It’s the Canada Day long weekend and with it we have a big report for you! With July 1st hours away, we have updates on a number of fisheries that open July 1. We also have a detailed pink river fishing article.
No, the pinks have not arrived yet, but they are close, and the Squamish is open for catch and release on the 1st. We figured it’s time for some scouting. In the article, Casey goes over what you need if you were planning on tackling river fishing for pinks this season. We also have a video report this week where Matt talks about some of the historical timing for when the pinks will arrive so you can all start planning.
In a related fishery to the Squamish pinks, we also have a beach report this week. The beach is related because we are expecting a good pink beach year with low water, but it is also noteworthy because the coho number in the strait right now are very good. We are hearing consistent reports that they are showing up on the beaches. If you get out now for some scouting for pinks, you have a very real chance of running into coho off the local beaches.
With the coho in mind, finally the saltwater boat anglers have something to be excited about. Coho fishing off Bowen right now is red hot and makes any trip well worth the gas. If you were thinking about heading out in the boat this week, watch the winds but get out there. Jason has details at the end of the report in the saltwater section.
Last, but not least, we see the Chilliwack and the Skagit open on July 1st. Taylor has a detailed report in the river section on the Chilliwack and If you want to hear all about the Skagit and trout river fly fishing, Matt tunes in with road info and updates in the video report.
If you’re looking to stop by the shop before you head out this weekend, we are open regular hours all weekend long including Saturday, July 1, and closed on Monday!
Canada Day Long Weekend Hours
Friday June 30 | 10AM-7PM
Saturday July 1 | 10AM-6PM
Sunday July 2 | 11AM-5PM
Monday July 3 | Closed
Click below for the video version of the report and read on for the detailed written reports below:
Happy Canada Day Everyone!
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. 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
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report – Opening Day Is Coming!
It’s June 30th, and that means the Vedder/Chilliwack Salmon fishery officially opens tomorrow. As of July 1st, there will be retention opportunities for one chinook per day, marked or unmarked. There will be a few springs in the system on opening week, but the fishing is usually a bit spotty and hit-or-miss until the second week of July, when larger numbers of fish typically start arriving. There will be a number of sockeye in the system at the same time as the springs but note that there is absolutely no targeting or retention of sockeye in the C/V system due to the fragile and diminished population, so any sockeye that you encounter must be immediately released unharmed. Of course, the usual trout, steelhead smolts, whitefish and coarse fish will be present as well.
In terms of water levels, things are looking good and not so good at the same time. The river is currently running over half a meter lower than it was at this time last year due to the early freshet, and this summer it is expected to be quite dry. This has several implications… some good, some quite bad.
On one hand, the lower water levels will slow the fish down on their upstream charge, which will concentrate them in certain areas and make them easier to target. On the other, those who were present for the low-water season two years ago may remember how busy certain areas got, and how tight-lipped the fish got at certain times. Low water levels can also have a very negative impact on the fish if it stays low enough for long enough. I lost count of how many times I said the words “low” and “clear” last fall, and there’s a chance that this could be the case again this summer… here’s hoping it doesn’t. My current prediction for the summer fishery is “good numbers of summer chinook, but below optimal river levels” … don’t hold me to that, though.
In terms of targeting the summer-run springs, float fishing is going to be the most common and effective method. Drifting bait such as roe or shrimp or artificials such as beads, blades, yarn, jigs or gooey bobs will all be effective, but remember to adjust your presentation based on water conditions. Fish can also be caught by swinging spoons and flies, twitching jigs or retrieving a spinner, so it’s not a terrible idea to bring a second rod if you want to switch things up. Summer springs tend to prefer deep water, much like the fall springs, though the summer fish tend to prefer faster water than their fall run cousins- so keep this in mind when looking for spots. Knowing that the water is lower than usual, and the fish won’t be able to blast upstream as fast as usual, one might consider focusing their effort on the lower river first.
Summer springs are exceptionally strong and often make their fall run counterparts look like slouches when it comes to the fight they put up- summer springs will usually jump repeatedly and go on multiple reel-torching runs before going deep and “bulldogging” for extended periods of time, so make sure your gear is up to the challenge- medium-action rods can be used, but most anglers will opt for medium-heavy or even heavy-action gear instead… mainly to improve their hook-to-land ratio and to reduce gear breakage. 12-20lb leaders are common. I usually run 15lb mono or fluoro and size 1-3/0 hooks are common, depending on the size of your presentation.
Summer springs can be fairly “showy” and will oftentimes alert you to their presence by jumping, rolling, or splashing around, so keep an eye out for surface activity- but be aware that sockeye are also quite fond of splashing about, so while seeing a jumping fish is a very obvious indication that there are fish in an area, it doesn’t always mean those fish are springs.
Remember that the C/V system is quite popular with beachgoers, rafters, kayakers and other assorted recreators. While they can be and often are quite annoying, they have just as much of a right to be there as we do, so please be considerate towards everybody while out on the water.
How to Target Pink Salmon Squamish Edition – What You Need to Get Ready for River Fishing
Fishing for pink salmon can be some of the most entertaining fishing in the Lower Mainland as it’s super simple and fun. This makes it novice angler friendly, and you’ll still see more experienced veterans out on the water as well.
The Squamish opens for catch and release fishing on July 1. We do not expect fish to be in the system on opening day in any real numbers, but it is well worth a scout and it’s time to start planning. In the video version of the report, Matt goes over some dates that historically we have heard good reports from the Squamish, so check that out for planning your trips and read below for gear and technique recommendation.
There’s a multitude of ways we can target pinks on the Squamish. You can float fish jigs, beads, and small steelhead worms, twitch jigs, swing spoons, strip flies, and swing small intruders for them with switch and spey rods.
For those who want to target pinks with gear rods, spinning and casting, using rods in length ranges from 7 to 10’6 in a medium-light (6-10lb) to medium (8-12lb) power is the way to go as these fish don’t really get any larger than 6+ lbs. Line wise, I like running 20lb braid on my rods with 10-12lb fluorocarbon leaders or a 12-14lb mono main line to an 8-10lb fluorocarbon leader. Keep the leaders short. Pinks are not leader shy at all, and they actively bite throughout the day. No need to run anything longer than 2ft as it will increase the chances of snagged/foul hooked fish. Additionally, there’s no need to fish super deep, pinks will actively rise up in the water column to hit and often travel close to shore when the water is dirty.
One of my favorite float fishing set ups to use when I chase for pinks on the Squamish is my G. Loomis 1263-2C GL3 10’6 Medium 6-12lb (discontinued) spooled with 30lb braid to an 8ft 20lb monofilament butt section to a short 12lb fluorocarbon leader. I typically short float jigs, or I’ll fish small pink beads and steelhead worms and just whale on ’em. Key is to use light gear and to bring a variety of presentations for different visibility scenarios (think 2021 chocolate milk season).
An example of an awesome twitching/spoon set up would be like a G. Loomis E6X 1024-2S 8’6 Medium 8-12lb paired with a spinning reel in the 2500-3000 range spooled with 20lb braid to a 2-3ft 12lb monofilament or fluorocarbon leader. Same idea above, light gear with a wide selection of spoons, spinners, and twitching jigs.
If you’re a fly fisherman, think 6 or 7 wt. if you know how to handle your gear properly. If you’re more on the novice side, grab that 7 or 8 wt. at home. This is great practice for fighting anadromous fish. Line wise, the easiest way to target them is by using a full floating line with light Versi-leader sink-tips. For the guys that like to fish 2 handed rods, switch and spey, aim to use 6 and 7 wt. rods. Like I said for the single-handed angler, same applies to the double handed angler. Use a full floating line with light sink tips or short sink tips. Poly-leaders/Versi-leaders for the Scandinavian style line, short and light sink tips for the Skagit line. Think short portions of T-8. With all gear or fly setups we need to be careful of foul hooking fish. The first step is lighter sink tips and shorter leaders.
If you can mend and control your line properly, you can achieve the necessary depth to get in front of the fish. If you find that you are snagging fish semi-consistently or hanging up, it’s an indicator that it’s time to fish lighter or move on to another spot. Here’s a short video on sink tips to help you out – Best Sink Tips For Salmon Fishing – Sink Tips Explained for Fly Fishing for Salmon – YouTube
Fly wise, you can fish small pink or chartreuse streamers for the strip and retrieve. Clouser’s and small Woolly Buggers are great picks for casting and stripping.
A large variety of pink salmon flies. Having a good selection can sometimes be key to success.
If you are planning to swing flies, think micro intruders in the pink and chartreuse color schemes in the 2-3in range. Those low water steelhead flies that you tie in the pink and chartreuse color schemes are also another great swinging choice.
Obviously, if the water is dirty like 2021, pull out the big 3-4in unweighted intruders and go swing for the hills.
See you guys out on the water or in the shop grabbing pink gear!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Once again, the coho fishing this week is on center stage. The fishing has been excellent, and our guide boats have been getting quick limits on hatchery coho. The fish are a great size for this time of year, a testament to the number of herring and anchovies in our area. We have had some fun trips with locals, clients from around the world, and lots of families, which is great to see.
Best depths have been from just under the surface, around 17-21 on the riggers, down to as deep as 65 on the riggers. Early in the morning that 20-35 zone on the riggers seems to work well and once the sun gets higher 35-55 seems to start producing some more fish. To cover all these zones, you can stack 2 rods on the rigger with a 20-25 foot spread. Lately the fishing has been on the hectic side, so we haven’t been stacking, but if it slows down, stacking is a great way to cover the water and maximize your catch rate.
Productive flashers have been the Gibbs or Oki, Purple Onion and Green Onion, with or without a glow stripe, Purple Haze, Green Haze, and Silver Betsy, either the original or the Super Betsy. We fish a lot of hootchies for coho and the go to is the Yamashita white UV hootchy. We stock a few versions of these at the shop. Some have a pearl finish, some have a glow stripe, some have a pink stripe. All of these have been working well with a short leader in the 24-28 inch range. Keep your speed up while trolling for coho, they like a fast action, so that flasher is rotating quickly, giving that hootchy lots of action.
Best fishing locations have been off South Bowen from Cowan to Roger Curtis and out on the Hump. If you aren’t on the fish, keep moving. This can be a move further along Bowen or out into deeper or shallower water, but if you aren’t getting bites you need to keep searching. Once you get some action, waypoint it and try and stay in that area and drop more waypoints as a reference.
I am getting some questions about the July 15th chinook opening that we have had the past 3 years. No info on that as of yet. I have some emails in to DFO asking when the announcement will come out and will report back to you as soon as I know anything. There are certainly lots of chinook around, as we are getting some while fishing shallow for coho.
Crabbing is decidedly slower as the commercial fleet has been working the harbour hard, as per usual this time of year.
If you want to experience this great coho fishery, give us a call at 778-788-8582 for more info and to book your trip. If you have your own boat, drop by the shop for some expert advice and the hot tackle. Free parking right in front of the shop!
Sunset Marina Update: We heard that Sunset Marina will be shut down for at least Saturday for filming of a commercial. If this is where you usually launch your boat, give them a call first to make sure they will be open for launching.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Capilano Beach Fishing Report
The Capilano has been fishing well off the beach for the most part, with the river fishery being dependent on the levels. This upcoming week also sees some decent morning tides for anglers hoping to get out to the sand bar.
As you have read, in Jason’s report above, you will know the ocean and trolling fishing for coho offshore has been excellent to amazing, with good indicators for the beach angler to expect the same during this season.
Unlike the offshore fishery, the beach and river fishery is usually characterized by tackle that is scaled back in size. Small spinners and spoons off the beach or shore in the river will start to become the norm as the season progresses and the summer becomes long. If we get a bump of rain and metro Vancouver opens the dam, we can expect a bump of activity both off the beach but especially in river. It’s during these bumps in water height and flow that the coho will become more aggressive and ambitious to take down larger, flashier presentations such as jigs and spoons. Outside of those bumps, even small 1/4oz jigs can be twitched for those laid-up, resting fish.
This is the same for roe – small thumbnail sized or smaller pieces on matching hooks can sometimes be the key. Sending sauced up meatballs down the river can sometimes be too much of an offering and may be better suited or reserved for the Vedder and other larger systems.
For those angling with flies, small krill patterns such as Andre’s HBS can be great for off the beach, but don’t disregard them when heading to your stripping pools in the river. Pink Pams, euphasids, and other small sip ‘n slurp patterns can be the key when the fish are not focused on actively hunting and feeding.
One other piece of equipment that is often over-looked and under-utilized is a stripping basket. This tool will help you shoot farther as it reduces pick-up drag off the surface, as well as helps reduce tangles and line management.
We’re open all weekend long so swing on by and we can help get you setup.