We are almost at the end of March. Though we haven’t seen crazy warm weather, temps are holding in the high single digit range and it makes for great fishing weather. This weekend, we are going to see some rain and like last week this is a good thing. Rivers are low and can use the water. Hopefully, the banks will hold.
In this week’s report, we look at the Vedder/Chilliwack, the Squamish and the Stave rivers. Water levels were low but there were continued clarity issues on the Chilliwack. See the River section for updates. Cutthroat fishing is starting. A few of the guys at the shop have been out and there are fish around. We have an update on the Harrison with cutties in mind.
Last but not least, we have a local lake update and a look at how float tubing is one of the best methods for accessing these fisheries.
On to the report!!
CLASSES AND COURSES
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: Wednesday, April 21
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person
Introduction to Chironomid Techniques
This course is an introduction to chironomid fishing that will give participants the information needed to become an expert fly fisher.
Date: Monday, April 19
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
We’re Hiring – Guiding Operations Manager & Saltwater Fishing Guides
If you haven’t been following our social media accounts you may want to take a quick look and catch up on some of the great work that has been going on leading up to the April 1 decision on whether or not we will get some sort of a chinook opening in Vancouver and along the coast.
For more details be sure to have a read of Jason’s saltwater report below!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report
Looks like the clay slides are having a substantial effect on the river still. With that bump of rain, we had mid-week, it coloured up the water pretty good below Tamihi but was gin clear up above.
However, the levels hardly bumped at all so we once again had low but dirty conditions. Fishing has been substantially slower, as to be expected, but there are still fish around. Depending on how the water shapes up, you may want to have a variety of presentation sizes with you and keep an eye on the weather.
One thing to note are the new regulation changes coming April 1st. According to the 2021-2023 Freshwater Fishing Synopsis they are as follows:
- No Fishing upstream from a line between two fishing boundary signs on either side of the Chilliwack River 100 m downstream of the confluence of the Chilliwack River and Slesse Creek
- No Fishing downstream of a line between two fishing boundary signs on either side of the Chilliwack River 100m downstream of the confluence of the Chilliwack River and Slesse Creek to Tamihi Rapids Bridge, Apr 1-June 30
- No Fishing downstream of Tamihi Rapids Bridge to Vedder Crossing Bridge, May 1-June 30
- No Fishing downstream of Vedder Crossing Bridge, June 1-June 30. Hatchery rainbow trout of any length 50 cm or less: daily quota = 4, July 1-Apr 30
We have a month or so left of good steelheading left. While the bottom portion of the river is still open in May for fly fishing the river is susceptible to freshet by that point and, as such, can be touch and go with the conditions. If you are thinking to take the last few goes this season now is the time to get out there.
Stave River Fishing Report
I haven’t been hearing of many reports from the Stave lately, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any fish around. There’s still a month left in steelhead season, and it’s mid-March, which means that the cutthroat should be showing up to target salmon fry in increasing numbers. There have already been reports of active cutties in other systems, so they should be in the Stave as well.
The river has been running very low for a while, which is why there hasn’t been a lot going on in terms of steelhead. The rain we just got may have been enough to bump it up a bit, which could’ve brought in a few fish… so it may be worth checking out. All the standard gear that I’ve discussed in the past will work, but casting or drifting small spoons can be very effective when fry are around.
When targeting cutties, you’ll want to “match the hatch”, so to speak. That means using gear that mimics salmon fry, specifically chum and coho. Small slivery spoons and spinners work well for folks who fish gear, and small epoxy minnows, muddlers, and even flash flies will get the job done for fly anglers. We’ve got a bunch of Andre’s custom epoxy fry in the shop, and he does a great job of making those flies look like chum and coho fry, so naturally they work very well.
Please remember that the Stave is a dam-controlled river, so water levels can fluctuate dramatically and with very little warning. Also, keep in mind that salmon fry like to hide in the rocks very close to shore, so be careful when wading… unsurprisingly, fry tend to die when stepped on. Stay safe, and don’t be a fry squisher.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish is low but we heard reports that in the afternoons she is getting a little more color. This means we are starting to see some snow melt. With the rain this weekend, it should be solid fishing. We have heard reports of anglers getting fish on fry patterns classic bull trout streamer patterns and fishing on the big pink or orange patterns.
Watch water levels. There is a substantial dump of ran on Sunday and it may color up but we think that overall it should be good fishing this weekend and into next week.
Harrison River Cutthroat Fishing Report
Cutthroat season is finally here. It’s still early, no doubt, but cutties are starting to be seen slashing at fry in the Harrison. The river is still low (6.3m) meaning that there’s a ton of great bank fishing opportunities when having a boat isn’t an option. We mention it every time when talking about cutthroat fishing but the most effective method, by far, is simply covering ground and looking for cutties slashing at salmon fry and
jumping. Fortunately for us, they’re really good at showing off and make it easy on us. The stretch between Kilby park to the Harrison River RV campground is always a great starting point for those unfamiliar with the system.
For fly guys, make sure to have either an intermediate sink line or a floating line with the right sink tips. Staple fly selections include weighted and weightless fry pattens, muddler minnow, and woolly buggers.
For gear guys, break out the ultralight gear and stock up on small spinners like Vibrax blue foxes or Mepps spoons in silver, gold, and brass.
It’s a great time to do some scouting as this fishery will be in full swing in 3-4 weeks.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lake Fishing Report – Float Tubing
With the warmer weather that we have been having lately, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has been stocking our local lakes and you can find all of the stocking info at gofishbc.com.
These fisheries are a great option for new anglers as well as seasoned vets. For newer anglers, local lake fishing is a great way to get your toes wet. You can learn a lot of skills that will get you into the game and get you ready for more advanced fisheries. It will teach you all the basics of presentation as well as casting techniques. For the veterans, these fisheries are a great way to get your new lines wet and get all of your new gear dialed in for the upcoming interior stillwater season. Bobber and worms/Power Bait are always a classic technique for catching fish on local lakes. If you like more active presentations, then spoons and spinners are a great way to get into fish as well.
If you want to take your lake fishing to the next level, having a float tube is a game changer. If you are thinking about getting one, I would recommend doing it now. Float tubes are going to be in short supply this year and once they are gone, they are gone. We have a few in stock currently, with a few more coming in at the end of next month, so come on in and we can go over the options for you and get you down on a waitlist for one. Personally, I use an Outcast Fish Cat 4 DLX for fishing local and interior lakes. It is super stable, has ample amounts of storage and can accommodate back pack straps to make it easier to hike in to lakes. The other thing that I like about the Fish Cat series of float tubes is that you sit out of the water as opposed to sitting in the water. This gives you more height to be able to sight fish on shoals and it also gives you more height to cast long chironomid rigs. You will need to get fins to help kick you around the lake and possibly a pump to inflate the boat if you don’t have one already. Tubes are great because they pack down to nothing and are easy to store. I have fished them in pothole lakes as well as big lakes so it opens up a whole new world of fisheries for you. Come on into the shop to get set up!
Come down to the shop and we can walk you through the options.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Fishing Report
Well, the question on everyone’s mind these days is what is going to happen April 1st? The truth is I don’t think anyone really knows. What I can tell you is that there has been considerable effort to get some sort of chinook opening for April 1st in many areas along our coast, Vancouver included.
Here is a great summary from the Sport Fishing Institute in a recent update.
The SFI and the Public Fisheries Alliance (PFA) have both been extremely active in pushing for the Sport Fish Advisory Board proposals to be accepted by DFO. It certainly has gotten political, with 25 MP recently signing a letter in favor of the science-based proposals put forward by the SFAB process.
I urge you to follow the SFI and PFA on social media and better yet, join and become a member or donate. These two organizations are literally on the front line, fighting for your right to have access to chinook stocks of non-concern. I can’t tell you how important your support is in whatever means you feel is best for you. Be it becoming a Director, donating financially, or writing a letter.
On the fishing front, there isn’t much to report. Other guides and I have been out quite a bit this past week and there is one word that sums up the fishing and in needs cap lock. TOUGH. The fishing is beyond slow this past week and it has been challenging to even get a bite. Some of this has to do with the recent algae bloom as it seems it takes the fish a week or so to adjust. Some of it has to do with just a lack of chinook around as well. It will pass, the fish will adjust to the algae and that push of late March and early April chinook will arrive as it always does, hopefully soon!
See you in the shop or on the water,