The May Long Weekend Friday Fishing Report is here. We CANNOT wait to get out on the water this weekend – from lake fishing, sturgeon fishing, bass fishing, to saltwater there is so much to do. But don’t worry we’ll be here for you in shop to get ready to go for your long weekend fishing adventure! We’re open regular hours all weekend and closed on Monday.
Alex has a great feature this week on topwater bass fishing, be sure to take a read of that below along with Aidan and Jordan’s reports on lake fishing in the Interior and the Sea-To-Sky corridor. If you’re staying in town this weekend don’t forget about our local ‘urban’ lakes, they are great fishing and something that can easily be done in a morning or afternoon outing.
For you saltwater anglers fishing has been good across the board this week. Jason takes a detailed look in his report this week. Also be sure to check out our new Instagram and Facebook pages dedicated to our charters!
On the course front we have an awesome lineup for courses for the rest of the month – from beginners to experts, fly tyers to saltwater enthusiasts we have a course for you. Full listing in our classes and courses section below!
Just a friendly reminder we are in the shop all weekend long but closed on Monday May 20, 2019. We’ll see you out on the water that day!
Victoria Day Long Weekend Hours
Friday May 17 | 10AM – 7PM
Saturday May 18 | 10AM – 6PM
Sunday May 19 |11AM – 5PM
Monday May 20 – closed!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Join us for a fun, social evening celebrating fly fishing in beautiful BC. Mark Hume, an experienced angler and former Globe & Mail reporter, will give a captivating visual presentation from his new book, Trout School, which shares insider knowledge from legendary angler Mo Bradley. Mo is the undefeated master of catching Kamloops trout. This is your chance to learn from the master.
Featuring: Door prizes. Drinks. Catering. Cash bar. Books for sale.
Brought to you by Pacific Angler, Vancouver Club, and Pacific Salmon Foundation
RSVP at psf.ca/events<http://psf.ca/events>
Date: Thursday May 30
Location: Vancouver Club, 915 West Hastings Street
CLASSES AND COURSES
We know it is only May but are pretty excited about our classes coming up in early June! From lake fisherman to saltwater angler we have got a class for you. There are just a couple of spots left in our Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon Course and we’ve had the opportunity to host another Chironomid Techniques course
This course was 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.
Cost: $150.00 + GST
Dates: Seminar May 22 Casting May 25, 2019
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
Tying Beach Fly Patterns
Join Pacific Angler for a 3hr evening seminar of tying flies specific to catching salmon on our coastal beaches. Without a doubt, fly selection is critical while beach fishing.
These flies are often not commercially available, so successful beach anglers learn to tie their own patterns. Your instructor will walk you through each fly pattern step-by-step.
This Tying Beach Fly Patterns course is suitable for fly tiers with a basic knowledge. 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: May 27, 2018
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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.
Cost: $50 + GST
Dates: May 29, 2019
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon
Over 50 million salmon migrate past Vancouver annually. Learn how to catch these fish with a Pacific Angler. This course offers an in-depth look at the local saltwater scene. We cover the local saltwater salmon fishing for the entire year, showing you the how, when, and where. This course includes a 6hr seminar and a fully guided day on the water in one of our Grady Whites.
Cost: $350.00 + GST
Seminar: June 2, 2019
Guided: June 8 – 2 spots left!, June 21 – 1 spot left! – June 22- 1 spot left! June 24 – 2 spots left! All other dates sold out!
Seminar Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm – with a one-hour break for lunch. There is a restaurant on site for students to have lunch at their cost. Coffee/Tea and water will be provided. Seminar held at Pacific Gateway Hotel – 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond, BC
Guided Day: Full day on the water
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 working for Hemmera. This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Date: June 5, 2019
BASS FISHING FEATURE
Topwater Bass Fishing
It is starting to feel like t-shirt and shorts weather out there!
With this warming trend we can start thinking about one of my favourite methods
of catching bass. Topwater bass fishing is one of the most explosive and
visually stunning fisheries that we have locally and while it isn’t always a
go-to it can be absolutely epic when that surface bite is on. Topwater bassing
is near and dear to my heart as it is the technique that got me hooked on this
fishery. If you ask any of the old school Deer Lake Bass anglers about the
Asian dude that would only fish hollow-body frogs and nothing else, they’ll
know who you are talking about. The beauty of this technique is that it is
simple to rig up and simple to fish, and for some that surface blow up is the
epitome of what bass fishing is all about.
The gear that you will need for this method of targeting bass is simple albeit there are a couple of factors you will want to take into account and I will outline what you will want to consider when getting into a topwater setup. While you can definitely catch fish just on any old rod/reel combo, having proper gear will increase your hook up and landing ratio exponentially. Generally speaking, you will be looking at either a spinning or baitcasting outfit in the 6′-7’6″ range in a medium to heavy power with fast/extra fast action, and throughout this report I will break down exactly what you will want to use and how to cater your setup to your fishing conditions.
The first thing you will want to think about is what category of topwater lure you will be using. Are you using a walk-the-dog style lure, a popping lure, or a lure that works on a straight retrieve? Walk-the-dog style lures like the Rapala Skitterwalk have a tantalizing side to side motion. The walk-the-dog technique requires a downward twitching motion of the rod in tandem with a slow retrieve, and working the lure properly is all about getting the correct cadence between your twitches and your speed of retrieval. Walking the dog is great for keeping the lure in the strike zone while still making a lot of commotion. Popping lures, which consist of a cupped mouth that “chugs” the water, just require forward movement which again is usually courtesy of downward twitches with the rod tip. Both walk-the-dog and popping lures in my opinion are best used on a baitcasting rod paired with a low profile baitcaster. The weight distribution of a low profile baitcaster is more conducive to the downward twitching needed to get the correct action from these lures and is easier on the wrist. It is definitely more awkward to do with a spinning setup, but it can be done. When it comes to lures that just require a straight retrieve, such as a buzzbait, I have much less of a preference when it comes to choosing a baitcaster or spinning combo for the job.
The second factor you will want to look at is whether or not you are using a floating lure with treble hooks or one with a single/double hook, and this will influence which line you will want to use. For lures with trebles like the Rapala Skitter Pop, you will want to use monofilament as the extra stretch they afford will absorb some shock during the fight and won’t pull those trebles out of their mouths as easily. You definitely can use braid, but be warned that the lack of stretch means a lot more thrown hooks or bent hooks so be mindful of your drag setting and how you play the fish. Depending on the size of the lure and your rod rating, anything from 8lb to 15lb mono will suffice. On the flip side, lures that have a single or double hook like a buzzbait or a hollow-body frog can be used with straight braid. A lot of these types of surface lures, such as the hollow-body frog, are designed to be fished in or around heavy structure and you will want a line that has no stretch, a lot of strength, and thin diameter to muscle those fish away from anything that can get you snagged up. Braided line options will range from 20lb up to 65lb depending on the situation, though generally speaking the more gnarly the structure gets the heavier the braid you will want to use. Braid is also useful for slicing through vegetation like lily pads. Do not use fluorocarbon with any floating setup as fluorocarbon tends to sink, changing the trajectory of your lures and killing the action.
Your rod choice is the third part to the equation. As aforementioned I do prefer using a baitcasting rod for most of my topwater applications, but you can get away with a spinning outfit if need be. For most of your topwater needs you will want a fast action rod, especially if you are walking the dog or popping your lures as that fast action blank will transmit every twitch you do down to the lure. Lengths of 6′ to 7’6″ are adequate. For open water applications, a medium powered rod is fine. When fishing in or near heavy structure a medium-heavy or heavy rod is best. Keep in mind that your rod choice isn’t necessarily dictated by the size of fish but the conditions you will be fishing. A trophy Bass on gear that isn’t adequate for the type of water that you are fishing can end up being your next fish story instead of the catch of a lifetime.
So, where and when do you want to fish topwater lures for Bass? You can use them anywhere, whether it is open water, a sea of lily pads, or under an overhanging tree. Typically, you will want to throw it near some sort of structure as Bass tend to relate to something either along the shoreline or something that is submerged. You will also need to pick the right topwater lure for the job. For example, you don’t want to throw a lure with trebles into a bunch of pads or into a laydown as you most likely won’t get that lure back. A situation like that calls for a more snag resistant lure like a hollow-body frog.
It is also a misconception that topwater fishing only works in low light conditions. That is simply not the case. I have caught fish in the middle of the afternoon on scorching summer days. However, while it isn’t as black and white as that, your best opportunity definitely is a low light situation such as first light, last light, or a cloudy day. A little bit of surface chop from the wind isn’t a bad thing either as this distortion decreases the fish’s line of sight upward and basically acts as surface cover which can make a bass bolder than on a flat calm day. Not to mention this decreased vision can mask imperfections with the lure or the lure cadence. When the water is flat and clear like glass everything is basically under top notch scrutiny from these fish and can make for some tougher fishing.
So, what are my favourite topwater lures? A couple of my go-to’s that I always have on me are hollow-body frogs and buzzbaits. Hollow-bodies are great for fishing through thicker lily pads, getting under trees, and crawling over laydowns and they can work wonders during pre-spawn and during the summer time. You can walk them, pop them, or literally just leave them propped up against a lilypad and let the water movement do the work. It is also epic setting the hook on a frog fish, and if you have never done it before it’s definitely something you will want to experience. Buzzbaits, on the other hand, are what I tie on when I want to fish topwater but need to cover water quickly. It is basically a spinnerbait with a prop instead of a blade and I can burn it through sparse lily pads or over fallen timber. It generates ferocious strikes and stirs up the most aggressive fish in the area.
Fish landed on two of my go-to topwater lures – a hollow-body frog and a buzzbait.
Topwater bass fishing is a hell of a lot of fun and doesn’t require a lot of special equipment. As we come into late Spring and early Summer you will definitely want to have this method ready at your disposal if you are doing a bass trip. We have everything you need here at Pacific Angler so come on down and talk to me or any of the other guys at the shop and we can help you get started.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
The Capilano is an interesting fishery. She is so close to the city but when you hike her upper trails you feel as though you are miles from civilization. This fact alone makes the Capilano a very cool river to fish and explore.
The closeness to town does come with some caveats. When you are 5 mins away from a big population you will see other anglers and fishing spots are limited because most of the river is lined by steep canyon walls. Long story short you will need to work for your fishing spots and you will need to put in your time to figure out the river.
On the fishing front you will see steelhead in the winter and chinook in the fall like many other systems but there is a unique run of coho on the Capilano that come very early. These blue backs (small coho) start showing up around now and run all the way to fall. We have already heard a few reports so it is time to start watching the river levels and doing some scouting.
Most anglers will float fish for these fish as the high canyon walls can be a challenge to fish with other presentations but many anglers will also time the river levels and break out the fly rods. It is not a beginner’s fishery but with heavy full sinking lines and a bunch of role casting you can fish the deep pools. Sometimes it is more effective than the float fishing.
We have a couple flies specifically designed for this fishery and Andre just dropped off the first shipment of his Cap Bugger. If you are thinking about tackling this fishery this season come down to the shop and with will walk you through the specific setups.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Sea-To-Sky Corridor Lake Fishing
The Sea-to-Sky corridor has seen some great fishing lately. Most of the lakes have warmed up enough to encourage healthy amounts of insect life, as well as warmed enough to get fish active.
There are lots of lakes along the highway, with some a little further up the way in Whistler. From small pot-hole lakes to larger, more respectable bodies of water, there is something for everyone whether or not you’re fishing from shore or a watercraft.
If fishing from a watercraft, keep in mind the regulations for each body of water: some lakes do not allow motors, and if they do, they are often limited to electric motors only.
This in mind, Fishcats and other self-propelled inflatables are a great choice – we had a great right up two week ago on float tubes so have a read of that or drop by the shop and we can chat float tubes .
Browning Lake in Murrin Provincial Park is one of the first lakes you’ll come across when driving up to Squamish- though not large, there are often enough small trout to keep anglers occupied for a few hours. Keep in mind this lake is right next to the highway and seclusion from the hustle and bustle of cars is not found.
A little farther up the highway you get Brohm Lake and then Alice Lake Provincial Park. Brohm Lake is a respectable size and can get windy- that said, there are plenty of small rainbows to keep you busy if you stick close to shore. Alice is similar but can also get quite busy with swimmers in the summer. Again, plenty of small trout to keep you busy, whether or not you are using flies or gear.
Most of the Whistler area lakes are fishing great, with many of them hosting a variety of species such as rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bulltrout, and kokanee. Some of these lakes have a bait ban, so always keep yourself updated with the regulations before heading out. While some lakes may have a daily quota, others me be catch-and-release only.
Just like the lower highway lakes, many of these lakes can be fished from shore but a small personal watercraft can open up opportunities. Again, flies, gear, and bait all work where permitted.
The slack is whack,
Interior Lake Fishing Report
Well, if you’ve planned yourself a long weekend excursion into the interior, you’re in luck. The chironomid hatch is in full swing, and there are big trout lurking down below. I just spent the previous weekend at Roche lake, and my oh my was the fishing ever hot. I noticed most fisherman were anchored up in 25+ feet of water, but my best luck (and biggest fish) were all caught in about 10ft of water.
Olive and Brown white beaded chronny’s in a size 16 seemed to be producing far above any other fly, or technique. If you’re headed up and wondering about the road they were grading when I left so it should be in good condition for your long weekend trip.
The news from other lakes has been just as exciting. Both Stump and Peter Hope have had similar reports to my Roche trip. Although I haven’t heard much of the lakes in the Aspen Grove area, you can bet on chironomids being the main food source.
Once again, many reports of Conservation Officers in the area, so have your licenses on your person whilst on the water.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORT
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Fishing this past week was good in a variety of places; there are lots of options, so let’s take a closer look at each.
As usual for this time of year we are seeing good numbers of chinook off South Bowen, as we have for about the last 4 weeks. There are a few slow days sprinkled in there, but for the most part the fishing has been excellent. It has been good close to the rocks in as tight as 150 and as far out as 450 feet of water. Each day is a bit different depending on the tides and winds. Best depths on the down riggers have been from 80-140.
Mid-week a nice school of chinook also showed up at Hole in the Wall and the fishing was pretty hot. This should be no surprise as there is usually some pretty good fishing in this area in late April, all of May and the beginning of June. The fish were fairly shallow when our boats were there, 45-90 on the riggers, but other days they have been in that 90-120 zone like Bowen. It can be a bit hit and miss in this spot as fish move in for a few days, then leave, but when it’s on it can be very good.
Fishing over at Thrasher is also in full swing. I was there this past weekend and there were a lot of fish around. I was surprised at how clear the water was. Usually there is a bit more algae around this time of year, but I could see my flasher down around 50-60 feet, almost like winter. I was catching fish from 188-255 on the riggers because of the clear water. There are lots of fish offshore, out off the Thrasher Light marker in 350-650 feet of water and there are fish all along Gabriola on the structure as well. Just depends on what kind of fishing you want to do that day, “set it and forget” out in the deep water, or the more labor intensive but sometimes more satisfying “structure fishing.” Either way, there are a lot of fish in the area and not many boats because of the chinook non-retention regulations. It’s really a shame you can’t keep a chinook, as most of the chinook I brought to hand were hatchery chinook and have nothing to do with Fraser stocks of concern. The DNA data and Coded Wire Tag data shows that 1% or less of the chinook you are catching at Thrasher are interior Fraser River chinook stocks of concern, so in my opinion it should definitely be open for 2 chinook a day, 1 for sure, and certainly 1 hatchery fish.
A wide range of tackle is working right now. Hootchies, spoons, bait, plugs, you name it. As usual I did very well at Thrasher on chartreuse flashers and chartreuse hootchies. My top producer was the PA custom chartreuse flasher, and Yamashita chartreuse splatter back hootchy (OG140R) with a 32-inch leader. Another excellent producer in these conditions is a blue glow flasher and blue splatter back hootchy (OG144R). Off Bowen Eddie has been doing well with Irish Cream and Homeland spoons and Derek has been doing well with the Skinny G No Bananas and 5.5 inch anchovies in No Bananas teaser head. Productive flashers have been PA custom in chartreuse and UV purple, Lemon Lime, BC, STS, Salty Dawg, and Green Onion Glow.
Crabbing has been good and should remain so the rest of this month. The commercial prawn season opened up on the 9th, so expect prawning to slow down but there are few little trenches that are still producing well.
I encourage you to get out there and enjoy this excellent chinook fishing. For our guests booking charters, we are offering a special “catch and release” package that consists of a sockeye fillet piece and some smoked sockeye. We are also dropping crab traps and prawn traps on our trips and have bottom fishing opportunities. So, get out there and enjoy being on the water, our guests that have been out these past few weeks have had an excellent time!
Check out our new Instagram page and Facebook page that is dedicated to our charters. We will be posting photos daily as well as stories when we are out on the water. Expect some short pro tip videos in the future as well.
See you in the shop or on the water,