May is here and that means many of us are thinking about long weekend lake fishing trips and getting out on the saltwater.
With the warmer weather and rain in the forecast for the next day or so that means many of our Lower Mainland river systems will be in freshet. So it’s time to put your steelhead gear away and dig out the lake fishing gear. If you missed Matt’s lake fishing class last month be sure check it out this month!
Chinook fishing continues to be hot! As we mentioned in last week’s report there are great options to fish whether here in the harbour or across the straight to Thrasher Rock. Be sure to check out this week’s report as we have a special treat for you this week – a short feature on one of Andre’s favourite fisheries – fishing plugs for salmon.
CLASSES AND COURSES
May is here and that means its time to get tying your beach fly patterns for the upcoming summer beach fly fishery. It’s also time to get out to do some lake fishing. Get ready for both of these great fisheries by attending our classes this month.
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 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 materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: May 24
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.
Dates: May 30
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FRIDAY FEATURE PRODUCT
Just in the door this week is a fresh batch of G. Loomis hats, shirts, and stickers to pair with their great gear and fly rods.
For this week only, all G. Loomis fly rods and gear rods will be on sale 10% off. This includes the full flexing Pro-4X and faster NRX fly rods, as well as their E6X and GL2 Mooching rods, IMX trigger rods, and GL2 trigger rods.
Come on in and check out all of the rods, along with all of the new G. Loomis hats and shirts that are fresh in the door. All G. Loomis is 10% off today through close on Thursday May 11.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
As of May 1st the Chilliwack River becomes fly only and the fishing boundary moves down stream to the Vedder crossing bridge. You may encounter the odd spring run fish but it definitely is slim pickings. Check the water levels before you go as the river could go into freshet with the warmer weather that has arrived.
**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.**
Squamish River Fishing Report
With the arrival of warm rainy weather this week, the Squamish River has gone into freshet. The Elaho river graph spiking to 4.2 meters is a sure bet that melt has started, and the season is coming to a close. More rain and even warmer weather is in the forecast, and we should see an increase in melt water because of this. Any cooling trend this time of year might allow for a window of fishable conditions, but this is often short lived. Up until the start of freshet, there have been plenty of fry darting around and the bull trout, cutthroat trout, and resident rainbows have been capitalizing on this resource. A floating line equip with an epoxy style fry pattern or a muddler minnow is an effective and fun way to target these fish in the months leading up to freshet.
With a healthy snow pack in the Coast Mountains, we should see the river coming back into shape a little later this year. 2017 is a pink salmon returning year and we should see this excellent fishery materialize in late July.
STILLWATER FISHNG REPORTS
Local Lakes Fishing Report
Fishing in our stocked Lower Mainland lakes continues to be decent and with the warmer weather we’ve been having the Rainbow Trout have become more active. These stockings by Go Fish BC provide a fun and relatively simple fishery to get into close to home. These trout average 10-14 inches albeit the odd fish will be larger. There are many ways to target them and while none of these methods are the “right” way to do it, you will find that the fish will be keyed in on one more than the others on any particular day. Small spoons, spinners, mini leeches, wooly buggers, and chironomids are all smart choices. In addition if the lake allows bait then fishing Powerbait, shrimp, or worms can be deadly either under a float or on the bottom.
In addition to the lakes within the Greater Vancouver area we have also been hearing of some good fishing up towards Squamish and Whistler as well. There are a number of different lakes up the Sea To Sky that are worth a look including (but not limited to) Alice Lake, Browning Lake, Brohm Lake, Stump Lake, and Alta Lake. In fact, doing a lake-hopping excursion up that way can be a fun way to spend a weekend and will take you further away from the urban feel of the other stocked locations closer to the city.
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
Although the water temps are still below 45 degrees in most of the lakes there are some minimal hatches of chironomids during the warmest part of the day. They are usually in the size 16-18 range so make sure you have some this small in you box. The fish will also be in the shallows so fish leeches under a strike indicator and also try your luck fishing scuds with a floating line or a clear intermediate line hugging the shoreline. This should sum up the food source for now until the lake temps rise.
The lakes that are iced off since April and have turned over are: Tunkwa, Jacko, Stump, Roche, Heffley, Edith, Courtney, Logan, Morgan, Marquart, Six Mile, White. If you are eager to go, these lakes should be fine, I am sure there are other ones that have iced off but there is still a chance that you might hit a turn over. I will have more solid report after this warm weekend.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
The good fishing continued this past week. When the winds allowed we were running over to Thrasher and there are still lots of fish over there and I don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon. Hot depths have been 90-150 on the riggers. Locally we are doing well from the Bell Buoy, out to the QA, and then out to the SE or SW corner of the Hump. The fish have been a little shallower on this side because the water is dirtier from the North Arm Fraser River flows and algae blooms. 70-110 has been good on the riggers. Crabbing has also been good.
It was all thumbs up with Captain Eddie + his guests this week!
We have a special treat for you this week. Most of you who are regulars at the shop know that Andre Stepanian is a hardcore fly fisherman who specializes in beach fishing, cutthroat fishing and chironomid fishing. Perhaps you have taken one of the many courses he teaches at the shop. What you may not know is that he is also very passionate about fishing plugs for salmon. He loves the big hits and fighting the fish with no flasher. Plugs are certainly fun to fish, and productive as well. When you fish plugs you troll fast and cover lots of water. This makes them a great choice for finding schools of fish in open water, like when fishing offshore Thrasher. Combine that with the fact that the bait in the area has been 6-8 inches and you have the perfect scenario to fish plugs. Andre did just that the other day and here is his report.
I went out last weekend to Thrasher to fish Tomic plugs for chinook. This is my favourite way to fish, especially when the fishing is so hot and the fish are feeding aggresively. The tides were not the best last weekend but we still managed to hit 9 fish and land 4, fishing a short period of the day. We got there at 10:00 am and after putting the Tomic down to 130 feet, a fish was on it in less than 5 minutes. I fished a 5-6 inch Tomic #546 and switched to a #900 (see pics) as the skies opened and sun started shining down.
One important trick I will let you know is to have the knot super tight on top of the ring for better action. Another good tip is to troll fast. Your speed should be faster than you would usually fish a flasher with bait. There are a number of theories on how far back you should set the plug off the release clip, but I prefer to keep it very short, only 6 feet off the clip. I find the shorter distance gives the plug a faster action that these chinook seem to like. If you haven’t tried fishing Tomics, now is the time to do it as these fish are really aggressive and the takes are vicious. Try it and don’t loose hope too quickly, keep the plug on all day and have confidence in it. You just might get hooked on fishing plugs! If you would like to find out more tips and tricks on fishing Tomic plugs come to the store for more of an in depth conversation and check out our selection.