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Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: May 21, 2021

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: May 21, 2021


The May Long Weekend is upon us and it looks like a great weekend to get outdoors locally and enjoy some time on the water.   

As many of you know, decisions were made last week re: our chinook fishery and the SFAB proposals for the Vancouver area were not accepted.  Despite these proposals being specifically designed to minimize impact on stocks of concern and focus on hatchery fish, the Minister and her team said no.   

Jason has more on it in the saltwater section below but, in short, it was a political decision rather than a decision based on science.  In the coming weeks, we will drill into this issue more but, in the interim, we recommend that you find a way to get involved.  The Sport Fishing Institute of BC and the Public Fishery Alliance are both continuing to work hard for your right to fish.   Sign up as a member and donate if you can.  The future of many public fisheries is in jeopardy.   

With saltwater angling in mind, we continue to hear good bottom fishing reports and chinook numbers are very good in areas where we can catch and release across the strait.  Jason has details at the end of the report.  

Interior lake reports also continue to be excellent and we are crossing our fingers that travel restrictions are lifted soon!   If you want to be prepared for when it is safe to travel or if you live out of the area, and want some tips on lake fishing, be sure to sign up for our Zoom Introduction to Fly Fishing Lakes Course, being offered on Tuesday, May 25!  Details are in the Classes and Courses section below.  

For those local to the Squamish area, the river has surprisingly dropped over the last 3 days and we have details in the river section.  

If you are looking to get out locally, our stocked lakes are in full swing and Alex has details. Capilano is also a fishery worth looking at and Taylor has some updates.  Fishing has not been great but it is still worth a look and should improve over the next couple weeks.  Last but not least, if you are going to do some local fishing this long weekend, our May Long Weekend Hours are: 

Friday May 21 | 10AM – 7PM 
Saturday May 22 | 10AM – 6PM 
Sunday May 23 | 11AM – 5PM 
Monday May 24 | Closed 

On to the report!  


We’re Hiring!  

We’re looking for some talented individuals with a passion for fishing  and helping others to join our retail team.   We have both full and part time positions available.   If this is you read on for more details about the positions  here.  


Introduction to Fly Fishing Lakes

Last Session…Registration Closes on Tuesday, May 25
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 Zoom seminar.
Date: Tuesday, May 25
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person

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. The course is comprised of two sessions; a 3hr evening Zoom seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.

Dates: Jun 16 & 20, July 14 & 17, Sept 21 & 26  
Cost: $150.00
Seminar Time:  6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm

Introduction to Fly Fishing Trout Streams

Stalking trout on mountain streams defines fly fishing. In this course we will teach you the fundamental techniques for fly fishing trout streams; dry fly fishing, nymphing, and streamer fishing.  This course will get you as close to being Brad Pitt of a River Runs Through It fame as you will ever be!  The course is comprised of one 3hr evening Zoom seminar.

Cost: $50.00+GST
Date:  Wednesday, June 23
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm 


Squamish River Fishing Report 

Once again, we are looking at interesting water levels.  As predicted, the heat last week pushed the Squamish systems into a dirty freshet condition but she dropped this week with cooler nights.  This river, as we write the report, is around 3m on the graph.  This means things should be fishable.  We expect the warm weekend weather to push levels back up into a dirty state but if you are look at numbers for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, they are below 3.4 so it might be worth a look.  

If you’re local to the area and heading out fish spinners and spoons and large streamers. 

Be safe and aware of crossing channels that may rise over the day.  Also, if you are lucky enough to encounter steelhead make sure to release them with the utmost care.  

Good Luck, 

Matt Sharp 

Capilano River Fishing Report

The Capilano has been especially unpredictable this year, both in terms of fishability, and water levels.  It’s been running rather high for the past week, which has made fishing difficult.  Fish have been pushing in, but they often shoot right up to the hatchery without holding in pools when water levels are as high as they have been.  

Having said this, water levels have ramped down to what I would now consider to be low, so there probably won’t be quite as many fish pushing in… but those that do are way more likely to hold up in the pools.  

All the gear that we’ve discussed in past reports will be applicable, just be sure to adjust presentations based on conditions.  First light and last light are usually your best bets on this system.  Bear in mind the fact that it is still a bit early for this run, so the best is yet to come.  

Keep in mind that the Capilano is actually a pretty difficult system to fish, mainly due to fluctuating and often unfavourable conditions, angling pressure, and the spooky nature of the jack coho that run at this time of year.  Don’t be surprised or discouraged if you don’t catch much during the early-run coho season… it can be a tough one, even if you know what you’re doing.  

As always, keep your head on a swivel when fishing this system.  Water levels have been very variable lately, and the installation of a water release alarm may instill a false sense of security in some people.  Pay attention to water levels and always have an escape route planned in case you need to get away from the river in a hurry.  

Taylor Nakatani 


Local Lower Mainland Lakes Update 

With the Long Weekend upon us there is ample time to get outside and since the travel restrictions are still in place until at least the end of the weekend, what better place to go to than your local Lake. 

Most of the Lower Mainland Lakes including Green Timbers, Rice, Como, and Lafarge, were stocked about 3-4 weeks ago and will still have a lot of fish to go around.  With cooler weather still in the forecast this should prolong this fishery until the summer really hits.  From past stocking records we might see another smattering of stockings until they resume again in October. 

This trout fishery is extremely easy to get into and you can use pretty much any technique you want to catch them.  Bait, lures, soft plastics, nymphs, chironomids, and streamers are effective presentations.  Check this video Matt did a few years ago if you want to go over the basic setups. 

Fishing has been steady on the lakes so this weekend will be a good time to give it a shot.  Come to the shop and get rigged up for this fishery that the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has created for us. 

Alex Au-Yeung 


Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report  

As many of you know by now, the SFAB proposals for the Vancouver area were not accepted.  Despite these proposals being specifically designed to minimize impact on stocks of concern and focus on hatchery fish, the Minister and her team said no.  Once again, they took a hardline and did not accept well thought out, science-based proposals that offered them a chance to have balance when it comes to social and economic benefits vs protecting stocks of concern and maintaining FN constitutional rights.   

So why the denial of balance?  I will be drilling into the details in the coming weeks, but preliminary reports indicate it was primarily a decision based on politics and pressures from ENGO and FN.  All this despite the fact there are areas open up the coast that arguably have the same or more impact on stocks of concern.  This is very telling.  The ENGO and FN have Vancouver under a microscope.  The current government has made it clear they don’t care about science, logic, or balance or the public fishery in general.  If they did, they could have easily accepted the SFAB proposals.  It would have posed little to no risk on stocks of concern, allowed a very, very modest opportunity to harvest hatchery chinook, and would not have impacted FN in river FSC opportunities.   These proposals were for very small areas compared to where we would normally fish April, May, June in Vancouver, but even still they were denied. 

The PFA and SFI are continuing to lobby on your behalf for more chinook opportunities in our local waters.  I would suggest you follow both of these organization on social media for further updates and how you can get involved.   

The next potential opportunity for chinook retention will be July 15, over at Thrasher and up towards Nanaimo.  We won’t know about this until likely late June once the Integrated Fisheries Management Plan comes out.  These days, literally anything can happen.  That up-coming retention opportunity is not a guarantee either.  It has been open there the last 2 years on July 15, so that is a good start, but with the DFO not meeting some management goals for stocks of concern last year, they might choose to impose further closures.    

They will never meet management goals by closing public fisheries or further closures in our area.  I have seen the numbers; you can’t split this hair any finer or squeeze anymore blood out of this rock.  I guess you would have to look at the 30,000 to 60,000 chinook taken by FN in gill nets in the Fraser each summer and how many of those are stocks of concern (thousands). 

Regarding the Fraser Mouth fishery that so many of us have enjoyed over the years, it is not likely we will see an opening before Sep 1.   Keep in mind, these recent SFAB proposals that were not accepted were very precautionary.  If they were accepted, you would only be able to fish up in Howe Sound and only for a hatchery fish (no Cowan to Roger Curtis or the Hump).  Due to these not being accepted, I can’t imagine how a Fraser Mouth fishery proposal would be accepted.  That being said, I will be submitting one via the SFAB process, but the chance of success in the current environment is low. 

Let me break it down for you.  First Nations and ENGO are literally pushing DFO to abandon their responsibility to the public in managing chinook stocks in a balanced manner.  If you don’t push back as a Canadian, you probably should just sell your boat, because you won’t be doing much fishing around Vancouver.  I don’t expect much change until more people get involved and/or Trudeau and his agenda leave.  I will leave it up to you if you want to get involved with your time, your money and your vote.  If you want to get involved, feel free to email me directly, as some of you have, and I will get back to you in the coming weeks, jtonelli@pacificangler.ca.  

One of the other opportunities coming up will be coho in Area 29.  There are already some Cap coho in the river.  There are opportunities to retain these hatchery fish as they approach the Cap in Area 28, consult the regs.  Usually, it picks up for coho mid-June off S. Bowen and usually we see a hatchery coho opening June 1 in Area 29 and I would expect that to be the case again this year. 

In the meantime, if you want to fish for chinook non-retention you have to head way up Howe Sound or over to the Gabriola and Entrance area.  Refer to the map we have posted in previous reports.  

When it comes to prawning, it is has really slowed down with the commercial opening, so I would hang up those traps for a bit.  Crabbing has been decent, but a far cry from the good old days before the price of crab went through the roof and the poaching ramped up.  You may have seen the recent article in the news highlighting the large scale, commercial style poaching going on in the harbour.  Long line sets, unmarked, commercial traps, gobbling up hundreds of legals.  Nothing new these past few years, but it was good to see it in the news.  DFO enforcement is aware of it and doing what they can, but they need more money and more staff; nothing new there either.  

Wish I had better news, but that’s the straight goods.   

Jason Tonelli