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Home / Uncategorised / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: May 13, 2016

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: May 13, 2016

Well it’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood and we are going to see a great weather both in Vancouver and up in lake country. The temperatures are going to be in the mid 20s here and pushing 20 in Merritt so it should be a great weekend to get out and enjoy the sun!

On the saltwater scene things were slower than normal but that is probably due to weather and wind we saw last weekend. We are going to see some wind in the forecast this weekend but we expect it to be manageable. Jason is down in Cuba this week fishing (yes we are jealous) so unfortunately we do not have his expertise weighing in on what is going on. Don’t worry Dimitri and Eddie as well as a bunch of customers have been funneling me info and on a product front we just got in a big shipment of Iron Needle Spoons!

Though there are a ton of great spoons out there this one is different. It is cut to look like a sand lance. Though we do not have many sand lances in the immediate Vancouver area, many of the traveling fish have been feeding on them during there migration and as a change up lure it can be a game changer. In the larger sizes it is also commonly fished without a flasher! It is also a no brainer if you are heading to the west coast or further up north. Check out the saltwater report below for my rant on trolling spoons and more info on the Iron Needle Spoons.

Lake fishing has been great right across the board. A few lakes are still a little cold but that is changing fast. Our theme this week is positive fishing rants and Andre has a good little write up on  how to learn a lake properly so check it out in the lake report below.

On the river front the heat makes things challenging this time of year. Most of the experienced anglers will hang up their river gear because most rivers will be high, dirty and hard to access because of snow melt. With this in mind we have very little on rivers this week but a few systems will pick up soon.

Local Lakes are all being regularly stocked and is a great option to get out and practice or take a youth out fishing. Check out all the fishery specific info below.

Interior Lake Fishing Report – Andre’s Lake Fishing Rant – Do You Want to be a Great Lake Fisherman?

People who love lake fishing do it for many different reasons. Some do it to get away from the city, some focus on relaxing. Some love camping with the family.  Many love trolling around the lake, catching a few fish, trying a couple techniques and heading home. If this is you, we understand. There is no shame in it but if you want to really take lake fishing seriously and conquer it, this is my advice.

Choose a lake that you would like to learn and keep going back to it as much as you can from the beginning of spring until it goes into summer dole drums. If you keep hopping to different lakes you will never really learn.  All great lake fisherman have built their knowledge over time and in most cases the most learning is done not on the first trip to a lake but on the 6th, 10th or 50th day on the lake.

Sometimes it takes a couple of seasons to really learn the best holes and the bugs that hatch in a certain lake. I have spent countless days on a lake getting skunked until one day things turn around and I started catching fish. There is a certain joy in the challenge and the accomplishment of putting in time to learn a lake. In this day and age of instant results with all the technology around us many people have trouble with this concept. Fortunately nature is way smarter than any app out there and if you want to be a great lake fisherman you have no choice but to put in the countless hours sitting on a lake observing your surroundings. This is why I love lake fishing and from observing many anglers, the ones that are the “best” are the ones that at some point in their career have really figured out a lake. They may now hop around to different lakes but their skill and knowledge base was gained from putting in time on one lake and really understanding it.

When you enter a lake for the first time, go around the lake. Study the shoals and the drop offs. Anchor in an area, take the temperature of the lake, observe how wind affects the lake and study the hatches as the day unfolds.  It is okay if you don’t catch a fish on your trip. This is not a defeat. You have learned something. What you were doing was not something to try again under those same conditions. The more days like this under your belt the sooner you will figure it out and master the lake. There will be a day that everyone else around you will try to be your best friend and bribe you with food and drinks while at camp to see if they can get information from you. In response you will be able to say “If you spend enough time on the lake you will figure it out”. Then take their food and drink and smile.

To be an all around lake fisherman you have to know how and when to fish leeches, scuds, chironomides, damsels, dragons, water boatman, may flies and caddis but if only one or two of the above becomes your favorite that’s okay too. There are lots of lakes that you should fish when you are starting which are easier than tough moody lakes which require more knowledge to catch a fish. It is better to go to a lake that has a lot of smaller fish than lakes that have a fewer fish but bigger fish. I know you want to catch the big one but always remember that they are harder to trick with your offering than the smaller ones. Pick a lake with a good amount of fish and learn it. Then move on with that knowledge you have gained and fish a more challenging lake.

The interesting thing is that when you have learned one lake thoroughly and understand its’ ebbs and flows you are much better armed to try different lakes. The knowledge you gain from understanding one lake will make you way more skilled at dissecting a new lake than the angler that has hopped around from lake to lake his entire career.

Specific Lake Fishing Reports

There have been good reports from Roche, Stump, Peter hope, Corbett and Courtney. The water temps are hovering around 52-54 degrees, I fished Harmon lake last week and the second day the chiromides were struggling to hatch as the temps dropped below zero at night. The fish were feeding on Hayella shrimp with a few chironomids in their stomachs.


It is hard to see but these are small Hayella shrimp

The fish were hovering around 14 ft of water which indicated that things have not heated up yet. Also to get the chironomid hatch going you need a steady wind to circulate the water and warm the lake. Remember that just because you don’t see hatches on the surface it doesn’t mean they are not hatching.

fish in net


I was a victim of this as for 2 hours my strike indicator didn’t move and when I finally got a fish and pumped the stomach it was full of size 18 light green chironomids that were being taken by the trout before they had a chance to swim up. For now I would fish lakes no more than 3800 ft until the temps rise and the hatches are more steady.

Happy fishing,

 Andre Stepanian



Local Lake Fishing Report

Rice, Lafarge, Como, Buntzen, and all the other local lakes are fishing well.

It is a good idea to play around with different techniques to find the most effective method on any given day. When experiencing slow fishing with stationary bait rigs like float fishing or bottom fishing, a spinner or a spoon can really change your luck.

We encourage people to take the introductory angler in their life to one of these stocked lakes. It is a great way to get people into the sport based on how willing the fish are and proximity to the city.

Stump Lake in Squamish is fishing well for smaller cutthroat trout. Because this lake is tannin stained, dark coloured bugger and leech patterns are most effective. Don’t be afraid to fish some flashy flies to target some of the bigger cutthroat that may be feeding on the invasive pumpkin seed.

The Whistler Lakes are starting to heat up. We have heard good reports from Alta lake recently. The species of target in Alta lake are cutthroat trout and rainbow trout. Cutthroat are best targeted with woolly bugger and minnow type flies like muddlers and belly dancers or small spoons like a Dick Nite. The rainbows can be taken on a variety of flies. Chironomids fished under an indicator can actually work quite well on Alta for rainbows.

We have also heard decent reports from the Pemberton Lakes recently.

River Fishing Reports

Squamish Fishing Report

There won’t be much to say about this river system until September. Resident trout can be targeted in the late summer months with nymphs, streamers, and dry flies. We have a feeling that the river is past the point of return for the spring season, however, it is possible that it could come into shape for a small window.

Squamish Cheakamus system is a100% catch and release, single barbless fishery so play by the rules and have fun!

Chilliwack River Fishing Report

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!

The next fishery on the Chilliwack system will be red springs in July and August.

Note: The Chilliwack river is closed to fishing for the month of June.

**The Chilliwack River is closed to fishing above the Vedder crossing bridge May 1st-May 31st**
**The Chilliwack River is open to FLY FISHING ONLY below the Vedder crossing bridge May 1st-May 31st.**

Chehalis River

The Chehalis River is now closed to fishing. It will reopen June 1st.

**The Chehalis River is closed to fishing for the month of May**

Harrison River

The Harrison is now in freshet.

Capilano River

We have not heard anything yet from the Capilino Coho fishery and steelhead need to be treated with care because most will be just spawned but we expect reports to start over the next 3 weeks.

Please note: ALL steelhead (adipose clipped and unclipped) must be released with the utmost care.

The most popular method for this fishery is short-floating with light/medium power casting and center-pin rods. Productive baits include cured roe, roe bags, krill, dew worms, and Colorado blades. Fly fishing is also quite effective for these early run coho. 7-8wt single hand fly rods equipped with full sinking type-6 lines allow you to strip your fly reasonably fast while maintaining a deep presentation. The most effective flies are olive woolly buggers (Andre’s Cap Coho Bugger), muddler minnows, and small polar bear winged flies in sizes 8-12.


Fishing spoons around the Vancouver area has become very popular over the last decade in part to a number of top guides putting in the time to tweak and perfect their favorite colors, paint recipes and shapes. For the average angler the selection can be overwhelming and much of what you hear is more hype for the fisherman than design for catching fish. The old saying that you could catch chinook on car keys or a bent table spoon is true. I have seen it happen. When an angler who understands the fishery is out on the water he will catch fish on pretty much anything he puts down. That said there is no way to argue that color and shape matters when one spoon in your box out fishes everything else on the boat or even more convincing, when one spoon out fishes everything in a fleet of boats.

We have seen this phenomenon happen with a number of spoons but a couple designs keep popping up in “epic” reports. Pesca spoons seem to rule the down deep, dirty water fisheries because they have the best glow paint. Skinny Gs and GoldStar spoons in the Homeland Security and Kitchen Sink colors have put up very good numbers over the last few months and the Titan Kinetic Green Glow spoon has been gaining a very strong secret following (sorry not so secret anymore:)

 4 of the best local spoons Homeland Security, Pesca Spoons, Titan Spoons, Skinny G Spoons

4 of the Best Local Salmon Spoons
Homeland Security, Pesca Spoons, Titan Spoons, Skinny G Spoons

For most anglers, if you have a selection of the above spoons, you are going to catch a bunch of fish. With this in mind I am hesitant to bring in more spoons to the shop. We have one of the biggest selection in Vancouver and we cover most if not all of the popular designs. The only time I get interested in a new product is when it is different. Different for both the fisherman and the fish. The Iron needle spoons fills this bill. They represent a different bait and they also offer a different option for how you fish them.

Most of our spoons are designed to look like herring and you will want to fish them with a flasher. This makes sense as herring are the predominate food source in our waters. The iron needle is different. It imitates a needle fish. In the Vancouver area we do not have a ton of needle fish habitat but all of the chinook traveling down from up north will have moved through areas of needle fish habitat. In the last few years there have been reports where fish, for whatever reason, want needle fish and nothing else.

The other interesting thing about the large iron needle spoon is that it is popular to fish without a flasher. If you have not experienced a bite when the fish are hitting a naked presentations (no flasher) it is very cool and one hell of a fight.

The New Iron Needle Spoons in 4 and 6 inch

The New Iron Needle Spoons in 4 and 6 inch

We just got in a big selection of new glow colors as well as a new smaller 4 inch Iron Needle designs. If you want to change it up or try a rod with no flasher, come down and ask the guys to show you the iron needle spoons. If you are heading up north or further afield where you find needle fish in the bellies of your catch, add this spoon to your arsenal. If the fish are on needle fish this spoon is deadly!

Enough about gear – On to the fishing!

For fishing this weekend, reports are still a mixed bag. There was a good bite at Hole In the Wall last week and into this week but from the last couple days we haven’t heard anything from that direction. This usually means the fish have moved off. We have heard descent reports from Thrasher Rock on the ebb tide and we can expect this fishery to heat up over the next three weeks. If I were going out I would head to Thrasher and fish in the 90-180 ft range.  The Club Dub flashers have been hot for this fishery in the past. Historically flashers and spoons with both glow and flash fish well at thrasher because the water is very clear but we also fish quite deep. Green glow hoochies are also very popular. Heading across the straight is always a bit of a gamble with the weather and I wouldn’t rule out the Hump just yet. If the crossing is not an option keep the south Bowen hump fishery on your radar. The hump has been poor overall this year. Boats are constantly catching a fish or two on every outing but be it weather, cod fowling gear or simply no fish, this Hump season has been nothing to write home about. It is still a very viable spot to try for the next 3 weeks. It could light up without any notice, so keep it on your list of spots to check out. The bell and the QA marker should also be on that list and though it is early the number of coho in the straight his been impressive this season and a pass along the north shore might be worth a exploratory tack.


We have boats out all weekend and we should have more info early next week so as always don’t hesitate to call in and ask for and update or even better call in your report if something interesting happens out there. 604-872-2204