Well we’re off to a sunny start for May! As of today the Chilliwack River is now fly only. Your steelhead season is not coming to an end though, read on below for a full explanation of what this means and how to approach the river. In Squamish we’re watching the water levels and the weather closely to see if we can squeeze in a few more days on the water before the freshet fully kicks in.
May 1 marks the opening of all lakes and some warm temperatures in the interior should hopefully trigger a chironomid hatch. Want to know the ins and outs of chironomid fishing or learn how to tie your own? Join us in our upcoming series of classes focused especially on that!
The winter chinook fishing continues to be hot with great days being had locally off of South Bowen and solid reports coming in from Thrasher Rock. Now is the time to get on the water!
SPRING SUPER SALE
The famous Pacific Angler Spring Super Sale is back! As a newsletter subscriber you’ll be the first to receive all of the sale detail in your inbox next Thursday morning. There will be AMAZING savings for every fisherman, plus a little something special for all the mom’s out there. And as with every sale there will be a Saturday BBQ by donation to the Steelhead Society.
Sale Hours: Saturday May 9, 9AM to 7PM and Sunday May 10, 9AM to 5PM.
This is the perfect chance to get stocked up for the May long weekend! Don’t miss out!
This weeks Introduction to Lakes was a great class. If you were not able to make it, no need to worry. We’ve got it coming up again on May 12! In advance of that there are two great courses that will get you set before the lake fishing season is in full swing. Call the shop to get your spot today!
Introduction to Chironomid Techniques – Trevor Welton
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 working for Hemmera. This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Date: May 5
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Tying Chironomid Fly Patterns – Andre Stepanian
80% of a trout’s diet consists of chironomids whose patterns vary from lake to lake. This 3-hour evening seminar will teach you how to tie a variety of the most effective chironomid patterns used in BC’s world-renowned lakes. You will finish this course understanding the very specific technical aspects ranging from beads, ribbing, colors, and body shapes. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Date: May 11
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Introduction to Fly Fishing Lakes – Matt Sharp
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: May 12
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
May is a great time to get out and try for some Early Cap Coho or “blue backs”. May marks the beginning of this fishery, which will continue through to July. There is very little rain in the upcoming forecast, which makes fishing for coho tough as fresh fish use higher river levels and the incoming tide to shoot up into the hatchery.
With the water being so low, the numbers of fish entering the river are very few and they can be quite easy to spook. Float fishing roe, wool, and blades are all productive methods as well as spin casting Gibbs Crocs and Blue Fox Vibrax. Fly fishing typical coho patterns (California Neil, Coho buggers, and Rolled Muddlers) in the lower river for fresh fish can be relatively productive but most of the fly fishing is done in the deep canyon pools in the upper section of the Cap, with full sink lines stripping olive wooly buggers. The odd steelhead does get caught as a by catch while angling for coho so please remember to RELEASE ALL WILD AND HATCHERY STEELHEAD.
Well our five-month steelhead season has almost come to an end. In the coming couple weeks the freshet will be upon us. Beginning May 1st the Chilliwack River becomes fly only and the fishing boundary moves down stream to the Vedder crossing bridge.
The term ‘fly only’ means no indicators or split shot. Weighted flies and sinktips are allowed. Grab your single or two handed fly rod, an assortment of flies and a couple sinktips and head out there before it’s too late!
This week the Squamish came back into shape but after a couple nice fishable days, both rain and heat caused the river to blow out again. Though it may be out for the season it is worth watching closely. If it comes back into shape it can be some of the best fishing of the season. That said watch the water levels carefully and be safe. We expect that it will be out more often than it will be in until salmon season next fall.
Because of the extreme fall rains and major high water events we have experienced this season, the number of fry around seemed quite low. An important note to make for 4 years from now. It will be interesting to see how this season will effect returning fish.
If you’re planning on heading out don’t forget that the Squamish, Mamquam, Cheakamus, Ashlu, and the Elaho rivers are ALL BAIT BAN. Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) 1-877-952-7277.
Dimitri + Sam
The Harrison River is rising gradually so I would get out there as much as you can before it goes into freshet. This is a good time to scout the river with a boat, which gives you more access to certain spots that the cutthroat might be. The fry are pretty big now and there are plenty of them. Move as much as you can in the day and look for rising fish whether they are slashing fry or taking dries. You can fish this river until it goes brown so even when it’s high but clear you still have a chance to fish before it comes to an end.
I had some solid reports from Roche, Peter hope, Glimpse, Englishman and Salmon Lake on Douglas Lake ranch. The water temps are around 50 degrees around the 3600 ft elevation, which could trigger off the beginning of the chironomid hatches. The majority of the fish caught are still on leeches with the occasional chironomid hatch on the warmest part of the day. If you fishing depths greater than 25 ft use the full sink method to suspend the chironomid in deeper waters. Although you won’t see hatches of dragon or damsel, the nymph are swimming around to hatch on a later date so sometimes try a few on the end of your line to see what happens, you might be rewarded. As of May 1st all the lakes are open. For a more in depth conversation on lake fishing please come in to the store and we will help you with gear and selection of flies, or take in Matt’s Introduction to Fly Fishing Lakes class coming up on May 12.
Well this is it; the first week of May and the chinook are truly here in full force! We have had great chinook fishing all week off the Hump on South Bowen and there is also good chinook fishing off Thrasher and Nanaimo this time of year. Anytime after May 1st we have had good to excellent fishing at Thrasher, but with the fantastic fishing off the Hump, there really is no need to run that far. In 3 and half hours on Wednesday we hooked 7 chinook and missed 2 more. On Thursday we were into 4 chinook in 2 hours. You can’t beat that kind of action for local fishing, only 30 minutes from the dock! If you have been thinking about booking a charter to the Hump or Thrasher, give us call as the best chinook fishing of the year is literally right now!
If you are heading out on your own boat, the even better news is the pesky little cods we have been getting off the Hump seemed to have thinned out substantially. We only hooked a couple on each trip throughout this past week. It sounds like they moved over to Gabriola and Nanaimo as anglers over there were complaining about heavy catches of these fish. Tough to catch chinook when you check your lines and they all have cod on them. When they were thick out on the Hump we were checking our lines every 30 mins or even less, but luckily they seemed to have moved on for the time being. The chinook fishing has been good in the 75-115 range on the downriggers early in the day or on darker days. Later in the day or when it is sunny the fish move down to a bit and you will do better in the 120-150 range with 130 being a hot depth.
The best producers for us have been the Oki Tackle Green Onion Glow flasher and a chartreuse or green blade flasher with silver tape on one side and glow tape on the other. Other good flashers have bent the Oki Tackle Footloose in Green and the Purple Onion Glow. Spoons have been excellent and the larger spoons are doing better now. The bait in the fish has been 4 to 7 inch herring with lots of 5 and 6 inch herring. Some customers, as well as our guide boats, have been using the bigger spoons this past week and they are working very, very well. The new 5 inch Pesca has been hot and the larger Kingfisher spoons like a 4.0 Homeland, Green Glow, or Irish Cream, have all been producing well.
If you are a bait guy, of course that has been working as well. We have been running anchovies and herring and both have been working well in glow teaser heads with some green or chartreuse shades.
I can’t say enough about how great the fishing has been this year, since basically December. The fishing for winter chinook was excellent and now we are having one of the best years in a long time off the Hump and I am sure Thrasher Rock will be the same. There are simply lots of fish around this year and some big ones. I am sure you saw the picture of the Tyee we caught on a guided trip a few weeks back. Well there has now been 3 other Tyees that I have heard of from other anglers, so make sure your hooks are sharp and your line is fresh because there are truly some big fish out there. Most of the fish are in the 12 to 20 pound range but there have been a good number in the low to mid twenties as well. As the season progresses I am sure we will see some more Tyees being caught. There was a 28 off Nanaimo just a few days ago.
See you on the water or in the shop,