Well, we are wrapping up October with some great fishing opportunities across the board.
With this recent cold snap, rivers are clearing, and things are dropping on most of the major systems. In this week’s reports we have updates from the Squamish, the Harrison and the Chilliwack systems as well as our local and interior lakes.
If you missed the fisheries notice earlier in the week, a no recreational fishing for chum salmon management measure for the Lower Fraser River tributaries has been implemented. More details are below on that.
On the saltwater front, our guide boats have been out, and fishing has been very productive! We’ll be back next week with a full saltwater report but if you’re thinking of heading out, now is the time! If you’ve put your boat away for the winter call our charter line to book a trip at 778.788.8582!
Last, but not least, now is the time to get your tickets to the Sport Fishing Institute’s Big Splash Conference and Gala coming up next month. This is a not to be missed event – check out the more details below and we will see you there!
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.
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Sport Fishing Institute – Big Splash Conference and Gala
2023 SFI Policy Conference and Big Splash Gala and Fundraiser
SFI will host their annual conference and their Big Splash Gala and Fundraiser on November 24th, 2023. To purchase tickets, click here or call the SFI office at 604-946-0734.
The Sport Fishing Institute of BC is a non-profit organization, established in the early 1980’s, and is dedicated to promoting, enhancing, and protecting sustainable sport fishing opportunities in BC. Our Vision: that British Columbia sport fishing be known as a world leader in quality of experience and opportunity, providing the broadest range of social and economic benefits.
BC’s public fishery is almost continually impacted by changes to opportunity and access. Looking ahead, there is much work to do.
Join us this year and be better informed of the issues emerging and ongoing by attending the Annual Policy Conference. This year’s theme is Changing Expectations and Opportunities. The SFI conference will begin at 12:00pm and there will be a morning session, 10:00am – 12:00pm, hosted by the Pacific Salmon Foundation dedicated to projects and activities relevant to and funded by recreational anglers.
Please attend to support sport fishing in BC, and to meet with like-minded friends and colleagues. We encourage you to get tickets early and while they are still available. All ticket sales will be closed on Friday, November 10, 2023. Conference registration opens at 9:30am on November 24th and doors open for the Splash Gala at 5:30pm.
For questions, or to purchase tickets directly, please call 604.946.0734 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can’t make the event, you can still participate and help raise funds to support and protect sustainable opportunities for BC’s sport fishing community by participating in the SFI Big Splash Online Auction. Auction items are available for preview, and items are being uploaded frequently, please check back often!
Fisheries Notice: FN1151-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Region 2 – Chum – Alouette River, Chehalis River, Chilliwack River, Harrison River, Nicomen Slough, Serpentine River, Stave River – Chum Management Measures – Effective October 26, 2023
Further to FN1150, the returns of chum salmon to Southern BC have been poor to date and the current in-season estimate for the return to the Fraser River is 470,000 chum. The return is expected to be between 326,000 and 677,000 (80% probability), and there is a low likelihood the terminal run size will meet the minimum escapement level, below which is considered a conservation concern for Fraser River chum salmon. In an effort to conserve chum stocks returning to Southern BC waters, a decision has been made to implement a no recreational fishing for chum salmon as a management measure for the Lower Fraser River tributaries.
Effective October 26 and until further notice, you shall not fish for chum salmon in the following waters:
– Alouette River
– Chehalis River
– Chilliwack/Vedder River
– Harrison River
– Nicomen Slough
– Serpentine River
– Stave River
Variation Order: 2023-RCT-417, 2023-RFQ-418
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder Fishing Report
The C/V system is continuing to produce fish, though it looks like we have a rainless week coming up. The river has been dropping since the last significant rainfall, which was last Friday- as such, I’m expecting the incoming dry, cool weather to bring the river down even more, likely resulting in yet another period of low, clear conditions.
Last week’s rain brought quite a few fish into the system- springs, coho and chum. The chinook run is definitely on its last legs; it’s getting pretty late for chinook and a vast majority of the run has already come and gone, so most of the springs that are still in the system are quite dark. Of course, there will be the occasional straggler pushing into the system, so it’s not unheard of to catch a random, clean chinook in late October/early November. The coho run has past its peak as well and will be slowly winding down as we roll into late October, though good fishing can still be had in late October/early November. The chum run is near its peak, but this year’s chum run is, simply put, abysmal. As such, DFO has closed all targeted fishing for chum as of the 26th– so you may not fish for chum in the C/V system. You can still target coho and chinook, but you may not try to catch chum- so it’s time to put your pink and purple jigs back in the closet until next year. Of course, you can unintentionally catch the occasional chum while targeting other species; this is simply inevitable and is not an issue… but if you’re fishing for coho and all you’re catching is chum, you might want to consider moving on to the next spot to get away from the chum. Coho will usually try to avoid chum anyways, so if a spot is stacked with chum, it’s fair to assume that the coho likely won’t be there.
Now that we’re getting later into Salmon season on the C/V system, you’ll start noticing a few things- the fishing isn’t as consistent as it was earlier in the month, and the crowds will be starting to dissipate as anglers head to other systems. This means that fishing can be a bit hit-or-miss, but at least you usually don’t have to deal with the peak-season crowds.
Some of the best days I’ve had on the C/V system have been later in the season, with almost nobody else around. Granted, I did have to put in some leg work to find where the fish were, but when I did, it was worth it… so don’t write the C/V system off just yet, it can still be worth the drive- even into mid-November, in some years!
Squamish River Fishing Report
There is a chill in the air and first snow is on the mountains. We have been waiting for a good cold stretch to clear up the Squamish. Water levels have dropped, and the late season melt has finally stopped. Coho can be found throughout the main stem and tributaries. Active trout can be found behind the salmon. Keep an eye on the water levels as I expect things to start to clear up for the weekend adventures.
On the gear side, I would go prepared with a selection of spoons spinners and jigs in a wide range of sizes. As water levels drop and become clearer you may have to go down in size and include fluorocarbon leaders.
On the fly-fishing front, I would be stocked with a selection of sink tips or line choices to handle swinging deeper runs and casting and stripping calmer backwaters. Flies should match the water clarity and fishing method. I tend to swing larger patterns with more movement (popsicles or smaller intruders) and strip smaller weighted flashy patterns in slower water.
A lightweight float setup or fly rod with an indicator can also be a fun way to tangle with egg eating trout and the odd bead hungry coho. Soft and hard beads in the 10mm range will be effective. I start with brighter colours in the fall and fish peach, light pink, and dead egg colours as the season progresses.
Don’t forget your bear spray! The upper Squamish is remote. Tell someone at home where you are going and when you are expected back. Have fun and stay safe.
Harrison River Fishing Report
As November approaches in the Fraser Valley, the Harrison River starts to go into full swing for coho and trout.
This past week saw an increase in height and volume, making previously unfishable areas now holding fish. This bump in volume has made travel and staging easier for fish, making them more active as well as encouraging fresh fish to move in.
The Harrison river provides great opportunities for both the wading angler as well as the boat angler, whether using gear or fly. Keeping in mind that higher, dirtier water will require larger presentations, while the opposite applies as the water drops and settles.
This system also presents the opportunity to fish floating lines and long leaders while sight-casting to cruising or laid up fish on shallow flats when light and water conditions are favourable. Small and sparse flies usually do the trick under these conditions, but don’t be scared to wake them up with the flash.
Koho Spoons, Twitching Jigs, spinners, and roe are all great offerings for this system and its tributaries for the more traditional angler.
For those with fly rods, swinging larger patterns on the edges can result in some exciting takes, while stripping the slower troughs and backwater can be a great way to spend the day for those looking for a tight-line grab.
Keep in mind that chum salmon are now a non-target species, making coho the only current salmon available for targeting. If encountered, please make sure to handle and release all fish with care as you would with any non-retention or non-target fish.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Local Lakes Fishing Report
The fall stocking program is well underway with most local lakes full of catchable rainbow trout. Check out the stocking reports for your local lakes on the GoFish BC’s website here!
It’s great time to get started with trout fishing or enjoy the slower pace of lake fishing after a busy salmon season. The fresh fish can be encountered using small lures and a variety of bait under a float or on the bottom.
Come visit us at the store and we will be happy to share some knowledge if you’re having trouble connecting with a few.
Interior Lake Fishing Report
We wanted some colder weather to cool down some of the lakes and we got it. Temperatures in the interior were solidly into the negatives this past week with it being -5C in Kamloops and -10C in 100 Mile and Williams Lake this morning. This is a good thing, especially further down south around the Merritt and Kamloops area, as it will get those water temperatures into the mid 40’s F and that means plenty of hungry trout hitting the oxygen rich and food rich shallow waters, looking to beef up for the winter. Luckily it looks like things warm up this coming week and into next week when looking at the long-range forecast. The stage is set for fall fishing, now we just need some luck on the highways to get up there and I suspect fishing will be quite good.
I was out this past weekend on 2 different lakes. One the temps were still mid 50’s F and the fishing was definitely slow, at least for me. The few fish I did manage to land were on daphnia and were caught on blobs.
At the other lake, the water was 48 F and the fish were in 2-6 feet, happy and actively feeding on some classic fall food items like shrimp, damsels, even a few water boatmen. Focusing on the fall feeding zone in 2-5 feet and moving to actively feeding fish made for some great fishing. A few fish were taken on blobs under and indicator but by far the most productive technique was stripping a green leech style fly with an intermediate clear camo line. I tried multiple suggestive flies under the indicator, but on that day, they definitely wanted the fly moving. Even though there were no leeches in the samples, a suggestive style fly in a similar shade to what they are eating will often do well when retrieved. They can be taking it as a shrimp, a damsel, or a leech. At the end of the day, they are on the feed and once you figure out what will trigger that strike response, you’re in business.
Fingers crossed, the highway conditions stay good in the coming weeks, and we can get up to the Kamloops area where the lakes are coming into prime fall shape, so we can enjoy some shallow water action before the deep freeze.
See you in the shop or on the water,