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Home / FIshing Reports / Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: September 18, 2015

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: September 18, 2015


River fishermen rejoice! as you’ve likely heard by now most streams and rivers throughout BC are now open to fishing. Two notable exceptions are the Seymour and the Coquihala rivers, which remain closed. Matt made it up to the Skagit and had some great fishing, read on below for his full report.

Interior lake fishing has been hot at all elevations, so it’s safe to say that the fall lake fishing season has arrived.

We have passed the mid point of September and that means we are coming to the time of year with then Capilano fishery picks up. Fishing has been great down south near Sandheads and we are seeing more white springs coming in now. Beach fisherman has another couple of weeks to hit the beach and chase down coho and chinook.

A long awaited Skagit bull trout.

A long awaited Skagit bull trout.



In case you missed it last week we are on the lookout for some passionate anglers to join our team.

Click here for the full job description.  


With the rivers re-opening this week we’re looking ahead to some great Fall River classes.

Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners and Spoons – 2nd date added
This 3hr evening seminar covers float fishing, spinner fishing and spoon fishing; the three most productive techniques to catch BC salmon in a river. Upgrade your seminar to include a fully guided day on the water, putting into practice your new knowledge with a Pacific Angler guide.

Seminar Date: October 6, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Cost: $45.00

Upgrade this course to a guided trip!! Call us or come see us in shop for more details.

Fly fishing for salmon is one of the most exciting fisheries in the Lower Mainland. Let us teach you the techniques and the hot spots to catch salmon on the fly in our local rivers. In the 3hr evening seminar you will learn about rod, reel and line, sink tip, and fly selection. Then put the skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water where you will learn how to read water and swing the fly!

Dates: Seminar: Oct 14             Guided: Oct 17 or 18
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Cost: $225.00

Catching a coho salmon on the fly in BC’s many coastal rivers is a bucket list item for any fly fisherman. Our course is designed to educate you on the very specific techniques used to catch coho salmon on the fly in the Lower Mainland. After your 3 hour evening seminar you will then put the skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.


Seminar: Oct 20 Guided: Oct 25 or
Seminar: Nov 2 Guided: Nov 7 or 8
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Cost: $245.00


Despite last weeks rain the river level has dropped again. With the rain forecasted this weekend we should se that come up so you can head out and try your luck to catch some of the pink salmon in the Lower River. Hopefully we’ll start to see more coho and chinook salmon enter the river with this rain in the upcoming forecast. Fall Salmon season is almost upon us, you can feel it in the air. Check out the last two reports for my overview of getting prepped for fall fishing.

When will the first cold spell hit? That is the big question right now when we are watching the Squamish system. The second the weather turns cold the river will clear up. This will kick off the prime time coho fishing and chum fishing in system.

Any day we will start hearing about guys hitting coho and possibly chum in the lower river. We have already seen a couple pictures of very early chum. Gear fisherman should try large chartreuse, silver or orange spinners and spoons. Jig are also great for chum and purple pink combinations are great. The fly fisherman should try flash patterns as well as classic popsicles in purple, chartreuse and olive. Fish them on sink tips in deeper water to avoid the spawning pinks.

Another option that is well worth exploring is egg fishing for bulltrout and rainbows behind the spawning pinks. Use light fly rods and salmon egg fly patterns with the classic nymphing rig. If you can find clear water it could be epic. Come in to the store and we will show you the set up – Matt, Max and Jordan are all masters of this technique.
The river has gone back to completely catch and release, no bait, single barbless fishery. Play by the rules and Good luck!

Birkenhead River
Though we have not heard of any reports, this is a perfect time to hitting the Birkenhead River near Pemberton. Use fly rods and the classic egg patterns rigs. The sockeye will be spawning and with the opening, the fishing should be eager and hungry. Let us know if you head up that way. We would love to get a report.

Fraser (non-tidal)
In case you have missed it in previous weeks or in the slew of fisheries notices over the last few weeks salmon fishing open and retention for chinook, pink and chum salmon is now available. For more information please see this fishery notice and don’t forget focus on selective fishing methods (e.g. bar fishing, float fishing, fly fishing). Bar fishing for chinook has been great again this week with good numbers being landed. Spin ‘n glos are the go-to choice for bar fishing anglers.

Fraser (tidal)
You may still encounter the odd pink salmon on an incoming tide with a pink spoon, spinner, buzz bomb, or fly. This fishery will slowly be winding down over the next couple of weeks

Important Notice for anyone wishing to target Coho in the Tidal Fraser:

Coho: No retention of coho is permitted effective immediately until 23:59 Friday,
October 9, 2015.

The use of bait and fishing for coho is prohibited from 00:01 hours Tuesday,
September 8, 2015 to 23:59 hours Friday, October 9, 2015.

Effective 00:01 hours Saturday, October 10, 2015 until 23:59 hours Thursday,
December 31, 2015 the daily limit is two (2) hatchery-marked coho.

A hatchery-marked coho is a coho salmon with a healed scar in place of the adipose fin.

The Capilano has been re-opened to fishing and with last weeks rain we saw good numbers of fish move into the system. With more rain forecasted for this weekend fishing should continue to be good.

There is a bait ban in effect so be sure to use artificial baits to catch fish. Spoons, colorado blades, wool ties, rubber eggs, and jigs all catch fish. Salmon will readily take artificial baits when they are fresh from the ocean and we advise everyone to keep your float or lure on.

The Chehalis has reopened and you can expect some good fishing for chinook and coho. If you head up be sure to give us a report.

It has been a tough season for the river trout fisherman because of all the river closures. This changed on Monday and a number of closed systems opened – The Skagit, Chehalis and Birkenhead just to name of few. It was worth the wait. I hit the Skagit on Tuesday and the fish were uneducated and hungry!

Historically we would have been fishing the Skagit all summer. With low water levels it has been closed to protect the fish from hot water and low oxygen levels. Right now the water is low but it is running cold and there shouldn’t be a concern for fish mortality.  For those who have never tried the Skagit, it is considered one of our best true classic trout streams in the lower mainland. It flows out of Manning Park toward the US border. We access it from Hope on the Silver Skagit road just before Hope. It is a long drive (2.5 – 3hrs) but doable in a day trip from Vancouver.



Brian with a rainbow landed on opening day of the Skagit.

You want to come prepared when hitting the Skagit. The rainbows are not huge and are perfect for 3, 4 or -5 wt fly rods. There are also bull trout in the system and they fish well with a 5-7wt.  One of the most productive methods is with the “dead drift” or nymphing technique. We use fluorocarbon leaders, small split shot and indicators, but many anglers prefer targeting the trout with dry flies. There is nothing better than watching a fish hitting natural mayflies or caddis on the surface, then matching the hatch and get them to come flying out of the water on a dry fly.

The Skagit has a great bug population and this makes it perfect for fly fishing. They have prolific mayfly hatches this time of year as well as caddis and some stoneflies. I recommend having a good variety of grey and green mayfly imitation as well as some small yellow caddis and some larger orange one. Parachute Adams, small Elk Hair Caddis and orange stimulators are a couple of our favourites. Fish the dry flies with 4-5lb tapered mono leaders in the 9-10ft length. Remember to bring dry fly floatant and work to make the drift as drag free as possible.
If the weather gets cold or the wind picks up the dry fly fishing will suffer, so be prepared to change out your presentation and go deep with bead headed nymphs. Prince nymphs, golden stones and hares ears are always worth having in the box.

On Tuesday the hatch didn’t pick up until about mid day but I found a bunch of fish with a small number 10 golden stones under an indicator fished with a 10ft custom made fluorocarbon 4lb leader. Around mid day they started seeing small yellow caddis in size 12 coming off. Yellow humpies and yellow elk hair caddis hit a number of fish. Around 3:00 I stated seeing a limited number of very large grey Drakes (Mayflies) and though there were not many on the water, the fish turned on to them refusing to hit anything else. We fished size 6-8 parachutes and Adams style patterns and got a bunch of nice fish. The hatch died about 5 and the weather got cold. Historically fishing until dark is well worth it but a cold wind turned things off for the dry fly fishing.


Matt with his a nice Skagit rainbow.

Throughout the day when things got slow, we fished heavily weighted steamer patterns and stoneflies and caught a number of big bull trout. If you don’t want to set up a rod specifically for bull trout, take your standard indicator rig with split shot 18 inches above the fly take off your indicator and try the olive or grey heavily weighted sculpzilla. You will usually get rewarded with a big pull if you swing it through the deeper pools.

The Skagit is 100% catch and release bait-banned river. Also make sure all your barbs are pinched!

Good Luck


Local Lakes
Local lake fishing will continue to be slow until lakes are stocked again later this fall. Go Fish BC is a great resource for stocking reports. If you are planning on heading out, remember that morning and evening is the best time to get out there.

Interior Lakes
I have had a lot of good reports from the interior lakes. The fishing is hot in all elevations. The fish are mostly caught on leeches, immature damsels and dragon nymphs. The damsels are not that deep so you can fish them on a clear intermediate line close to shore where they mostly hang out. Water boatmans are fished from the bottom towards the surface with quick strips and then a pause, repeat this method all the way up to the surface covering all the water columns until you get a strike.

Good luck.



We’ve got another 2-3 weeks left for fishing for salmon off the beach. I have had a few reports of coho and chinook caught on gear so the fish are definitely around. Remember to keep your eyes on the water as any sight of a fining fish could change your luck. Don’t look for jumpers, as fresh fish don’t leap out of the water so this is where sight fishing is very important. Instead of casting non-stop, hold the fly in your hand with your line stripped off the reel in your stripping basket and ready to cast. From Tuesday onwards the low tides are in the morning so if you want to have another shot to catch a salmon off the beach this is the time to do it.


Local Saltwater
It’s mid September and that means we are coming to the time of year where we start to see more white springs. Right on queue the Cap Mouth has picked up late this week and there have been some pretty big fish caught, a few around 30. Fishing will be good off the Cap the next few weeks as the numbers of fish build up. If we get some big rains, then the fish will go up the river and fishing will slow down.


Eddie’s guests with a nice 26lber

There have been a few challenging days out on the water this week. Primarily due to Orcas visiting both the North and South arm of the Fraser River and a good chunk of the chinook slipped up the river with the rain. That said there are still plenty out there, we just have to work a little harder to find them. Bell Buoy, North arm, T10 and Sandheads have all had their share of slow days those have been matched with days of excellent fishing. So you just need to get out there and fish! The same gear we’ve been using in our last few reports and the 40′ to 80′ range is best. Just before I wrote this report I suggested those depths to a past graduate of our saltwater course. He texted me back minutes later with another big fish he got this season, He hooked it at 80′ at Sandheads late yesterday afternoon.


Mastering Local Saltwater Salmon Course graduate with a beauty landed at Sandheads this week.

Most of the boats based out of Vancouver have been targeting chinook at the mouth of the Capilano, It’s hard to beat this fishery but it’s also very popular. It too has had its slow days and hot bites but it’s producing fish daily. The really good news is there are some BIG chinook in the mix! A couple of days ago we hooked what seemed like a freight train that almost spooled the reel! We had to back down on it but unfortunately the fish outsmarted us by finding another boat’s downrigger wire. You’ll know it was our fish if you see it towing a Chartreuse Glo/Moon Jelly Flasher with a Light Spackle back Teaser head. A couple of trusted fellow captains did see some big fish they lost. One was in the 30lb range and the other captain that lost one at the net said it was the biggest fish he’d seen this season at 40+lbs!


Not bad for an afternoon on the water.

Typically the mouth of the Capilano is very good this time of the year with the peak of the fishery still to come. A good percentage of the fish are still chrome and more and bigger cohos have also been hooked this week. All the action has been at or near the bottom. Anchovies have been the bait of choice this week. With that said I did hook a good fish with herring yesterday afternoon this is also a good time to go naked! By that I mean running either an anchovies or herring with no flasher. This has to be my favorite way to battle the big slabs without the added drag of the flasher! I look forward to this every year around this time and I’ll be trying that all weekend!

Tight Lines,