Spring is poking her head out! With temperatures hitting the low teens this weekend, we are excited to hopefully see the cold weather behind us. We are still dealing with low water levels on most of our river systems but the combination of the time of year and the warmer temperatures, should make this weekend worth heading out for.
This week, we have updates on the Squamish system where the fry are definitely out and the Chilliwack where we continue to hear solid steelhead reports. If you haven’t heard yet, they have also started stocking some of our local lakes so be sure to check out that report as this is one of the easiest fisheries to have some fun and to get the entire family involved.
Another fishery to put on your radar is sturgeon fishing. With the temps in the valley rising, it might be worth a scouting trip this weekend. We have not heard any reports yet, but it is time to start thinking about it.
In the shop, we are busy getting ready for our Spring Super Sale and we are also hiring for the summer. We have a number of opportunities at the shop. If you have ever wanted to jump into an industry where your fishing experiences mean something on a resume, then check out the details below and send in an application!
Last, but certainly not least, mark your calendars for our annual Spring Super Sale. This is the perfect time to stock up for all your upcoming spring and summer fisheries! Check out the Industry Events and Updates section below.
On to the report!
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 UPDATES AND EVENTS
Join Our Retail Team – Full + Part Time Positions Available
Spring is on the horizon and summer is not far behind it. With that in mind we are looking to add to our team! We currently have full and part-time openings for Retail Sales Associates. For more details on the position, check out the full job posting here and send your resume to email@example.com
Spring Super Sale – Saturday March 25 and Sunday March 26, 2023
Our spring super sale is just over 1 week away! Mark these dates in your calendar and come down to save big in store all weekend long. Keep an eye on your inbox and our social media feeds for the full sale list to be released late next week!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
We’re getting into what many would consider to be “prime time” for steelhead on the Vedder, and that is being reflected by the numbers of fish pictures that I’ve been seeing lately- despite the sub-optimal river conditions. There will be fish spread throughout the system, top to bottom, with a mix of fresh and not-so-fresh fish hanging around. The conditions will dictate where fish are likely to be hanging out, so look for places that offer cover to the fish and make them feel safe- structure, riffles, seams and the heads of runs are all likely areas right now. Smaller presentations are probably a good idea, and covering water is never a bad idea either.
The longer days and warmer water also mean that swinging spoons and, by association, flies will become even more viable, due to an increase in the fish’s metabolic rates which can make them more aggressive. I usually start bringing a spoon rod with me around mid-February, and I find myself using it more and more as the days get longer. At the very least, swinging is a very effective way to cover water, and it can be very effective if the fish are “in the mood” and you do it correctly.
Touching back on the topic of fresh and not-so-fresh fish, do note that some fish will have been in the system since early December. These fish are almost certainly going to be wild as they would’ve been whacked long ago if they were hatchery and have probably been hooked at least once already. Proper catch and release and fish handling methods are always very important, but they become even more important as we head into the later stages of the steelhead run, when there are more and more “senior citizens” in the river. Studies have shown that the mortality rates of fish that are caught and released varies massively depending on factors such as the length of the fight, how long the fish is held out of water, how much the fish is handled, and how the fish is handled. According to a recent study on the Bulkley, proper handling practices can result in a ~95% survival rate of steelhead that are released… so remember to take off your gloves before touching a fish, avoid air exposure, when possible, limit handling time, and get the fight over as soon as possible.
Typically, fishing will remain good up until certain portions of the river start closing in April. Late-season fish can get quite picky, since they’ve probably been in the river for a while and have seen just about every presentation possible, but you can still pick up fresh, aggressive fish right up until the river completely shuts down for all angling in June. As always, covering water is the best way to find fish, but there will be the occasional time where I’ll slow down and cover spots more thoroughly as the season drags on, just to make sure I’m increasing my chances of tricking a picky fish.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Spring has sprung. Though it is not gotten overly warm yet, water temperatures have risen enough to get the fry hatching and we are hearing reports of bulltrout slashing fry and the catch numbers have gotten better.
It is still low and clear and you will need to make sure your presentations are on point. Lengthen your leaders, consider dropping them down a level in pound test and consider fluorocarbon if you are float fishing or nymphing but the fish are feeding.
We just got in our shipment of fry patterns perfectly times for the fishery and you will want some in your box if you are heading out. We have even had anglers put them under a float and do well when the bull trout and rainbows are keying in on salmon fry.
Fly anglers will also want to consider medium white and olive patterns. These look more like sculpin or other small baitfish but because the fish are waking up and are hungry even though they are focusing on fry, the larger white or olive presentations can cover a lot of water and are very effect this time of years.
If you are float fishing, Mini Gs and smaller Colorado blades need to be in the kit as well.
Fraser Valley Cutthroat Opportunities
As we progress into spring, more angling opportunities arise with the emergence of salmon fry. One of the most rewarding fisheries available in the Fraser Valley area is the sea-run cutthroat fishery. These nomadic hounds will be there one day and gone the next. Sea-run cutthroat fishing truly is a hunt. They are prevalent in estuaries, river/creek mouths and ditches. Anywhere that funnels fry and creates a choke point could hold cutthroat waiting for an ambush.
The Stave, Harrison, Lower Pitt, Nicomen, Chilliwack and surrounding areas all have populations of cutthroat. The key is to move around until you see surface action. Active cutthroat will always show themselves.
While throwing hardware such as spoons and spinners are deadly, fly fishing can be more effective on the right day. With the option to match the right profile/size of fly to the fry, you have a significant advantage over gear anglers.
Float fishing can be highly effective as well, light setups baited with egg imitations, dew worms or shrimp can spice up a slow day.
If you are looking for a peaceful fishery to try, give it a shot.
Time to Think Sturgeon
With temps in the valley hitting mid-teens it might be worth breaking out the sturgeon rods hitting the Fraser. We are going to be out a little over the next week and will have updates soon but a good one to note if you want to get out and run some eulachon.
Generally, sturgeon are rather opportunistic this time of year as there are not too many readily available food sources around. Pikeminnows and dew worm bags are highly effective baits that work year-round. Once April rolls around, eulachon will be the primary thing on our sturgeon’s mind. Keep in mind, most of the sturgeon you will encounter until the eulachon show up will be most likely juveniles which feed more often when the water is cooler.
We will have more on this fishery over the coming weeks so be sure to keep an eye out for more updates.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lake Fishing Report
With spring comes the first stock of trout from the Fresh Water Fisheries Society. Last week we saw a hand full of lakes receive 7300 fish… that number is growing every day. Check out the Go Fish BC website to see if your favorite spot has been stocked. This is a great local fishery for all ages and abilities.
If you’re new to angling, we recommend a lightweight spinning rod to target these fish. Lighter setups offer more delicate presentations and perform well when casting small lures. Start out with fishing bait from a small bobber or using floating baits on the bottom. These methods are very productive and easy to fish. I tend to prefer natural baits like worms, salmon eggs and shrimp, but power baits and small soft scented baits work as well. Casting and retrieving small spoons and spinners can also be productive. Remember to keep your presentations small and cover water.
Dad Tip: When fishing with kids, remove barbs on all hooks… it’s safer for everyone.
Fly fishing can be dynamite after a stock of fresh fish. Smaller leech patterns, pumpkin heads and chironomids can all yield fish. You can cast and retrieve or fish with an indicator. With both methods, finding space to cast can be challenging. Indicator fishing from a dock can be great when utilizing a proper roll cast. Fishing from a small watercraft, if permitted, will give you the best shot at the fish. These fish are generally not picky biters, so if you locate the school, you should be able to trick one or two.
This fishery can get busy on the weekends so be courteous with other anglers. Leave your spot cleaner than when you found it and have fun!