Summer is here and July is just around the corner! We had a damp week this week but the weather should get good this Canada Day Long Weekend with temps in the mid 20s!
July is a big month in the BC fishing world. Several fisheries open on the 1st and a number of species start to show up.
The big ones to talk about this week are the Vedder/Chiliwack chinook fishery, the Skagit trout fishery and the Capilano coho beach fishery. Overall, we are seeing some very favorable conditions, at least for the early stages of these fisheries.
Snow pack levels are quite low in the lower part of the province. This may cause some issues later down the road but for right now this should be a good thing for the Chilliwack and Skagit fisheries and if river levels remain low, we can expect coho to stage well at the Capilano river mouth.
On the Skagit front this rain might have slowed dropping river levels a little but we still think the fishing should be good early this season. This might not mean opening day but we expect water levels to be at good wading levels very soon. With this in mind Brendan has a feature on some of his favorite custom patterns for the Skagit. We have these patterns for sale at the store but we can also show you how to tie them. The boys are heading out opening day for a scout. We expect it to be a touch early but we are still optimistic and will have more details next week.
In this week’s report Alex has all the details you need if you are planning to hit the Vedder/Chilliwack for chinook this season and Jordan has a coho beach fishing overview.
Another fishery that is on everyone’s radar is the pink salmon fishery. To mitigate the 100 emails we will get this week, NO we have not heard any reports yet 😊 . That said it is soon. You should start tying flies, gear if you haven’t already and scouting missions are not out of the question. We have Andre’s famous Pink Pams in the store, the lure wall is starting take on a pleasant pink hue and the material walls are well stocked with pink stuff too.
Reports from the saltwater fleet have also been very positive. There have been good numbers of coho off the Hump, South Bowen from Cowan to Roger Cutis, Point Atkinson down towards Dundarave and a few at the Cap Mouth. Jason has some great details on how they have been coho fishing and if you have been holding off on getting out now is the time. These reports also bode very well for both the beach fisherman.
Last but not least, we have seen a very good lake season this year. Though things can get hot in July and lakes become less predictable there are a ton of good ones to look at this time of year. Aiden had details in the Interior lake report and Zach has info on the Sea to Sky lakes as well.
Canada Day Long Weekend Hours
Friday June 28 | 10AM – 7PM
Saturday June 29 | 10AM – 6PM
Sunday June 30 | 11AM – 5PM
Monday July 1 | Closed – Happy Canada Day!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Vancouver Chinook Classic
Save the date – it’s Game On for the 8th 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 17th & Sun Aug 18th 2019
Venue: Pacific Gateway Hotel & Deckside Marina
3500 Cessna Drive Richmond
Prizes: 1st place $15,000, 2nd place $7,000 3rd place $3,000
Entry Fee: $350 + GST per person (max 4 anglers per team)
Registration: Register online here: https://www.decksidemarina.com/registration-form
- Entry into 2019 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 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,
Pacific Gateway Hotel
CLASSES AND 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 courses last year!!
Dates: July 9 or July 15
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.
Dates: Seminar July 17 & Casting July 20
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report – Red Chinook Overview
On July 1st the
Vedder River will re-open after a month-long closure and we are making the
switch from steelheading to salmon fishing! Throughout the summer the Vedder
will be receiving red chinook back and while they are not numerous and as
readily caught as their fall white chinook cousins, these summer reds have a
lot of power and are great table fare should you manage to land one. Typically
this run peaks in the fourth week of July once the freshet levels have receded
but with the lower than average water levels we are having this year we should
see good conditions right from the get-go.
These fish can be hard to find and sometimes hard to entice; you can think of it like a steelhead fishery in the Summer. This is definitely a first light fishery as high light penetration pushes these fish into the deepest and choppiest water in the river and gets them very tight-lipped. Not only are their hideouts typically trenchy and fast, but these fish have tremendous power so expect to use heavy gear. Drifting and casting anglers will desire rods rated in the medium-heavy to heavy power, albeit a medium will suffice. Big floats/weights (think 30-35 grams) for drifters and heavy braid in the 30-50lb range for lure casters are a necessity. Fly anglers will want single hand rods in the 9 or 10 weight range or an 8 weight double handed setup, both with heavy sink tips. These fish will put your gear to the test and in my opinion are one of the best fighting salmon you can find in the river. Regardless of whether you are using gear or fly, 15lb leader material or higher is a must. A big fish coupled with fast water (as per usual in July) is usually a recipe for disaster with light gear.
So what bait, lures, or flies do you want to use to catch these fish? When it comes to bait pro-cured roe is always a go-to; chinook love munching on a big ball of roe and these fish are no different. Prawn tails can also work although it tends to have more Sockeye and Trout by-catch. Drifting jensen eggs, shaped tufts of wool, beads, or Colorados can also work. For those wanting to cast lures, these fish will chase down big spoons and spinners swung through deep channels. Think K4 Wobblers, large Kohos, and size 4 or 5 Blue Foxes. Don’t be afraid to go big as you want to get their attention. Last but not least, the fly anglers will want to swing big streamers and get them deep. Think General Practitioners or Dirk Wigglers, or any other big gaudy fly in chartreuse, blue, pink, orange, and black (and any combination of these). As with most of these presentations, be it gear or fly, it is more important that you find a willing fish and present your offering well than it is to get the right “choice” of presentation.
This is a tough fishery but for those that want a bit more of a challenge than chasing Pinks this July and August, it can be an awesomely rewarding one. Dust off your heavy gear, be prepared to wake up early and get ready to cover water and walk your butt off. Come into the shop and talk to us if you want more information regarding the red chinook or if you want to get set up to hit the water.
Skagit River Fishing Report – Outlook and Flies
With the Skagit River opening on the first of July, here is an overview of a few must-have fly patterns for your fly box. Historically speaking, the Skagit is high the first few weeks of July due to freshet. Along with higher cold water early in the season, we typically won’t see many of your classic Skagit bug hatches. However, the bugs are still there, in nymphal stages. We can easily mimic these forms of insects using weighted nymph patterns. Nymphing under an indicator or euro style is key early on and can produce fish all day long. Some must have patterns that I always have in my box are girdle bugs, prince nymphs, a mayfly crawler imitation and small golden stones.
A girdle bug in sizes 8-12 can resemble a number of insects depending on the colour. Trout will take them as a stonefly in the larger sizes in the brown/golden stone colours. The olive colour can be taken as both a stonefly and a larger mayfly nymph.
Prince nymphs are a staple in the industry and don’t necessarily resemble a specific insect yet incorporate attributes of a few to make a broad imitation of many insects making it a very popular pattern over time. Prince nymphs in an array of sizes 10-14 are always in my box, as trout will take them for the various sizes of mayfly nymphs or caddis pupa in the river.
The mayfly crawler is a pattern that I have started to fish with more frequently as of last year. Essentially, this pattern is a larger wide-bodied mayfly nymph in either grey or olive/green. These nymphs will eventually turn into the large grey/green drakes (big mayflies) that can be seen hatching later in the season.
Small golden stoneflies in sizes 8-12 are a pattern I will turn to when the previous mentioned patterns are not working. Stone flies in other colours will work; however, the stoneflies on the Skagit are all olive/gold in colour and typically small.
If you are heading out in the next couple weeks you also don’t want to forget about the bulltrout. They are commonly taken on larger dark nymph patterns but if you find them my go to is a white streamers in the 2-4-nch range like a slump buster. Follow this up with a small olive sculpzilla and you can fool most fish that are in a feeding mood. As the season progresses you will see the bulltrout focus more on spawning and can become tight lipped but when you find them early season, they are usually hungry and aggressive.
For those of you headed up for opening week, good luck. Some of us from the shop will be up on opening day and we will have an in-depth report next week on what’s working, water levels, and how much the fire has affected the river and road.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Sea To Sky Lakes Fishing Report
The Sea to Sky area lakes have been fishing extremely well as of late and should be on your list if you’re looking for an easy day trip this weekend. We haven’t seen many super warm days yet so the fish haven’t shut down due to lack of oxygen in these lakes and they have yet to hunker down deep to keep cool.
Alta Lake has been fishing well and if you haven’t fished this lake before it is definitely worth checking out. This is a catch and release only lake so the fish tend to grow quite large here. This is awesome if you’re wanting to find a fishery that is close to home that holds fish much larger than your average 10-14″ local stocked fish. You will find cutthroat and rainbow trout in this lake and they can be quite easy to catch in the right spot with the right gear. Spoons and spinners cast or trolled around the dock and weed beds just off of Rainbow Park will always produce fish. If you are fly fishing, I would be using large wooly buggers and large sculpin imitations as well as large pale coloured leeches in grey or white. This lake has an amazing view of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and the fish do not disappoint.
Another lake I have been hearing about from my little birds is Green Lake in Whistler. This lake has been nothing short of spectacular as of late for my buddies in Pemberton. If you are using gear, I would be trolling a willow leaf with a white or black rooster tail in the 1/6oz size. F-4 and F-5 Flat Fish and larger Mini-G spoons are also a good bet. The fly guys are having excellent luck using Black Wooly Buggers and nymphs under indicators. Keep an eye out for hatches going on as there has also been some amazing surface action lately as well. Emerger patterns and Tom Thumbs have been keeping anglers happy on top. There is descent sized bulltrout as well as rainbows in this lake and both species have been quite active in the morning as of late. Since this lake is a bit bigger, I would start by focusing my attention at the creek mouths that enter and exit the lake as that is where most of the food sources will be.
Come on into the shop and let us get you set up for these amazing fisheries that are close to home!
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
The interior lakes have been turning on and off throughout the past week. Some anglers are having record days, and some are getting skunked. This may be an effect of the weather more than the individual lake or angler. Luckily, we’re looking to see things clear up after a rainy week in both Kamloops and Merritt, so if you’ve got a trip planned, do not fret.
Chironomid fisherman are still getting into fish, generally in depths from 20 – 40ft, fishing larger sizes – not quite “bomber” sizes yet, as the cooler weather has halted that progress, but size 12 – 10 natural colored chronnies have been producing. I’d be keeping it to olive, black and brown while mixing in the odd chrome depending what you see in the water, or your throat pump.
Some fisherman (including my old man) have been doing well on scuds. I know too many fisherman who essentially pack their bags as soon as they see shrimp everywhere in a lake, but it isn’t a death sentence for your trip. Many people will fish scuds much like a chironomid, with a more aggressive retrieve. But more effectively has been casting on a naked line, right into cover, such as submerged bushes weed patches or reeds (this is preferred shrimp habituate) So make sure to have some tan and olive scuds in a range of sizes in your box, often times it will be the only pattern that will work.
Lakes such as Thalia, Roche, and the Kane valley lakes are scud fed, and have all been fishing well during this blustery weather.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Beach Fishing Report – Gear Overview
With the spring already turning in to summer, fly anglers and gear angler are getting ready to hit the beaches in anticipation of the coho and pink salmon that are on their way.
have dedicated gear, specific to this fishery and today we are going to look at
how you can tweak existing gear to fit the demands of beach fishing or what to
look for in a dedicated beach fishing setup. This week we are looking at the
fly fishing setups and next week we will look at the ideal gear fishing setups.
Specific Fly Gear For Beach Fishing
For starters, let’s look at rods Many anglers who target salmon already have a 6, 7, or 8wt. These are the preferred rod weights, with 6 and 7wts being ideal for pinks while the 7 and 8wts are better for coho. Medium to medium-fast action rods are a great choice as they will provide good distance, but they are not too fast to deliver more delicate presentations. You don’t want a noodle rod but you also don’t want a crazy fast action distance casting rod that will wear you out while constantly making long casts all morning. Length is another thing to consider and though wind plays a big role in beach fishing the beach behind us and the waves in front also factor in. If it was just a wind factor a 9ft rod is ideal to get under the wind but have more height and reach with a longer rod has a big benefit in dealing with the rocks behind and reaching over the waves in front. For me the ideal rod is a 9’6 7wt or a 10ft 7wt and on the pink front you can repurpose a 10ft 5-6wt lake rod and it makes a great light beach setup.
Reels are important for beach fishing. Your trout reel or antique hardy is not the best choice simple because salt, sand and barnacles kill fly reels. All I will say is that if you don’t invest in a good sealed bar stock reel you will need to invest a bunch of time right after every outing cleaning your real. Cleaning is always needed even with higher end sealed systems, but you get some wiggle room going to a proper saltwater reel. The best reel when looking at a good balance of weight and durability we feel is the Nautilus X series and the LT from Sage is also a close runner up.
For lines, you don’t need a true saltwater line, but it helps. The true saltwater lines are more durable and impervious to the salty elements, as well as offer loop stability at great distances. They also are designed to cut the wind which is a great help on the beach. Some of our favorites are the SA Frequency Saltwater Line or the Rio General Purpose Saltwater line.
As for leaders, myself and Andre really like the Airflo Poly-leaders in both floating and clear intermediate. These help turn things over in the wind while maintaining distance from the fly line that might spook fish. If you don’t have this option, any 9-12 foot tapered leader will suffice. Finish this off with a few feet of 8-12lb fluorocarbon and you’re all set.
When it comes to flies, our local fish tend to eat smaller sized flies. They are staging fish and are not as focused on hunting as fish farther off are. Small krill and euphasid patterns work great- many of which were designed and developed by Andre. We have a full selection of local and custom patterns.
As for tides, most of us prefer a low slack heading in to a flood. For the mouth of the Capilano, the tide needs to drop below 6 feet for the sandbar to be exposed. Can you still catch them when it’s not exposed? Sure, but it is more difficult.
Remember, an ebb tide will slowly pull fish away from the shore and farther out. They’ll also head offshore to mingle in the deeper, cool water. As it floods, they get pushed closer to the beach and get more active with the sudden increase in cool, oxygen rich water.
One added piece of equipment that is not entirely necessary but will make a world of difference is a good stripping basket. Though a bit pricey, they make managing and shooting line a dream.
Keep it tight,
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
This week we are going to focus on coho. If you have been reading past reports, you know we have had an epic chinook season so far and we were talking about the coho showing up about this week, and sure enough they did. Test sets for juvenile coho in the Southern Strait of Georgia this winter were at or near record levels and the coho seem to be spending their time in our local waters instead of going off the West Coast. This means we should have an excellent coho season this summer, and if the schools of coho we saw this past week are any indication of what is to come, things are looking good. Remember that last year the Cap had one of the biggest coho returns in a decade, with 16,000 fish making it into the hatchery. This year there are already good numbers of coho in the river, with many more waves of fish to arrive in July and August.
There have been good reports of coho off the Hump, South Bowen from Cowan to Roger Curtis, Point Atkinson down towards Dundarave, and a few at the Cap Mouth. The limit is 2 hatchery coho a day.
So how do you catch these fish? Well the first thing is they are shallow. I hooked one the other day with the flasher on the surface with a spoon trailing behind as I was getting ready to set the gear. Bucktailing is certainly not out of the question, but if you want to put up some numbers then trolling with flashers, spoons, and hootchies is the way to go. Since the fish are generally in the top 50 feet of the water column, we are using flashers that rely on reflective properties, not glow properties. Think of Betsy, Green Onion, Purple Onion, Green Haze, Purple Haze, etc. For spoons they are loving the reflective nickel finishes in the Skinny Gee or Wee Gee, like blue/nickel, purple/nickel, green/nickel, chartreuse/nickel, and Killy McGee. Kingfisher 3.0 and 3.5 spoons are also working well in Killy McGee, Bob Marley, Pink Sink, and Maverick. Try a 5 to 6 foot leader to your flasher when fishing spoons. When it comes to hootchies we like short leaders that provide a lot of action, usually around 28 inches. UV white hootchies, white hootchies, or UV and white hootchies with some pink or red on them have all been very productive.
Some productive flashers, spoons, and hootchies for coho.
Now that you know what works, let’s talk about riggers and depths. Since you are fishing shallow, you definitely want to stack. That means 2 rods on one rigger. Keep it tight as well, about 20 to 25 feet between your release clips. If you do this on each side, and then offset your rigger depths by 10 feet or so, you can really cover that top 50 to 60 feet of the water effectively. Keep in mind early in the day and on dark days the fish are going to be shallower and later in the day or on sunny days they will often be deeper, so adjust your depths accordingly.
If you would like to book a trip and get out there for some coho action, give us a call at 778-788-8582.
Note that chinook will open in some areas on July 15 and others Aug 1. I will cover this in detail in next week’s report, but in the meantime the coho fishing has been great and we are often getting some big chinook at the same time!
Also note the commercial boats are out in full force in Vancouver Harbour and crabbing has really dropped off. We are getting a few keepers, but crabbing will get pretty lean as the commercial fleet continues to set in our local waters.
See you in the shop or on the water,