Spring is definitely poking her head out and with it the fishing is picking up! Temperatures are going to be perfect this weekend with a mix of sun and cloud. This is great news for a number of our fisheries.
The local lakes should also be on your radar. This is the time of year when they are stocked with spring catchable rainbows. Alex has a full overview of what you need to know. These lakes are tons of fun for the whole family and offer one of the easiest fisheries for everyone to enjoy. Take the kids out with light tackle and have some fun.
It is that time of year, mid March, where it is pretty much a no brainer that steelhead are trickling into a river near you, such as the Squamish or Vedder. The fry started to hatch in areas that were warm as well. Check out the details in the Squamish and Vedder reports and be sure to read Andre’s cutthroat report because it is “go time” for all of these fisheries
On the saltwater front you might have seen we added another boat to our fleet and we are running a Name That Boat competition. If you have any name ideas be sure to enter via Facebook or Instagram for your chance to win a $100 Pacific Angler Gift Card! There has been lots going on out in the ocean, change is in the air, or water colour we should say. Read Jason’s report for details.
Last but not least be sure to mark your calendars for our annual Spring Super Sale – March 24 and 25!
SPRING SUPER SALE
It’s back! Our Spring Super Sale! The weather is warming up and we’re ready for Spring. Don’t miss out on our annual Spring Sale – it’s the perfect time to get stocked up and ready for the season. Keep an eye on your inbox or our social media feeds for more details but for now mark March 24 + 25, 2018 in your calendars.
CLASSES + COURSES
Our March classes are almost wrapped for the month so that means its time to start thinking about getting into the classroom for our April Classes. We’ve got one more class running this month – Andre’s not to be missed Fly Fishing for Searun Cutthroat Trout in Rivers. Dates are also filling up fast for our April offering of Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon so be sure to grab your spot today!!
Fly Fishing For Searun Cutthroat Trout in Rivers
This spring make sure to get out and take advantage of the world-class cutthroat fishing in the Lower Mainland. This cutthroat course is designed to educate you on the life cycle, location, seasonal feeding habits, and successful techniques and flies used to catch these elusive yet aggressive fish. This course consists of a 3hr evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water
Cost: $250.00 + GST
Dates: Seminar Mar 27 Guided: Mar 31 or Apr 1
Seminar Apr 4 Guided: Apr 7 or 8
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction to Fly Tying – Sold out – call the shop to add your name to the waitlist
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This 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 materials and tools purchased for the course.
Cost: $75.00 + GST
Dates: Apr 9, 16, 23
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon
Over 50 million salmon migrate past Vancouver annually. Learn how to catch these fish with a Pacific Angler. This course offers an in-depth look at the local saltwater scene. We cover the local saltwater salmon fishing for the entire year, showing you the how, when, and where. This course includes a 6hr weekend seminar and a fully guided day on the water in one of our Grady Whites.
Cost: $300.00 + GST
Dates: Seminar: Apr 14 Guided: Apr 20, 21, 23, May 6, or 7
Seminar Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm – with a one-hour break for lunch. There are two restaurants on site for students to have lunch at their cost. Coffee/Tea and water will be provided.
Seminar held at Pacific Gateway Hotel – 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond, BC
Guided Day: Full day on the water
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 working for Hemmera. This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Cost: $45.00 + GST
Dates: Apr 17 or May 2
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. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Cost: $125.00 + GST
Dates: Seminar Apr 18 , Casting April 22
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
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.
Cost: $45.00 + GST
Dates: Apr 25 or May 29
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Lower Mainland Stocked Lakes Fishing Report
It is almost time! The Lower Mainland is finally thawing out after that cold snap, and that means water temperatures are rising and lake season is just around the corner! For many of our readers here, “Lake Season” means chunky rainbows in BC’s Interior Lakes. However, there is also a local lake season in the Lower Mainland and while it definitely doesn’t produce any trophy fish, it can be a great fishery to introduce newcomers to the sport. So how “local” are we talking? Well, GoFishBC works tirelessly to stock lakes that are so urban many of you probably call them your backyard. Just to name a few within an hour of Vancouver we’ve got Rice Lake (North Vancouver), Lafarge Lake (Coquitlam), Como Lake (Coquitlam), Whonnock Lake (Maple Ridge), Green Timbers (Surrey), Buntzen Lake (Port Moody), Murrin Lake (Squamish), Deer Lake (Burnaby), and Sanctuary Pond (Vancouver).
These lakes are typically stocked at this time of year with Rainbow Trout, though stockings are very temperature dependent. Generally we are looking at an end of March/early April timeline. You can find the exact stocking dates on the www.gofishbc.com. These Fraser Valley strain rainbow trout are in the 10-12 inch range and can give a nice little scrap on light tackle. Once the fish have been stocked and have been given time to acclimatize to the lake (I will touch on this again in a bit), the action can be fast and furious. Of course it is still fishing and there are days when you can’t buy a bite, but on the whole it is a much more forgiving fishery.
So how does one go about catching these trout? There are many, many ways.
Bait fishing is in my opinion the simplest way to catch these fish. Powerbait fished on the bottom or worms under a float sometimes will light up these fish like no one’s business right after a stocking. Literally just bait a hook, cast it as far as you can (and many times distance isn’t an issue anyways), sit back and wait for a bite! Obviously that is a tad of a rudimentary explanation but it in theory it is that simple. Some of the tried and true baits include Powerbait Eggs, Powerbait Dough, worms (a classic!), deli shrimp, and krill. However, there are so many baits that will catch them that you would really be doing yourself a disservice if you limited yourself to what someone says to use. I once had a great chuckle when someone came up to me and said, “only XX bait works here.” These fish will take cigarette butts if presented the right way, so experiment a bit! Or just fish Powerbait. That stuff works wonders. Did I mention it’s the only bait that works in our local lakes?
For those that don’t like sitting and waiting, casting small lures can be a fun way to catch them and this is what I do when I want to cover water for active fish or fish quickly if I don’t have a ton of time to stay at the lake. Spoons in the 1/8oz to 3/16oz size are perfect, as are smaller spinners. Some of my favourites are the Gibbs Crocs, larger Dick Nites, Panther Martins, and Rooster Tails. I always have a selection of these in my little trout spinning kit sitting in my car. Setup is extremely easy and it means I can sneak in a few minutes of fishing when I’m not supposed to. Whoops, did I say that? But I digress. Feeling a fish grab your lure is exhilarating and all that casting will keep you warm on those chilly Spring mornings/evenings.
What about the fly fishers, you may ask. Of course you can get in on the action too! Most of the urban lakes have limited access for fly fishing from shore so this is good time to take advantage of a watercraft like float tubes or an inflatable. In saying that, it is very possible to have good success from shore too. Chironomids under an indicator can buy you many bites, especially once the fish have settled into the lake and are feeding on more natural food sources. If the fish aren’t keyed in on chironomids or you are getting sick of staring at an indicator you can cast and strip flies such as micro leeches, wooly buggers, and muddler minnows. These patterns are also dynamite for trolling on a full sinking line.
While it may be very tempting to hit the lakes right after they’ve been stocked, this is not necessarily a good idea. Productivity usually goes up exponentially after the fish have been in the lake for 3-4 days and have acclimatized to their new environment.
For a full list of stocked lakes, visit www.gofishbc.com to see the most recent releases. Also remember to check the regulations of the lake you plan to fish and familiarize yourself with these regulations before going fishing. If you have any questions regarding this fishery feel free to call the shop or better yet, come on down to talk to us in person and we can help you get set up!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The water level on the Chilliwack came up a bit, but didn’t change much even with the rain the past week. However that little change due to rain and snow melt is enough for fish to get the fish more active.
Lots of fish were caught the past week and it is warm enough now that they will chase spoons and spinners. Float fishing with colorado blades, mini Gs, hildebrandts and dick nites is very effective as fry will start hatching as soon as it gets a bit more warmer.
If you’re fly fishing I’d suggest swinging flies like GPs and intruders in walking speed water and pocket water.
Always remember it is very important to move around to find active fish. Fishing in one spot might get you a fish but it is unlikely that you will find one or get multiples.
Release wild steelhead with care and stay safe out there,
Squamish River Fishing Report
We had epic weather last week on the Squamish. I was out both Saturday and Sunday and though the fishing was challenging we had a ton of fun, saw some very cool things and learned a bunch. The upper river was still very cold and clear. We have seen a small rise with the heat and snow melt in the last two days but I would still consider the river low. If you go to the upper this weekend it will probably be similar and you will need to work hard for fish. When we were up there we ran into a big pod of bulltrout. In the picture below you can see them hiding under the one log in the run. It was super cool to see them but you could tell by their behavior that their metabolisms had slowed and they were not feeding. We ran a number of presentations through them and they simply moved out of the way as our flies and gear came near. These fish will turn on when the fry start hatching in the upper river and the river clarity goes down with snow melt.
This might start happening this weekend so it is worth a look but If you get up there and the river is still ditch low and clear, expect challenging fishing. Nymphing fry patterns is one way I have hooked fish in these conditions. Run the exact set-up that you use for egg fishing with a light leader, indicator, splits shot and 5-7lb fluorocarbon tippet. Drift it through the run and then let the fly swing at the end of your drift. The fish are not as willing to chase because of the temps but this slower presentation imitating a crippled or not yet full mature fry can change the game.
The lower river is another option that is worth looking at this time of year. We don’t fish it much in January and February but fry are hatching in the lower areas of the Squamish system right now.
I took this picture on Saturday. While walking the lower Squamish, I kicked over a rock and saw a flash from the corner of my eye. Underneath the rock in almost no water we found these little fry trapped. You can see in the picture that some are fully developed and a couple of them are just loosing their Alvin egg sack. We rescued them after the picture and it is a good reference to go off when tying flies. We saw good numbers of swimming fry on the lower section as well. Though there are more to come, we expect the bulltrout to key in on them this week and into next. Make sure you have fry patterns in you box. There was a full range of sized fry and this early there is no need to match the exact size a color because the fish are not yet picky. Later in the season you can see them key in on one color or size but for now just get out and cover water.
Steelhead are another thing that anglers are targeting this time of year. We did not get one this weekend but for the next 30 days we can expect fish to be trickling in on each flood tide. As we said in last week’s report this fishery is challenging and you can not expect to catch fish regularly but now is the time to start swinging pink or orange fly patterns and spoons on the lower river and then float fishing in the tighter areas of the system.
As with all steelhead, treat them with a lot of respect because they are rare and the population is not as healthy as it should be. They all need to be all released with the utmost care but at the same time get out an enjoy the challenge because these fish need friends. Take some time to educate yourself on these amazing fish and become active in on the conservation end of things. They need some help and the more people who enjoy them the louder our voice will be when we are trying to protect them.
Good Luck out on the water!
Capilano River Fishing Report
The Capilano River shaped up nicely with the release of the water from the dam. There are lots of steelhead in the system and as long as you find them they will most likely strike on your presentation.
For fly guys, you can swing GP and intruders with bigger presentation as the water is bit murky.
Float fishing will be perfect for this situation with 4 ~ 6 inch bright worms, brighter presentation plastic and scent will get you in the game. Single eggs in a sac are quite effective this time of the year so stock up on single eggs!
Please release all steelhead with care and be safe out there,
Fraser Valley Cutthroat Fishing Report
I went again on Wednesday to checkout the river and finally with the warmer temperatures there were fry. I am sure all you die hard cutthroat fisherman are happy to hear this. I had to work hard to find one but it was worth every minute of it.
The Harrison River is fishable everywhere as the river is super low, even lower than last week. You can take your boat up the river and explore other locations but be careful and really pay attention especially if you are not running a jet boat but honestly walking to the back channels is more fun in my opinion as you might come across a little piece of water with a couple of cutthroat sitting in there and you wouldn’t have seen this if you were on a boat. It is good to check out the backwaters of the Fraser and the sloughs that feed into it this time of year. The Stave River is another stop you could try. If they don’t open the dam then you can find yourself walking to more spots on the west side otherwise the space is very limited and the hunt for these elusive fish becomes harder. After the Stave River you can checkout the Allouette River as well as you might run into them before you call it a day.
Again on a positive note the fry are starting to come out of the river beds so make sure you have plenty of fry patterns along with some nymphs and dries for your outing as you never know what kind of mood the cutthroat will be in. Lets hope for a little bit of rain and high pressure to get these fish active. I will be out there somewhere regularly every week now until the end of the season.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
There was a lot going on this past week with water conditions, fish depth, and we also fished all over the place, including Lower Howe Sound, Bell Buoy, Thrasher, and Porlier.
First lets start with the water conditions. This past week we saw a distinct change in the water colour. Gone are the days of the blue and clear water where you can see your flasher down to about 45 feet when you are dropping it down on the rigger. The algae bloom has started, and a bit early too, and with it we now have more of a tea coloured water. The same can be said over at Thrasher and Porlier as well. This does seem to affect the fishing, if only for a period of time until the fish adjust or move. The same thing happened last year, the water got dirty and the fishing seemed to really get tough, but eventually it does turn on again, but things are different when it does and by that I mean suspended fish.
This is the time of year where we start to get fish mid water column and with the dirtier water it just seems the bait comes up a bit and the fish come up right along with it. Eddie and I both hit nice fish mid water column this past week and we started marking fish on the sonar mid water column more consistently as well. So much for just dropping both rods to the bottom, time to start paying more attention to where your gear is and time to start stacking to cover more depths. I marked suspended fish in Howe Sound, Bell, Thrasher, and Porlier this past week and actually got a few fish reeling in the gear.
In general the fishing in Lower Howe Sound was tougher than it has been and this could be the transition into fish moving out to the Hump and QA area to feed on all the herring that show up there this time of year. That in conjunction with the algae bloom made for some slower days. Over on the other side we fished Thrasher and Porlier hard and we did mark a lot of chinook in both spots but they were clearly not on the bite for the most part. We did manage to hook up some nice fish after grinding hard for them, but there was a distinct slow down in the action from the previous week when we were marking the same amount of fish and bait but the water was clear. It might be time to move offshore out to “The Highway” in 300-1000 feet and see what is going on out there.
Closer to home we did a little scouting off the Hump and there seems to be lots and lots of bait off the Hump, QA, and the Bell Buoy. We didn’t get any fish off the Hump, but there has been good action from the Bell all the way out to the QA these past few days.
So you can see there is a lot going on this time of year. We still haven’t factored in the anchovies either. If they show up off South Bowen like the last 2 years then it might be a good bet to start checking out Cowan to Roger Curtis. So there are lots of spots to try as we transition into late March and early April and you need to cover more depths. I think some of the top choices for this weekend will be the south tip of the Hump, and the QA to the Belly Buoy. If you want to head across, try off Thrasher Marker in 300-600 feet. You definitely want to stack to cover as much water as possible and keep a close eye on your sonar to see where the chinook and bait are. This time of year is when good electronics really pay off.
For gear we have been using G-Force 3.0 and 3.5 spoons in Irish Cream, Trail Head, Trap Shack, and Outfitter. 3.5 Kingfisher spoons in Irish Cream, Cookies N Cream, and Homeland have also been good. The 3.5 and 4.0 are probably the way to go coming up, as the fish start feeding on larger, mature herring. For flashers we have been using the Salty Dawg, Glow Green, and Glow Chartreuse, Green Onion Glow and UV Jelly Fish Yellow/ Gren Mist Kinetic with glow stripe. With the dirtier water the chartreuse and green flashers with glow have really turned on again.
See you in the shop or on the water.