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Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: October 23, 2015

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: October 23, 2015


With some cooler temperatures predicted and reports of coho over the last week we are confident the river fishing will pick up this weekend and into next week. With Harrison levels dropping and clarity starting to improve on the Squamish there should be some more opportunities to explore these rivers in the next week. The Skagit is open until the end of the month so its still worth a shot to head there as well. Finally, Fraser sturgeon fishing is hot, if you were thinking of heading out, now is the time to go!

Interior lake fisherman are enjoying a longer than normal thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures. Micro leeches have been the main producers based on reports received this week but a booby fly is always a good option. Read on below in the lake report section for some tips and tricks on how to tie and fish this fly.

Saltwater fishing has actually been pretty good this past week for those that have made the run down to the S. Arm of the Fraser. Both wild and some hatchery coho along with a few chum are around so diehard saltwater fisherman have been rewarded for their end of season efforts.


Looking to spend some time in the classroom or do some on the water learning? Check out our November courses. Our full lineup of 2016 will be announced soon, so stay tuned.

Tying Intruder Patterns
This course is designed for those that are interested in tying steelhead flies in the “Intruder style”. This style of fly is extremely productive for steelhead and salmon due to its profile and movement in the water. During this two night (5hr total instruction) tying series, you will learn the very specific techniques and unique materials used to tie this fly. This course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tiers. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.

Dates: Nov 16 and 17
Time: 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Cost: $45.00

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.

Dates: Seminar: Nov 18 Guided: Nov 21 or 22
Seminar Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Cost: $225.00


Where are the coho?
It has been a slower coho year for the most part, but things have picked up this week. There was a push of coho into the Chilliwack/Vedder this week and we saw a decent push of coho down in the lower Squamish around the mouth of the Mamquam as well. The Harrison also picked up these last few days. We have received some very detailed reports from our friends ocean fishing down at the S. Arm of the Fraser and they have been catching a lot of wild fish in the 6-8 pound range and are still getting some hatchery coho as well. Some of the hatchery fish were as big as 10-12 pounds. So although this may not go down as a record coho year, it does appear the fish are a little late and there are still lots down at the Fraser mouth, so we are confident the river fishing will pick up this weekend and into next week. In fact the Albion Test Fishery has shown a marked increase in coho coming into the river these past 2 days, the most fish in the last 4 weeks actually, so they are on the way!

The chinook in the Vedder are pretty much past their prime now, but there are still lots around, they are just getting very dark. On the plus side there are more coho starting to show up. The river is pretty low and clear as we haven’t had much rain, so the key is to fish small. Very small pieces of roe or yarn in lighter colors like peach, will produce in the clear water. Another excellent choice is a colorado blade under a float or try casting a spinner or spoon. The best colours in the clear water are brass and copper as they give off some flash but not too much in the clear water. Some anglers have been doing well for coho in the lower Vedder on small flashy flies by fishing in the slow pools or channels where there is little or no current. This water is often overlooked by the float fishing anglers as it is not the easiest to fish with gear and the fly is often more productive on a slow sinking line or a clear intermediate line. It looks like there is some rain forecast for later next week and the coho fishing will likely pick up some more once the water comes up and some fresh fish move in.


John caught this chrome chinook a few weeks ago. Now the fish are darker but there are still lots of chrome coho coming in.

This time last year we were facing a Cap with high water conditions or was blown out. That is definitely not the case this year as the Cap continues to be low. Fish will be moving into the river but with the low water levels fishing can be a challenge.

If you are heading to the river remember there is a bait ban in effect until the end of this month. Because of the bait ban, use artificial baits to catch fish. Spoons, colorado blades, wool ties, rubber eggs, and jigs are all good choices to catch fish.

The fish are moving through and we have heard from some anglers who have had some successful trips up to the Squamish area. That said we are still not getting the water clarity on the main river that equals really good fishing. There have been some colder nights this last week and as of yesterday we were getting reports of 1ft visibility on the main river. Earlier in the week it was hard to say that we had 3 inches visibility so things are going in the right direction. The forecast is still predicting above average temperatures through the weekend but there is definitely a cooling trend, so with any luck the water will continue to clear. We would just like to see it get colder and clear a little faster.

Pacific Angler course student Stephen with his first fly caught salmon-reduced

Pacific Angler student Stephen with his first fly caught salmon-reduced

Anglers have been swinging flies on the main river and then hitting tributaries and areas of clearer water. We recommend type 3 or 6 sink tips with 4ft of 12lb maxima leader tied with a loop knot to your fly of choice. For flies it seems the two you want in your box are the classic purple and pink Popsicle for chum along with larger chartreuse patterns for both chum and fresh coho.


Gerry with a nice Squamish coho landed this week.

We are hearing great reports of egging where anglers can find clear water. This is a great way to get away from the crowds looking for salmon. Lighter colored beads are working great in the clear water but don’t hesitate to put on larger 10 mm bright colored bead on the main stem Squamish if you find a spot were it has over 1.5ft of visibility.

Gear anglers have been finding fish with larger blue illusion and bright orange Koho and Kitamat spoons in 45, 55 and 65 sizes. Float fishing jigs in purple and chartreuse is also a great way to target fresh chum and don’t be scared to try a trout bead or small pink/peach wool presentation. If you’ve got a lighter bait casting or spinning rod, the bull trout and rainbows this time of year can be tones of fun.

As always, remember the Squamish System is 100% catch and release for all wild species. Retention of one hatchery coho (adipose fin clipped) is permitted. Be careful when identifying your catch, hatchery coho are rare on this system.

Good luck out on the water.

There is still time for one more kick at the can as they say and with warmer than average temperatures the Skagit could be an awesome bet for some late season trout fishing. From our trip last week expect things to be slow in the morning and plan to fish streamers and nymphs until it warms up later in the day. Make sure to focus on the dry fly fishing in the afternoon when you should still see good hatches. Last week the hatch seemed to start around 4:45 but only lasted until 6 and then went dead. It’s not a bad trip to hit a salmon river in the morning on your way out and then catch the last half of the day up the Skagit.

If you’re heading out make sure to bring white and olive streamers and your standard golden stone, prince nymphs and Hare’s ears for fishing when there is no hatch. Also have a good dry fly box stocked with grey, grey brown and olive mayflies as well as a few yellow caddis. If all else fails a big orange caddis is a great fly to cover water with. Last week we still saw quite a few bird like orange caddis kicking around.

Fish light 4-5lb leaders on a dry line and try to use fluorocarbon if nymphing.

The Skagit is 100% catch and release single barbless fishery. It closes to fishing at the end of the month.

The Harrison water level is finally descending which opens up more grounds to fish. I have had some reports of coho caught a few days ago so hopefully this is an indication that they are on their way and are just a little late this year. A clear intermediate line is key for this fishery as the fishing is mostly in shallow depths and it won’t spook the fish in the clear slow running water. Be sure to change flies frequently instead of fishing the same fly for a long period of time, especially if you are casting over a school of fish that are not on the move. Take advantage of this river level before the rain comes again!


Fraser (tidal/non-tidal)
There have been good reports of coho being found in and around the South Arm of the Fraser, with quite a few boats keeping busy. This is great news for those wondering where all those Vedder River coho are! Though not specifically headed only to the Vedder, this influx of coho is great news for all the systems that stem from the Fraser (Harrison, Stave, Pitt, etc.)

If you are targeting coho lower down in the South Arm/ tidal portion, running your rigs a little shallower than what you were doing this summer for chinook is a good choice.
Depths from around 35-65 feet would be a good starting point.

That being said, spin fishing with spinners and spoons from the various regional parks along the Fraser River can be a great way to spend a fall day. Focus on the flood-tide while using various colours such as spinners or spoons with pink, chartreuse, or blue highlights mixed with silver or gold depending on water clarity.

Remember, retention is ONLY for HATCHERY MARKED fish- please keep this in mind while playing out a fish. You should always assume it is wild and treat it as such until you can properly identify your catch. Please do not beach a fish that is destined to be released.


Sturgeon fishing has been good to excellent this week from Mission up to the Chilliwack area as the fish are starting to feed heavily on salmon eggs. We were out on Wednesday this week for a quick afternoon trip with Brandon Prust from the Canucks. We only had 3 hours on the water and in that short time we landed 13 sturgeon including a 5.5 footer, a couple of 6 footers and a 7.5 footer! The water is warm right now so the fishing are peeling off line and coming flying out of the water! If you like to sturgeon fish, you need to go right now. If you haven’t tried it before, you need to go right now! I love my fly fishing, but there is something about a 7 foot fishing melting line off a drag so tight you can’t even budge it with your hands and then the fish comes flying out of the water like a tarpon. It has to be experienced to be believed. The best part is you can do all of this only about an hour from Vancouver and you can get 3-4 guys together and make a day of it. If you are interested, give us a call at the shop and ask for Kathryn. She will set up an awesome day on the water for you. The fishing should be red hot for at least another 3 weeks as it doesn’t look like the water is going to cool off until mid to late November with all this mild weather.



Brandon Prust from the Canucks, Jason Tonelli from Pacific Angler, and guide Yves Bisson from BCSFG with a 7.5 foot sturgeon from the Fraser River this week.

Stave River
Coho and chum fishing is starting to get into full swing, with many anglers finding success with jigs, spinners, spoons in various colours. The mainstay colours are purple, pink, and chartreuse.

For flies, smaller sizes have been doing well for those anglers fishing ‘froggy’ water for coho. Flies in sizes 6-10 are always a good starting point with patterns being sparse and more natural in colour finding the most attention in these kinds of conditions (low, clear water). If you’re looking for the strong-willed chum, purple and orange flies tied ‘Popsicle’ style seem to be the best producers. Though Popsicles are known for their large profile, they don’t necessarily have to be bulky. If tying your own, try doing only two or three wraps of marabou instead of using the whole feather. This allows it to ‘breathe’ easier while still maintaining it’s classic profile and shape.

As mentioned above, please do not beach fish that are to be released. These fish are on their way to their spawning beds and the utmost care should be taken to ensure post-release survival rates to make sure they can finish their journey. Though we are fishing now, we should always be angling for the future.



Local Lakes
As the temperatures cool a bit local lake fishing should continue to be a good option. A number of local lakes have all been stocked within the past month so don’t hesitate to check out these great urban lakes. Refer to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC for recent stocking reports and Fishing with Rod’s website for some helpful tips and tutorials on lake fishing.

Interior Lakes
We are just shy of a week away from the beginning of November and still enjoying some good lake fishing. This is a very rare year as the lake temperatures are not where they are normally are. The water temps are still about 50-55 degrees at the 3600ft mark. I have had some good reports from Tunkwa Lake where fish were caught on Pumpkin heads, olive scuds in 8-10ft of water and ruby eye leech under a strike indicator. Do check the weather before heading out as the cold snap can hit in a flash.


I have had a few phone calls and emails this week from customers who have had some great success on the interior lakes. As Andre mentioned in his report, the warm fall has really extended the lake fishing season and they are fishing very well these past few weeks. Most people seem to be doing very well on micro leeches fished under and indicator on the shoals or by stripping in the fly on a clear intermediate line.

Jaomey caught this Dragon Lake hog stripping in a leech last weekend!

Jaomey caught this Dragon Lake hog stripping in a leech last weekend!

Another good approach this time of year is to use a fast sinking line, let it go to the bottom of the shoal, and then strip in a booby fly. Use about a 3-4 foot piece of tippet and tie on the fly with a loop knot. This way when you strip in the fly it dives to the bottom and really has a lot of action with the loop knot. This approach can be deadly on fish that are cruising the shoals in the fall looking for food so they can fatten up before a long winter. What is a booby fly you ask? Check out the photo below from Phil Rowley’s site and go to this link for detailed info on the fly and how to tie it and fish it. We also have these flies in stock for those of you who don’t tie flies.


The “Booby Fly”


There are still some die hard anglers down at the south arm. These are mostly my friends and guides who don’t river fish for salmon or sturgeon fish on the Fraser, so they will keep at it out in the salt until the bitter end. The fishing has actually been pretty decent if you are willing to run down to the S. Arm of the Fraser. The coho are around and there have been some good numbers of wild fish caught as well some hatchery fish. Remember you can only keep hatchery coho. There have been some chum in the mix as well. Hot depths have been from 30-60 on the riggers and bait has been the top producer with spoons and white hootchies taking some fish as well.

While I haven’t had the chance to get to the S. Arm this past week I’m looking forward to winter chinook season which will be here before we know it!

Jason with a nice days catch of prime eating winter chinook from last January

Some nice winter chinook from early last January.