tout use sink tips or carry a poly leader for your floating line with olive, black or purple streamers. We recommend 5-7lb fluorocarbon leaders or at least fluorocarbon tippet for you nymphing rigs but 4 ft of 8lb maxima off your sink tip is perfect for your streamer set up. If you do not have a poly leader or dedicated sink tip line use split shot and a longer leader but know that a poly leader is way more effective. Also make sure to have a few dry flies in your box just in case. Two of my early favourites are stimulators and simple grey parachute Adams.
Looking forward to hearing the reports after the first of July!
Now is the time of year to be fishing the Whistler/Pemberton lakes. Small trout are plentiful in most lakes in the Whistler area; Green, Alta, Lost, and Nita, to mention a few. The odd 18” trout can be encountered, and some lakes also hold big char. Again, morning and evening usually offer the best fishing.
Trout fishing is now very slow for the most part in and around the city. Carp and bass offer exciting summer fishing opportunities for both fly and gear anglers. Carp and bass are not stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society, so you will have to do some exploring to find where these fish are. Although carp are not held with high regard locally, they are a real challenge to catch on a fly rod. When hooked, carp put up a strong and persistent fight!
I heard of some positive lake reports from customers that have been in the shop this past week. Island (Big O.K) is producing fish on bright green and brown chironomids in size 16 . There was also a caddis hatch in the evening. Stump lake fished really well on the south end on damsels and dragons with a short window of chironomid hatch. If you want to drive a little further, try Hihume Lake as it is also high elevation. Don’t forget about Tunkwa Lake as it fishes all throughout the summer because of creeks that feed into the lake. Yes it is warmer than usual for this time of the year but the fish still need eat so don’t rule out the interior lakes just yet!
West Vancouver Beach Fishing
About two weeks ago I started scouting the beach for early coho, getting excited for the start of the season. Customers in the store have been asking me when I thought the coho will be here and I kept saying jokingly June 24 or the 25. Turns out I was right! On Wednesday I went to the beach for early morning low tide and the coho were swirling 20ft in front of me. My heart was pounding with excitement to finally see some good numbers of fish. I noticed two different pods of fish that were moving around.
The fish were extremely picky and I had to change flies several times to see what they would take, finally after briefly hooking up with 3 fish I had a solid take on the 4th one which I landed. The winner fly that day was my “AKF” fly. Also I had to find the right strip to get them to bite.
The tides are really good starting Saturday the 27th of June so make sure you are there at least an hour before low tide. Come by the store and we will set you up with the right gear to increase your chances in catching these finicky fish. There are also 2 more dates available in my Beach Fly Fishing course so call the store and sign up if you are interested.
See you on the beach,
It must be summer because we are forecast to hit 28 degrees this weekend and the coho are now consistently showing up off West Van. Although the fishing is far from hot yet, you can definitely see the fishing build up almost daily. There have been a few fish from the beach as well as fish being caught by anglers trolling. Most of the fish have been been caught trolling from the “Capilano Mouth” up to the “Pink Apartment”. The fish are usually pretty shallow, about 20 to 60 on the downrigger and if you can get out really early in the morning it can often be the best bite of the day. No need for glow flashers at these shallow depths, try these flashers that we have found to be very productive in shallower fisheries. The Oki Tackle Betsy, Green Onion, Purple Onion and the UV Jelly Fish Kinetic Yellow Green Mist (aka Club Dub). On the business end of things a UV white hootchy or a white hootchy with a 28-32 inch leader is one of the top producers. Spoons on a 5 to 6 foot leader will also produce well, like the Kingfisher Irish Cream, Pink Sink, and Wonderbread (white with multi colour dots). The Pesca spoons are also working well like the Gut Bomb and Skittles (white with multi colour dots). Something about white for these fish, the white hootchy, white flies, white spoons like the Wonderbread and Skittles, just seems to work. Perhaps because a lot of the fish are feeding on crab larvae this time of year and they have a white hue to them in many cases.
The other fishery you should be thinking about this time of year is the Hole in the Wall area up in Howe Sound. Around the end of June and the first 2 weeks of July there is a distinct push of chinook salmon that enter Howe Sound on their journey up to the Squamish and Cheakamus rivers. Although you can run into these fish in a variety of spots, trolling around the rock walls of Howe Sound seems to be the best. In particular Hole in the Wall by the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal up to Sunset Marina is a popular stretch. The hot depth is usually somewhere from 60 down to 150. Shallower on darker days or early in the morning and deeper on sunny days or later in the day. Bait is usually the best producer in this fishery and a good flasher that has some UV and glow in it is hard to beat as it works well at a variety of depths. Try a Purple Onion Glow or Green Onion Glow flasher with a 6 foot leader to a glow green teaser head with an anchovy or herring in it. Make sure your line is fresh and your knots are solid as there have been a few fish over 30 pounds taken already this year and I guarantee the biggest have yet to be caught. Yes I said 30 pounds! We have seen pictures of fish that were 36, 34, and 32 from the past few weeks. This is often not a fishery where you will catch a lot of fish, although there are days when it is pretty active, but on most days a few fish is a good day but the fish are often in the 20 pound class. We have only been up here a few times this month, on days we couldn’t get to Thrasher because of NW winds, and the days we were there it was really tough fishing, but fishing will be much more consistent this coming week and if I was looking for a big one, this is where I would go.
Is Thrasher done? That has been a popular question this past week. The answer is no, there are still some good days to be had. It has remained spotty though. Eddie and Dimitri were out this week and one day a boat had 3 bites all day. The next day 7 bites on one tide change. Sometimes the bait is there and the fish aren’t. Other days the bait is there and so are the fish. Somedays there has been neither. The pressure has definitely dropped off as it has been a spotty June for Thrasher, but this is still my personal choice for the rest of this month and I will be guiding there this weekend. Deep is the name of the game as all the bait has generally been on the bottom. 18 pound cannonballs in glow coating give you an edge and allow you to keep that 170-250 feet of cable down there and troll fast so you can cover water. Glow flashers are a must, the blue glow with a blue splatter back hootchie has been hot as well as a chartreuse glow flasher with a chartreuse and green glow teaser head with anchovy or herring.
So as you can see, there is lots to do! Thrasher Rock, Howe Sound, and the Cap Mouth or West Van. We have all the right gear, and some specialized gear for all these fisheries, so come by the shop and we can give you a hand. We also have a good selection of bait and the salt and bait coolers as well.
See you on the shop or on the water!
Jason Tonelli, Eddie Matthei, Dimitri Roussanidis