Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! That said, it certainly doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving when it comes to the weather. We are not complaining about the nice weather but we are getting to the point where the lack of water up the valley is concerning. It is making it hard for salmon to enter our river systems and the fish that are in are becoming stale in the low clear water. The reports are still good in areas where there is water and when looking at Albion numbers, we are doing better than last year in conditions that are not conducive to fish moving into the rivers. Does this mean the fish are late and more are coming? It’s hard to tell but it is very possible. The only problem is when we look at the weather, we are seeing record temperatures and there is little change in the 14-day forecast.
This low water has made the saltwater fishing excellent all September. Jason has some details on what is going on as we get deeper into October so have a read of his report below.
For the rivers we have details on the Squamish, Harrison and Chilliwack as well as a sturgeon update where fish have been a little picky but we are consistently hooking fish.
Last, but not least, this warm fall is extending the interior lake fishing season and we should also see local lakes get stocked. We would actually like to see things cool off but if you are getting out to the interior, we have a report from Jason who has been up a fair amount in the last 2 weeks.
Matt missed last week with the video report but he is back at it this week. If you want to see the report in video format, Click here:
Here in the shop, we are open regular hours all weekend but, we will be closed on Monday.
Thanksgiving Long Weekend Hours
Friday October 7 | 10AM – 7PM
Saturday October 8 |10AM – 6PM
Sunday October 9 | 11AM – 5PM
Monday October 10 | Closed
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
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.
In-Person Seminar : Nov 16, 2022
Seminar Only Cost: $50.00+GST
Seminar & Guided Walk ‘n Wade Cost: $275.00+GST per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided Walk’n Wade: Full Day, Nov 19 or 20, 2022
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
An unprecedented lack of rain in the past two months means that not much has changed in the C/V system. It continues to run extremely low, but there is one slight ray of good news- there are a ton of fish around. It’s October now and the fish are on a set biological clock. They’re not feeding, and every day spent waiting depletes their very limited energy reserves. They have to go at some point or risk running out of energy before they reach their destination. That is what’s happening right now – fish are pushing through the system, almost entirely at night, and holding up in the few remaining suitable pools during the day. Fish are spread throughout the system.
Fishing has been challenging with the low water and pressured fish. The ultra-low and clear conditions mean that smaller, more reserved presentations are basically a must, with first and last light being the most productive times by far. Smaller soft beads, hard beads, yarn ties, blades, jigs and bait presentations are producing fish for the float anglers, while spoons, spinners and twitching jigs have also been producing fish for those who bring a spinning rod and are willing/able to find good water for such techniques. In the video report, Matt talks a little about how to deal with crowds and the conservation concerns we are seeing with picky fish. But to sum up what he says, pretty much all of the fish are concentrated in the deepest pools; anywhere else is too shallow and exposed for fish to be there by choice. Coho usually avoid springs and chum because they usually bully the coho out of the best holding areas, but the coho don’t really have anywhere else to go right now, so expect to find large groups of coho, chum and chinook all mixed together in the pools… and don’t be surprised when none of them want to bite. Please refrain from trying to floss or snag the fish. They’re already experiencing significantly increased mortality rates due to the poor conditions; the last thing they need are giant hook wounds.
The fish are incredibly spooky, and most of them have been in the system for quite a while- so don’t be surprised if you find a lot of fish that completely refuse to bite anything you throw at them. Unfortunately, that’s just how it goes when conditions are as poor as they are now. The 14-day forecast predicts no change in the weather for the time being, so there’s no relief in the near future… I’m tired of saying that; we need rain, badly.
Now, doom and gloom aside, there is hope but it takes a little bit of creativity. Learn where other anglers are stacking up and try to find unpressured water. Keep your presentations stealthy and know that we are still hearing good reports from the guys and girls who are willing to work.
Harrison River Fishing Report
The Harrison River has been producing well for coho this week, anglers fishing from boats are finding pods of coho fairly consistently. With the lower water, shore fishing has been a challenge but not impossible, coho tend to swim more centralized in the river, as opposed to close to shore, like we normally see this time of year. Good amounts of coho have been holding at key locations close to the confluence of the Chehalis waiting for higher river levels. One good thing about the low water is hiking is much easier than normal and just like the Chilliwack covering ground is critical.
We are seeing more and more chum show up to the river daily. The Albion test fishery shows higher than average numbers of chum for this time of year, even with the lower river levels. That is always a fun fishery, especially for new anglers, as chum are rather forgiving and bitey. Do keep in mind that the chum are catch and release on this system until further notice.
Spoons, spinners, twitching jigs as well have all been effective for these coho. Holding fish off river mouths can become stale quickly after being chased around by boats and anglers daily. Changing up to a unique colour or lure often produces when the coho have seen the same spinner tossed at them for weeks.
Fly anglers have been having success casting and stripping back smaller sparse patterns such as Cali Neils, Rolled Muddlers, Kelsey’s Hope and drab colored arrow type flies in sizes 6,8,10 with clear intermediate lines and long fluorocarbon leaders. Going stealthy is key for these coho while the water is low. Brightly colored floating lines can scatter spooky coho easily.
Squamish River Fishing report
It is an interesting situation on the Squamish right now. We have good water levels and fish are showing up but, with the warm weather, we are still seeing only about 4-6 inches of visibility on the main stem.
It is worth getting out for a scout and looking for areas of clean water but we really need cooler weather to see the mainstem clear up and become productive.
We are hearing decent reports of egging and coho fishing when you can find clear water. Larger presentations are key. This means large flash flies and bunny strip patterns for the fly anglers and large spoons and jigs for the gear anglers.
We also wanted to note that there are some challenging logjam areas on the upper river for rafting. We are not recommending rafting the upper river at this time and we will have to see how things settle.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
Overall, fishing has been good up in the interior, albeit unseasonably warm. To put it into perspective, the average temperature in Kamloops this time of year is about 15C and this weekend the forecast is for a high of 24C. It has been this way for the past 4 weeks and the next 2 weeks don’t look much different with a forecast of sun, no clouds, and not much wind for much of the interior. This is not the norm heading into the second week of October.
What this means is a lot of lakes aren’t as cool as they normally would be for mid-October and that means the water hasn’t reached that point where the fish are consistently up in the shoals searching for food items to fatten up before winter.
All of this doesn’t mean fishing isn’t good, in fact it has been great on some lakes, it just means you might need to fish a bit deeper than you normally would. On some lakes people are still getting fish on chironomids in 20 feet of water. On others they are fishing is 5-8 feet of water and using scuds or leeches, which is more traditional for this time of year. It really depends on the elevation, but in general, keep an open mind and be prepared to move around and adapt to the conditions at hand.
To be versatile you need some different lines. I covered this a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, you can read up on line choices by clicking here and scrolling down to the lake report. For flies you should be packing a variety, such as chironomids, baby damsels, leeches, scuds, bloodworms, boatman, blobs and boobies. With different lines and these flies, you should have the tools you need to be successful in 2 feet to 20 feet or wherever the fish are feeding.
As mentioned earlier, this time of year fish location and feeding patterns are highly variable depending on the lake and the elevation, so be ready to search around and figure things out. You should have ample opportunity to do so based on the extended forecast; it looks like we are in for an excellent fall season, so see yah out there!
STURGEON FISHING REPORTS
We are in primetime right now as the sturgeon put on the feed bag in October and November to fatten up for a long and cold winter. Recent days out on the water have felt more like August than October, but it will cool down and rain soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather and the good sturgeon fishing!
Productive baits this time of year are roe, lamprey and parts of chinook or sockeye if you happen to have some from your personal fishing. Roe will start to really do well in the coming weeks as the sturgeon key into that with the fall salmon spawn underway.
See you out there!
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
We are heading into the second week of October now and fishing for migratory fish is starting to slow down. Not much to complain about though, as the lack of rain in September and October kept the chinook and coho around for about as long as possible, resulting in some great fishing during the past 5 weeks.
There are still some mature chinook and coho around, but the big pushes are heading up the Fraser. The same can’t be said for the Cap fish, as the river is extremely low. There are still decent numbers of chinook and coho stacked up off the river mouth. They are getting a little harder to catch, as some of them have been there for awhile, but there are also some fresh fish in the mix. As usual, for the Cap Mouth at this time of year, bait fished close to the bottom is the top producer. With no rain in the 7-day forecast, this fishery will continue to produce this weekend and into next week.
The Fraser mouth has slowed down for sure, with the last of the sockeye heading up the river and the big pushes of fall chinook also heading up. There will be the odd late chinook around and decent coho numbers for a few weeks.
Anglers are already starting to target feeder chinook, aka winter chinook, in Howe Sound and the Gulf Islands. It seems this fishery is getting better or at least more consistent each year with this year being no exception. It’s a long season, basically Oct 1 to March 31, so no need to rush out there quite yet. However, if you want a change of pace from the Cap or Fraser Mouth, there are some feeders around.
See you in the shop or on the water,