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Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: May 31, 2019

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: May 31, 2019


This has been a pretty epic spring. We have seen great temps, not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry. It looks like this trend will continue and we have more good weather is on the way. This weekend we will see some beautiful days in both Vancouver and the interior, and we expect more great fishing. One point of interest is we might see record temperatures in the interior this weekend. In the short term this is going to be great for fishing. We will see big hatches and lots of fish activity the only caveat is that if it continues over the next couple weeks, we could start seeing things get too warm. Good news is that the 14 day trend is for things to cool but it is something to keep an eye on.

We have an interesting interior lake report this week. All the boys at the shop have been fishing the interior and Squamish lakes. We thought of putting a little collection together of the flies that have been hot for them. Some are old faithful’s; some are a little more cutting edge. If you are rounding out a fly box, doing a lake trip or just want to see some new patterns that have been hot, you will not want to miss it.  

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better on the saltwater front – it does!   Fishing off of South Bowen and over at Thrasher were amazing yesterday and fishing earlier in the week in both these areas and Howe Sound was very good.   As of June 1 the coho fishery is open.   DFO has released an announcement on this but it appears their website is not up to date.   We have more details on fishing and regulations in this week’s saltwater report. 

On the local front we are hearing more Capilano reports and we have details below. The local lakes are still a great option for some fun with the family and Jordan has a fly fishing for bass feature. Bass fishing on the fly is a challenge but super fun and well worth a trip this time of year. We have an amazing selection of bass flies in stock right now so check out the report and come down to the shop for more intel.

Next week we have a busy week in the classroom with all things Fly Fishing – Introduction to Fly Fishing, Introduction to Chironomid Techniques and Introduction to Fly Fishing.   Get your spot today as some of these classes are almost sold out!  Call us at 604.872.2204 to sign up.

Finally, thanks to all that joined us last night at the Vancouver Club for the Trout School book launch.  If you missed it you can pick this book up at any local book retailer!  If you need help finding a copy let us know. 


Fly Fisherman – these classes are for you!  If you’ve been on the water this season and chironomid fishing is tougher than expected don’t miss out on our Chironomid Techniques class with Trevor.   He is an expert in the field and will help you get dialed in for the balance of the season.    If you’re just starting out Matt is back to teach our Introduction to Fly Fishing Course and if you want to learn to tie your own flies join Jordan at the tying table for our Introduction to Fly Tying Course.  This is our last offering of this course until the fall!

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.

Cost: $50.00

Date:  June 3, 2019

Introduction to Fly Fishing

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.

Dates:  Seminar June 4 &  Casting June 9

Cost: $150.00

Seminar Time:  6:30pm – 9:30pm

Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm

Introduction to Fly Tying

There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself.  This 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 materials and tools purchased for the course.

Cost: $80.00                           

Dates:   June 5, 12 and 19, 2019

Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Introduction to Fly Tying Course Vancouver Fishing Class


Capilano River Fishing Report

There are definitely coho in the system; catching them has been another story. Reports have been on the slower side but that isn’t out of the ordinary for this time of year. The first few small batches of fish have pushed through already and the bigger schools are coming in soon. We have heard of some success drifting roe as well as a couple of lucky fly anglers getting fish up at the top. The action isn’t really “on” yet but there are enough fish around to keep things interesting and it is worth heading out to scout it out at this point.

For those that aren’t aware, the Cap Cam has officially gone extinct. There is still a water gauge that can be found here. 

The weather is going to be hot and sunny with a couple of light rain showers sprinkled throughout the next couple of weeks. We can expect water levels to stay on the lower side for now, meaning first light and last light will be ideal bite windows and timing your trip with the tide to coincide with fresh fish coming into the system will give you the best shot at intercepting a fish.


Local Lake Fishing Report

As we reported last week our local lake season is off to a great start.  If you’re new to this fishery we always recommend dropping by the shop and we can give you an up to date reports and help you get setup for success on any of our local lakes.  Float and bottom bait fishing setups are typically most productive and all you need is a simple spinning rod setup to make this happen. We are well stocked on worms and powerbait options so come down and we can walk you through how to rig everything up.

We also always recommend checking out the Go Fish BC site as it is a great resource for everything from licences, lake locations, accessibility and amenities (docks etc.) and stocking reports.  If you are heading out, we always recommend checking it out whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out.  They have this information for lakes across the province so if you’re headed out of town this weekend look up where you are going for up to date stocking reports.

There are also lots of fun family fishing events coming up in June for Family Fishing Weekend – June 14 – 16, 2019.   We’ll keep you updated on those events next week!

Interior and Squamish Lake Fishing Report

Fishing has been excellent for the past 2 weeks. The only time things have been challenging is when bad weather pushes through.  Overall there have not been many of these systems and we’re hoping that will continue for the balance of the season.

Going into the weekend we expect very stable warm weather. It could make for the best fishing yet. We might even see record temps this weekend and we can expect good bug hatches and active fish.

An epic fish caught last week Good Job Adam – We will miss you!

This week we have something special.  The PA team have been hitting the interior and Squamish lakes and have had some excellent fishing. We decided to put together a list of the patterns that have been working for us. This can help you load up the box or gain some confidence in patterns you might not have tried. 

C.O. Chironomid

I have fished a lot of the Squamish area lakes over the years and  have really started to key in on certain patterns for this area. I find that damsel and dragon nymphs are a must have for most of my days on the water out that way. Some days however, these patterns aren’t what the fish are keying in on. Over the last couple of years, I have started taking stomach samples from fish and have found that they will eat chironomids as well. The coastal lakes definitely don’t have the populations of chironomids that the interior lakes have but I don’t leave home without a few of my Chrome Olive Chironomid pattern in my box for those slower days when they fish aren’t targeting the damsel and dragon nymphs.

52 Buick

If the ’52 Buick isn’t in your arsenal of flies you really need to add it in there. This is a must have damsel fly imitation and fish can’t resist it. This is a very easy pattern to fish as it can be trolled, cast and stripped or dangled under an indicator. I prefer to fish this pattern around the edges of weed beds with a cast and strip technique. I find that short strips on a type 3 sink line with a varying speed of retrieve will cause some pretty aggressive strikes. I prefer to tie mine with seals fur for the body in different shades of olive as it adds that extra touch of bugginess that I like in my stillwater flies.

Since lake fishing has been so good lately, I thought I’d tell you about my top two lake flies. Though the following might not be too surprising, the reasoning behind them makes perfect sense.

Maroon Mini-Leach

My number one fly is a small black/maroon mini-leech. Though hardly surprising, leeches make up a huge portion of a trout’s diet year-round. Slow and  fluttery, these food sources are easy targets for trout looking for a big, easy meal.

Maroon has always been my favourite colour as I don’t think too many things in a lake are naturally that colour, allowing for the fly to stand out among all the detritus and debris along the bottom, or along the green and brownish foliage.

Another reason I like them so much is that the takes are often aggressive and can wake you up when you’re least expecting it.

Classic Gunmetal Chironomid

My second favourite fly is a chromie or gunmetal chironomid. I know, not too exciting or surprising- but for someone who doesn’t get to fish lakes very often, these colours are a great confidence fly. Until you get a fish that can be pumped, it’s a pretty safe bet that you will eventually get eaten if you dangle one of those two colours. From there, you may want to adjust size or colour once you’ve pumped a fish.

If you’re interested to see what these flies look like or want to learn how to tie them yourself, come in and see us- any one of us can get you headed in the right direction.

Vampire Leaches and Flash Leaches

We hit a lake last week and had some weather move through on us. It messed with the hatches and put the fish off the Chironomids that they had been feeding on all week. With over cast skies and windy weather we got a little desperate. With a type 6 sinking line we started covering the lake with brighter patterns. The Vampire leech and flash leeches in red and the orange and olive managed to turn the day around. We didn’t hook at ton of fish but everyone in the group managed 2-3 nice fish that we probably wouldn’t have hooked anything on drabber patterns or if we had been indicator fishing. These 3 patterns are great searching patterns or for unsettled overcast days.

Lady McConnell

This is a classic dry fly that I first fished on the Skagit. We were out last week on an interior Lake and the fish were feeding on hatching chironimids on the surface! This is rare early season event but when it happens it is something special. The Lady McConnell is more known as a mayfly imitation but it can also double as a hatching chironi. We tried a number of patterns but the McConnell was the hot ticket. One trick we used was to take scissors and cut the bottom hackle flat to the body. This allowed the fly to sit deeper in the water and look more like an emerging insect.

Hope you guys liked the list of flies and this will give you some patterns to add to your boxes or tie at the vise. Come down to the shop if you want to pick up the flies or the materials to tie them and we can walk you through any questions you might have. 

Matt, Jordan and Zach


Bass Fishing On the Fly

This week’s fishery feature is fly fishing for bass. With these fish being found throughout BC, they provide a good opportunity for anglers and they are not just reserved for the gear angler.

Though you can tackle this fishery with a fairly basic setup, there are ways to tweak it, so it is better suited to the environment and demands of bass fishing.

Starting with rods, a medium fast 6wt, 7wt or 8wt is best. This setup will help deliver big flies into heavy cover, as well as help pull bass out from that cover. A lot of times bass will eat your fly and then turn back in to the stumps and weeds. Being able to stop them and pull them out quickly is a key to success.

On the line front we recommend a punchy floating line like the Rio Grand or SA Titan tapper. These lines have a more abrupt from taper witch will help transfer power when casting larger flies.

You will also want a sinking line option.  For this look to your lake – if you are fishing deeper weed beds in the middle of larger lakes, you will want a full type 3 or 6 sinking line. We use these lines on lakes like Skaha or other larger Okanagan bass lakes. On many of our local lakes you will fish the edges more. For this a sink tip is a nice option. Intermediate or type 3 sink tips are probably the best places to start.

For leaders we want something stiff to turn over the big flies. We have the “big nasty” leader in stock (yes that’s what they are called LOL) These leaders are a little shorter than your standard trout leader and very stiff. Fishing 10-16lb is common but fish size and rod wts will play into this.

For flies, one will want a mix of surface poppers and gurglers, streamers, and standard trout flies such as wooly buggers.

Surface flies such as poppers and frogs can produce some of the most exciting and explosive eats when fished around shallow structure and lily pads.

Streamers such as EP minnows, clousers, and  sculpins are all great flies to keep on hand as well for those days when surface activity isn’t happening. Clouser minnows, though quite versatile and heavily adopted by saltwater anglers, is originally a smallmouth bass fly developed for river smallies in Pennsylvania and work equally as well here.

As for access, one will find better opportunities with the use of a personal watercraft. This can be as simple as a Fishcat or float tube, all the way up to a dedicated John Boat or skiff. Because bass live in heavy cover, shore opportunities are limited, especially with a fly rod. Being able to approach from an angle with more room will allow you to fish the cover more quickly, allowing you to move on to the next haunt.

GOOD LUCK – The bend is your friend,

Jordan Simpson 


Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report

Well I thought it couldn’t get any better and I was wrong.  Yesterday was absolutely ballistic off South Bowen and over at Thrasher and fishing earlier in the week in both these areas and Howe Sound was very good.   The fish keep getting bigger as well, and yesterday Derek released a hatchery chinook in the mid 20-pound range.  To keep updated mid-week and see cool pics, videos, and stories, make sure you follow our new Instagram Page and Facebook Page.  Just search Pacific Angler Sport Fishing.

All smiles for Logan before he released his hatchery chinook yesterday!

In terms of tackle choice, nothing has changed.  We are doing well in the 90-130 zone on the riggers.  There is algae in the water so the brighter colored chartreuse gear is working when it comes to flashers, spoons, teaser heads, and hootchies.  Over at Thrasher there are suspended fish and fish on the bottom, so you have to keep an eye on the sonar to see where they are.  This is where good electronics really pays off as some days you have to be close to the bottom and other days the fish are suspended.  With a good system you can easily see the chinook arcs on your screen and get dialed in quickly.

Ron had a great day out on the water with Eddie earlier this week.

Coho is season is officially here as of June 1st.  You can keep 2 hatchery coho a day out off South Bowen in Area 29-3 or if you are over at Thrasher or in Nanaimo in Area 17.   The regulations for Area 29 on coho are clear as mud, but DFO did send out a notice on May 29th that coho are open for 2 hatchery a day in Areas 29-1 to 29-5.  They haven’t updated the website it seems and good luck trying to find that notice of it opening on their website.  I guess that’s why you read this report….

Last year we were doing very well for coho in June out off the Hump or out off Bowen in 600 feet of water.  They aren’t really on any structure, so look for tide lines, current seams and cover water until you find them.  They are generally fairly shallow, from the surface (especially in the morning) down to about 60 feet.  UV Purple Onion, UV Green Onion, and Silver Betsy or Gold Betsy are all great flashers in these shallow water conditions.   For lures we like to use UV white hootchies with a 28-inch leader.   Spoons will also work and we do well on chrome finishes with some green or blue in them.

Crabbing continues to be good but prawning has slowed down with the commercial opening.

See you in the shop or on the water,

Jason Tonelli