River salmon season is in full swing. We have been hearing good reports from the Vedder and Capilano this week. We have also seen some interesting numbers in the Albion test fishery on the Fraser. Chum numbers in the test sets are picking up so we should see those fish show up in the Harrison, Stave, Vedder and other Fraser tributaries over the next 10 days. See the freshwater fishing reports section below for our reports on the Harrison, Capilano and Chilliwack/Vedder.
For those fishing the Stave, a heads up for you re: parking. The word is that By-law officers will be ticketing anyone parking on the side of the road if their tires are on the pavement. This means you will need to find a spot where you can get off the road onto the gravel. They are ticketing now and will be towing this season. You will need to be careful as there are not many spots to park legally.
We also have good reports from interior lake fishing. Jason was up last weekend and has tuned in with a lake report this week as well as a saltwater report. Make sure to check them out if you are heading up north or out in the salt.
We have more wet weather coming later this weekend and into next week but, at least as we are writing this report, the weekend looks warm with a mix of sun and cloud. This should be great for getting out and the rain next week will bring more fish into the systems.
On to the report!
CLASSES AND COURSES
Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners & Spoons
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.
Zoom Seminar: Sep 27, 2021
Guided Portion: SOLD OUT
Seminar Only Cost: $50.00+GST
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Fly Fishing For Salmon In Rivers
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!
Zoom Seminar: Oct 13, 2021 Guided: Oct 16, 17, 23 or 24, 2021
Seminar Only Cost: $50.00+GST
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $275.00+GST per angler,
Zoom Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided: Full Day
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
Sweet rain! After a brief high water event, the river has finally dropped to a regular height and clarity at 1.6m. Although the canal area continues to be slightly coloured due to drainage from the mudbanks, the rest of the river has returned to excellent visibility. The rain last week “springed” the fall salmon season into full swing, with a large push of chinook making its way throughout the system from the canal all the way up top. The coho have just started to trickle in as well. Although waves of fresh pinks will continue to arrive for the next couple weeks, the majority of them have started to do their spawning in the side channels and are best left alone.
This year, we are seeing an exceptional white chinook run so far, with an abundance of 2-year-old jacks mixed in with their larger cousins. Targeting these fish require heavier gear. Float fishing with 30 gr floats, 20lb mainline, 15lb flourocarbon leader and size 1-2/0 hooks are key to closing the deal with these monsters. Locating the right water and using the right tools for the job are critical to success. Roe has been the hot ticket at first light, with 12-16mm beads taking the stage after the bait bite slows down. Smaller presentations such as yarn balls and beads fished in deep slots with quick flow have also been deadly. Tossing metal should not be neglected, as we’ve had reports from anglers focusing on slower pools and runs with jigs and spoons in sizes 3/8 -5/8 oz with great success.
For those that are looking to get their first chinook on the fly, this might just be the year for you. An abundance of chinook jacks, that are usually a lot more eager to take to flies than the full grown adults, makes for a fun time with the 8 or 9wt. Stripping Cali Neils, Muddlers and flash flies on medium to heavy sink tip lines will be effective. A Rio VersiTip line system is great for this application due to the need to change sink rates from pool to pool. Slower water with good depth is where fly fishing can be more effective than gear, getting down to the fish is key.
Matt has a video on the confusion world of sink tips. If you want to understand a few tricks about what sink tip to use for salmon and how to identify what you might already have check it out here.
Those who have access to a boat and plan on fishing the lower portion of the Vedder should make sure to include Blue fox spinners in sizes 4 and 5, jigs and spoons in their box before heading out on the water. Timing tides is more important than first light when fishing this area, as fish will continue to ride the tide in all the way up to the canal. 2 hrs after high tide in Mission has always been a good starting point.
With some rain in the forecast next week, we expect the masses of coho and chum to show up along with a slight bump in water level. Hopefully, the river will continue to hold at a stable level.
If you have any questions about getting ready for the fall salmon season, drop by the shop and have a chat with us!
Capilano Fishing Report
We finally had some water flowing on the Capilano last weekend! Fishing was also fantastic following the blow out last Saturday but they turned off the tap over the next few days and productivity has been on a sharp decline since. This is not for lack of fish as they are spread throughout the system but, these fish are becoming increasingly pressured and there are far less clean ones moving in. I checked out the river for a couple of hours on Thursday morning and the water levels have dropped back drastically. There are a fair number of coho and chinook in the system but they are becoming increasingly stale.
One of the best ways to combat a tough stale fish bite is to downsize your presentations. Whether you are chucking hardware or throwing flies, go one or two sizes down from what you would use under normal circumstances. We have a bunch of rain coming again this weekend so if it materializes, we may see another good bump of fish moving through. Otherwise, I would focus on the upper sections where they are going to be schooling up.
Harrison River Fishing Report
Not a whole lot to report about on the Harrison at the moment. The pink fishery is starting to wrap up, and the coho/chinook/chum fisheries haven’t quite gotten started yet. Having said that, there will be a few coho showing up now, but we don’t usually start to see any significant numbers until early October. The chinooks should start increasing their presence within the next two weeks, and the chum should start rolling through in early/mid-October.
There will still be some pinks around into October, but their numbers will be dwindling in the coming days. The river is currently a bit high, so shore-bound access will be a bit more challenging than usual, and the rain they’re forecasting for next week might not help that situation. The Harrison doesn’t really get dirty, but it does get high enough that shore-bound access in some areas becomes difficult, so keep an eye on the weather and the river graphs - access to some prime areas gets tough when it’s over 8 meters, but the Kilby area is pretty much always fishable, so it’s a good option when the water comes up. Of course, having a boat negates this issue and opens up the best water, so keep that in mind if you’ve got a boat – even a 12ft. aluminum lake boat is sufficient for most areas but, exercise caution if you want to try fishing the mouth, as there are some alarming currents around Calamity Rock that can create dangerous situations for the unprepared.
Squamish River Fishing Report
This past week saw the Squamish starting to slowly shape up for the Fall season. If it continues to stay clear, the glaciers should start to freeze and clear up the main stem, along with its various tributaries.
Pink salmon fishing is done for the most part with only a handful of decent conditioned fish still kicking around. For the most part, this fishery is almost done.
Along with the pink salmon finishing off, the egging fishery for trout and char is just starting to pick up and fire off.
This fishery is very productive and can be a great primer for the summer nymph anglers.
Your standard 8mm bead or similar egg fly will work great but when it starts to rain and get dirty, bumping up to a 10mm, 12mm, or even 14mm bead can pay dividends. This is where a well-prepared angler will be the successful angler. Having a variety of colours, textures, and sizes will help you match the egg hatch.
Coho are trickling in and are around, but please be aware of seasonal openings and closures on specific species throughout the year.
Also, please be aware that it is fall bear season so please be safe.
Keep it drag-free,
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lakes Fishing Report
The fall season is upon us, and lakes are cooling down each day. Prime time for this season is now on some of the higher elevation lakes (4000-5000 feet) and the lower to mid elevation lakes (2000-3000 feet) will be coming into their own in the next few weeks.
As the water cools off, the fish will head back up into the shoals in search of food items to fatten up before the freeze up. Water boatman, leeches, shrimp, dragonflies, and immature damsels are some of the items you can expect these fall rainbows to be feeding on. You might see a late chironomid hatch as well.
The prepared angler will have all these patterns ready to go and will have multiple rods rigged up so they can adapt quickly. You might be hanging leeches or chironomids under and indicator, you might be stripping in a leech on a full sink, or maybe slowly retrieving a shrimp on an intermediate line along a shoal. Don’t forget your blobs and boobies as well. Hanging a blob under an indicator can be deadly or retrieving a booby on a fast-sinking line can be equally effective if not more effective.
I recently read this article which I think most of you will find interesting. It talks about some of the history behind the blobs and boobies and some insights on tying materials.
There are lots of good videos and article on how to tie and fish these flies, so grab a beverage, do a Google search, get watching and reading, get educated, and catch more fish. If you are looking for hooks and materials for these patterns, we have them at the shop.
One last piece of advice is to be attentive to what is going on. Most successful fall anglers keep a keen eye on their surroundings. Are you seeing fish on your sonar, are there moving fish (rolling or jumping) in the immediate area, are there fish visibly cruising the shoals and shorelines, are other anglers close to you hooking up? If the is answer is no to most of these questions, you should be moving. Be prepared to move multiple times throughout the day to keep on actively feeding schools of fish.
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
As we approach the back end of September there are two main fisheries that we focus on. The Cap Mouth and Sandheads, aka the South Arm of the Fraser.
The Cap was fishing well prior to last weekend’s big rains and has since slowed down as some fish went up the river. There are still some chinook and coho being caught, but it has been quite a bit tougher since the rains. There are more fish coming, but there is more rain in the forecast as well. Hopefully it doesn’t rain too much, and the river stays relatively low, so the fish stack up at the mouth and we have a chance to catch a few. As usual, the best tactic is a flasher and anchovy fished close to the bottom.
Take note the DNV Firefighters Charity Derby is this Friday (today) so expect it to be busy at the Cap Mouth. Although this derby makes the Cap Mouth busy for one day, they raise a lot of money for charity, and we are proud supporters.
If you look at the Albion chinook and chum test set data, you will see there was a significant push of chinook into the Fraser that started on September 19th. The vast majority of these will be white chinook that are headed to the Vedder/Chilliwack or Harrison. The coho push has also started and a lot of these will be hatchery coho headed to the Vedder/Chilliwack. Chinook numbers will likely fall off from here but coho numbers will increase, as will chum. If you have some calm seas, it’s worth heading down to the South Arm as we have caught chinook as late as mid-October in years past and there is usually enough coho around to keep it interesting.
I won’t be doing a saltwater report next week, so my next report will be October 8th Until then, tight lines!