A big storm is coming today and we will see how it effects things. In the video version of the report filmed earlier this week, Matt went out on a limb and bet against the weather man. As of filming time, the forecast was for 100mm+ over the long weekend. As of writing this outlook on Friday morning, the forecast has been downgraded. It will still be wet for sure but not looking as much as originally predicted earlier this week. It will be interesting to see who is correct when we get the actual rain level numbers. Either way, you will want to keep a close eye on water levels if you are a river fisherman and make sure to stay safe.
Weather aside, we are looking forward to getting out on the water this week and for those of you heading out we have info on the Squamish, Vedder and Stave this week along with a fall interior lake fishing report from Sterling. He is up there right now for the weekend and if it doesn’t get too wet up that way it should be good.
Anglers had to work hard out in the saltwater world this week. Things down south near Sandheads have been hit and miss but if you’re there at the right time there are fish to be had. The same can be said for the “Cap” but being a tough week with a few fish here and there. Jason has more details in his report this week.
If you’re planning on swinging by the shop this weekend here are our Thanksgiving Long Weekend Hours:
Friday October 9 | 10AM – 7PM
Saturday October 10 | 10AM – 6PM
Sunday October 11 | 11AM – 5PM
Monday October 12 | Closed – Happy Thanksgiving!
As always, if you want to check out the video version of the report where Matt does his weekly review, click here:
On to the report …..
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder/Chilliwack Fishing Report
Another week without rain means that the Vedder/Chilliwack is running low and clear, once again. Don’t worry, though, because there’s no shortage of rain forecasted for the coming week. It seems that we can’t seem to get a happy medium; it’s either no rain or too much rain, but I guess that’s what happens when you live in a Temperate Rainforest. The current forecast is calling for at least six days of off-and-on rain in Chilliwack, and that’ll probably blow out the river at some point. Whether or not it blows out for the weekend will depend on exactly how much it rains on Friday, which remains to be seen. The clay banks have been unstable as of late. I figured that out the hard way on Saturday, when visibility went from “gin clear” to “why am I fishing in chocolate milk?” in less than a moment. A clump of clay slid in at the Pettigrew slide, which is a bad indicator… if clay is already sliding in perfectly dry weather, it’s probably going to slide a lot more when it rains.
Make no mistake, we need the rain. The river is low and clear, and I’m pretty sure you’ve heard me complain about low, clear conditions enough by now, so I’ll spare you that whole song and dance. The bottom line is that there are good numbers of fish around, but a majority of them have lock jaw. Downsize your presentations and try to fish low light conditions until the rain inevitably colors up the river, and adjust as conditions dictate. The chinook run is now a bit past its peak, but there will still be springs around for a while yet. The coho run should be peaking soon, so there should be lots of fish around when the river eventually comes back into shape. It’s still a bit early for the chums, as that run typically peaks in mid-late October, but the rain should move a bunch into the system.
As long as there’s at least two feet of visibility, the river is still perfectly fishable. As a matter of fact, I prefer it when the water has a bit of color to it, as it makes the fish less spooky… but there’s a difference between “a bit of color” and “blown out”, and that difference will be determined by how much rain falls over the next few days. Keep an eye on the forecast and the river graph. If it’s not rising too quickly, it should be fine, but if it’s coming up fast, it’s probably toast. Let’s hope that it doesn’t rain as much as Environment Canada says it will, because if it does, the system might be out of commission for a while. If the river blows out but you still insist on heading out there, run big presentations, ideally with some kind of scent or flash/vibration… think big gobs of roe, Colorado blades, spinners or spoons, and if you need gear, we’re fully stocked on all of the essentials. Good luck out there, and stay safe.
Squamish River Fishing Report
Last week I headed up to the Squamish to check things out and as expected the water was still quite dirty. It looks like the Squamish is going to get pounded with rain over the next couple of days here so I expect the river to blow out again and it should come back into shape early next week. I expect the conditions to completely spin around once the storm passes as the temperatures are going to start to dip which is what we have been waiting for. I also expect fishing next weekend to be fairly good as the high water that is coming should push a bunch of fish in and if the water clears up as I expect it to, it should be game on!
I hiked around quite a bit looking for clear water and that was a bit of a struggle. All the little pockets off the main channels were still pretty milky but they were pretty “fishy” looking. I drifted beads on my fly rod in dark red colours but couldn’t manage any fish to hand. I did manage to see a few fish jumping but the water conditions made for some tough fishing. It looks like the runs have shifted a bit so a scouting mission is really needed to see how your favourite spots are shaping up. The visibility on the mainstem is only a few inches right now so we need some cooler weather to clear things up.
I did manage a few grabs on the day on a large black intruder style fly as well as a 55 size Koho spoon. If you are going to head up early next week when the river comes back into shape, I would be throwing larger presentations and then once things start to clear up, you can downsize what you are throwing out there. If you are drifting beads, dark to medium colours are my go-to this time of year. Keep your eyes on the river as you will see eggs floating down so keep your eyes open and have a selection of beads at your disposal.
While I was up there I did a little drive by and the visibility was pretty much the same everywhere with the water being a bit high for my liking. Things should come into shape after the storm that’s expected to hit on Friday passes. I will be heading out again next week so we’ll have more info then for you.
Keep an eye on the weather and water levels before you head out this weekend. Things can change in a hurry and hopefully if you do make it out the Thanksgiving fishing is good to you guys and gals!
Stave River Fishing Report
We are almost there; I can taste it. The Stave is low and clear and the few fish that are there are fairly tight lipped. The rain this weekend might kickstart things but for now let’s call it as it is: slow with a chance of chum and the odd coho. Otherwise, I would give it another week, two weeks tops, before it is in full swing.
I’d like to address reports of rampant and blatant snagging of fish in this river. To wilfully snag any fish is illegal. Chum are especially good biters once their numbers improve a bit and they get more aggressive. Short floating a purple/pink/chartreuse jig tipped with a prawn typically does the trick, so do not intentionally foul hook them; it is really unnecessary and, again, illegal. I understand that many new anglers are ignorant of such practices and most just need to be educated on the subject and gently pushed in the right direction with a kind word or two. Remember that we all started somewhere. However, please call the RAPP line 1-877-952-7277 Do not confront violators as this can escalate aggressive behaviours with the select few that are willfully continuing this practice.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lake Fishing Report
The interior is finally starting to see some actual fall temperatures meaning that the bulk of the best fishing will be in 6-11 feet of water. The colder night temperatures allow the water column to become much more oxygen rich, which then leads to shallower fish to almost become predatory in nature. Fish reed structures heavy and break out all your best leech, scud, and boatman patterns. The shallower water means that I’m typically fishing under an indicator or stripping nymph patterns under a Type I or II sinking line. My go-to leech colours are bruised (black & blue), purple, red, or even a combination of all three. For scuds and boatman, I keep my body colours fairly neutral, like olive, but throw in a bit of flashy material to make them stand out. Gun metal chironomids and bloodworms are still seeing success in some areas around Kamloops so those are always great options to have in the box in case you get into a late hatch.
Ultimately, I’ve found that moving around is the most important part of fall fishing. I fish my fall patterns confidently and will move around non-stop until I find a group of actively feeding fish. That’s the best way to get huge payoffs when fall fishing. It’s very typical that I’ll go an hour or 2 in between bites but then find an area of fish where the bite is on for hours. This sacrifice is always worth it as it always increases my chance of getting into the monsters in shallow water.
For gear guys, use the same mentality as above, but be tossing those spinners and flat fish. This method of fishing can be a lot of fun as you’re able to cover huge areas of water to produce and net some very productive days.
If you’ve got any specific questions about gear or fall Stillwater fishing, be sure to stop by the store on Tuesdays and Thursdays through October and I can get even more in depth with your particular area of water.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
The crowds have definitely thinned out this past week, which is pretty normal as a lot of anglers are putting their boats away for the season. If you are like us, and you keep your boats in the water and saltwater fish 12 months a year, I will be covering some winter maintenance tips in future reports. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what is going on locally for salmon.
The action down at the South Arm has been hit or miss. There have been some pretty dry days, but there were also a few days this week where some good waves of coho showed up and anglers did well for hatchery coho. Keep in mind these fish are not pausing. They are going to find that Fraser flow and head up on that flood tide, so the fishing changes extremely fast. You can be skunked one day and be into a lot of fish the next day or even the next tide on that same day. If you want to target coho, try hootchies in white, UV white, or mother of pearl on white. Flash is a good thing for these fish so a mylar insert is worth the extra effort. Spoons will work too, but I like hootchies as you can troll fast to cover water and they still have a good action. I like to rig them with two hooks, which helps put more coho in the box on most days, because if you have fished for coho, you know they love to twist and roll, and you lose a lot. I usually use a 28 to 32 inch leader of 40 or 50 pound Maxima and twin 5/0 hooks. For flashers, I like UV Green or UV purple flashers like Gibbs or Oki Green or Purple Onion or Green or Purple Haze.
Don’t be surprised if you get a chinook while targeting coho. There are still a few around but numbers in the test sets have dropped off since Oct 1. Chum numbers have really cranked up the past few days so you might tag into one of these as well. Coho numbers look pretty steady.
The “Cap” has been pretty slow this past week, producing the odd fish, including a few bigger ones, which if you follow our guide page on Instagram (@pacificanglersportfishing) you will have seen the pictures. One would think the rain this weekend will get any fish around to stack up off the mouth and if the river comes up, I am sure they will take off upriver, but you might get a good day before they do. It is worth a try, as we have had some good fishing in similar setups over the years. The fishing pressure has certainly subsided, so at least there is that going for this location.
See you in the shop or on the water,