We are now hitting prime time river salmon season on the Chilliwack and a number of the other systems that get salmon are close to kicking off. We are also seeing above seasonal temperatures for September which has made things interesting. We will see some rain in Chilliwack today but, with only 1-3mm in the forecast, we don’t think it will move river levels noticeably. When we look at the 14-day trend, it doesn’t look as though things will cool off soon which may make for unfavourable conditions in the short term.
In this week’s report we will look at the Chilliwack River along with the Harrison and Squamish Rivers. We are still early for these systems but it is time to start scouting.
The other fishery to keep your eye on this time of year is interior lake fishing. Many of the guys have been out and Jason has a report on some of the trends and what we have been seeing. Lastly, if you are a saltwater angler skip to the end of the report where Jason has his latest update from the water.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners, & Spoons – 3 spots left
This 3hr evening seminar covers float fishing, spinner fishing and spoon fishing; the three most productive techniques to catch BC salmon in a river.
In-Person Seminar: Sep 26, 2022
In Person Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Fly Fishing For Salmon in Rivers – still spots left for guided day on the water
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!
Seminar: Oct 5, 2022
Guided: Oct 8, 9, 15 or 16, 2022
Custom Trip Dates Available
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: Full Day
INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES
Public Fishery Alliance Online Auction
We mentioned this in last week’s outlook, but if you missed it, the Public Fishery Alliance’s FIRST ANNUAL ONLINE AUCTION FUNDRAISER is here!! They have an exciting line up of 25 quality prizes that have been donated by supporters of public fisheries – including some amazing on the water trips, gear and other great items.
This online auction is easy to participate in, and you only pay if you are the winning bidder. You will be informed if others outbid you on your desired items via email/text, so you can continue your bids if you choose to do so. There are lots of great items here, so let the bidding and competition begin, and most importantly, have fun with the auction!
We hope you will take a moment to support the PFA and all of the good work that it does.
Check out the full auction here!
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack/Vedder River Fishing Report
The C/V system is currently running very low and gin clear. A quick glance at the 14-day weather forecast makes it seem like that’s not going to change for a while. To be honest, I would consider the current river conditions to be poor for fishing. There are quite a few springs and a handful of coho in the system but, the previously mentioned conditions are making things a bit challenging.
There are springs scattered throughout the entire system, top to bottom right now. They’re most likely to be found in the deepest pools or runs, as one should expect, but current conditions and very concentrated angling pressure means that they’re nowhere near as aggressive as they usually are.
Downsizing presentations is key; now is not the time for your 25mm soft beads. Float fishing with 8-14mm beads, small blades, yarn ties, jigs and bait have all been producing fish, as have twitching jigs and casting spoons/spinners, if conditions allow. Bright colours will work for fresh fish but consider switching to more muted colours if the fish are a bit stale. First and last light will be your best bets in these conditions.
The coho have been a bit tricky to find for a number of reasons. They are pretty skittish at the best of times so the current conditions are definitely not helping anything. The chinook are also well known for bullying the other fish out of the prime holding water so it’s no surprise that the coho are ending up in less than ideal areas… think tailouts, shallow riffles, transition zones and in woody debris – all places that are not necessarily ideal for fishing. The presence of springs also means that a majority of anglers are out looking specifically for springs, so there aren’t too many people out there who are actually targeting coho. All the gear that I mentioned for springs will also work for coho; there’s usually a lot of overlap in my chinook gear and my coho gear, the only difference is that the chinook gear is usually a bit bigger.
The clear waters mean that you may be able to see the fish in the pool. While it can be frustrating to watch them ignore your gear time after time please don’t floss or snag the fish.
Harrison River Fishing Report
The end of September marks the beginning of the Fall Salmon Season on the Harrison. Depending on weather patterns, we usually see the first pushes of chum and coho this time of year. With not much rain until late this week, one can expect smaller pushes of fish until the rain comes.
Fishing on the Harrison River can be done many ways, that is the beauty of it. Float fishing, casting hardware, single and double hand fly fishing as well as back trolling are all effective ways to fish the Harrison. Both from shore or via boat are great options to fish the Harrison.
Anglers float fishing jigs usually is the most popular way to fish the Harrison; famous for its aggressive chum salmon. Typically, anglers targeting coho will be fishing either for moving fish or holding fish in slower water. Twitching jigs, spoons and spinners are all deadly ways to entice coho.
Single hand fly fishing is an excellent option on the Harrison as there are large flats of stagnant “frog water” that coho will hold in. Small and sparse patterns usually reign supreme paired with clear intermediate lines/tips.
Sturgeon fishing on the Harrison is highly relative to the salmon run. Once the salmon arrive, sturgeon key in on roe, salmon heads and bellies. Sturgeon fishing on the Harrison is a special fishery as usually visibility is 10ft+ unlike the muddy Fraser. Often times you will get to see how sturgeon actually fight in the water and out! Your typical fall baits listed above should all work, having fresh bait is critical. Generally, you can get away with lighter weights on the Harrison compared to the Fraser as the current is slower.
The Harrison is a rewarding system once time has been put in, as the season lasts well into late November!
Reminder: There is no chinook retention on this system and all chinook by-catch should be released with respect.
Come in and get all of the gear critical for success on the Harrison!
Squamish River Fishing Report
We still don’t consider it go time on the Squamish and the weather is not helping matters. We have had some “ok” reports from folks looking for bull trout, but the major pushes of salmon and more importantly the ideal water clarity to fish for salmon is still a little way out.
Insert Squamish 14 day trend in X drive
This is the key thing to watch this time of year. When we start getting cool nights the water clarity improves as the side hills and glaciers freeze up. Historically this can happen at the end of September but in the last handful of years it has happened mid-October.
We will continue to watch things as we get closer to prime time but if you get out, try swinging larger flash patterns, bunny strip patterns in pink, white, chartreuse or break out the spoon rod. Large chartreuse or fire orange spoons and spinners are great for dirty water. Cover ground and scout spots for when things come into shape.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
Things have been cooling down nicely with low single digit overnight temperatures in the interior this past week. During the day, the weather has been stable with high pressure systems and a mix of sun and cloud. This has resulted in some great fall fishing with cooling water temps but good daytime conditions and happy fish. This trend looks to be continuing into next week and fishing should be good as most lakes are seeing water temps in the low 60’s and into the mid to high 50’s as you go higher up the mountains or further up the hwy.
There have been some good fall chironomid hatches, but soon enough this will change and the fall staples will come into play. There are lots of options and techniques, but you want to make sure you have some of the following patterns in your box. Scuds, leeches, water boatman, bloodworms, baby damsels, blobs and boobies.
In terms of presentations, there are lots of ways to fish all these flies but you need the right lines to do it. For starters you will need a floating line for hanging chironomids, scuds, leeches, bloodworms, baby damsels and blobs under an indicator. I like the SA Amplitude Smooth Anadro Stillwater Indicator. It loads the rod quickly for those short indicator casts and easily turns over the indicator and bigger leeches or any split shot I may have on the line.
You can also cast and retrieve some of the same patterns mentioned earlier, in particular the scuds, leeches, and baby damsels, as well as water boatman and blobs. When casting and retrieving, line choice will depend on how deep you want to present the fly and how much water you are in.
A great place to start is the SA Sonar Stillwater Clear Emerger Tip . It’s perfect for stripping leeches and scuds in the shallow bays and depending on if you are using a pattern with or without a bead, you can really cover a variety of depths. It’s also a great line for those summer mayfly, damselfly, and caddis hatches. If you put a long leader on and do a slow retrieve it is also an excellent line for working drop offs or deeper water using chironomids, mayflies, baby damsels and leeches. It’s a very versatile line and a must have in my opinion.
Another great line is the SA Sonar Stillwater Clear Camo. This line has a cult following and for good reason. It’s clear camo finish makes it stealthy and it sinks at about 1.0 to 1.5 inches per second. This makes it perfect for fishing scuds and leeches in the bays and flats that the feeding fish move into during the fall.
The last line you will need is a fast sink. This line will get you down in a hurry so you can rip some boobies along the bottom of the water column to trigger a strike on those slower fall days. This same line is also a perfect choice for hanging chironomids vertically or for crawling dragonfly nymphs along the bottom. One of the best is the SA Sonar Stillwater Seamless Density in the sink 5/sink 7 to get down and stay down.
If you want some more details on the flies and techniques mentioned in this report, give us a call at the shop or better yet drop by for a chat.
See you in the shop or on the water,
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
So far, September has been a great month for saltwater fishing. The T-10 and South Arm were hot the first two weeks of September, then the Cap Mouth picked up right on schedule mid-September and there have been good coho numbers in all 3 locations.
The sockeye fishery was definitely a “too little, too late” opening, and I have already let DFO know that. I am sure there will be some meetings about it this winter. I will keep you posted on how those go and what the final counts are. I think you will find we didn’t harvest even close to our total allowable catch and DFO bungled our opportunity. Can’t say that I am surprised.
So where to go in the last week of September? The T-10 has slowed down a bit but the South Arm has been steady for the most part. Chinook numbers in the Albion test sets have been strong the past 72 hours and the coho numbers are really starting to pick up from single digits last week’s sets to 30’s and 40’s late this week. You can retain 2 hatchery coho a day, 30 cm min size. That, with the decent chinook numbers around, makes the South Arm a good bet. You might find some fish at T-10 but if the winds and the fuel burn allow it, I would go straight to the South Arm.
The Cap was pretty good this week, especially last weekend it was straight up hot fishing. It has slowed down the past few days though. Keep in mind the DNV Firefighters Charity Derby is today, so the Cap Mouth is going to be extremely busy. This is a great event that raises an incredible amount of money for charity. From a fishing perspective, those fish get hit hard and fishing can be slower 48-72 hours after the event, as you need more fish and fresh fish to push in.
If you are looking for local alternatives on Friday or after the derby on the weekend, I would check out Point Atkinson and the Bell Buoy. Both have been producing some chinook and a few coho. With no heavy rain in the 14-day forecast, the Cap Mouth should continue to produce well for at least another week or two. The rain that is forecast won’t be enough to bring up the river much, but it will get those fish focused off the river mouth, which is good for the trollers and beach fisherman. If you are heading to the South Arm, don’t wait for a report, just go. These fall chinook and coho don’t stage long off the Fraser. They show up, find the river mouth, and ride that flood tide up the river. That make fishing highly variable each day and in fact each hour. Your best bet is to just get down there when you have times and the winds let you.
See you in the shop or on the water,