Our Spring Super Sale Starts tomorrow! If you are looking to gear up for the upcoming season there is no better time to save! Below, we have details on the sale and a link to the full sale list. Be sure to have a read of the list because there are some specific sizes and models of waders, fly rods and gear rods at amazing prices.
In this week’s report, we have info on the Chilliwack, Squamish as well as the Stave and Harrison fisheries. We continue to hear good steelhead reports as well as bulltrout and cutthroat reports across the valley.
We have also seen a number of our local lakes stocked over the last week. These fisheries are great for the family and tons of fun. If you are getting a friend or loved one into the sport there is no better way than a day on the lake. In this week’s report we are sharing our new and improved “How to Fish” Basic rigging hand out. We have it below if you want to brush up on how we like to build basic trout rigs or give it to someone who is new to angling – don’t hesitate to share it! You will see it in the update on stocked local lakes below.
For those with interior lake fishing on the brain, Sterling had an article last week on how to fish scuds during the early ice off season. Continuing with this series he has a how to fish leech patterns article this week. We have some awesome custom tied leech patterns with the new head turner beads that just hit the fly bins. Check out the article below and come into the shop if you want to build a leech box.
On the saltwater front, we continue to see good winter chinook fishing. As March comes to a close, the time to get out is now! There were several fisheries notices released yesterday. We haven’t had much time to dig into the notices yet but it looks like it is bringing back the same or similar closures that were in place last year for those of us here in the Vancouver area. Check out all of the fisheries notices here for the Vancouver area and other areas released yesterday. We will work to wrap our heads around the closures and share some info on them next week.
In better news Matt is back at it this week with the first video report in a few weeks. There is lots of industry and fisheries news for him to catch up on so if you want to sit back and watch the report in video format click here:
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
2022 Spring Super Sale – THIS WEEKEND!
Our Spring Super Sale is back this weekend! We are excited to host our Spring Sale after a two year break. Check out our full sales list here , complete with tips on where to park when you come to the sale. We’ll see you in the shop this weekend.
Saturday March 26 – 9AM – 6PM
Sunday March 27 – 10AM – 5PM
CLASSES AND COURSES
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.
Dates: (Apr 6 & 9), (May 10 & 14), (Jun 15 & 18), (July 12 & 17), (Sept 20 & 24)
Cost: $150.00 + GSTSeminar
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
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.
Zoom Seminar Date: Wednesday, April 27
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
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.
Zoom Seminar Date: April 5
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report
Wednesday’s rain bumped the river up a bit, but it’s already on the drop and will likely be in good shape within a day. The bump in levels should encourage some fish to move, so there should be some fresh/active fish around when visibility comes back around.
It’s late March, so there will be good numbers of fish in the system, and there will be fresh fish arriving well into April. Having said that, there will also be some not-so-fresh fish around, some of which may have been in the system since December. These older fish are usually a lot less aggressive than fresh fish, but they still do bite. If possible, avoid targeting dark fish holding in shallow water, and if you do encounter a heavily colored fish try to play it quickly and minimize handling.
The weather forecast has been variable and seems to change every five minutes, so it’s tough to say what conditions we will be dealing with on the weekend. This being the case, it will help to have an assortment of gear on standby if you want to get out there. It feels like the river doesn’t blow out quite as violently after a rain now, so maybe the clay is starting to wash out a bit?? We can always hope…
Keep in mind that this will be the last weekend before the upper river, above the Tamihi bridge closes to angling. Remember, the 31st is the last day to fish before the closure comes into effect. Also, try to avoid wading in backchannels, as they are prime habitat for juvenile salmon and trout, and it’s very likely that there will be fry hiding in the gravel.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The river bumped up mid-week but remained clear. There is more water coming Saturday. It’s a fair amount of water and we are excited to see higher water levels but we don’t think it will be enough to color up the currently clear water.
With this in mind, it is well worth getting out but lean your presentations to ones that are effective in clear water.
Fry patterns, medium to small stream patterns, smaller egg presentations and smaller spoons and spinners should be in the kit.
Good Luck out there!
The Stave/Harrison River Fishing Report
Fry Eater Update
Both the Stave and Harrison have been low as of late but, with that said, the fishing has started to pick up. Anglers have been having success chasing cutthroat both on fly and gear. The warmer weather has gotten the ball rolling as more and more fry pop up from the gravel. Expect the fishing to improve as we receive more precipitation and warm days.
Fly fishing with a floating line and clear intermediate tips remain the go-to this time of year. Every seasoned cutthroat fly angler will have a box filled with some confidence patterns in a range of sizes and colours.
Cutthroat are quite nomadic, if they are feeding in an area, chances are they will show themselves. If you do not see surface action or signs of fish, keep moving on. Tossing small spinners and spoons on ultralight spinning gear is a great way to get kids or a new angler into cutthroat fishing. A 6′-8’6″ UL rod spooled with 6lb Mono or 10lb Braided line can get you started.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Early Ice off Tactics Episode 2 – Leeches
It looks like ice off will be about a week later on most lakes than it was last year. Warmer temperatures over the past week gave me some optimism but there really hasn’t been too much change. A bit more water is being seen along shorelines on the lower elevation lakes but we really need a string of warmer days with heavy winds to make quicker progress. Rain is expected throughout the week in the Interior. Sometimes, a bit of rain helps the melt but it’s really the warm windy days that lead to a quick melt. Hopefully, we’ve got a better report next week on the conditions as nature needs to just run its course.
Last week scuds, this week leeches. A lot of what I mentioned last week will apply to this week’s report. Fishing either scuds or leeches is a preference and you’ll notice over time that some lakes fish better with scuds while some fish better with leeches. Scuds tend to be the staple diet during the ice off phase but fish treat leeches as an opportunistic supplement to their diet. Leeches are often comprised of a synthetic or natural seal fur. The buggy nature of this material gives flies a ton of life in the water and is a great option to cover a variety of food options. Some patterns, such as the pumpkin head leech, were first designed to be damselfly patterns but were discovered to be excellent searching patterns. I had an instance on a lake last year where every fish I pumped was feeding on snails as no other food source was available. A size 12 black/brown leech worked incredible as it must have looked like a close enough match to the snails. I tried to match the hatch as best as I could but the fish seemed to prefer the leeches. The simple response to that was why change what’s working? It’s also a great excuse to have every leech colour that you can find. Leeches tend to be different shades of black, brown, olive, or red. I am always well stocked in the black and brown shades but add a lot of other colours to my dubbing mixes like wine, blue, and purple because it pays to have something unique to catch the fishes’ eye.
What’s great about leeches is that they’re a bigger food item that garners attention. They also don’t have a tough motion to mimic when retrieving a fly. Wave action, in particular, is the best action for a leech that you could ever put on a fly. You may have read it in my other reports but I’m a massive fan of windy days at ice off. The windward side of a lake leads to a lot of wave action meaning more oxygen is being put into the lake leading to more fish. The wind also acts as a surface protection for these fish and they’ll tend to feel more comfortable in shallower water.
My favorite method for fishing leeches is using an indicator specific floating line, such as the Rio Stillwater Indicator or Scientific Angler Anadro Stillwater Indicator, with a tapered leader. I find that tapered leaders are easier to punch in the wind and having a bit of curling in your leader is a minor issue. Trout will move up if they like the look of your fly so not having your fly set at the exact depth you expect to be at due to leaders curling is way less of an issue than not being able to cast. I like to set my depth at usually 2-3 feet off the bottom. I use quite heavily weighted leeches to ensure that I stay in that depth even if I’m dealing with windy conditions that would cause my indicator to move quicker than I want. I incorporate quite a bit of lead wire in my flies as it really ensures that my patterns get down quick and allows me to work an area thoroughly and quickly. I tie a combination of both balanced and unbalanced leeches for this style of indicator fishing and will use the same hand-twist retrieve with a few 1-2 inch strips thrown in there every 10-15 seconds to get their attention. I don’t personally have a major preference as I’ve had days where either style has out fished the other but I know enough good anglers that swear by balanced leeches if that means anything. I’m excited to try out the new Tungsten head turner beads that we got in the shop this year as they will sink fast and negate the need to use a pin.
Another great style of fishing leeches is to ditch the floating line and break out the hover, intermediate, and sink III lines. This can be a bit more of a finesse style as you’ll have to adjust your retrieve rate and fly weight as you don’t have the safety net of an indicator to keep your depth honest. Trying to fish a sinking line around weedy areas can make it very tough to get the retrieve right as you’ll tend to pick up a lot of weeds. Saying that, it can be incredible fishing if you really get your retrieve speed and pattern weight right. You’re allowed two rods in a boat so why not get the benefits of both styles. I tend to let my indicator to wind drift and work the sinking line with unweighted patterns. I’ll use all the same colours that I’d normally fish under a float but the unweighted pattern mitigates the need to balance my fly with the sinking line. I’ll use a hover line in under 6 feet of water, an intermediate line in 7-15 feet, and a sink III for everything else.
Like always, there’s always some stuff that gets left out so be sure to stop into the shop if you’ve got any questions. It’s my favorite style of Stillwater fishing so I’m always eager to talk about it. ”
Local Lakes Fishing Report – Lakes Have Been Stocked!
With Spring around the corner, it is time to look to the local lakes. Every year the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC stocks lakes throughout the province including many of our local lakes.
The stocking report taken when writing the report. Check the above link for the most up to date information
For the most up to date stocking reports or if you would like to look at stocking in different regions, visit their website at gofishbc.com and click on the “fish stocking reports” icon on the home page.
With local lakes in mind, we have updated our basic fishing rig diagram. Feel free to share it with friends and family who might be new to the sport. It covers the rigs they will need to be successful on many fisheries but is a great starting point for the local lake fishery
As always if you have any questions come down to the shop and we will help get you setup for lake fishing!