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Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: March 1, 2024

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: March 1, 2024



March is here but, it looks as though moderate winter weather is still in the cards for next week. That said, it will be a damp and relatively cold weekend with nighttime temps just above freezing in Vancouver.  Higher elevations should see some snow.  Over the last week, we heard some good reports across the fisheries but, there were also some water level issues.  

The Squamish has stayed low all week, but the Chilliwack rose yesterday and got colored. Ideally, we want opposite conditions for these two rivers. We would like some more water up the Sea to Sky and less out the valley way.  Check out both reports below where we have more details.  

This week we also have a saltwater update. We have 4 weeks left before regulation changes and the fishing is good. If you want to put a few winter chinook in the freezer, now is the time! Check out Jason’s saltwater update for all the details at the end of the report.  

Last, but not least, Eric has a salmon fry article reviewing some of the strategies for imitating salmon fry this spring.  It will be a good refresher for the upcoming season.  

On to the report!  


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.
Dates: (Apr 29 & May 5), (Jun 4 & 8), (July 11 & 15), (Sept 18 & 22) 
Cost: $180.00+GST
Seminar Time:  6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm


Winter Steelhead on the Fly
Fishing for winter steelhead on the fly (single hand or spey) is arguably one of the most challenging and rewarding fisheries in BC. Let our steelhead gurus help you unlock the mysteries of these magical fish with their decades of steelhead guiding knowledge. This course consists of a 3hr evening seminar and 1 full day of guided fishing on the water. In the seminar we will go over rods, reels, lines, sink tips, flies and reading water and swung fly techniques. The fully guided day on the water we will be work on casting, reading water and swinging the fly.

Seminar:  Mar 20, 2024      Guided:  Mar 23 or 24, 2024   WAIT LIST ONLY
Seminar Only Cost: $75.00+GST
Seminar and Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $325.00+GST
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided:  Full Day

Introduction To Fly Fishing Lakes

This course will give you an in-depth look at the fundamentals of fly fishing lakes. We explore equipment, techniques, major insect hatches and ideal lakes to begin with. You will learn all you need to plan your next successful lake trip to one of BC’s 5,000 lakes!  This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar.
Dates: Apr 3, 2024
Cost: $75.00+GST
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Coastal Streamer Fishing
Many Anglers focus on steelhead in the spring but with spring comes warmer waters, salmon fry, more active sculpin species and all the predators that feed on them. In this course Matt will go over different techniques and flies for targeting these species with single hand and switch rods on coastal streams. This course includes an evening seminar and a guided day on the water.

Dates: Seminar: Apr 9, 2024
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Seminar Only Cost: $75.00+GST
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost:  $325.00+GST per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water.
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided:  Full Day April 13 or 14

Introduction to Chironomid Techniques
Chironomids are the number one food source for trout in BC’s lakes; however, few anglers have taken the time to become true masters of this discipline.  Those that do, are often rewarded with the largest fish.  Trevor is a former member of the Canadian Fly Fishing Team and an excellent chironomid angler.  Dedication to his sport has helped Trevor to become one of the top fly fishermen in the province as well as a fisheries biologist.  This course is comprised on one 3 hour evening seminar.  Content is for beginner to advanced.
Date: April 23
Time: 6:30-9:30 PM
Cost: $75.00+GST

Check out the full course listing here and give us a call at the shop (604.872.2204) to sign up today!


Chilliwack River Fishing Report  

The past few days have seen a mixed bag of weather conditions that have resulted in a variety of river conditions that anglers have had to deal with.  As such, the fishing has been a bit inconsistent; there have been a few good days and a few bad days. The weather forecast is currently calling for precipitation over the next few days, though in relatively small amounts… The river did blow out on Wednesday/Thursday but there’s a chance it’ll be in shape for the weekend, depending on how much precipitation falls as rain in the watershed.  Keep an eye on the forecast and the river levels before heading out there.  

Tom with a beautiful fish from earlier this week! 

With it being March, one can expect there to be quite a few fish in the system- we’re into what many people consider to be the peak of the run at this point.  As always, you’ll increase your odds of encountering fish by covering as much water as possible, so remember to stay mobile. A wide variety of presentations will work, any of the gear that I’ve talked about in my past reports will work just fine- just remember to adjust the size of your presentation based on water conditions.  One new thing to note is that salmon fry are starting to emerge from the gravel, so small spoons, blades and silvery jigs can be quite effective for steelhead- steelhead can and do eat s almon fry, so it’s worth it to have some gear dedicated to matching the fry hatch.  

All things considered, the fishing should be picking up as the water drops; those who are paying attention will have noticed that more fish are caught in the days following a bump in river levels… this is simply due to the fact that fresh fish move into the system when the water is higher, and those fish are caught as conditions improve.  Being able to plan ahead and to know when ideal conditions will present themselves, is a key skill that can significantly increase the number of steelhead you hook, so it’s definitely worth taking some time to learn.  The best way to learn is through trial and error, so get out there!  

Taylor Nakatani 

Squamish River Fishing Report  
Weather has been a little interesting over the last week with wind and rain, but we heard some good reports mixed in between wet days.  

We were out last weekend and got hammered by some upstream winds and lots of rain, so it was hard to gauge the fishing.  Thanks to the guys and girls who were out with me for staying positive and having fun with the conditions.  I looked for salmon fry and didn’t see much sign of them but again weather was cold.  

It was a cold and windy day on the water this past weekend

The river has maintained a low level all week, but it had a little tint to it, so it was not crazy clear.  If we see it bump up today and tomorrow the weekend should be good for water conditions.  

Even if you do not see many salmon fry out still make sure to have fry patterns or small spoons in your kit.  Even in the storm we hooked a couple cutthroat in the lower river which tells me they are moving into the system to hunt salmon fry.  

Nighttime temps are cold all weekend and into next week but hopefully things will warm up next week and we will see more activity from both the salmon fry and the fish that eat them.  

Good Luck!  

Matt Sharp 


It might not look like it, but Spring is coming.  The warmer weather will slowly bring some seasonal changes to the river.  Incubating alevin will be wiggling in their natal gravel beds getting stronger to venture out as fry.  The fry hatch is a massive food source for fish in the Spring.  Many fish and bird species will rely on the fry to fatten up after a long lean winter of foraging.  

So, when do they show up?  Every year it’s a little different.  Water temps obviously play a big part in the incubation period.  The quicker version is the more days where we have consistent temperatures above freezing the faster the dry will hatch.  Cold snaps and poor weather will postpone hatches.  Matt does a great job on expanding on this old Friday report so I will leave a link for that here: 

If you don’t want to do the math there are also some other signs that fry might be hatching. 

– Look for birds. Common Mergansers are a great indication that the small fish are around.  In the spring, you can see them traveling in groups looking for fry.  I am always happy to see them on the river because I know there is food for larger fish about. Kingfishers are great ones to look out for as they are diving for fry. 
– Nature has a funny way of showing off other subtle signs.  My favorite are tree buds… specifically pussy willows.  Once the willows on the river side start to silver and get ready to pop it’s a pretty good bet, we have had enough warm weather for the fry to hatch on mass. 

So how do we fish them… well you have many options depending on your target species.  On the gear side, you can have success with small spinners and spoons on medium light rod.  Casting swinging and covering water is key.  I really like the 3/16 crocs in hammered nickel or chrome with a small green or blue stripe.  Larger sizes and coho spoons will also work.  Under a float we can fish small colorado blades or lightweight mini g-spoons.  These have a great flash that trout species key in on during the spring. 

Fly anglers can do very well with fry patterns.  Your standard 9 ft 4 or 5 wt fly rods will be great. A 10 ft rod can be nice if you need a little extra reach.  The most common techniques will be with floating lines and tapered leaders.  9 ft leaders in the 4-5x range are a good start, but it’s not uncommon to have a 12-foot leader when the fish are spooky, or the water is clear.  You can also swing fry patterns.  This can be done on the single hander or two hander off a short leader and light sink tip.  You shouldn’t need to dredge the bottom as fry are usually in shallower water.  Try the clear versileaders or lighter MOW tips to balance two handed setups. 

Some great looking Fry patterns from Andre! 

As always, we are happy to offer Andre’s famous fry patterns.  He has done an excellent job mimicking some of the colours commonly found in pink, chum, and coho fry.  Fry flies are in stock ready to do battle with all your local trout species. 


Vancouver Winter Chinook Fishing Report 
With March 1 upon us we are into our last month of chinook fishing for those of us in the Vancouver area.  As most of you know, chinook fishing is scheduled to close in the Vancouver area April 1st.      

Closures aside, we are looking forward to a great month on the water!   

This week brought some nice sized fish! 

Our guide boats have been out over the past week and the fishing has been good!  We have been fishing the Howe Sound area and across the strait near the Gulf Islands when the winds have allowed and both locations have produced consistently.   

Josh and guests after a product day of fishing the Gulf Islands.   

So now is the time to get down to your boat and hit the water.  Don’t forget to bring your traps, prawning continues to be good, and crabbing is starting to pick up!   Both make an excellent addition to the dinner table!   

The makings of a great winter feast! 

Our Winter Chinook Charter Special runs until the end of the month and we still have some openings.  Give us a call on our charter line at 778.788.8582 or email kathryn@pacificangler.ca to book your trip.  

Winter Chinook Special Rates – 8hr trip 
1-4 guests – $1,199+GST 
5-6 guests – $1,399+GST 

Vancouver Winter Chinook Fishing Bounty

See you in the shop or on the water!

Good Luck out there!