Fall is one of our favorite times of year to fish. There are tons of options. We are hitting the “prime time” for a number of fisheries and one of the biggest fisheries for the lower mainland, fall salmon river fishing, is just ramping up. Long story short, get out fishing.
This week we recommend looking at saltwater in a big way. We may not have had a gangbuster saltwater salmon fishing season but the Capilano River mouth is fishing really well and though the mouth of the Fraser has been hit and miss we have high potential for great fishing. There are about 2-4 weeks left in the fishery and the best could be yet to come. Check out Jason’s Saltwater Report for more info. We have guide boats out all week, Matt is hitting the water on the weekend and Sam has been putting in some time on the saltwater as well so come on down to the shop and we will have the latest reports fresh off the water.
River trout fishing on the Skagit and other interior trout streams has been great. We have had 2 or 3 of the best reports of the season come in from late last week and early this week. There is still time left in the season so don’t miss out on one of the best times of the year.
Lake fishing has also been awesome – wow I haven’t had a report in a long time were so many fisheries are fishing well. Andre has some details on what we have been hearing from lake country. Check it out.
Last but absolutely not least, salmon river fishing season is starting to ramp up. We have good reports from the Vedder and even a few early reports from the Squamish. We haven’t heard anything from the Harrison yet but now is the time to get out scouting.
We have a fun challenge for you guys this week. Back in the day (circa 1998-2002) when Matt was going to university, had no family commitments and way too much time on his hands, the challenge was to catch a coho, chinook, chum, Skagit bulltrout, Skagit rainbow and Interior Lake rainbow in a 36 hr period. To pull it off you leave Vancouver, hit the Harrison or Vedder, land your chum, coho and chinook in the morning, then catch the afternoon hatch on the Skagit. When things get dark you head to lake country, camp for the night and lake fish. If you are missing one of the species, you can take a shot at them on your drive home. Matt only pulled it off 3 times. So if any of you can make it happen, he has been a little home bound with the new baby so he needs to live vicariously through you! Send pictures if you can pull it off!!
GOOD LUCK AND SEE YOU ON THE WATER
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vedder River Fishing Report
The Vedder experienced a couple bumps in the water level with the rain we had last week, and fishing has improved from our last report. A good number of fresh fish have pushed in making for some fair to decent fishing. Every day we are hearing about more and more coho and chinook caught, and this season is shaping up to be a good one. We have also heard of one or two chum Salmon showing up as well in the Lower. Looking ahead to next week’s forecast it appears we are in for some more sun so expect the water levels to drop back down. From what I had observed while out last week most of the fish were staging in the slowest and deepest pools possible with very few moving during daylight hours. Thus, look for these holding locations and fish them at first light or last light when the fish are less easily spooked. Roe has been king for the gear guys but a decent number have been done in by spoons and spinners too. For the fly anglers, try a combination of staple coho go-to flies such as Christmas Trees or small Muddler Minnows.
Capilano River Fishing Report
We got a well-needed rise in the water levels this week on the Capilano, unfortunately it was only a small bump for half a day and the fishing did not dramatically improve like it could have. In saying that, a few fish did make it into the system so it is worth a shot! There is currently a bait ban in place so for you gear guys, spoons and spinners are your best friend. If you can find some current then drifting trout beads can be a great finesse presentation for the coho too. For the fly angler, Andre has a full board of winning coho flies so come in and grab a bunch! Of course, the classic Muddler Minnows and flash flies will produce too.
Skagit River Fishing Report
The Skagit is still fishing really well with the warm days and cooler nights. We had good reports from last week and the weather we are getting right now is perfect for this system. With some sun and cloud in the forecast, Saturday and Sunday should be good.
The reports we heard were of large grey mayflies and hungry fish. Do not be scared to throw big dries even if nothing is coming off. The fish are putting on weight for the winter and have been eating them the entire week so they should be well conditioned to larger grey/brown extended body may flies.
Prince nymphs and stones were also productive. I recommend 5lb leaders in mono for the dry fly fishing and 5lb fluorocarbon when nymph fishing. Come down to the shop we have all the flies in stock.
Squamish River Fishing Report
It is still a little early for the Squamish but things are starting and it is time to think about scouting and getting out on the water. We historically wait until the first frost. This freezes up the mountains and clears up the water. I was out last week looking at the river and it was still dirty. We have heard of coho showing up and anglers have been catching a few when and where they can find clear water. The mouth of the Mamquam is always a good bet after we have had some cool nights as well as the other tributaries.
Fish large chartreuse or purple flies with sink tips. If you are gear fishing copper and silver Kitamat and Koho spoons in larger sizes are great in dirty water and blue foxes in larger sizes are also very effective. We will be waiting for frost to start booking raft trips but that could be as soon as the first week of October so watch the weather and know that scouting now will pay off when the river comes in.
Fraser River Fishing Report
Bar fishing is open on the Fraser and there is still time to partake in this fishery. Fishing will last well into October. Most of the salmon heading into the Fraser over the next couple of weeks are destined for the Harrison and Chilliwack River so it is recommended to focus on the bars downriver from the Harrison. You may still get the odd spring out towards Rosedale or Laidlaw heading into the interior. Water clarity should be good with the minimal amount of rain we’ve had and the cooler temperatures at night. Keep in mind that you may not use bait to target salmon until October 8th in the tidal Fraser and October 11th in the non-tidal Fraser. Coho retention is closed until those dates as well. We are fully stocked on all the bar fishing essentials so come in to get geared up for your next trip and get the latest report while you’re here.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
We had a small storm pass through last week but now we are back to stable weather. Even with the barometer dropping last week a couple of our customers gave us some solid reports from Knouff, Badger and Community Lakes. In addition Peter Hope, Roche, Lundbom and Harmon Lakes are all fishing well. The water temps are at 55 degrees and plenty of fish are getting caught on balanced leeches and size 12 olive scuds under a strike indicator fishing the shoals. This was an especially effective tactic at Roche Lake. Most of the fish were caught on leeches and dragons in 10ft of water and some dry fly action near the weeds as well. Indicator fishing with both leeches and scuds is a popular fishing method in the fall months, as is evidenced in the reports we’ve had this week. Fish will often forage in shallow water as they fatten up for the winter, making for some excellent sight fishing opportunities.
VANCOUVER SALTWATER FISHING REPORT
Well it looks like these winds are finally going to back off and at the time of writing this report the forecast is for winds light this weekend and mostly sunny. When you are lucky enough to get that kind of forecast in late September the place to be is the South Arm of the Fraser, aka Sandheads, the Green Can, or the White Light Ship. This time of year there are good number of large white springs on their way to the Harrison and Chilliwack Rivers that are hanging out in that area. Hanging out is probably not the best description, as we often catch these springs in the Chilliwack River with sea lice still attached. That tells us they don’t spend a lot of time off the Fraser mouth, they show up, most likely hang out for a tide or two and head up the Fraser quickly. We think a lot of these fish come around the S end of Vancouver Island, then up the Strait of Georgia and right into the South Arm of the Fraser. Some will get pushed up to T-10 or the North Arm, but not many. The hot spot for these fish is definitely the South Arm, so try and take advantage of this forecast. As usual, a mix of chrome flashers and teaser heads on your shallower rods going to glow flashers and teaser heads on your deeper rods, is a productive way to fish for these chinook. Form 30-80 on the riggers is the best zone, depending on the day, the colour of the water, and how sunny it is. We highly recommend fishing bait on all 4 rods, usually a mix of anchovies and herring. Sometimes a white hootchy on your shallowest rod will produce well for coho if you want to switch it up. Expect to see more and more coho as we get into the back end of September. All wild coho must be released.
The Cap Mouth has been producing some chinook as well. This is a good bet on the flood tide if you don’t have the time to run all the way down to the South Arm. There have been fish taken on every flood tide with a few pretty solid days. It looks like a bit of rain on Friday, but after that the long range forecast looks dry all the way out until Oct 6. This is good for this fishery as it keeps the river low and forces the chinook to stack up off W. Van and the remaining coho as well. Every flood tide through the rest of this month and into the fist 2 weeks of October can bring in chinook, so there is potentially a lot of good fishing left. As usual, a glow flasher and teaser head with a herring or anchovy, fished close to the bottom, is the most productive technique.
This is one of my favourite times to get out on the water. The air is nice and crisp each morning, lots of anglers have called it quits for the season because the kids are back in school and vacations days are all used up, and the biggest chinook of the year are swimming around. If you are looking for a fun half-day trip, now is the time to book a flood tide charter for big chinook only minutes from Vancouver at the Cap Mouth. If you would like a full day trip, you can’t beat a day down at the South Arm for lots of action from big chinook and coho.
See you on the water or in the shop,