Welcome to November everyone! We hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween. The weather has been interesting this week, with lots of rain and warmer temperatures for our major river systems and high water. We are hopeful this will change with a cooling trend and less rain.
This week we have reports from the Squamish, Chilliwack and Harrison systems. The Fraser river bar fishery is also open and it is a great time to get out and take advantage of this late opening. This week we have a brief overview of how to set up a bar rig for this fishery. We have a few staff and friends out this weekend so we should have a solid report for you next Friday.
On the saltwater front, Jason is back this week with his report. With the colder temperatures in the forecast it is definitely starting to feel more like winter chinook season! Keep an eye on the forecast this weekend as its going to be windy but you might be able to find some spots to hide out in the sun!
As always, Matt has the Video Version of the report here:
Finally, a friendly reminder for next week that we will be closed on Wednesday, November 11, in honour of Remembrance Day.
On to the Report!
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Sport Fishing Institute Webinar Series
If you missed the first installment of the SFI webinar series earlier today not to worry – there will be 3 more to come this month!
The SFI is hosting a series of virtual discussions intended to seek pathways for recovery of salmon stocks and predictable opportunity and reliable access for BC’s public fishery. Each session will be approximately 90 minutes long and will cover topics within this year’s theme, Charting a Predictable Path for Salmon and BC’s Public Fishery.
While it is a new and virtual approach to the annual policy conference, this event has become a key forum where elected officials, public servants and those in the sport fishing industry can meet and share their perspectives on trends, innovations and issues facing BC’s public fishery.
Attendance is free but you must register in advance for each session.
To register, visit the SFI website
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder Fishing Report
All that rain didn’t really do the Vedder/Chilliwack much good. As of writing this report, it’s blown right out and hasn’t peaked yet. If it doesn’t rain any more, the river might be in some semblance of fishable shape by Friday, although it won’t by any means be ideal. I’m expecting it to be in somewhat decent shape for Saturday… probably still pretty high, but visibility should be alright.
The coho run is definitely tapering off now. The high water should push a few fish into the system, although it’ll probably be one of the last waves of coho for the year, and they’ll probably end up spread out throughout the system again. Be sure to cover water when looking for these late season coho… if they’re not there, move on. They won’t be as bunched up as they were earlier in the season, so finding them can be a challenge. As far as gear is concerned, fish according to the water conditions. If it’s dirty, run something with scent, vibration, flash and/or profile. Roe is always a good bet, as are shrimp, spinners, spoons, and Colorado blades.
There should still be some chum around when the water drops. We’re past the peak of the chum run by now, but I’m still expecting this rain to push some fresh chum into the system. If you’re looking for fresh chum, the lower is usually your best bet. I’ve talked about chum gear in my previous reports so if you’re looking for information on that be sure to check these reports. Bottom line- don’t overthink it, get out and have fun.
Salmon season on the Vedder/Chilliwack is definitely starting to wind down, as is expected for this time of year. There’s still going to be fish around for a few weeks, but they’re going to be getting harder to find, so be sure to cover water until you find them. If you’re heading out there this weekend, remember that the river will be high, so stay safe and be careful. A quick word about respect- please let spawning salmon do their thing in peace. Refrain from wading through their spawning areas if at all possible, as doing so interrupts the fish and, more importantly, crushes their nests and eggs. Please, DO NOT try to catch the obviously spawning fish! Good luck out there.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Well Mother Nature just keeps the hits coming. We’ve had 2 blow outs since the last report which has made fishing difficult this week. That being said, if you were lucky enough to hit the river between the blow outs, we have been hearing that the fishing has been excellent. There are lots of salmon in the Squamish area right night which is great to see! We haven’t done much trout fishing this year as the numbers of coho have been good enough that we don’t need to focus on them just yet. I tried to get out last Friday but when I decided to not go on Thursday the levels were high and when I woke up on Friday, I was glad that I took a day to sleep in as the river rose even higher. Having a look at the forecast for this week Friday-Sunday we should see less rain and a lot cooler temperatures, so I expect the river to come into shape quickly after all the rain we got from Tuesday through Wednesday and the fishing should be decent as well.
With the higher water levels that we have been experiencing this season so far, gear has been the way to go. Large spoons and spinners as well as jigs have all been productive for anglers. Fly fishing has been tough due to the dirty and high water but on my last outing when things were starting to clear up, fly fishing was quite productive. I expect if the river holds and we don’t get any big storms this coming week that fishing should turn around for the fly anglers. If you see dirty water, make sure you have some large dark patterns in black or purple. As things clear up the usual white, pink and chartreuse patterns should work well for you. I also expect the bead fishing to be full on once we get some more stable weather. I am really looking forward to the bull trout fishery this fall/winter with the number of salmon that we have seen come through so far this season. If you want to learn about beading for trout come on into the shop and we can get you all set up.
Good luck on the water and we’ll see you in the shop
Stave River Fishing Report
Things are starting to slow down on the Stave. This is not to say the fishing can’t still be excellent; it can and will be for at least a couple more weeks. However, we are noticeably over the hump of peak season. It isn’t quite Zombie city yet but there are older chum milling about with a few freshies mixed in. Coho are going strong too with lots of jacks and adult fish in the river though we are starting to see some fire trucks as well.
Targeting chum is fairly straightforward as these fish are typically quite aggressive and I love them for that reason. Float fishing a purple/pink/chartreuse/blue jig under a float or swinging a big fly in similar colours is all you really need for hours’ worth of action. In saying that, chum will readily hit other presentations if given a chance. A couple years ago, I caught one on a swimbait and this week I hooked a couple on spoons/spinners while hunting for coho.
Coho fishing on the Stave can be good but you will want to get away from the chum if possible. Look for frog water or back channels for concentrated fish. The two biggest producers here are pro-cured roe and small flash flies; very different techniques but equally as deadly. Hardware and twitching jigs work too and this is what I like to fish there, but it is sometimes a bit more of a grind with that type of gear as these fish can be lock-jawed. Downsizing is the key regardless of your method.
Harrison River Fishing Report
The Harrison has been fishing well for both coho and chum salmon this past week with large numbers of fish pushing into the system. This can be a fun fishery from both shore or a boat, though to really take advantage of it you want to have a watercraft. Float fishing jigs or fly fishing with bright streamers are the main method of catching chum. Spinners, spoons, and twitching jigs are the go tos for coho on light spinning/baitcasting tackle. Small flash flies like Christmas trees or rolled muddlers can be dynamite on the fly.
This is a really cool fishery in a beautiful setting that not many people take advantage of so if you are up for a little exploring this is the fishery for you.
Fraser River Fishing Report
Well now that the Fraser has opened for salmon fishing, it’s the only time of year to practice everyone’s favourite passive fishery – bar fishing. Although the tides are looking a bit high for my liking there’s been plenty of hatchery coho coming out of everyone’s most favourite bars. The biggest mistake people make with this fishery is casting too far from the bank, your casts only need to be 20-40ft from shore.
The rig for this fishery is very simple, all you need is a basic T bar setup, some hooks with spin n glos or corkies, a heavy weight (I use 4-ounce dime weights due to the low current in my area, size up if need be) and some roe.
By Tuesday, we should have more favourable tides in the morning which tends to be the most productive time to fish. So far, roe has been outfishing artificial lures such as spin-n-glos and corkies, but always keep some artificials in your box as it can turn a dud day into a stud day.
It’s definitely the tail end of the bar fishing season, so take advantage of this short opening and get some table fare!
Tight Lines, Cold beers.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Looks like it is nice and sunny today, but unfortunately the NW winds are cranking in the Salish Sea and the outflow is doing the same in Howe Sound with gusts to 35 at Pam Rocks. The weekend is going to see the same sort of conditions, sunny and windy, with Monday being the transition day where it switches from NW to SE and winds light in between. If you can somehow work this weekend and take Monday off, that would be the perfect scenario!
The fishing for this time of year has been pretty solid. There were some decent catches of winter chinook in Vancouver Harbour and in the traditional Howe Sound spots this past week. So, I guess it is officially time to start “winter fishing”.
For some pictures of our recent winter chinook catches, make sure to follow us on Instagram @pacificanglersportfishing
It certainly is starting to feel more like winter chinook season with colder air temperatures and nasty outflow winds out of Howe Sound. Time to start looking at those long-range forecasts and trying to pick those days when the calm seas and sun line up! They can be few and far between, so being flexible on when you can head out on the water is always a key to success this time of year.
A reminder, don’t forget to check out the SFI Webinar Conference Series which started this Friday with 3 more sessions on the coming Fridays. There are some great topics and speakers and you can voice your concerns and ask questions.
See you in the shop or on the water,