BOOM! Well, the water we were looking for came. Though many anglers who were out had to contend with blown out dirty water conditions over the last week, on most of our systems the bump of water will help fishing when the rivers come back into shape.
On the weather front, we are going to see a pretty nice weekend. This should help water levels settle. When we look out to the end of next week it looks as though more rain is coming but it doesn’t look like a substantial storm so both this weekend and next look like very good weekends to get out to the valley rivers.
The valley rivers are on the drop as we write this report and already reports are coming in of fresh fish moving into the systems. It will also allow anglers to spread out. This week we have updates on the Chilliwack and Harrison systems, and you should also keep an eye on all the smaller tributaries and sloughs as the high water will move fish into areas, we have not seen in them yet this season.
As usual the Sea to Sky corridor got hit harder than the valley. The Squamish peaked at over 6 meters on the graph but is now on the drop. We have some details on it from Eric who was out last weekend and there is also more good news on the horizon. The temperatures will drop all next week and will get to almost 0 at night next Saturday. This will get things dropping and more importantly clearing up. Check out Eric’s report below for all of the details.
Another fishery not to sleep on is the local lakes. They are getting stocked, and Eric has a brief note on them below as well. So, if you have a short window of time to get out on the water local lakes are a great option at this time of year.
If you are looking to keep it close to home sturgeon fishing is another great option at this time of year. We have guided trips out of Richmond available or if you’re heading out on your own swing by the shop and we can help get you setup.
Last, but not least, for all you hard core interior lake anglers we have been hearing mixed fishing reports and the water temperatures that guys have been sending in are a little high for this time of year. We are going to see a cooling trend right across the province over the next 10 days and we know many of you are watching this closely. Jason tunes in this week with a lake report as well as some Fall season strategies.
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 River Fishing Report
Needless to say, the fall rains have finally arrived; this is both a blessing and a curse for the C/V system. On one hand, the water levels have finally gotten the significant bump that the fish system needed, but on the other, the river has completely blown out multiple times throughout the week. Now, blow-outs aren’t necessarily a bad thing; they are a normal occurrence in a healthy river, but they do make the river unfishable for a while by reducing visibility to near-zero. The upside to this is that the fishing is usually quite good after the river has crested, when the water is dropping, and the visibility is increasing. Fresh fish will push into the system when the water is high, and they are usually quite aggressive and willing to bite when the conditions start to become more favorable.
The weather forecast has been changing every five minutes, so it’s hard to say what kind of conditions we can expect for the coming week- keep an eye on water levels and the short-term forecast to determine if the river will be in shape when you plan to head out. There’s no point in wasting gas money if the river is at 1.5m and on a sharp rise, so make sure you’re checking the water levels before you head out when the weather is questionable.
There will be good numbers of coho in the system after the rains, and it’s likely that a bunch of chum will have pushed in as well. Some fresh chinook will have showed up, but the bulk of that run has already come and gone, so don’t expect to find tons of chinook in every single pool anymore. You’ll want to adjust your presentation based on water conditions, so make sure you have a good variety of gear in different sizes and colours to make sure you can tackle whatever hand you are dealt. Beads (now is the time for your 16mm-25mm soft beads!), blades, bait, yarn, jigs and spin-n-glos are all solid bets when float fishing; while spinners, spoons and twitching jigs continue to produce for those who want to chuck lures.
As mentioned, the chinook run is nearing its end, so their numbers will be decreasing over the next few weeks, while the numbers of coho should be somewhere near their peak now. The chum run normally peaks in mid-late October, but the run size for them is predicted to be extremely low with no retention opportunities at this time and none expected for the season. Coho fishing can remain good until mid-November, so there’s still plenty of time to get out there for them- and as a bonus, the worst of the crowds usually dissipate near the end of the season, so you might actually get a chance to fish in relative peace later in the season!
Harrison River Fishing Report
This week has seen some more fish arrive, both chum and coho, along with a much-welcomed rain.
With this rain, keep in mind that river levels and flow can fluctuate, and to always be safe- either on foot or in a watercraft.
This past week saw anglers encounter fish on both gear and fly, with a variety of tactics being successful.
With the waters level being as low as they were, small-to-medium sized flies such as muddler minnows were a great option- and will continue to be so once the river settles and clears. With this rain, the river bumped and colour- helping fish move around and encourage activity. This bump will increase some colour as well, making flash-flies a good go-to option.
On the gear side, where your favourite smaller spinner and spoons were successful, the same offerings but only larger would be ideal. If the Koho 35 was your go-to last week, try bumping that up to a #45 or #55 with the added river flow and height.
This goes for the flies being stripped or retrieved already mentioned above, but also for those swinging flies. Medium to large profile flies with lots of movement and flash should be standard issue for most anglers at this time of year, with darker ones often reserved for the darker days.
When targeting chum, short floating purple jigs can often be quite effective, leading to some memorable days. Please keep in mind that chum are not coho or pink salmon, and that your gear should be up to task for your sake, as well as for the fish’s. Most anglers targeting chum will use rods that are rated Medium-heavy to help turn and retire the fish within a reasonable time.
If targeting chum, please keep in mind that they are non-retention, so please handle any released fish with care.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Fall rains have arrived in the Sea to Sky. The week was a mix of precipitation and mild weather before culminating in a blowout. High water events are not unusual in the fall, this can help move stale fish up-river and bring fresh fish in. Once the water comes in shape you will find fish through the system. Some systems will drop sooner than others so keep an eye on the water gauge.
The bump in the river will also reduce water clarity/visibility. Spoons are the tool for the high and dirty water. Koho spoons like the blue illusion or green scale will get the grab. Bigger water gets bigger spoons. Jigs can also be great to have once when you locate some happy rolling fish in slower moving water.
On the fly I find fishing larger patterns in brighter colours can help get you noticed. If you’re tying some flies, try to include bright beads, hotspots, and UV materials. The various FNF Fritz tying materials in shop are excellent for this. If the swing is your thing, the trusty egg sucking leech can be a great searching pattern, and the larger tinsel x-mass tree patterns can work wonders. Bust out the sink tips and short maxima leaders.
With large water, we often worry about the fresh pink spawning reds and egg survival. I will note on our last pink cycle we had a much larger storm/atmospheric river blow out and returns in the Squamish were generally good. That said, please be cautious in your exploring and do not disturb the pink salmon reds and spawning creeks.
FRASER RIVER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Sturgeon Fishing Report
Our trips these past few weeks have been great. The sturgeon are definitely on the fall feeding band wagon and that means consistent fishing and big fish!
As usual, we have been doing very well from a few minutes from where our jet boat is moored all the way up to the Port Mann area, with excellent fishing and minimal fishing pressure.
It is peak season right now! If you want to do battle with these impressive fish give us a call and you won’t be disappointed. They rip line, come flying out of the water, and in between battles you can relax in our 22-foot jet boat and stay dry and warm.
Here are a few pictures from recent adventures:
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lake Fishing Report
A short update that the fall stocking program has kicked off! Check in to the GoFishBC website for the full list, which I suspect it will be updated with more lakes soon. Catchable rainbow trout will be available through the fall at many easily accessible lower mainland lakes. These trout are eager biters going for bait setups, spinners and spoons.
This is a great family fishery that is often overlooked during the tail end of salmon season. So be sure to get out there.
Interior Lake Fishing Report
A few reports are coming in from Region 5 and many of the lakes are now seeing some more traditional fall temperatures in the mid 40’s. The fish are responding and heading into shallower water to feed. Anglers have been doing well on leeches, scuds, baby damsels, blobs, and boobies, all fished in close to shore, either under an indicator or retrieved.
A little closer to home in Region 3, some lakes are still in the 50’s but we have seen some of the higher elevation lakes crack that 50 barrier and temps have dipped into the high 40’s. This past week was still quite warm, so the real fall fishing hasn’t started on a lot of the lower elevation lakes. That looks like it will change this coming week as the nighttime temps are finally going single digit and into the minus in many areas. The long-range forecast shows it getting a bit warmer after this coming week’s cold snap. This is a good thing as we don’t want it to get too cold too fast! So, things are lining up nicely the next weeks and we should see some good fall fishing as lake temps slowly drop.
As mentioned in previous reports, you will need a variety of flies and fly lines to cover your fall lake fishing needs. Generally, I like to have one indicator rod out and I will be hanging a blob, balanced leech, or suggestive pattern like Chan’s BMW (Brian’s Marabou Wiggler) or DLT (damsel-leech-thing). If you don’t have these flies in your arsenal in a variety of colours, you should, I’ll leave it at that.
While that is fishing, I will cover the surrounding water with a sinking line and will retrieve a leech, booby or shrimp/scud. Sinking line choice will depend on the depth of water and rate or retrieve and can vary from a hover or intermediate to a type 3 and even a type 6 or 7. You really do need at least those 3 lines if you expect to cover the water column effectively on any given day in the fall.
If you aren’t getting any bobber downs, hooking fish on the retrieved fly, seeing fish roll, or seeing fish on your sonar or side sonar (if you have that) after a decent effort of 30-45 minutes tops, MOVE! Fall fishing is often a search and destroy game. It’s not like spring chronie fishing where you get on a good piece of mud and sit there from 10 to 3 as the hatch starts, peaks, and then tapers off. Generally, you need to find fish and find fish that want to bite! So, expect to move multiple times in a day until you get on the right school of fish. The fish move as well, so as a spot slows down, time to move and find them again or find a fresh school.
I am heading up to the interior this weekend so will have a fresh report for next week as well. Until then, bobber down and tight lines!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
As we enter the third week of October, with more rain in the forecast mid-week, it’s safe to say the last of the migratory summer salmon will be heading up the rivers to spawn. I’m happy to see the rain as the rivers really need it and the river fisherman are rejoicing on what is fast becoming an exceptional fall river fishing season. We certainly had our fair share of amazing saltwater salmon fishing this year, so glad to see the river anglers enjoying the strong returns of coho and chinook as well.
We have officially switched gears into “winter season” and by that, I mean we are focusing on chinook salmon that are actively feeding. These chinook (springs) are called feeder chinook, winter chinook, or just plain feeders, as that is what they are doing all winter long. They are constantly on the hunt for herring and anchovies, they are wolf packs that are here one day and gone the next. This makes them fun to hunt for each day, and once you find them the action can be very good as they are there to feed and that means lots of bites!
We have been out quite a bit already, and if you are a frequent reader of this report, you will know the winter fishing the past few years has been the best in many decades. All indications are this trend will continue for 2024.
As for fishing reports and tactics, stay tuned for some detailed reports and short videos this winter on how to make the most of the winter season.
See you in the shop or on the water,