It’s a big week in BC fishing. It’s new licence time so if you are heading out on the salt or freshwater make sure to get a new licence. It is all done online via the following links.
Get a BC Fishing Licence
Click here for Saltwater Fishing licences and here for a BC Freshwater Fishing Licence.
We also have some regulation updates and reminders in this week’s report.
Things change on the Chilliwack River on the 1st and we have all the details on that in the Freshwater Fishing Report Section below.
On the saltwater front, while we were hoping for pilot mark selective fishing opportunities in certain areas it doesn’t appear we will get those. Fisheries notices went out this morning and it looks like it will be the status quo, April 1 closures that we have had for the past few years. We have more information in this week’s saltwater section below.
We also have a bass update this week as it is it time to start looking at the local ponds. Gavin has some early season strategies if you want to tackle this fishery.
On the local lake front, we continue to hear good things. We’ll have more details on stocking updates and reports in the coming weeks but now is the time to go! As is evidenced by our friend Sofia who had some success this week! Nice fish Sofia!
Lastly, we are hearing concerning news on some interior lakes. The warm fall and then the fast onset of cold weather last November has caused some major oxygen issues. Check out Jason’s lake report for more details and for those of you who are looking to focus more on lake fishing or brush up a bit we still have room in next week’s Introduction to Lake Fishing Course with Matt. More details in our Classes and Courses section below.
Matt goes over these news updates in the Video Version of the Fishing report so if you want to sit back and listen to the updates click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnQkOMEdAlg&feature=youtu.be
If not, let’s get into the report!
APRIL & MAY 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: 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 EVENTS AND UPDATES
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
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The C/V system has been continuing to fish fairly well, despite the low water conditions that have been present for quite a while now… It has been tough, but those who are putting in the time are still finding fish. Of course, if the low water hasn’t made things tough enough, one of the clay banks has been periodically dumping clay into the river, which results in low and dirty water conditions.
The past week of warm weather has definitely bumped the water temperatures up a bit, so the fry have been emerging and the steelies have been getting a bit more active. Now is absolutely prime-time for swinging spoons, floating Colorado blades, or bringing the spey rod out. Higher water temps mean that fish will be more likely to move out of their way to grab a moving presentation. Of course, the standard presentations that I’ve talked about all season will continue to produce fish, just make sure you have a variety of options in case one of the clay banks decides to ruin your day. As always, cover water to increase your odds of finding a willing fish.
Also, a friendly reminder regarding regulations. If you’re reading this on the day this report is released, it’s Friday, March 31st, and it’s the last day you can legally fish the upper river, between the Tamihi bridge and the boundary, until it re-opens on July 1st. This is part of a “rolling closure” that was implemented to “protect wild, spawning steelhead in the upper river”. As such, the upper river is off limits as of the 1st, so keep that in mind when you head out. If you’re planning on fishing the upper after the 31st, your best bet will be to not do that.
Squamish River Fishing Report -Squamish Outlook
The river remains low. We were hoping for more water this weekend but it looks as though the forecast has been down graded. This should mean more low and clear conditions but the rain that is coming should help out a bit.
We have talked about this a lot this season but it will mean smaller presentations and pickier fish. We are still not seeing salmon fry in big numbers. With night time temperatures remaining cold this weekend we don’t expect this to change but we will see more seasonably warm temperatures next week so fingers crossed things pick up. The second we get some consistently warm days it should be on.
Some of you may have heard or seen the sign but, as it stands now, the hydro bridge just above Ashlu bridge will be closed from the 3rd to 14th so plan accordingly. We will have more updates on the upper river road closure if there are any changes.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Early Bass Tactics
A surplus of sun as of late and rising temperatures has gotten many thinking about relaxing on the beach and mingling with potential partners. Trust me when I say this as the bass are too! Prespawn occurs every spring in southwestern BC just as steelhead season starts to wind down. It is arguably some of the best fishing of the year, as the bass pack on pounds before the spawn in May. Some days can be tough, but the overwhelming majority of fish you will encounter in the next 2 months will be quality fish or a potential PB breaker. Some systems with chunky bass to check out include Mill Lake, Deer Lake and Burnaby Lake.
One can make a comparison to salmon or steelhead; once spawning occurs, feeding for sustenance is the last thing on a bass’ mind. In order to maximize spawn fertility and sustain themselves for the next while, they go on the most aggressive feeding spree of the year.
There are many factors that need to be considered when predicting when prespawn has begun on a particular lake, the most critical of which is temperature.
Identifying areas of a lake that warm up sooner than others is important. Generally shallow areas that are on the east side of the lake are the warmest as they receive the most amount of sunlight hours. The magic number is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius.
Pick baits that are fast moving to generate a reaction bite. Chatterbaits, Swimbaits, Spinnerbaits and Crankbaits are my preferred weapons of choice. Working fast leaves very little time for bass to decide if they want a bait or not, usually resulting in an explosive strike. A simple fan cast and retrieve is used with fast moving baits to cover water methodically.
Come take a look at our bass section and let’s have a chat about different prespawn tactics!
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
It’s officially lake fishing season or is it? We are definitely having a later ice off than last year. Stump was ice free and fishing for a week already in 2022 but this year still has plenty of ice on as of this report. It and other lower elevation lakes are breaking up fast as the warm weather and spring winds are melting the ice quickly. Many of the usual low elevation go to lakes will be off this coming week it looks like.
You may have heard about low oxygen levels in make lakes that were tested by the Province. This is true and we are expecting a lot of lakes to experience winterkill this year as a result. I will keep everybody updated via the Friday Fishing Report as the lakes ice off and winterkills are confirmed. What happened was it was very warm well into the fall lake season and then got very cold very fast and many lakes froze over without getting a fall turn over in first. The fall turnover is a critical process that instill much needed oxygen into the lakes for the winter months. Without this process many lakes do not have enough oxygen in the water to make it through the winter and the trout die.
If you are hitting some of the first lakes to be ice free in the coming week, concentrate close to shore in the shallow water. The fish will be there looking for leeches, scuds, and baby damsels. Those will all be go to patterns under an indicator or stripped. The fish might also be on daphnia so blobs are always a go to early season for this reason. Stripping a booby fly is also a very productive technique this time of year.
Stay tuned for updates…
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Chinook Update & New Regulations:
Well, it’s the end of the month and we were actually surprised to receive the DFO Fishery Notices this morning instead of the usual late afternoon. While we were hoping for a Pilot Mark Selective Fishery opening in parts of Howe Sound for 1 hatchery chinook a day, 62-80 cm it looks like the Vancouver area will be no fishing for chinook April 1st to August 31st, just like it has been the last few years now.
That said there was the following wording in this morning’s fisheries notice:
“The plan is to start the 2023 fishing season (beginning April 1, 2023) with measures in place at the beginning of last season, until further notice. As these are interim measures, a further announcement on possible revised management actions, including any new mark-selective fisheries (MSFs) that may be approved, will be announced in a subsequent fishery notice.” So perhaps there is a chance this pilot fishery will be approved at a later date.
The DFO has stated they are going to transition to mass marking of chinook and marked selective fisheries via their position paper on it last July. If they can’t open an ultra-low impact chinook fishery (on stocks of concern) in Howe Sound for 60 days, I am not sure what they can open. The usual pushback from ENGOs and FN is there, so we will see what decision the Minister makes.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations – the notices that went out this morning are linked below:
FN0330-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Chinook – Areas 11 to 20, 111, and Subareas 29-1 to 29-5 – Chinook Management Measures – Effective April 1, 2023
FN0331-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Chinook – Southern BC waters: Vancouver Area and Fraser River (Area 28 and portions of Area 29) – Reminder of Fraser Chinook Management Measures effective April 1, 2023
FN0332-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – West Coast of Vancouver Island – Areas 21 to 27, 121, 123 to 127 – Chinook Management Measures – Effective April 1, 2023
Prawn Update & New Regulations:
We should also see a fishery notice today that will have areas 28-1 and 28-1 open back up for prawning. Also note that as of April 1st you are required to fish a round style float for prawns. No more red and white crab floats, boat bumpers, yellow bullet shaped floats, milk jugs etc. The new regs will clearly state you need a round style float like an A1 or A2 buoy commonly referred to as a scotchman buoy. It doesn’t have to be red, although that seems to be the most common colour available in stores. It could be white, green, or yellow as those are also commonly available colours, but red probably stands out the best. Remember the float needs to have your full name and phone number on it. Any prawn gear not having this round style of float will be considered illegal gear and you could have your gear taken away and get fined. We do have scotchman buoys in stock.
Crabbing Update & New Regulations:
Just like prawning, new regulations are coming into effect on crabbing. You must use the bullet style float for crabbing, use a red and white, and put your name and phone number on it. It seems most people are using these anyways, so not a big change. But for those of you using milk jugs or boat bumpers it is time to change up your gear or face the fines. Crabbing should pick up in April.