October is off to a warm and foggy start. We’ve still got some warm temperatures out in the valley and up in Squamish, here’s hoping that things will cool off and we can get into our river fishing in earnest. While we wait for some cold weather and lower water conditions for the Squamish and Harrison the Fraser, Skagit and Chilliwack are great options. Or if you’ve got time to head to the interior, most lakes are fishing well.
Saltwater fishermen have had great fishing down south at Sandheads and the mouth of the Capilano has been consistent throughout the week. Guide Eddie had the opportunity to participate in the District of North Vancouver’s Firefighters Charity Fishing Derby last week; all of the highlights of the event are below!
If you’re looking to start get into the classroom and do some on the water learning be sure to read on below for our great lineup of October courses. Also October is our last Introduction to Fly Fishing course so don’t miss out on the last few spots.
Our October courses have been filling up fast and furiously. There are a few spots left
Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners and Spoons
This 3hr evening seminar covers float fishing, spinner fishing and spoon fishing; the three most productive techniques to catch BC salmon in a river. Upgrade your seminar to include a fully guided day on the water, putting into practice your new knowledge with a Pacific Angler guide.
Seminar Date: October 6, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Upgrade this course to a guided trip!! Call us or come see us in shop for more details.
Fly Fishing For Salmon in Rivers
Fly fishing for salmon is one of the most exciting fisheries in the Lower Mainland. Let us teach you the techniques and the hot spots to catch salmon on the fly in our local rivers. In the 3hr evening seminar you will learn about rod, reel and line, sink tip, and fly selection. Then put the skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water where you will learn how to read water and swing the fly!
Dates: Seminar: Oct 14 Guided: Oct 18
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Introduction to Fly Fishing
This course was specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. This course is comprised of two sessions; 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Seminar Date and Time: October 19, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Date and Time(s): October 25, 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
Good numbers of chinook have been moving through the river over the past week and a bit, with a couple of coho mixed in as well. Float fishing roe, jigs, wool combos, single eggs, and colorado blades have all been top producers, so lots of different options to get out there and try. For the Fly Fisherman I suggest looking for that school of coho away from the crowds and working chartreuse, purple, olive and blue streamer patterns. It’s definitely worthwhile to put in some time on this river now.
Please be respectful to your fellow anglers. The Chilliwack-Vedder River can be a busy place at times, so make sure you give each angler his or her space. It’s a big river, no need to crowd spots and anglers. There are still pinks in the river but they are well past their prime, leave them to carry out their spawning. Remember it is illegal to intentionally foul hook salmon.
See you on the water or in the shop,
There are fish in the Capilano but getting them to bite is a challenge. With the low water levels and the bait ban I would recommend fly fishing or casting spoons and spinners. Fly fishing with olive streamers, muddler minnows, and bugger patterns in a variety of subtle colours. Casting crocs, blue fox vibrax, and mepps spinners for the gear fisherman.
It is almost coho and chum time for the Squamish. That said, reports from the river were that things were slow. A few guys found coho in the lower river around the Mamquam River but the main river was reported to still have poor visibility. The numbers are looking good on the water level graph but we need some cool nights to freeze the high country and clear up the river. The weather this weekend looks great for spending time out doors with temperatures hitting summer levels but this will not help water clarity.
That said we have a number of friends hitting the water this week to scout the river and with any luck they will find some fish. The pinks are pretty much finished but we have heard good reports from anglers egging behind schools of pinks catching bull trout and rainbows. This is an awesome way to fish with light fly rods and beads. Come down to the shop and we can walk you through the setup.
For coho on the Squamish we recommend large patterns in dirty water. We use chartreuse copper and bright leach patterns. This will shift fast when the water clears up to small copper, green and chartreuse patterns. Depending on where you are fishing, you might find pockets of clear water, so have a selection of sizes in your fly box.
For the chum, try purple and pink popsicle flies as well as black and green and chartreuse patterns in larger sizes on the lower river. The first waves of fish should hit the lower river soon. For gear fishing we love large colorado blades in chartreuse and silver as well as spinners in the same colors. For the chum try purple jigs under a float or wool ties in pink and purple.
If you are interested in drifting with us on a guided trip we recommend booking now as prime time spots for the middle and end of October are filling up fast. Give us a call at the shop and we can get you signed up.
The river has gone back to completely catch and release, no bait, single barbless fishery. Play by the rules and Good luck!
With the warm weather will not help fishing on the Squamish it could be awesome for the Skagit. Warm weather will equal big hatches. We had some solid reports from this last week. Guys were getting trout to rise on small parachutes and yellow caddis. A few guys ran into emerger hatches and had trouble getting fish to take but for the most part everyone we talked to managed to fool fish. We heard of a number of bull trout being hit as well.
We recommend having a good variety of grey and green mayfly imitation as well as some small yellow caddis and some larger orange ones. Parachute Adams, small Elk Hair Caddis and orange stimulators are a couple of our favourites. Fish the dry flies with 4-5lb tapered mono leaders in the 9-10ft length. Remember to bring dry fly floatant and work to make the drift as drag free as possible. If the weather gets cold or the wind picks up the dry fly fishing will suffer, so be prepared to change out your presentation and go deep with bead headed nymphs. Prince nymphs, golden stones and hares ears are always worth having in the box.
Good Luck and remember the Skagit is a 100% catch and release bait-banned river. Also make sure all your barbs are pinched!
The Harrison River is at 9.3 meters, which is still high to walk the shores or to get to the back channels. I talked to a couple of customers who went up the river with a boat and didn’t find any coho. If the dry weather continues the river will keep dropping and I will be out there to scout as soon as it is below 9.2 meters. The chums are slowly entering the river already so it is worth checking out the Stave River and an early coho might even surprise you.
The Chehalis should be picking up soon as well. We have heard that there is already a bunch of coho in the hatchery channel (no you can’t fish there 🙂
That said with low clear water we have not heard of great fishing. This river is very weather dependant and needs rain. It looks like we might get some rain next week and if it’s enough to have the river rise it would be a good time to check out the river.
The Chehalis is a great float fishing river and we recommend toning down your presentations to match the clear conditions. Small chunks of roe and micro colorado blades fished on 12lb fluorocarbon leaders can make a big difference.
With the rains receding and the nights starting to cool down, anglers can start to expect coho to start showing up within the next little while, followed shortly behind by chum. Both species will take the swung and stripped fly, as well as a variety of hardware and jigs. Twitching jigs can be highly effective in froggy backwater channels where fish are stacked up in troughs and pools. Medium action rods with 12lb line are all that’s needed for this fun and hands-on style of fishing. A variety of colours and weights will round out an anglers jig box for the variety of conditions encountered along our local rivers and streams.
For flies, if targeting coho, one will want a variety of sizes in both attractor patterns as well as naturals. Olives, greens, and blues are great staples, as well as silver, pink, and chartreuse. If targeting chums, purple, green, and orange are great starting colours as well. Keep this in mind if choosing spoons or spinners as well, as coho will readily take both.
Bar fishing has continued to be the preferred method for targeting chinooks in the main stem, with the various bars being a social gathering place for those wanting to wet a line and possibly tie into the fish of a lifetime. Various coloured Spin-n-Glo’s, and bar rigs are the tools used, along with big river rods used to help toss these hefty rigs. A great rod to consider that won’t break the bank is the Trophy XL Custom heavy-casting rod. If you already have some of the gear needed for this unique and fun fishery, one thing that is often over-looked is the use of a sand-spike rod holder. These simple, yet effective tools are a great addition to any bar-fishing anglers arsenal.
*All Coho must be released*
Please refer to these specialized regulations for any changes regarding the Fraser River:
In last week’s report we let you know that a number of our local urban lakes were in the process of getting stocked in the last week. That means there should be some good fishing opportunities and it is definitely a great fishery for the new angler. For up to date stocking reports visit gofishbc.com.
The main staples at this time of the year are big leeches, dragonfly nymphs, scuds, and water boatman. For deeper water use a full sink line with 6ft of 6-8lb tippet. The key is to find were the thermocline is and try to keep the fly in that zone and you should get some aggressive strikes.
If the fish are in shallow, you can use a floating line with a strike indicator to suspend the fly at the desired depth. Indicator fishing with both leeches and scuds is a popular method in the fall months. Fish will often forage in shallow water as they fatten up for the winter, making for some excellent sight fishing opportunities. I had some great reports from the Kane Valley area; Marquart, Lundbum, Kump, Harmon, Corbett and Chicken Ranch lakes are fishing well.
Last week still continued to be hot fishing! After I had already submitted last weeks report, I took the day off to join my buddy John and his brother Colin to take part in the District of North Vancouver Fire Charity Fishing Derby at Lion’s Gate Marina. There were just over 50 boats and 170 entries. In past years that meant a lot of boats fishing the mouth of the Capilano, which made it very challenging. This year the majority of the boats went to the south arm and we all had an epic day, with most boats having multiple fish on. When we got back to the dock I was amazed at the quantity of large chinook that came in. A total of 74 Chinook were brought in to be weighed with first place taken by a 30lb chinook, second at 28lbs and third place was close with 3, 27lb’rs. I’d say the majority of the fish were from the high teens and well into the 20lb+ range! We went home happy at 9th place with a 22.3lb Chinook. It was so surreal to see the dock full of happy anglers and large fish with the Vancouver skyline as a backdrop. Absolutely world class fishing right at our doorstep! I’d like to take this opportunity thank Oliver Schmaler, Ron Johnstone, Mike Langley, Nathan Walker and their crew for all the hard work in putting on such a great yearly event.
It was back to work after that with local trips at the mouth of the Capilano and as I mentioned in my last report I’d kept my fingers crossed for this fishery to come on and it did! Although the wind was blowing pretty hard we did manage to get 2 of the 3 chinooks in the boat of which one was 27lbs and would have been a contender for the previous day’s Derby. The Capilano continued to produce multiple fish throughout the week, which was a great local option for the few days it was too windy to venture south.
In terms of gear and fishing depths we’re still fishing in the 70′ to 50′ range except for when fishing the Capilano and hugging the bottom and anchovies are working best. There’s coho around so the 30′ range is a good bet and will hook Chinooks as well. Good teaser heads are the spackle back in the light and dark versions, glo green, bloody nose, purple haze, UV clear and clear green. I’ve seen so many different flashers used it’s hard to say which are the best but my favorites are chartreuse or green in double glo or half mirror reflector. Mix and match and you’ll find you’re favorites. I expect the Capilano, Bell buoy, North Arm, T10 and South Arm to continue to produce since there is little to no rain forecasted for at least another week!
Tight lines, Eddie
For almost 10 straight days we had some great fishing down at the ‘Sandheads’ (South Arm of the Fraser River) The recipe of a full moon, big tides, staging fish and lots of them made for some epic fishing. Lots of fish and some big ones made for some exciting days. Averaging anywhere from 6-15 hookups on a tide swing, it was hot and heavy when the bite was on. Some times making it difficult to keep lines in the water. On more than one occasion I was forced to fish 2 rods, because that’s all you needed. The fish were fairly tight to the ledge, spread out from Crab Pot Bay to the Green Can. The best depths all week were 40-70 feet deep. Fishing a glow flasher with a glow teaser head is the ticket. My 2 favourite combo’s by far are the Chartreuse glow flasher/silver tape matched with a Chartreuse Splatterback teaser on the bottom rods and Oki’ Tackle Green Onion Glow Flashers with the Lemon lime white glow teaser on the top rods. After running out of bait one day (apparently 3 packs wasn’t enough) I clipped a ‘big ugly’ (UV Double Skirt Hootchie) to the Green Onion and a 4” Pesca Bogart to the Chart. Glow flasher, bumped up my speed and started getting them on the hardware. At this time of the year, with the big fish around, its time to bump up your rigging. On my teaser setups I run 30lb Maxima leader with #2 trebles and 5/0 trailer hooks. My hootchies are tied with 50lb leader and my spoons with 40lb.
Some fish showed up at the Capilano in the last 48-72 hours, after the full moon, tides and what not. We will see how many are left to come. It’s such a cool fishery being that you can catch big aggressive chinooks minutes from the dock, let alone your front door in the awesome metropolitan city we live in.