It looks like we will see spring continue to poke her head out with temps getting into double digits in many areas across the lower mainland this week. That said, the night temps remain low, so warm clothes and gloves are still not a bad idea for the mornings and evenings. We should see a mix of sun and some rain this weekend but overall, the forecast looks good for fishing!
This week we look at the Chilliwack, Stave, Squamish and Capilano systems in the river section and Jason tunes in for a saltwater update at the end of the report. Matt is taking this week off for the video report but he will be tuning in next week.
On to the report!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
We’re Hiring – Saltwater Fishing Guides
The saltwater season is just around the corner and we are looking to add to our guiding team for the 2021 season. Check out the full job posting here!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Fly Fishing For Sea Run Cutthroat Trout In Rivers
This course is designed to educate one on the life cycle, location, seasonal feeding habits, and successful techniques and flies used to catch these elusive yet aggressive fish. The course is comprised of a 3 hr, evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar March 24
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Walk ‘n Wade Dates: March 27, 28 SOLD OUT
April 3, 4 AVAILABLE
Cost: $275 + GST
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 April 7 & Casting April 10
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
Cost: $150.00 + GST
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
Despite the massive slide a week ago, the Vedder-Chilliwack has been staying in good shape and fishing well. It’s currently running very low and clear, so conditions are challenging once again… but I’ll take low clear water over zero-viz chocolate milk any day.
I predicted that the slide would cause major issues every time it rained, and I’m glad to say I was partly wrong- it seems that it takes more than a day of light rain to cause issues, although I’m curious to see what’ll happen when we inevitably get hit by some serious rains, or when freshet arrives.
Fishing has been decent lately, with good numbers of hatchery and wild fish being encountered from top to bottom. All the standard gear has been producing fish, but be sure to scale down your presentation to deal with these low, clear conditions. Now that we’re into March, swinging flies and spoons is becoming more productive, so it’s go time if that’s your thing. Flies in pink, white, black, blue, purple, peach, or any combination of those colors will work, as will spoons in silver, gold, or any other shiny metal. As always, be sure to cover water.
March can be a very productive month on the Vedder/Chilliwack… the water is warming up, fish are becoming more active, and fry are getting more numerous every day. Speaking of fry, there’s a lot of them hiding in the gravel close to shore, so be mindful where you wade. They have a hard enough life as-is, the last thing they need is for you to step on them.
Squamish River Fishing Report
I was up over the weekend and river levels were good. The system rose hard from the rain last Thursday. The river had a slight brown tinge but there was good 3-4ft clarity. Historically, clarity like this after one of the first warm rainstorms for the “Spring” season would mean excellent bulltrout fishing. We did hook a couple fish but I had hoped for more. Again, this is a very small sample size and hard to use as gauge but “slow” bulltrout fishing seems to be a trend this season.
I also saw some schools of salmon fry darting around in the sunny areas of the lower system. They are not out in numbers but we are seeing pretty warm weather over the weekend so their numbers should increase.
Overall, it is a great time of year to head up to the Squamish system. Fish olive or white streamer patterns and have salmon fry patterns or small Colorado blades in your kit to imitate salmon fry if things get warmer. It is also not a bad time to start swinging the colorful stuff or drifting pink worms if you are hunting for steelhead.
Stave River Fishing Report
Not a ton to report on the Stave River right now. It is a great alternative fishery to the other big ones but it is also one that isn’t necessarily worth a whole day’s effort. This is, however, the one system that generally stays in shape during massive river blow outs though I doubt we will see any of that soon judging by the beautiful weather that is in the forecast. What you will want to keep an eye out for are salmon fry though as this is one system that can have a fantastic cutthroat trout fishery during the fry hatch. Watch for these fish slashing the surface as they demolish a school of fry. In addition, resident rainbows and mountain whitefish will be around too and can be caught on a variety of bait and/or flies.
The other option on the Stave is the Silver Ghost itself, the steelhead. They are around and can be caught on a variety of different baits, lures, and flies, and sometimes end up being bycatch for cutthroat anglers. There are a few known holding spots where they will generally stack up so this can be a great fishery for throwing the kitchen sink into the water just to see what gets a reaction.
Capilano River Fishing Report
With a bit of clear weather in the forecast for the next couple days, expect the Cap to be low and clear. The Capilano, while often overlooked, is a great system to get some lines wet after work or during some spare time. There have been a few reports from the system and we’re just approaching the time of year where this system might be worth a hike.
It’s imperative that while the system is low, size down your presentations. This is when using clear floats and lighter lines can spark interest from pressured and tight-lipped fish. If you plan on using conventional tackle, try out natural coloured soft plastic worms in 3″-4″ sizes. For the more fly inclined angler, it’s worth stripping small flash flies or classic patterns such as egg sucking leeches in the deeper pools. Bring out the full sink lines if you’re planning on testing this kind of water.
As always, cover as much water as you can and release all steelhead with care and speed.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Spring is definitely in the air and that means 2 things. The start of some suspended fish and fisheries management decisions for April 1. Let’s start with the fishing.
There have been some good catches of winter chinook, aka feeder chinook, in Vancouver Harbour in spots like the Cap Mouth, the Freighters and QB and out by the Belly Buoy. We usually do see some more chinook hang out in the harbour this time of year as more and more herring start to show up in the area. I would expect we will continue to hear of decent fishing in the harbour over the next few weeks.
There has also been some nice chinook caught in Howe Sound and we are starting to see some suspended fish. This usually happens right about mid-March and will continue to become more common as we get longer days, more sunlight, and some algae blooms. The bait will often come up as the water takes on more of a tannin colour and the fish follow, resulting in suspended fish. You are still going to see a lot of fish and bait very close to the bottom, but this time of year it can pay to have some gear a little higher up in the water column.
Regarding fisheries decisions, there are proposals in place from the Sport Fish Advisory Board (SFAB) to DFO, where if accepted, would yield some opportunity for us to fish for hatchery chinook in certain areas in Howe Sound and over at Gabriola up to Entrance and Five Fingers. These proposals are particularly designed to claw back some opportunity in the months of April, May, June, and July. There has been considerable dialogue with DFO through the SFAB process these past 3-4 weeks regarding these proposals.
On the political front, because you better believe the chinook management decisions are extremely political, the Sport Fishing Institute of BC (SFI) and the Public Fishery Alliance (PFA) have both been very active in lobbying for the acceptance of these proposals. For updates from these organizations, visit their websites, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, or better yet, become a member.
We will wait and see what happens April 1st and I can’t tell you if these proposals will or will not be accepted. After last year’s highly politicized “no fishing for chinook” regulations, which was the Fisheries Minister’s decision, any opinion on what may or may not happen, especially if it is based on science or logic, is a fool’s game. The science supports these low impact openings and so does the social and economic impact, that is very clear, but when decisions are made based on optics and politics to cater to First Nation and Environmental Groups wishes, you really can’t say what will happen. I do know there is support for this politically, including a recent letter supporting the SFAB proposals signed by over 25 Members of Parliament, including members from opposing parties. Hopefully Trudeau and Bernadette get the message this time and we pass gunnels on April 1st.
See you in the shop or on the water,