It looks like another good-looking fishing weekend on the horizon. We have been in many ways blessed locally over the last 3 weeks. It has been not too hot to blow out rivers and not too cold to be unpleasant outdoor weather. With a little rain, temps in the low teens and some sun, it looks like the trend will continue for the weekend.
We were holding our breath this week for a fisheries announcement on the saltwater chinook fishery, but unfortunately it sounds like it will be further delayed until next week. Jason has more details in his saltwater report this week along with an update on the fishing. When an update to the regulation does come out we will be sure to send out a special announcement and it will also be on all our social media feeds.
On the Vedder, it has changed to fly only below the Vedder Crossing bridge and is closed to fishing above. We are not tuning into this system this week but if you want to swing flies in the lower river, the water levels are good right now and it is definitely worth a shot.
The Squamish is another interesting one. Historically, it goes into freshet in late April but as we write the report it is still holding and worth a late bulltrout or steelhead trip. We have some details below in our freshwater report section.
Local lakes are also fishing well with the mild temps. When things get too hot, these lakes shut down but right now things are good. Alex has some info in the stillwater report section on this fishery.
Due to current travel restrictions, many of you are exploring other fisheries. So, for those of you stuck close to home this weather is also ideal for bass fishing and carp fishing. So, get out there and explore! If you have questions on this fishery, be sure to have a look back at some of our past reports or pop by the shop.
Last, but not least, the interior lake fishing reports are coming in strong from the guys and girls’ lucky enough to be up there. We will be updating you on what we have heard in next week’s report.
Classes and Courses
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 seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Dates: May 11 & 16, Jun 16 & 20, July 14 & 17, Sept 21 & 26
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10am – 1pm or 1:30pm -4:30pm
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.
Date: Tuesday, May 25
Seminar Time: 6:30-9:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person
Industry Events and Updates
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FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish is an interesting one right now. Historically it is blown out from snow melt in early May but this year we have seen cooler nights than normal, and it has not risen hard enough to blow out. It is rising now and when looking at the 14-day trend we will see more seasonally normal nighttime and daytime temperatures. Given that, we would expect a blowout coming but right now it should be good to go.
As we write the report it is below 3m but rising. This will mean coloured but fishable water. When it busts through 3.5 on a hard rise it will become challenging to fish.
Spoons, spinners, salmon fry patterns and big streamers should all be in your arsenal this time of year.
So, if you’re local to the Squamish area and are heading out be sure to keep an eye on those river levels and enjoy this extended season on the river.
Harrison River Fishing Report
The river saw a big jump all the way to 8.9 m earlier this week, which is the upper limits of what’s considered wadable water on this system. The river is slowly dropping meaning shore wading is becoming more accessible although it’s still considered tough wading. A drift boat is the obvious best option to deal with the higher water and cover the large amount of water where the cutties are eating up emerging salmon fry. The beautiful part of the Harrison is that it’s lake fed meaning that a bump in water height typically leads to that glacial hue that continually keeps the water fishable.
We’re starting to get to the tail end of sea run cutthroat in the Harrison River but there’s still some good days to be had with enough walking. The fishing has been fairly spotty this season with many great anglers struggling to have consistent stretches of successful fishing. It simply has been the classic cutthroat game of covering as much water as possible and hoping that the cutthroat play fair. Epoxy minnows, rolled muddlers, and California Neils in green, gold, blue, and silver patterns have seen consistent action. Saying that, it’s imperative that you have the full arsenal when you do have them as they can be incredibly keyed in on fry pattern size and colour. I’m always amazed how little they can care about a fly when they’re in the middle of a feeding frenzy. One simple change and it can lead to an incredibly productive day of fishing.
We still have a large stock of cuttie flies tied by Andre and Jordan if you’re looking for those nearly sure-fire patterns.
Capilano River Fishing Report
As expected, the first wave of coho has made its way into the Capilano River… there certainly aren’t a lot of them in the system just yet, but there are a few kicking around. These early fish usually don’t receive as much pressure as they would a bit later in the season, so they can be much more willing to bite.
As of writing this report, water levels are currently a touch on the low side… not catastrophically low, but not ideal either. There’s some rain in the forecast for the next few days, so that could bump the river up a bit and get a few more fish moving. As far as gear is concerned, bait is usually your best bet here; jack coho love bait, especially roe and shrimp. Beads, blades, Jensen eggs and wool will also produce, as will small-ish spinners, spoons and jigs. Fly anglers will generally want to run small patterns, such as Cap Buggers, small olive wooly buggers, or Matt’s “Capilano Decoder”. Andre also just dropped off a bunch of flies for this fishery, so grab ‘em if you want ‘em… they usually don’t take long to sell out.
One fishery to consider when the water levels get uncomfortably low in the river is the Ambleside Beach fishery. While not what I would consider the easiest or most productive fishery, it can be rewarding if you time your trip with the appropriate tides. Spoons, spinners, Buzz Bombs and jigs are popular gear options for this fishery, and we have a good selection of custom beach flies in the shop that were designed specifically for this unique fishery as well. It’s worth noting that the beach fishery is usually a bit more productive later in the season when the river starts running very low… the fish aren’t able to move up the river, so they stack up at the mouth and wait for favorable river conditions to push up.
Always keep your head on a swivel when you fish the Capilano River. As was tragically demonstrated last year, river levels can fluctuate in a heartbeat, and much of the river is surrounded by steep canyon walls that simply don’t allow a timely escape. Metro Vancouver is installing water release alarms along the river this year, but that’s no excuse to get complacent… keep your eyes up, have an escape route in mind, and be ready to scamper if things get sketchy. Stay safe.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lake Fishing Report
The cool weather, coupled with a number of recent stockings, has made for some great local opportunities to go out and wet a line. Our local lakes are fantastic for novices and professionals alike. While these rainbow trout are small, they can be extremely responsive and, as such, there are a number of ways to target them.
Bait fishing is the most widespread technique for this fishery. Float fishing with worms, shrimp, krill, corn, the list goes on, can be lots of fun. Just send it and watch the float bob around! Bottom fishing can work too, and there are a number of artificial options for that like Powerbait dough or Power Eggs.
For gear anglers that don’t want to get messy, spinners, spoons, and jigs can be an awesome alternative. The key is to downsize, so spoons 1/4oz or less and spinners in 1/6oz or less are perfect. This does require somewhat specialized gear as light or ultralight rods are ideal for tossing these little lures.
Fly fishing is also an extremely effective way to target stocked rainbow trout. Stripping or trolling Doc Spratleys, Carey Specials, pumpkin head leeches, or rolled muddlers on a sinking line are highly effective. Alternatively, you can get some practice in with indicator fishing as these trout will still take chironomids and balanced leeches just like their Interior counterparts.
Many local lakes have been stocked as recently as two weeks ago including Lafarge, Como, Green Timbers, and Alta, so it is time to go take advantage of our backyard opportunities!
Come visit us in the shop to get stocked up on the right gear for the job!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
May 7th, chinook all around, no opportunity for hatchery retention in Vancouver. Absolutely criminal. To make matters more offensive, on recent trips I have been catching a lot of hatchery chinook. To me it feels like more than previous years, which would make sense as WA did have increased hatchery production these last few years and I think we are seeing the effects of that.
As Chair of the Lower Fraser Valley Sport Fish Advisory Committee to DFO, I have been in almost daily contact with decision makers. They are working on it. I was hoping for an announcement this week yet was told last night there are delays, from unrelated issues, and we won’t see anything till next Wed at the earliest.
Considering the goal was an April 1 announcement of some sort, good or bad, this timeline is frustrating and quite honestly unacceptable management of a public resource. Do you think DFO would take 6 to 7 weeks in season to make announcements on commercial or First Nations fisheries? Never, so this is a fairly good indicator on the lack of respect that DFO has for the public fishery, in general, in my opinion. Fortunately, we have groups like the SFI and PFA that are pushing and lobbying for better. The only way we can have change is with public pressure, so if you fish in Vancouver or the ocean in general, follow and support those 2 groups.
Back to the fishing. I was over in the Gabriola region on Wednesday for a charter. We got a ling, some rockfish and then decided to fish Thrasher for chinook. The Thrasher area is open for non-retention chinook fishing. For details, consult our past blog posts that have maps of the current regulations. Fishing was excellent, we fished salmon for 2.5 hours and were into all sorts of chinook including a few double headers, with lots of hatchery fish around.
Although I was hitting fish as shallow as 117, it seemed the bigger fish were deeper, and I eventually settled in at 177 and 188 on the riggers in 250-350 feet of water. Productive setups were a Lemon Lime with a 3.5 Irish Cream and a Salty Dawg with a chartreuse splatter back hootchy.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Beach Fishing Report
With Spring having arrived and Summer coming up next, many anglers will start to think about the beaches and the opportunities they afford.
The first major fishery off the beach is the early coho run that starts around now. These fish return to the Capilano River every May and start to stage at the mouth. These fish are often targeted by beach goers with medium spinning gear when tossing spinners and spoons. A 7wt-8wt fly rod paired with floating and intermediate lines, long leaders, and tiny flies that imitate krill and euphausiids is all that is needed for this local fishery.
The tides for this fishery look to get better as the month moves on, with tides dropping below 6 feet as the days pass. This will allow anglers to access the sand bar.
This fishery will continue to get better and better as the months move on and more and more fish start to stack up.
For cutthroat, the beaches continue to produce in areas where fry have been flushed out or released. These anadromous cutthroats are great to target with lighter rods as they will often readily take flies.
Fry, krill, worms (polychaeta), and poppers are all great options. If you tie flies, tying some of your favourite lake patterns on saltwater hooks can be a great idea.
Remember to pack your saltwater license and stripping basket, and you should be all set to walk the beach!