October is just around the corner and Salmon season is in full swing! With the rain last week and temperatures cooling we have had good reports coming in all week!
In this report we will look at all the major systems. They are all worth fishing this time of year. We have details on the Capilano, Chilliwack, Squamish, Stave and Harrison plus Matt goes over them all at a thousand foot level in the video version of the report.
The cool thing about October is there are so many fisheries hitting prime time. Two fisheries that are sometimes forgotten about are sturgeon fishing and interior lake fishing. Jason has an interior lake fishing report and sturgeon fishing is also going well. If you want to get out for a fun day on the water reach out to us and book a day on the jet boat for sturgeon. It’s very good right now!
While the fish are moving up rivers as fall progresses we are still hearing decent reports from the saltwater and we expect that to continue into October with dry start to the month that is currently forecasted. Check out all the details at the end of this report.
Long story short – get out fishing!
If you are headed out this weekend and need to swing by the shop we are open Saturday and closed Monday!
Long Weekend Hours
Saturday September 30 | 10AM-6PM
Sunday October 1 | 11AM-5PM
Monday October 2 | Closed
Finally have a look at this week’s video version of the report here:
CLASSES AND COURSES
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!
Seminar: Oct 11, 2023 – SOLD OUT – Add your name to the waitlist!
Guided: SOLD OUT
Seminar Only Cost: $60.00+GST
Seminar & Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $300.00+GST per angler, minimum of 2 anglers per guided day on the water.
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided: Full Day
Fly Fishing Egg Patterns
This course is designed to teach you the secrets to one of the most productive presentations in the BC fly fishermen’s arsenal; nymphing egg patterns. This deadly method can be used for different species of trout, char, and salmon. During a 3 hour evening seminar we will teach you key concepts, strategies, and gear that will give you a well-rounded foundation during the seminar portion of the class. Then you will put those skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.
Seminar Date: Nov 21, 2023 – 2 spots left!
Guided: Nov 25 or 26, 2023
Seminar Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Guided: Full Day
FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS
Capilano River Fishing Report
The Capilano had a little more action since last week. Smaller pods of coho are slipping up to the canyon pools. These are spooky fish, but you can find a few willing bitters at first light. I have been fishing extremely small flies, and trout sized spinners and spoons. I upgrade my hooks on my small lures to accommodate the hard fight of salmon. In low water fluorocarbon leaders are a must. Be stealthy, wear good hiking boots and dress for the weather.
The mouth of the cap is still producing fish. The tides might not be ideal (mid day low tides) but with cloud cover, and a little drizzle you still have a good shot at encountering fish. We have a new shipment of prime lures casting spinners in some fantastic new colours to get after those picky fish. I don’t see any big weather makers in the near future so we can expect another week of beach activity.
As of Friday AM water levels have bumped due to the opening of the dam so more fish have worked their way up.
Keep your eyes on the sky, or your weather app as this river will really come to life after a big rain.
Chilliwack River Fishing Report
I’m extremely happy to say that summer is officially over, and with the transition to fall has come some sorely needed rain. While the rain has been a bit sporadic, there has been enough precipitation to bump the C/V system up a bit. Of course, the river has blown out a bit with every passing rain shower, but the river has been coming back into shape very quickly… so far. This is probably because the rain showers have been fairly short in duration and not super intense, alongside the fact that the river isn’t super high, so it can bounce back into shape within a few hours. Of course, this rain hasn’t been ignored by the fish, so there are good numbers of chinook, coho and pink on the move, alongside a handful of early chum and very few Cultus Lake sockeye.
The rise in water levels and increase in turbidity means that fish are able to move through the system a lot quicker and more freely than before, so expect good numbers of fish throughout the system, top to bottom. There are a ton of springs in the system, with very good numbers of coho mixed in as well; note that the average size of the coho this year seems to be a bit larger than the past few years, which is cool to see. There are a lot of pinks in the system as well but be aware that September 30th will be the last day of retention opportunities for them. As was mentioned, there are some chum starting to show up, but there are currently no retention opportunities for them as of writing this report. Remember that there will be a handful of Cultus Lake sockeye in the system as well; these fish are often hatchery-marked and have been confused for hatchery coho by some anglers in the past… so make sure you’re positively identifying your catch before you drag it up on the rocks- it’s very easy to tell the difference between a Sockeye and a Coho, so there’s no excuse. Also note that the Vedder Crossing area will re-open on October 1st, as long as DFO doesn’t extend the closure.
Slightly higher/dirtier water and more aggressive, moving fish mean that you can up-size your presentations a bit, but I’d still suggest bringing a variety of gear to cover the different conditions you may encounter- the weather has been all over the place, and some anglers have experienced anything from gin-clear water to dirty water with less than 2’ of viz… all in the same day. The current weather forecast is for a dry weekend, which should serve to stabilize conditions, at the potential expense of the water getting a bit too clear for comfort again. There’s a fair bit of moisture in the forecast after the weekend, so we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of that.
We’re rapidly approaching what I usually consider to be peak season on the C/V system, so things should be getting even better in the next week or two, depending on conditions. Keep one eye on the weather forecast and the other eye on the water level charts and get out there when you can. When you do head out be sure to familiarize yourself with the regs. Details on that below.
Squamish River Fishing Report
This past week saw conditions improve on the Squamish systems, with some more salmon and char being encountered by both gear and fly anglers.
You’ll want to keep an eye on upper-level temperatures, as well as the Brackendale hydro graph to see conditions and gauge clarity and height. Matt touches on general rules regarding conditions in his video report so you’ll want to make sure to check in on that to get more details.
With September closing out and October a few days away, most anglers can expect to start encountering coho, along with some more char and trout.
Drifting beads on float rods and fly rods is a great and fun way to target these often-willing fish. Don’t be surprised when that float or indicator drops and it’s a coho on the end- they love beads just as much and can often be targeted specifically on them. Having a variety of beads in various sizes and colours can often be the key to success- from small 8mm up to big 25mm beads, being able to adjust to conditions can help lead to success.
Spoons and spinners, along with twitching jigs and blades, should all be considered by the gear anglers hitting the rivers. Like beads, having a variety of size and colours can help move or activate fish.
For flies, small-to-medium flies in both natural and/or flashy colours are popular choices when fishing for laid up fish, while larger profile flies such as Popsicles and Intruders playing their roll on the travel lanes. From Arrows to big 2-stagers, having the flies to match water type is crucial to covering all the water encountered while walking rivers.
Here is an overview of the regs. For the Squamish if you are headed out this weekend.
Keep in mind that with the coho come the rains, and right now we have a great deal on the Simms G4-Pro jacket. Come on by the shop to load up on gear and try on a new raincoat before heading out. We’ll be glad to help you choose sizes and colour of gear, as well as help fit you into a jacket if needed.
Harrison River Fishing Report
We are starting to hear reports from the Harrison and it is worth looking this direction if you want to change things up from the other major systems. The levels are low so if you plan to take a boat out on this system be careful but we have heard reports of coho entering the system and there are still quite a few pinks.
This system generally has much slower moving water so though a float rig will work, spoons, spinners and flies (presentations you can retrieve) are more productive.
We would still recommend a float rod in the kit with presentations like float fishing jigs that move well even in slow water but blue foxes, prime spinners, classic Gibbs crocs and kohos or twitching jigs on a dedicated spinning rod are very productive.
Fly is also the other way to tackle this system and from boat or shore fly fishing the Harrison is very productive. Because it is lake fed the water tends to be clear, so small flash flies, muddler minnows or arrow style patterns in coppers, olives and purples are great. If we get some rain stepping up to chartreuse patterns and larger flash flies in green or blue is the way to go.
Go for a hike or if you have a boat take a look. If you’re heading out here is an overview of the regulations.
Stave River Fishing Report
The last major system to look at is the Stave. Though it is not a long system it can be easy to access and fun. The reports we have heard are that coho are starting to show up and we have already heard of a chum or two. Note this system is not open for chum retention. They are marked as non-retention. We hope they will open it for retention but at least until then you can catch chum and practice catch and release.
This system is generally slower moving than the Squamish and Chilliwack but has a little more current than many spots on the Harrison. Float fishing jigs is very popular but a wide gambit of gear can work. Also, you can use bait so float fishing a jig tipped with a prawn is a great presentation.
It is not a big system so if you are only going for a few hours, you can still cover a lot of the river. Note that with closer access and limited space, be polite to your fellow anglers.
STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS
Interior Lake Fishing Report
After some cooler temperatures, it looks like things are staying fairly warm again as we finish off September and enter October. The forecast for the first week of October shows temps into the high teens for Williams Lake and even into the low twenties for Kamloops.
Despite this, the lakes are cooling off nicely with cool evening temperatures and many lakes are firmly into the 50-degree range and some of the higher elevation lakes are seeing water temps in the high 40’s.
As usual this time of year, you need to be ready for a variety of situations. On a recent trip to the Cariboo across two different lakes I had success on blobs, boobies, boatmen, bloodworms, leeches and chironomids. The fish at one point or another had all these items in their diet as well as some scuds. To be successful you need to be prepared to move around and adapt. A good sonar is key for identifying if fish are in the area and what depth. Also keep a keen eye out for rolling fish or fish moving along the shoreline or shoals. If you aren’t marking fish under the boat and out into the deeper water, chances are they are working the shallows where your sonar just isn’t going to pick them up. If you have some of the newer forward scanning sonar technology, this can be used to look for fish on the shoals or shoreline. So far, not many anglers are taking advantage of this technology, but I suspect that will change over the coming years. Those who are currently using it are doing so with a good degree of success.
Okay back to the fishing. The lakes that have fall chironomid hatches will likely have a few more left with this warm weather settling in. We are getting a bit long in the tooth for chironomid hatches though, and they will give way to working the shoreline and shoals with leeches, scuds, baby damsels and attractor patterns like blobs and boobies. Things really get rolling on this style of fishing once water temps get into the high 40’s, so some lakes are there now and others have a ways to go. If you pick your lakes and elevations, you can have great fall fishing well into November. Hopefully we see a gradual cooling, not a sudden deep freeze like 2022.
If you are heading up, make sure have a well-stocked fly box and be prepared to strip flies or hang flies under the indicator. Casting and retrieving leeches, scuds, and boobies can be deadly. Hanging leeches, baby damsels, scuds, or blobs under the indicator can also be extremely effective. Sometimes they want it moving quickly, other days they want it hanging, you have to experiment to find out. It’s always a puzzle in the fall, but one that when you figure it out, can be some of the hottest fishing of the year. It’s prime time now, so get out there!
See you in the shop or on the water,
SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS
Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
The mega rains in the forecast earlier this week didn’t show up as advertised. However, it was enough of a bump in water levels to send some of the fish up the Fraser as our river fishing reports on the Vedder/Chilliwack have been quite good. Lots of big coho and plenty of chinook pushed in. They also let a bit of water out of the Cap dam on Thursday evening, so this also caused some fish to head up that river.
There are still some fish around though. We had boats out at the Cap today and they were getting into some chinook and there are a few coho around too. Nothing red hot, but all the boats hooked some fish on the flood tide. The Cap hasn’t had the big push of fish we usually see this time of year. Usually there is a distinct push of fish in the third and fourth week of September but it hasn’t played out that way this season. It could be the Cap chinook run just isn’t that great this year or the fish are a bit late. It’s not unusual to see a push of fish in the first week of October and with the relatively dry forecast, any chinook showing up will likely stage off the Cap Mouth until we get a hard rain and they let some water out of the dam.
Down at the South Arm there are still come chinook around and coho as well. There are quite a few later coho rivers, so coho fishing can continue to be good off the South Arm well into October. Very few anglers take advantage of this fishery as they have had their fill of chinook and coho in September. If that’s not the case with you, and you want an uncrowded fishery, give the South Arm a try in October for coho. The fish are usually shallow, in the top 50 feet of the water column and respond well to flasher and hootchy combos fished fast.
That’s all for now, a few weeks left in the fall salmon season if the rains hold off… then onto winter chinook!
See you in the shop or on the water,