There is finally a warming trend COMING, or at least seasonal average temperatures for the next week. One thing we are not seeing is a substantial dump of rain. There are a few drizzles in the forecast but not enough to move river levels.
With the warmer weather, we will start looking for salmon fry in numbers soon. We heard reports of anglers seeing the odd fry all week, but we still need an extended period of warmth to really get them out in force. With that in mind, you will want to have a couple fry patterns in your box and small Colorado blades if float fishing.
This week, we have updates on the Chilliwack and Squamish systems. With the warmer weather, we have also been out on the saltwater a fair amount and the reports continue to be strong. We have details on the Vancouver saltwater scene at the end of the report.
On the fly-tying front, we have another lake fly tying article in this week’s report. If you missed our stillwater fly tying jam session two weeks ago, Jason was tying some amazing chironomids. In this week’s article we get to look at some of his favorite lake patterns including his wing bud chironomid as well as some new materials that are key for tying these contemporary lake patterns.
Last, but not least, Matt has finished building his spring fishing pack. If you missed it a couple weeks ago, he went over all the different packs he has tried over the years and did a review on the Simms Freestone backpack, the pack he is going to use this season. This week, he loads this pack with the gear he won’t leave home without. Whether you have a freestone backpack or another fishing pack, you will see a bunch of useful tools, tricks and creature comforts that Matt has learned from lots of pack on back fishing hours. Check that video out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aJO9N37bqU
MARCH & APRIL COURSES
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 Only: Mar 29, 2023
Guided: Apr 1 or 2, 2023 – SOLD OUT
Seminar Cost: $60.00+GST
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided: Full Day – SOLD OUT
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.
Date: Apr 4, 2023
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction to Fly Tying
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This Introduction to Fly Tying course was specifically designed to give you the fundamental skills needed to tie proven fly patterns used here in BC for trout, salmon, and steelhead.
This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs.
Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on fly tying materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: Apr 12, 19, 26, Sep 27, Oct 4, 11.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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 become one of the top fly fishermen in the province as well as a fisheries biologist. This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Date: Apr 25, 2023
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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: May 9 & 13, 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
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Save the Date – Our Spring Super Sale is coming – March 25 and 26, 2023
With spring just around the corner and the sun and warmer temps incoming it is almost time for our Spring Super Sale. There will be amazing deals in all departments and across all brands! Save the date in your calendar for this not to be missed sale and watch this space for more info on the sale including the full sale list!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Squamish River Fishing Report
The river is as low as it gets right now. The graph is almost below 1.5 as we write the report. Long story short, this is not a good fishing level. We will see some rain this weekend, but we do not think it will be enough to move the level up. The silver lining is as things finally warm up fish will wake up even in low clear conditions. We will also see more migratory fish move into the system at this time of year.
Our general plan in these conditions is to go small and subtle in the upper reaches of the system and then loud and bright in the lower system looking to cover water and intercept a migratory fresh fish.
Put some fry patterns in your box as well as Colorado blades if gear fishing and get out and cover water. We will cross our fingers for warmer wetter weather in the near future.
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
This past week, we have encountered some very low and clear conditions on the C/V. Currently, the river is sitting at a 2.05m, which is expected due to a lack of rain. We are not expecting any precipitation in the valley all week as well.
While select anglers have been able to pick fish out in these conditions, the consensus for the week has been that not many fish are getting caught. When the river drops this low, dial down your presentations to a dime-size. Focus your time on the bubbly heads of runs, big boulders, and shaded areas. Anywhere that can make a steelhead feel comfortable enough will have a chance of holding fish. Most anglers scale down their floats and weights as well; I generally stray away from that. The clearer the water, the heavier the water fish will hold in. It is illogical to use a lighter float and weight than you normally would, in heavier water. With that said, I will use lighter and longer leaders to remain stealthy. I opt for beads in 8-10mm, small Colorado blades or, even a stonefly when the water has more than 10ft of visibility.
Get out and enjoy the sun!
Lake Fly Tying Jam Session Materials Edition
Thanks again for all of you that were able to make it down to the Fly Tying Jam Session last week. For those of you that couldn’t attend, I thought I would go over some of the cool materials that we talked about during the event.
When it comes to chironomids most tiers are now aware of how effective window tints and ASB are for representing chironomids that are gassed up or gassing up and have that shine to them.
A few years back we looked at a variety of shades and styles of material and picked out some extremely productive ones. For window tint we have a silver shade which does a fantastic job of representing those super shiny chironomids that are fully gassed up and highly reflective. Our grey widow tint is still quite reflective but it’s more of a gunmetal colour and is absolutely deadly on those days the gassed up chironomids have more a grey sheen. Our bronze window tint gives you lots of shine but the unique bronze shade pairs up very well with a red rib and a brown bead. That combo is extremely productive when you are looking for a bit brighter pattern compared to the grey window tint, black rib and a black bead. And finally, we have sourced a consistent supply of ASB (anti-static bag) that is perfect for fly tying as it’s not too thick and has just the right amount of shine.
So, what did we do with all this material? Well, we spent a lot of time cutting it (we have our own machine), tying with it, making some adjustments on width, and now we have figured out the perfect widths to make your tying easier and more realistic. Our 1.0 is great for full coverage of the hook or wing cases on other flies like mayflies. Our 0.75 is perfect for creating body segments on #12 and #14, 2X long curved nymph hooks, like the Daiichi 1760. Our 0.50 is perfect for creating body segments on #16 and #18, 2X long curved nymph hooks. Now keep in mind these pieces are not actually 1.0, 0.75 and 0.50mm in size. We are just calling them that as a basic reference as those sizes are commonly referred to in tying circles. The actual widths are something we have figured out but we won’t say exactly what they are. Luckily for you, we have sheets precut and ready to go in Silver, Grey, Bronze, and ASB. A package contains 2 sheets of cut material and is $9.99. You can tie over a 100 chironomids per package if not more, depending on the size of the fly.
We were also tying some chironomids with wing buds. This is becoming more popular and with some practice its not that difficult. I use goose biots in different shades like tan, brown, and mahogany to represent the wing buds of a chironomid. Does it make a difference you ask? Well, most experienced chironomid anglers will tell you about days when bead colour, rib colour, have made a huge difference. There is no doubt in my mind that wing buds add to the realistic profile of the fly and to its overall effectiveness. I don’t think it’s the difference between catching fish and not catching fish, but it might help you catch a few more fish and hopefully a few more larger fish that are selective. Personally, I really like the way they look, I will fish with more confidence, and I enjoy the tying challenge the wing buds provide.
Switching gears now to leeches, blobs, and boobies. We have been working hard on sourcing jig hooks and jig beads and we very excited about our selection of Hanak and Daiichi jib hooks, head turner beads and slotted beads. We have a variety of different profile jig hooks and different colour beads so you can tie balanced leeches, mayflies and damsel flies.
When it comes to boobies and blobs we likely have the best selection of body materials and foam in BC, if not Canada. It’s taken sometime, but its finally here. We have FNF Slush Jelly, FNF Daphnia Fritz, FNF Jelly, and FNF UV Jelly and we have it in pretty much every colour they make from black or green to very cool two-tone colours and the always popular Prawn and Biscuit shades. If you are in the mood for boobies or FABS we have the foam blocks and cutters or pre-cut posts, in a variety of shades. We have some more exciting product to announce, but stay tuned for that next week, one step at a time.
I hope that offered some insight to what we have been up to here at Pacific Angler in the fly tying department and in particular the lake fishing sections. We have a great selection of cutting edge materials so you can tie the most productive flies this season. Come on down and check it out and our new online store is in the works so you can shop from home sooner than later!
Pay attention, your down…..
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Hard to believe we are heading into mid-March. As most of you know, chinook fishing is scheduled to close in the Vancouver area April 1st. There are some catch and release opportunities but there is a proposal to have some hatchery retention in Howe Sound April 1 to May 31st and we are hopeful this will be accepted. I will be in SFAB meetings next weekend and will report back what I hear. In the meantime, best get out there and take advantage of the current opportunities which is 2 chinook per day!
Fishing this past week was a bit slower than earlier in the season. A few days with lots of fish, just that they weren’t quite big enough. Other days keeper size chinook (62cm or greater) were more abundant. Overall, fishing has been great and we have been coming back with some nice fish on the vast majority of trips.
Here are some pictures from recent trips…
Prawning continues to be good and some closed areas in Howe Sound are scheduled to open April 1st and I suspect it will be quite good since they have been closed all winter.
I will keep all of you posted on what I hear about April 1 opportunities. I recommend you follow us on Instagram and Facebook as we often post there as soon as announcements come out.
See you in the shop or on the water,