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Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: March 20, 2015

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: March 20, 2015


Well the major storm predicted for last week didn’t materialize with full force but we did see a bit of rain that blew out the rivers in the valley and Squamish for a short period.   With the rain came a nice bump of fresh fish. We’re watching the rain fall right now and hoping it won’t arrive as predicted for this weekend and blow out the rivers.

If you’re thinking lake fishing, you’re not alone!   With our mild winter and early arrival of spring we’re seeing lakes ice of early. Read on in the Stillwater section below for our first lake reports of the season.

If it’s winter chinook you’re after, fishing continues to be solid. While things are slow in the Vancouver Harbour we’re consistently catching in some of the locations a bit further afield. All of the details are in this week’s saltwater report.

For those of you who want to get your fishing fix off the water we’ve got a great line up of courses and events to round out March so be sure to check out courses and events section below.

If you haven’t heard we’re looking for some new team members to join us here in the retail store. If you have a passion for fishing and want to share your knowledge with others, click the link below and read on for the full job posting!

Job posting details here!

Beauty day for chasing fish on the Squamish.

Beauty day for chasing fish on the Squamish.


F3T_LogoHave you got your tickets yet?   Grab your fishing buddies or your date for the F3T Fly Fishing Film Tour. This is a great night of awesome fly-fishing films, raffles, auctions and drinks with other fishing enthusiasts. Proceeds from this event go to support some of the great programs run by the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

Drop by the shop and pick up your tickets and we’ll throw in a FREE Costa hat and enter you to win a pair of Costa Cortez polarized sunglasses from film tour sponsor Costa Sunglasses.   It really doesn’t get much better than that!

Film Tour Date: March 28, 2015
Location: Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st Avenue
Pre-event gathering: 5:30PM
Show starts: 7:30pm

Check out trailers for this years film here (or your favourites from last year)!


Now is the time to get ready for spring fishing.   We’ve got a few spaces left in some of our most popular classes. If you’re looking to get into fly fishing, increase your chances on landing that steelhead in 2015, want to tie your own custom epoxy flies to catch the early hatch don’t miss these courses!

Introduction to Fly Fishing – ONE SPOT LEFT!
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.

Seminar: Tuesday March 24, 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Casting: Saturday March 28, 2:00PM to 5:00PM
Cost: $125

Winter Steelhead on the Fly – TWO SPOTS LEFT!
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 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 work on casting, reading water and swinging the fly.

Seminar Date: Wednesday March 25 – 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Guided: Sunday March 29
Cost: $250 + GST

Tying Epoxy Fly Patterns
Epoxy fly patterns were developed here on the west coast to capitalize on the large fry emergence every spring. Pacific Angler will help you unlock the secrets to applying epoxy, which can be a very tricky material to work with. During the course your instructor will teach you how to imitate the different salmon fry species, the different methods to shaping bodies, adding eyes, and other important techniques. Course is suitable for intermediate/advanced tiers.

Date: Monday March 30, 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Cost: $40 + GST.
For a full listing of all our 2015 classes and courses check out the link below.



With the amount of rain expected in the next week we should see the water level of the Capilano come up. Think bigger and brighter for your presentation choice, as the water should have some colour to it. Adding scents and natural baits to your presentation can help increase your odds of hooking fish in dirty water. Be very wary of the water height as it will be fluctuating during this rain and we would not want to see anyone get swept away this week. Remember to release all wild and hatchery marked Steelhead.

I hope that at some point this season we will get to report that the conditions are perfect for fishing on the Squamish. Unfortunately, that is not the case this weekend. With relatively heavy rainfall in the forecast mother nature is making predictions difficult again.

The bump of water this week got the bull trout feeding vigorously again on streamer and fry patterns. Fished on a light sink tip or floating line and swung across the current, this can be a great way to watch big bulls eat your fly. Set yourself up for success by concentrating primarily on the feeding lanes instead of the big runs.

An epic bull trout caught on a guided trip last week.

An epic bull trout caught on a guided trip last week.

With the projected forecast we’re likely to see another spike in the river and a few days of brown water before we’re back to good fishing again. Rivers rose substantially Thursday and as I am writing this report it is too close to call whether or not the river will blow out.  The silver lining to this problem is that the best fishing is usually when the river levels are sitting on the knife’s edge of going “out” so watch river levels, make sure you don’t forget your rain jacket and be prepared for anything the river throws at you.

When you head out make sure to have a selection of large olive or black and blue tear dropped styled patterns. These will stand out well with the dirty water and can drive bull trout mad if the conditions are right. Run large pink and orange flies for the steelhead.

Another nice bull trout landed this week.

Another nice bull trout landed this week.

We would also have some of Andre’s salmon fry patterns in your box. In these conditions we tend to lean toward the biggest ones and will fish them with a medium sink tip. Even if the season is early and the natural salmon fry are small, larger patterns fished deeper than normal water stand out better in colored water conditions. On many cutthroat rivers the fish will turn off fry patterns that are not the correct size or swimming at the correct depth but in the Squamish the bull trout population doesn’t seem to be as smart when the river starts to rise.  We just want a pattern they can see and going larger and deeper can work wonders. That said if you witness fish slashing at the surface of the water immediately go lighter with your sink tips and switch to fry patterns. These are cutthroat or bull trout feeding on fry right under the surface and sometimes they will pass up the deep presentation.

Matt + Dimitri

The river has been up-and-down with recent rains. As we have seen on other systems, with the rising water came the fresh fish into the river.   This combination of time of year, weather and river height provided great fishing from many anglers.

Another nice Chilliwack steelhead from this week.

Another nice Chilliwack steelhead from this week.

With another round of rain coming this week, we can only expect more fish to show up. Fresh biting spring steelhead are great fun, both on conventional tackle, hardware and flies. With the recent fry hatch don’t forget to carry a selection of small spinners spoons and fry patterns in case the fish turn onto them.


I had the chance to spend a few days on the water this week and fished a variety of conditions.  On Friday, we had the first scout of the season. It was a beautiful calm day with no wind in the afternoon. The water level was low but we still managed to find hungry fish chasing fry towards the end of our scouting day and got into a few fish before we called it a day.   I can already tell that it is going to be a good season – fry are out and we’re already hooking fish!

This cutthroat in the took one of Andre’s epoxy minnows.

This cutthroat in the took one of Andre’s epoxy minnows.

On Saturday I had students out for our cutthroat course and it was totally a different scenario – cold, wet and windy! Despite the unfavourable conditions one of our students managed to hook one but unfortunately lost it after playing the fish for a few moments.

With the rain this past week, the river has come up which has washed more fry downstream. Good reports from customers who spent some time on the river this week have been coming in. So far, it is a promising start to the season and hopefully will continue to get better and better as the season progresses. Drop by the shop and we can chat conditions and get you setup for your next cutthroat trip.


Local Lakes
Our local lake section is back in the report early this year! We have had such great warm weather that we are already hearing lake fishing reports! Local lakes around the lower mainland are warm and the stocking programs have started.

For those who don’t know, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) is a private non-profit organization dedicated to the enhancement and conservation of BC’s freshwater fish resources for the benefit of the public.  The Society delivers the provincial fish-stocking program to support sport fishing and this year they are going to get a lot more help! In the past they only had limited funds to work with but under a new agreement for 2015 the total amount to be transferred to the society from our license fees will be approximately $10 million, an increase of about $3 million annually over what the society currently receives.

Until now they have focused on stocking small lakes but the additional funding will allow the society to work with provincial biologists to improve angling opportunities in small lakes, large lakes and rivers. This includes angler access improvements, stock assessment to help inform management decisions and resources to enhance capacity for compliance monitoring and enforcement!

We are exciting to see what they can do with the new funding but in this part of the report we will looks at where they have found there most success, the local stocked lake program. Around Metro Vancouver there are a number of lakes that the society manages and stock to provide great easy access fisheries. Last week they started their spring stocking program on Rice Lake, Green Timbers Lake, Lafarge Lake and Como Lake.  This means it is a great time to take the kids out or simply get out to practice your fishing skills in an environment perfectly situated for easy access fishing.

If you are thinking about heading out, be sure to check out FFSBC’s website which has great information on how to access lakes locally (and across the province) and get up to date stocking reports. http://www.gofishbc.com

Once you have picked the lake you plan to fish, come down to the shop and let us help. Whether you are new to this fishery or just getting back into it we will help you set up your rod and pick out the right lures to hit the water.


Interior Lakes
Lots of lakes are still frozen even with the warm winter and early spring. I have heard of White lake and Stump fishing already and expect more lakes to follow soon. This is a record early year for no ice, which means you could be fishing lakes in the lower elevations sooner than you think.

The fish should be in the shallows right after ice off and before turn over. Fish micro leeches under a strike indicator as they cruise along the shores for a meal. Although some lakes are open to fishing all year round please check the regulations for lakes that open to fishing on April 1st or May 1st. You can also follow the ice off thread on the flybc.ca forum and come gear up before you head up to the interior.



It seems as though this week was boat maintenance week. We have one of our boats out of the water and we saw a number of friends and clients in the shop doing early spring-cleaning down on their docks. Whether you have been running all winter chasing feeder chinook or you are dusting off the cobwebs from a winter break the timing is right to get down to the docks and make sure everything is sea worthy and more importantly salmon worthy.

The south end of Bowen fishery is just around the corner and the winter spring fishing is expected to continue to be solid. If there is anything we can do to help, from getting in special parts for your down rigger or replacing old rusty hooks on your spoons, come down the to shop and we can help. Even if you have had something break on your boat let us know. We are not shipwrights but if it is a part on a salmon boat we have probably broken it and likely can connect you with someone who can get it fixed.

Because of our own boat maintenance we didn’t get out as much as we would have liked this week. That said we did sneak in a few trips and hit this beauty up Howe sound on Wednesday.

A nice Howe Sound chrome winter chinook landed this week.

A nice Howe Sound chrome winter chinook landed this week.

If you are heading out we have been running spoons in the 3.5-inch size and glow green flashers. Come down to the shop and we can pick out what you need.