Fall Storm Incoming – We have already seen rivers rising today (Friday) and more water is coming with the bulk of it hitting tomorrow.
It is safe to assume that river anglers will see high water across the board, and everyone should be watching the levels closely when planning a trip.
Below you will see details on the Chilliwack, Harrison and Squamish Rivers. The rain will affect each system a little differently. As you all know, rising water is not a bad thing. Anglers just need to find moments in the rise or subsequent drop where the water clarity is good enough for the fish to see your presentation. When you find the perfect combination of water volume and water clarity you will have the best fishing of the season. Just be safe when you are planning your trips as we will be on the knife’s edge for fishability, and general safety should always be taken into consideration.
We also have a little winter chinook report. Fishing has been pretty darn good and is well worth a look right now. Jason tunes in with info at the end of the report.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our classes and courses have wrapped up for 2023. Thanks to all who joined us in the classroom and on the water this year! We will have our 2024 course schedule out in early November. If there is a course, you are keen to get into, feel free to give us a ring and add your name to the waitlist for 2024.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The past week has been quite productive on the C/V system, despite the return of low and clear conditions. The vast majority of the chinook are gone, though there are still a few hanging around, mostly in the upper river; most of them are boots. The coho are still around in good numbers, though the run is past its peak and is starting to taper off, and the chum are around in some numbers.
We’re into November now, so the expectation is for the coho run to continue tapering off over the next few weeks- the run normally peaks in mid-October, but there will be fish around all through November, just in lower numbers. As such, the fishing usually becomes less consistent… but having said that, I’ve had some incredible days in November, usually with significantly fewer anglers around. The trick is to find fish- this isn’t Thanksgiving weekend; there won’t be fish in every single pool, run or pocket anymore; you’ll probably need to be mobile and cover water to find out where the fish actually are lying. I usually bring two rods with me- a centerpin for float fishing, and a spinning rod (or short baitcaster) for casting spoons, spinners and jigs- that way I can cover as much water as possible, while being able to effectively fish virtually any type of water I might come across.
As always, it’s a very good idea to have a variety of gear on-hand, in a wide range of colours and sizes- that way you have options to suit different river conditions, water types or even the mood of the fish on a given day. With a bunch of rain being in the forecast, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the river will rise and colour up- it’s just a question of how much it rains, and if the river blows out or not. A blown-out river usually isn’t worth fishing, so keep an eye on the river levels before you head out.
Don’t forget that chum are currently closed to all targeted angling in the C/V system, meaning that you may not fish for chum at all; you certainly may not retain them either. Ensure that any chum you incidentally encounter are handled properly and released quickly in a way that does not harm the fish. Also make every possible effort to avoid wading in areas where salmon have spawned- there will be millions of pink eggs in the side channels, tail outs, and near shore, so stay out of these areas whenever possible to avoid trampling eggs.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The last week saw plenty of activity on the Squamish systems.
Reports have been good from the main stem and tributaries for fly and gear anglers chasing coho and trout.
That said – it’s going to get wet…
We have some major weather makers set to hit this weekend so be careful with your plans. The heavy rains will bump up water levels and colour up the river. The big question is how much… if temperatures were colder, I would expect some of the precipitation to fall as snow in the upper valley and keep the river fishable. If nighttime temps are too warm, we may have a blow out after a few days of sustained rain. Keep an eye on the hydrometer because it would be worth getting out when it starts to drop back in to shape. This should push some late fish in and spread out some of the stale ones.
General rules for the Squamish are when it goes over 4m you should expect blown out conditions. Below 3m you are going to see clearer water. The sweet spots usually fall somewhere between 3-4 depending on volume of water and the speed it is rising or falling.
If you can find one of these sweet spots expect aggressive fish but in colored water. This means larger presentations. Large spoons, jigs or Colorado blades are deadly when we see these conditions. Also, large BNR beads in the 16-20mm range can be very effective.
Fly anglers will want to fish larger flashier presentations as well and the anglers hunting for egg eaters (bulltrout) can up the size of their beads and also lean toward brighter colors.
Good luck and stay safe out there!
Harrison River Fishing Report
With the November rain making its presence known, anglers can expect that most if not all systems are fishing well.
As the South side of the Fraser River starts to peak or slow down, anglers can expect the North side to start fishing steady.
The Harrison is no exception, and neither are its tributaries. Coho fishing has remained steady, and one can expect it to only get better as November continues on. With that said, please keep in mind that coho are the only salmon species open to target- both catch-and-release, and retention.
Chum, sockeye, and chinook are non-target; even for catch-and-release.
As water levels change, so should one’s tactics- either on fly or gear. Not the rule or law, but a good guideline is that in the dirty or higher the water,one is encouraged to enlarge the presentation.
Your low-water Koho #35 may want to be swapped out for a Koho #45-#65, depending on depth and flow. Same with beads, bobs, and blades- don’t be scared to throw a meatball or hub cap in this dirty water. A mix of spinners, spoons, twitching jigs, and float-gear are all great options depending on the type of water you’re fishing over.
12lb-17lb mono or 20lb-40lb braided lines are all popular options for the gear angler looking to spool up.
If using flies, most anglers will toss them on 7wt-8wt rods while using a variety of densities to get down and reach the fish. Sparse flies for the shallow and slow back channels can be a good option, but don’t be scared to throw your brighter flash-flies. We have some great options in both natural and flashy, so come on by the shop to round out your box before your next trip.
Remember to stay warm and dry out there to maximize your focus and attention to detail. If you’re looking for a great deal on a new jacket, we have a limited selection left of the Simms G4 jackets on sale. At $100 off, these have been a popular choice this past season.
Stay warm and stay safe,
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Well, it’s November, so time to post up a winter chinook report and pictures. Admittedly we have been holding off a bit, we needed to catch our breath after an epic fall season! That being said, there have been quite a few reports and posts on social media, so the cat’s out of the bag it seems on the local winter chinook being around already.
If you are a regular reader of this report, you already know the Strait of Georgia has been very productive for a number of years in a row now. Good numbers of herring and anchovies have been around Howe Sound for quite a few years running and this means the local salmon stocks are doing well, especially the feeder chinook aka winter chinook.
As mentioned above, I am very pleased to report the 2023/24 season is off to a strong start, not unlike the past 4 or 5 years. We are finding fish in all the usual Howe Sound spots, South Bowen and in Vancouver Harbour. We actually started getting our first winter chinook while fishing the Cap Mouth and West Van shoreline for mature chinook and coho in late September and early October.
Below is a picture of a productive day recently. PA guide Josh Lo has been doing very well on the setup you see in this picture. A Gibbs STS flasher, which is a green glade with moon jelly on one side and glow on the other, with a 5 to 6 foot leader and 3.0 or 3.5 Kingfisher spoon in #671 Homeland Security spoon or 3.0 or 3.5 Gibbs G-Force spoon in the Outfitter colour pattern.
We have 5 months of winter fishing ahead of us, so as usual, pick your days, keep your gear close the bottom, troll fast, cover water, and have fun!
See you in the shop or on the water,