We have sounded like a broken record over the last 4 weeks of our reports. That broken record is still playing – We need rain! When we look at the 14-day trend, temperatures are finally dropping but we have another week until rain is in the forecast on the 22nd and 25th.
Though the conditions are challenging, we continue to see pretty solid fishing on the Chilliwack and reports from the Harrison are starting to come in. On the Squamish and Stave there are some chum regulations and rafting safety information that you should all tune in for. Be sure to check those reports below.
Lake fishing is also starting to heat up, or should we say cool off. As temperatures drop, the fishing has been getting better in the interior and many of our local lakes have been stocked. Check out Jason and Eric’s reports for details on those fisheries.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Fly Fishing Egg Patterns
This course is designed to teach you the secrets to one of the most productive presentations in the BC fly fishermen’s arsenal; nymphing egg patterns. This deadly method can be used for different species of trout, char, and salmon. During a 3 hour evening seminar we will teach you key concepts, strategies, and gear that will give you a well-rounded foundation during the seminar portion of the class. Then you will put those skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.
In-Person Seminar : Nov 16, 2022 ONLY 4 OPEN SPOTS
Seminar Only Cost: $50.00+GST
Seminar & Guided Walk ‘n Wade Cost: $275.00+GST per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided Walk’n Wade: Full Day, Nov 19 or 20, 2022
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
These past few weeks have really shown how resilient our local salmon can be. A combination of fiercely low water and summer-like temperatures make their journey upriver difficult to say the least, but fish continue to push and they are pushing hard. Most years, we are well past prime chinook season on the C/V, but with the low water and delayed return of chinook, there are still plenty of opportunities for excellent chinook fishing.
We do not expect to receive rain until late next week, which is not great news.
Coho have really been making their way through the system en masse, as there are large numbers of coho everywhere from the canal to the boundary up top. Some pods of coho are super bitey, others have been in the river for a while and are not. Spooky in October has a whole new meaning! Focus on finding a willing pod of fish; if they do not want to cooperate, your best bet is to move.
Both float fishing and gear fishing has been effective in all areas of the C/V. Beads, roe, yarnies, prawns and blades drifted have been popular. Moving to dime and nickel sized presentations with light and slightly longer leaders increases stealth in our low and clear conditions.
Spinners, spoons and jigs have been effective as well. The key is to fish it in the right water in front of willing fish. For those with an itch to twitch, consider picking drabber colours such as black, olive, and purple. Doing something completely different can also produce results for fish that have become stale. A prime example is throwing a Spinootchie out when the coho are being picky.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Harrison and Stave River Fishing Report
The Stave and the Harrison are two of the most popular and best-known systems north of the Fraser, and both host some pretty fantastic fisheries. As a general rule, the north-side tributaries tend to have slightly later runs than the south-side systems- like the Vedder. This means that, on a normal year, when the south-side systems are starting to slow down for the year, the north-side systems will be nearing the peak of their returns.
The Stave is a short, dam-controlled river that is very well known for the very strong returns of chum salmon it used to get; it also has a moderate coho return that is heavily supplemented by the Inch Creek Hatchery. The coho typically start showing up in decent numbers around mid-October, but the river is currently running very low, and is quite warm. As such, I haven’t heard too many reports of Coho in the Stave just yet; they’re likely waiting in the Fraser for more favorable conditions. Small presentations will be key under the current conditions, as will fishing during low-light hours. There are a few chum around as well, but not in especially impressive numbers.
The Stave chum returns in the last few years range from very poor to mediocre, at best… and this year is not looking great. As a result, you may not retain chum in the Stave until further notice. Technically speaking, you may not even target them- the current regulations are “non-retention for chum, Sep. 1st - Sep.30th”. Of course, it’s past September 30th, so what does that mean? Well, the regulations make it very clear that, I quote, “There is no fishing for Salmon in Region 2 except for the opportunities listed in the table below.” There is no listed opportunity for chum Salmon in the Stave as of right now, so, according to DFO’s regulations, you may not target them. If you do catch a chum, it must be released unharmed immediately. It is hard to tell if this regulation is a DFO oversight or intentional but this is the wording of the regulation and it is clear. https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/fresh-douce/region2-eng.html
The Harrison is a broad, slow river that drains Harrison Lake and is home to runs of all 5 species of Pacific Salmon. The main attractions at this time of year are the coho, chinook and chum. The coho are around in large numbers, but are being very tight-lipped due to the low, clear water and the fairly high amount of angling pressure. Anglers are finding fish from boats or from shore; those with boats have been doing well down close to the confluence with the Fraser and up closer to the mouth of the Chehalis. Those who fish from shore have been doing alright from the well-known access points. Spoons, spinners, plugs, twitching jigs and fly fishing have been fairly productive; with smaller presentations being a good idea. Tides are also a factor in this fishery, so consider checking the tide charts before you head out.
Unfortunately, the famous Harrison Chinook are not doing well, and as such, are completely closed to any form of targeted fishery. You may not target chinook in the Harrison River, end of story. If you do accidentally catch a chinook, it must be released unharmed immediately.
Chum are also in the system, but the regulations here are different than they are in the Stave. The current regulation is “non-retention for chum, Sep. 1st until further notice”. This means that you may target Chum. As such, if you do encounter a chum, please handle it with care and release it as quickly as possible to maximize its chance of survival… every single chum matters these days.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous reports, the extreme weather we’re seeing this season is playing havoc with the salmon fisheries. Conditions are poor, fish are spooky, angling pressure is high and concentrated. Unethical fishing is also a concern with fish already seeing adverse conditions from mother nature. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are getting discouraged because they’re having a rough season, and it’s not looking like the rain we desperately need is coming anytime soon. Even though conditions are tough, lots of fish are still being caught ethically, and things should start to ramp up on these north-side systems shortly, so it’s still worth getting out there. There are a ton of fish around, especially in the Harrison, and those who are able to adapt their gear to the conditions at hand are consistently catching fish.
Come in to the shop if you need some gear and tips for figuring out how to catch fish in this year’s low water!
Squamish River Fishing Report
We continue to hear ok reports from the Sea to Sky corridor. There are fish in the system and anglers are reporting ok numbers of coho, bulltrout and rainbows. Chum are also entering the system but, like the Stave, you are not allowed to target them until we see announcements from DFO.
We also want to note that from high water events last year there are some areas of the river that are very challenging to raft right now. We do not recommend it until things settle for the season.
Beads, larger spoons and larger flash style flies should be in your arsenal right now with a focus on covering ground. We have some guys out scouting over the next little bit and we will have more details soon.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lakes Fishing Report
Local lakes have been stocked!
As suspected, last week the local lakes finally received their first dose of fall fish. Once the trout acclimatize you can expect to take them on a variety of presentations. The usual bait fishing along with spoon and spinner gear can get you on to fish. Fresh stocked trout will take a wide range of baits suspended under a bobber or floating off the bottom. You can also dangle small artificial baits under a float. These can be left to drift or given motion with small line jerks to induce strikes. Adding additional scents to artificials can still further help your catch. Spoons and spinners can be great when the fish are abundant after stocking. Remember to keep your gear small and cover water.
Opportunities for the fly still present themselves to lake anglers. I rely more on attractors or simple flies tied balanced under an indicator. These include blobs, balanced leeches and chironomids tied in outlandish colours. Where permitted, a small float tube or watercraft can help conventional and fly anglers alike. The ability to troll flies, or set up over a drop off makes fly fishing more productive on lakes.
I suspect more lakes have been stocked so check in at the Go Fish BC website for the latest updates on the stocking reports. With the stockings comes additional pressure on these lakes. Remember to respect the fishing environments and your fellow anglers.
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
Well, it’s mid-October and we are still seeing daytime temps in the low twenties to high teens (Celsius) for much of the interior. Thankfully the nighttime temps are down in the single digits and this is starting to push the lake temps down into the mid to low fifties (Farenheit). Looking 2 weeks out, temps are really going to drop down. In fact, they will be below the average. When you look at this graph it’s amazing to see how far above average temps have been, only to drop hard into the third week of October. This should really get the fish up in the shallows and feeding aggressively.
This weekend I would expect trout on most of the interior lakes to be in shallower water, in that 5-10 foot zone, looking for food items like leeches, scuds, and baby damsels. You must be ready to adapt though. I was on a lake last weekend and chironomids were still hatching and the feeding fish were found out in 23-25 feet of water! You just never know what to expect when it comes to fall lake fishing and that’s what makes it so interesting. Although the fall chironomid hatches have been nice, the overwhelming majority of reports from friends and customers are now of fish in shallower water, being taken on leeches, scuds and blobs.
If you are heading out this weekend, make sure you are ready to strip or hang some leeches in the shallow water zones. Leeches are always a staple in the fall and with a variety of lines you can fish them effectively from the shoreline out to the drop offs. If you aren’t having any luck on leeches, be sure to give blobs or boobies a try. These flies often save the day when nothing else seems to be working.
Another good change up tactic is to strip a scud. Try a fast paced and erratic retrieve. This can often trigger a feeding response from fish that aren’t responding to more static presentations like a leech or a blob under and indicator.
One final tip is to move around. If you aren’t catching fish, seeing fish on your sonar, or seeing fish working the area (rolling) then it’s time to move. I like to give a spot about 30-45 minutes and if it’s not happening, I will make a move. Don’t wait for a few hours, go find happy and feeding fish! A simple move can literally change the day from zero to hero status.
There is still lots of season left, so get your flies, your lines, and get out there.
See you in the shop or on the water,