First off, we wanted to start by thanking everyone who came out for our 2023 Stillwater Fly Tying Jam Session. It was amazing to see all the innovative lake patterns and we hope everyone who attended learned a thing or two. If you missed the event, or just want a little review of the patterns covered, we have an article at the end of the report on some of the highlighted flies, recipes and cool new materials. We also have a video on one of the flies that caught our eye. It is Eric’s Fritz Searching Damsel.
You can check that video out in the article as well if you want to sit down at the vice tonight.
On the fishing and weather front, we are still seeing February cold temps through into early March. This weekend, we will see some precipitation but with day time temps staying low into the single digits. With that, we expect low clear conditions to continue on all our major river systems. We are hoping the old proverb, “in like a lion and out like a lamb”, will hold true for this month. In our freshwater reports section, this week we have a brief update on the Chilliwack as well as the Squamish.
In the shop, we have some great courses coming up so be sure to check out our upcoming classes!
On to the report!
MARCH & APRIL COURSES
Tying Game Changer Patterns
This course is an introduction to tying Gamechangers, a style of streamer that features multiple articulations and is productive for any fish that eats smaller fish. We will dive into tying techniques, materials, and design decisions for tying gamechangers. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
This course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tyers.
Date: Mar 7, 2023
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The C/V system is continuing to pump out respectable numbers of fish, despite the current low, clear conditions and the cold snap we had earlier in the week. The weather forecast for the next 7 days is all over the place and seems to be changing almost hourly, so it’s hard to say what the river will look like for the weekend but, with the number of fish being caught this year, it’s still worth a trip- even if if’s low and clear, or almost blown out.
The unstable weather I talked about above was present over the past few days and as a result fishing has been a bit tough. But like I said, fish are still being caught pretty much every day, so that speaks for the number of fish in the system. In terms of gear, all the standard stuff that I’ve talked about in my previous reports is continuing to produce fish, so no surprises there- I’m a firm believer that putting in work to find active fish is more important than the colour of your bead or the style of weights you use.
Going back to the topic of the weather for a moment, I do have some concerns regarding the clay banks after the repeated freezing and thawing in the past week. It has been noted in the past that repeated freeze/thaw cycles can destabilize the clay banks and cause structural weaknesses that can lead to crumbling… or worse, slides. Of course, I’m not a clay slide expert, nor do I have a crystal ball, so I can’t say for sure if these concerns will materialize into an actual problem or not. But, it is something I will be keeping an eye on.
In any case, the system has been reliably pumping out good numbers of fish, and we’re approaching what some would consider to be peak season, so now is as good a time as ever to get out there, put in some miles, and hopefully find a fish or two.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The conditions on the Squamish continue to be challenging and will not change until we see this current cold spell pass. In the long term forecast they are calling for a colder March than the seasonal average.
When we do see things start to warm up, we can start to expect salmon fry. If you look hard right now in sun exposed side channels you might see a few hiding in the rocks. The second we get warmer temps they will be out and the bulltrout, cutthroat, and rainbows will start keying in on them. Even with this cold temperature, I would start making sure you have fry in your fly box and small Colorado blades or mini Gs in your tackle kit.
In the early part of the season, I still fish fry patterns with a heavy sink tip but as things warm up, I will move to a light sink tip or even a floating line.
If I am float fishing, I will still stick to the usual egg or worm presentations this time of year but after working though a run I will always make a quick switch and fish though the water with a small Colorado blade. As things heat up, I start packing the spinning rod and fishing small crocs or mini Gs with a weight to cover the runs if extremely effective.
2023 Stillwater Fly Tying Jam Session Review
If you missed it, this last week we hosted a Lake Fly Tying Jam Session where we invited everyone down for a fun night of fly tying. We had prizes, drinks and snacks and much talk about fishing! It was great to get back to these events as we haven’t hosted one for 3 years and we had such a great time with you all we hope to squeeze in another one in 2023 so be sure to keep an eye on our reports for another one in the future!
Over the course of the evening, we saw some great patterns tied and some cool new products that the tyers were using. Below we have details on a couple of patterns tied on Tuesday night so you can sit down and tie them yourself for the upcoming lake season.
CDC Lake May
This mayfly pattern is a go to for me on rivers when mayflies are active. To modify it for lakes I’ve tied it larger and with a lighter body color to match a callibaetis nymph. The spikey guard hairs and flowy CDC fibers give the fly a buggy look and lots of movement. This makes it a great imitation for emergers, who must swim to the surface and crawl out of their nymphal shuck. This is when mayflies are most vulnerable and therefore the most productive time to fish their imitations, which can be fished stripped or under an indicator.
Hook: Sz 10-16 jig
Bead: Slotted or head turner
Body: Pheasant tail or a single marabou/ostrich fiber
Shoulder: Squirrel or hares ear dubbing spun in a loop
Collar: CDC spun in a loop
The C.K. (Blood) Worm
I developed this simple pattern in response to my dissatisfaction of most bloodworm patterns popular today. An overwhelming majority of bloodworm patterns consist of either wire wrapped around red holo tinsel or spanflex wrapped tightly around a red thread base. The end result is a red stick that lacks defined segmentations, even with Spanflex, the wraps end up merging from being seated too close to each other. While the standard patterns have been effective for decades, I wanted a pattern that has clearly defined segmentations to more closely imitate a bloodworm. The neat part of how this pattern is tied is that you can control the width of your segmentations according to your hook size without being married to a specific size of wire or Spanflex.
Hook: Daiichi 1760 #8-#16
Thread: Semperfli 8/0 or UTC 70 Red
Rib: UTC Wire X-SM Red
Underbody: Semperfli 8/0 or UTC 70 Red
Overbody: Midge Tubing Red
This pattern is most effective when there are no prominent chironomid hatches occurring, as the bloodworm is the larval stage of the chironomid midge. Think ice-off, summer or late fall. Uniquely, I pull out the C.K. Worm when a cold front or storm suddenly appears during a chironomid hatch. The chironomids stop hatching but the fish are still in the vicinity. Most pull anchor and leave, but I have had some stellar afternoons with this specific pattern during a storm. It is a staple in my box year-round. I usually dangle the C.K. Worm under an indicator in water from 3-25ft deep or I will fish it naked with a Type 6 Full sink line in any water deeper than 30ft. I have also found this pattern to be deadly for Kokanee while fishing it naked, almost to a point where it became annoying whenever a Kokanee would eat it before the trout we were looking for.
Eric’s Searching Damsel
This is a very simple but effective searching damsel pattern tied with Fritz style materials.
Check out the video of this fly here: https://youtu.be/Pfh_2vpsHEw
Thread 6/0 Danville Light Olive
Hook: Mustad C53S size 12 or 10
Bead Head: 2.7 or 3.2 mm Brass
Tail: Flashabou Green 6960
Light Olive Thread body
Rib – Small Dark Brown or Copper rib
Collar: Olive Fritz small *Can use Semi-seal Olive in a dubbing loop
Tip – After you finish the fly, thin or trim down the fritz a little for a smaller profile.