It has been an interesting week with even more interesting weather. The weather has gotten seasonably warm and the subsequent rain and snowmelt spiked and dirtied up rivers that are fed from the snow pack. Rivers that are not melt fed are still good and some are in perfect shape.
We have reports from the Stave, Harrison and Vedder in the freshwater section of the report and we also have info on the Squamish where there has been concern regarding the regulation clarity about whether you are allowed to target chum salmon for catch and release angling. Regulations have been clarified and chum salmon are closed to fishing on the Squamish while coho is open. There are no concerns about being able to fish only that you are not allowed to target chum. We are concerned about the lack of data, consultation and regulation clarity that has gone into making this decision and we will have more information soon.
With coho in mind we have a cool coho fly video from Andre that you can check out below:
Last but not least, watch this week’s video version of the Friday Fishing Report here:
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report
The Vedder/Chilliwack system continues to fish well as of late. While we can expect the coho fishery to start winding down a bit over the next week, the chum fishery has been and will continue to be good into early/mid-November. Some of the mountain rivers got hit hard by rain and snow melt but the Chilliwack system didn’t spike as of writing this report. Water levels are looking good and there isn’t too much rain in the forecast, so it should remain fishable for the weekend.
There are good numbers of coho in the system as of right now, but it is getting a bit later in the season, so they’re a bit more spread out than they used to be. This can make finding them a bit of a challenge at times. Look for them in the typical spots, but remember that chum will often bully them out of the prime areas of a pool or run. Drifting roe, beads, Colorado blades or yarn are all good options, as are casting spoons, spinners and twitching jigs if conditions allow it. On the fly front, smaller flash flies such as Christmas Trees or Andre’s custom ties work exceptionally well, as do muddlers, woolly buggers and Coho buggers. Don’t be afraid to bring an assortment of flies… keep changing it up until you find what’s working.
The chum fishery has been pretty good this year, and it should stay that way for a while yet, with fresh fish pushing in pretty much daily. If you want to target these big, aggressive fish, the best way to do so is float fishing with jigs. Remember that chum are big, ornery fish that will move a long way to put a smackdown on something they don’t like, so there’s no need to drag bottom… short floating works just fine. Pink and purple are the classic chum colors, and they usually work just fine, but don’t be afraid to switch up the colors if the bite is slow. Twitching jigs can also be effective, but should be avoided when the fish are tightly packed into an area, as snagging will be inevitable. Casting spinners and spoons will sometimes produce chum, as will floating beads, wool, blades, or roe… but why waste your precious roe on chum? Fly guys/gals will want to stick to stuff in pink, purple, blue, black or chartreuse, and again- bigger is oftentimes better. Don’t overthink Chum fishing… it’s pretty easy. Keep it simple and you’ll get ‘em.
The chinook fishery is pretty much done for the year. There might be a few fresh fish pushing up into November, but a vast majority of the chinook in the system are either dead, or quite dark. A quick word about respect; please let spawning salmon do their thing in peace. Refrain from wading through their spawning areas if at all possible, as doing so interrupts the fish and, more importantly, crushes their nests and eggs. Please, DO NOT try to catch the obviously spawning fish… I shouldn’t have to explain why. Salmon season on the Vedder/Chilliwack usually starts winding down at the start of November, so be sure to get out there before things start winding down. Good luck and tight lines.
Stave River Fishing Report
We are coming over the hump of peak season on the Stave. Chum are around in great numbers but we are starting to see a mixture of old and clean fish. I even caught one that was very silver on the front half but leathery and old on the back half! I’d say we have maybe another week before it becomes zombie city, so if you are looking to retain one this is the time to dust off those float jigs or those big bright streamers. Not to say we won’t see clean fish in the middle of November but the pushes become far less frequent.
As for coho, there are also a good number of fish in right now and as the chum numbers dwindle, it will become apparent that they were very much being overshadowed. This is the time to be hitting this river for coho as we are still seeing some very fresh fish though some are already starting to become fire trucks now which is strangely early. To find the coho, go to where the chums are not! You will want to look for the classic froggy coho water that the chums seem to avoid and that’s where the coho tend to stack up. First light is best as these fish are highly pressured and are already wary with all the chum presence. These fish typically will respond to roe, spinners, spoons, and twitching jigs, but you will want to dust off the fly rod and throw small flash flies and rolled muddlers at them once the sun comes up as that is sometimes the only way to convince these coho to bite.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Last Friday, I was out and conditions were really starting to come together. Anglers found some awesome days out there earlier this week with extremely favorable conditions, then Wednesday happened. Temperatures warmed up, a bit of rain fell and all the snow that had fallen over the weekend started to melt causing the river levels to spike. At the time of writing this, at 8pm Wednesday night, the river is dirty at a 3.5. This level is still “fishable” but it looks like it is still rising.
With the way fish are pushing in right now, if the river starts to crest and eventually drop, the fishing should be pretty darn good this weekend but we are very concerned about the temperatures that the weather man is predicting. The forecast is showing highs teens on Sunday with warm nights. I expect the water to color up after this event and we will need cold nights to settle it down. So bust out your bigger flies, spoons and jigs to help combat these conditions. It looks like things are going to warm up again with a touch of “coho drizzle” after that brief cold snap so hopefully things stay cold up top in Whistler which will help to clear things up and, in turn, bring the river back into shape.
When we were out, we did a short lower river drift with a buddy and managed to find really good numbers of fish that were tailing and jumping throughout the drift. We managed a few decent fish on the fly at the start of the day and we had some reasonable visibility in the river. We continued the drift and got into some pretty cool back channels where I was able to find this nice coho that wanted nothing to do with flies and was all about the heavy metal.
We hooked a number of other fish throughout the day. It was good to see the numbers of fresh fish pushing in and from what I have been hearing from anglers, that were out over this week, the fishing continues to be good. The bump of water on Wednesday might make things a bit tough at the start of the weekend but hopefully the weather sorts itself out and the river comes back into shape. When it does, I really expect the beading to start picking up for bull trout and the coho fishing should be solid.
Come on down to the shop and we can help you get all dialed in for whatever conditions the river wants to throw at us this weekend!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Not too much to report since last week. A lot of anglers are pulling their boats for the season and waiting until next spring. Others are gearing up for winter chinook. For those of you who love winter chinook fishing as much as we do, so far so good. There does seem to be some fish around and it is worth starting to check out your favorite spots.
The nice thing about the winter season is that it is a long one, so you can pick your days. We will be fishing for winter chinook from now until April and then we will have to see if DFO is going to shut down chinook fishing around Vancouver again. More on this in future reports, as I will be in a lot of meetings in November. In the meantime, I am looking forward to getting out and harvesting some of the best eating salmon for my family over the coming months.
If you haven’t fished for winter chinook before, come by the shop and we can show you some of our favorite flasher and spoon combos and point you in the right direction.
See you in the shop or on the water,