We want to start off by sending all our best wishes and prayers to those affected by the flooding this week.
Though this may not be a week to focus on fishing, getting outside and de-stressing is well worth it so if you need some fresh air and time on the water there are some options to get out depending on where you are. We have info on what we have heard from the valley area rivers and for those more in the Greater Vancouver area the Sea to Sky corridor. That area did not get hit as hard by the weather so there some options up that way worth looking at if you would like to get out this weekend.
Coho fishing is still worth looking at on many of the systems that are accessible and the egg eater fishery is also in full swing. Winter chinook fishing continues to be strong and the weather looks stable for the next few days so that is another option if you would like to get out on the water. If you are heading out on the salt be sure to keep an eye out for logs and other wood debris that has been pushed out of the Fraser.
Be safe, watch river levels and enjoy the back end of river salmon season.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Our 2021 classes are wrapped up for the year! We thank all that attended our classes and we look forward to having you all in the classroom whether virtually or in person next year.
Keep an eye on your inboxes for the full listing of 2022 courses to be released soon.
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Update
As we all know, this past week we have seen some truly devastating events occur throughout Southern BC. High water and clay bank slides have made the Vedder unfishable and it will stay that way for the next while. The end of the fall salmon season on the Vedder significantly sped up with the high water; any remaining fish would have now pushed upriver with no hesitation. It is now time to clean the roe stains off, clean waders and re-organize fly boxes in preparation for steelhead.
Inherently, some eggs will be washed out of redds or suffocate in silt. Events such as this is why side channels, spawning areas and rearing ponds are critical to sustaining the wild component of the salmon run. They provide important shelter from raging current, controlled flow and relatively clear water.
On the bright side, expect to see a whole new river once the water clears and recedes. While some popular runs will fill up, new ones will be formed. This can be rewarding for the first ones who do the groundwork to find new prime fishing locations, whether it be a new log jam, a new gut or even new pool.
Not only have our local ecosystems been impacted, many families within Chilliwack and the valley have been hit hard by this flood. Anglers have been coming together to help out stranded families everywhere, from jet sleds on the Fraser to jon boats on the flooded highway. Not everyone may be able to take their boat out to help evacuated families, but there may be a way you can help.
Below is a link to verified fundraisers for people affected by the BC Flooding:
British Columbia Floods and Extreme Weather Appeal online at www.redcross.ca, or by calling 1-800-418-1111.
Squamish River Fishing Report
The Squamish saw its ups and downs this past week, with the up being very high with a massive spike above 6 earlier in the week. Temperatures up in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton have dropped significantly, which helped bring the river into shape very quickly. The cold temps helping to drop and clear the mainstem, and in turn, the tributaries. As of writing of this report, the river levels were in the mid-to-low 2’s.
There is a bit of rain forecasted for next week so that should keep the river at a good level for fishing. There should still be some coho entering the system, as well.
In terms of what to use when you do head out – all the usual suspects have been working well, such as spinners, spoons, jigs, and flies.
One tactic that will start to become the main focus is drifting beads and egg patterns. Whether or not you do this on a fly rod under an indicator or on a float/drifting rod, beads that imitate eggs will become key. There are lots of options in various sizes, colours, and mottling so be sure to swing by the shop before you head out.
This is also a great time to start dusting off switch and Spey rods for the late Winter and early Spring fisheries that can sometimes present itself.
Keep that drift natural,
Harrison River Fishing Report
Fishing on the Harrison would have significantly slowed down with the latest rain. The high water would have allowed both fish that were in the system already and fresh fish to quickly navigate to their headwaters.
The graph jumped all the way to 10.7m and is flattening at 8.5m so still very high. Boating is probably the best way to tackle this fishery right now if you plan to get out. Be sure to keep an eye on the water levels and Drive BC road conditions in the area including any notices related to essential travel as those take priority. So be sure to check all of that before heading to the river.
Fraser River Fishing Report
Both tidal and non-tidal portions of the Fraser River opened for the targeting and retention of hatchery coho salmon on November 15th. You may retain two hatchery marked coho per day, and you may not target or retain chinook, chum, sockeye, wild coho, steelhead, or pinks. Selective fishing methods are strongly encouraged, so don’t be using this opening as an opportunity to go bottom bouncing. Admittedly, this opening comes much too late in the season, as a vast majority of the coho run has come and gone. Having said that, there will be a few fish passing through with the tides until early December, so there are some fish to be caught. Obviously, the Fraser is a big river, so the odds of getting your gear in front of a willing fish is not the highest… this is not a high-volume fishery.
Historically, the preferred method of targeting coho in the Fraser has been bar fishing with roe, spin-n’-glos, or a combination of the two. The idea here is that the vibration of the spin-n’-glo and the scent of the roe make it easier for fish to find your gear in the vast, muddy expanses of the Fraser. Bar fishing can be quite productive when there are fish around, but keep in mind that pikeminnows, chubs, sculpins and other “coarse fish” will be just as interested in your gear, if not more, as the salmon would be… roe is expensive, and coarse fish can be ruthless. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though… bar fishing was never about putting up huge numbers of fish or having awesome whack-n’-stack slay days- it was about the comradery of hanging out around a campfire with buddies, roasting hot-dogs, drinking beers and waiting for a bell to ring. We have all the bar-fishing essentials, so drop in if you need help getting set up for this fishery!
Another viable option is casting spoons and spinners, or even twitching jigs if the water is clear enough. Again, the flash and vibration of a spoon or spinner will help fish track down gear in murky waters, and you can cover a lot of water while casting lures. You can also put some scent on your lures if you’re looking for an advantage. The downside here is that the Fraser is notoriously snaggy, so casting lures can be a depressingly expensive endeavor if you’re in the wrong area… spoons aren’t as cheap as they used to be!
The Fraser has more or less returned to “normal” levels after this week’s catastrophic flooding, but it’s still running very dirty, with lots of debris still coming down the river. Although the non-tidal Fraser is open, I would strongly advise against traveling to Abbotsford or Chilliwack for very obvious reasons. The tidal reaches do offer some good fishing opportunities, with some of my old favourite bar fishing spots being in the Langley and Richmond areas. Remember where you went fishing for pinks in September? If you caught pinks there, you could probably catch coho there, too.