Well September has arrived and with it some fall weather. That has got us thinking about Fall river fishing! With all of the rain we received last week many of the local rivers blew out but have started to come back into shape. Even with the rain, there are still a number of closures in place so be sure that you are familiar with all of the regulations and updates. If you’re like us and itching to get out on the water, check out Sam’s Chilliwack report below for his overview of fall gear fishing, he’s got some great tips to get you organized for the season.
The forecast is still calling for a bit of summer weather, which will be great for all the saltwater fisherman out there. We’ve had another great week of chinook fishing from the Bell all the way down to Sand Heads and for the most part the fishing has been excellent for this time of year. Bait has been the ticket, anchovies or herring, in glow green or glow green chartreuse teaser heads and most of the fish we landed this week have been around 12-18 pound mark but we now they are some bigger ones out there.
VANCOUVER CHINOOK CLASSIC
We battled wind, rain and power outages but this year’s Vancouver Chinook Classic was a success! Thank you to all our volunteers and everyone who came out to support the tournament and the Pacific Salmon Foundation. A big congratulations to our all winners and we’ll see you all next year!
INDUSTRY UPDATES – SQUAMISH + CHEAKAMUS RIVER UPDATES
Subject: FN0956-RECREATIONAL – Salmon: Region 2 – Squamish River Non-retention of Pink Salmon September 7, 2015
Effective September 7, 2015 at 23:59 hours until further notice, you may not retain pink salmon in the Squamish River downstream of boundary signs at the power line crossing approximately 1.5 km upstream of the confluence with the Cheakamus River. This includes Powerhouse Channel.
This fishery is moving to non-retention because the pink salmon have commenced spawning behavior.
Variation Order No. 2015-406; 2015-411
Subject: FN0978-RECREATIONAL – Salmon: Region 2 – Cheakamus River – Non-retention of Pink Salmon
Effective September 7, 2015 at 23:59 hours until further notice, you may not retain pink salmon in the Cheakamus River.
This fishery is moving to non-retention because the pink salmon have commenced spawning behavior.
Variation Order No. 2015-432
Notes: Did you witness suspicious fishing activity or a violation? If so, please call the Fisheries and Ocean Canada 24-hour toll free Observe, Record, Report line at (800) 465-4336 or the British Columbia’s toll-free RAPP line (Report All Poachers and Polluters) at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). For the 24-hour recorded opening and closure line, call toll free at 1-(866)431-FISH (3474).
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the nearest Fisheries and Oceans Canada office or visit our website at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
If you have any questions, please contact us via e-mail to: OpsCentre@pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Don’t miss out on our great line-up of September courses! Now is the time to start thinking about Fall River fishing and tying.
Introduction To Fly Fishing
This course was specifically designed to give the new fly fisher the basic knowledge, casting skills and fly fishing strategies to effectively fish our local BC waters. This course is comprised of two sessions; 3hr evening seminar and a 3hr casting session. The dates below show the seminar date first and casting date second.
Seminar Date: September 16, 6:30PM to 9:30PM
Casting Date: September 19, 10:00AM – 1PM or 2PM to 5PM
Introduction to Fly Tying – 3 spots left
There is no greater satisfaction than catching a fish with a fly you tied yourself. This course was specifically designed to give you the fundamental skills needed to tie proven fly patterns used here in BC for trout, salmon, and steelhead. This course consists of 3 sessions; each session is 3hrs. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Dates: September 14, 21 and 28 – 6:30PM – 9:30PM each evening.
Fall Salmon River Fishing: Floats, Spinners and Spoons – 5 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. 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: September 23, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Upgrade this course to a guided trip!! Call us or come see us in shop for more details.
We have a full line-up of courses coming up this fall. Check out our full 2015 course listing here.
Rain has come to the Chilliwack River Valley and quite a bit of it. The river did blow out so it should be in good shape by the weekend if you were planning on getting out. There are a few pinks in the river already; their numbers will increase in the next week to 10 days. Float fishing pink jigs, Pro-Cured prawns in “Steelie Pink”, and pink spinners are recommended for targeting Pink Salmon. Pink and Chartreuse Handlebars, Wooly Buggers, and Muddlers for the fly fisherman. A handle full of Chinook jacks, adults, and Coho should also be in the river. Float fishing Pro-Cured roe and stripping or swinging streamers for these fish is what you want to do. Looks like the next 2 weeks are going to be dry which will cause some low and clear fishing conditions, but it is the West Coast and things can change pretty quickly.
If this is your first year gear fishing for fall salmon or you’re looking for a refresher you’ll want to pay attention to this next write up.
From mid-September to mid-November there will be salmon in almost every river, stream, and slough across the Lower Mainland. You will encounter pink, coho, chinook, and chum salmon a great way to target these fish is by float fishing and casting spoons or spinners. The idea behind these techniques is to trigger these migratory fish to bite our presentation instead of intentionally snagging or flossing fish.
When we float fish we want to achieve a natural presentation whether it is Pro-Cured Salmon Roe, Marabou Jigs, Wool combos, or Colorado Blades. A “natural” or “drag free” drift is achieved when the float drifts down river at the same pace as the water you are fishing. Keeping your weight and gear a foot or two off the bottom will also help with the drift. You do not want to be bouncing bottom. The fish will be right along the bottom of the riverbed looking up, you want to present your gear above them not bellow or in them. You will catch more fish and foul hook less fish by doing this.
The rods required for float fishing should be at least 10’6” in length and have a line rating of at least 10-20lb, you can go lighter or heavier dependent on your fishery of choice. The reels you want to use are called Level winds, Abu Garcia 6500 C3 &C4, Shimano Corvalus, and Daiwa Luna 300 are a couple that come to mind. Centerpins are great for float fishing, very simple reels. They have no drag; they are a 1 to 1 gear ratio so it’s just you and the fish. It’s an exciting way of fishing which I wouldn’t recommend for a beginner but if you have any questions about it please feel free to come by the shop and ask us about it. Mainline can range from 12-20lb with Monofilament lines and 20-40lb Braided line. Leader line 6-15lb either Monofilament or Fluorocarbon, keep the leader lengths between 12” and 18”. Float sizes 20-35gr. Good variety of hooks from sizes 4 to 2/0.
Spinner, Spoon, and Jig Fishing is another way to target salmon. Float fishing requires current, casting gear doesn’t and fish love to sit in “frog water” or “slack water” (especially Coho). You can still fish in classic runs when casting gear but the amount of water you can cover is doubled. An 8’6” to 10’6” rod is best, longer rods are more versatile as you can float fish too. You can use either a Spinning or a Level wind reel. Mainline can be Monofilament rated 10-17lb and Braid from 20-30lb. Leader should be 8-15lb Monofilament or Fluorocarbon. Leader length should fall somewhere in between 18” to 32”. Gibbs Crocs, Kit-A-Mats, and KoHo spoons in a variety of colours and sizes dependent on the conditions are great lures. Spinners such as Blue Fox Vibrax, FlashNGlos, and Mepps Aglia Brite are awesome.
This is a general overview of the upcoming fall salmon fishery, stay tuned for the fly fishing portion in the next couple of weeks. We also offer a Fall Salmon River Fishing Course, which I highly recommend, check our 2015 Course Listings section above for upcoming dates. If you have any more questions please feel free to come by the shop so we can help you get started.
Finally some rain – and it came in spades. Last week we saw the Squamish blow out, rising from 3m to 6.5m. This put a bit of a damper on the fishing. We heard a few reports of anglers finding pinks in protected areas of the river but for the most part the fishing was challenging because of limited shore access and low visibility. We expect it to be back in shape this weekend and the fishing could be great. With any luck the blow out will have pushed out some of the stale fish and brought in fresh fish. We are expecting the first reports of coho any day now but this fishery won’t take off until the first cold snaps.
If you are heading out to chase some of these fresh biting fish that we are hoping came into the system white, pink and chartreuse combinations have been the go to colours. If the water is still coloured go with bigger lures but be sure to have a variety of options in your tackle box so you’ll be prepared if things clear up. You will also need to consider that some of the fish are less likely to bite because they are focused on spawning. Though it is sometimes un-avoidable please do your best to avoid specifically trying to snag fish. To avoid snagging we recommend lighter sink tips, lighter flies and shorter leaders. Another great option to avoid snagging is to float fish with pink and purple jigs or simply pink wool
Currently, the limit for Pink salmon is 2 per day on the Squamish but all other species are catch and release and it is strictly a single barbless fishery. Be sure to read our regulations update above as there are changes for retention of the pinks for the Squamish and Cheakamus coming up this weekend.
On August 29th salmon fishing was re-opened for the non-tidal portion of the Fraser River. Please note that the opening is for chinook salmon only. We are anticipating an announcement in the near future regarding pink salmon fishing. Please see this fishery notice for more information.
The Capilano is closed to fishing above the Highway No. 1 Bridge, be sure to familiarize yourself with the river and the closure location.
The Chehalis is closed to fishing.
The Skagit is closed to fishing.
The Mamquam is closed to fishing.
Local lake fishing will continue to be slow until lakes are stocked again later this fall. If you are planning on heading out, remember that morning and evening is the best time to get out there.
It is time to get ready for the fall lake fishery as the temperatures drop and the lakes cool down. The fish will be fattening up on leeches and dragon nymphs to store enough food to get them through the winter freeze. You will mostly use your full sink line for this fishery to fish the right depths. In order to be successful you have to cast and count the seconds while your fly is sinking and then retrieve, if you don’t get a strike then count longer next time until you find at what depth the fish are swimming at. In some lakes there is a possibility of chironomid and may fly hatches so don’t put away your floating line just yet. Don’t forget to dress warm as the nights could drop to zero degrees with the fire ban still in effect. .
After much anticipated rain last week the Capilano river came up significantly. I went to the beach last Wednesday to check it out and it was a ghost town with no fish in sight. They had all moved up the river. Having said this, don’t think it is over yet as the river will drop again and the fish will accumulate in the estuary if we don’t get more rain. The nice thing about this is the fish that show up will be fresh so don’t wait to see too many jumpers before you cast, look for fining fish. Off the beach the tides are good until September 12th and then from Sep 23 to 27th, the rest of the days in the month will require a floatation device.
If you’re heading towards Furry Creek, there are still a few pinks to be had but it is tapering off for the season.
Another great week of chinook fishing was had from the Bell to the Sand Heads this past week and we had a great time at the Vancouver Chinook Classic as well! I was out for the Vancouver Chinook Classic this past weekend in one of the catch & release weigh boats. On Saturday we ended up having participants fish the N. Arm and the Bell for the most part because of the winds. There were around 80 or so chinook hooked that day, mostly small reds in the 10-15 lb class with a few larger ones. By days end the winning fish were 22, 21, 16 but we still had Sunday’s fishing to contend with. Luckily the winds died down on Sunday and there were a few 19 pound fish caught that took out the 16 pounder in third place. With only minutes left on Sunday we heard Chasin’ Tales call a hook up. It ended up being the winning fish of 24.4 pounds. The angler who reeled it in was David Wei and the guide was Dimitri Roussanidis. The boat netted a cool $25,000 for first place of which they donated $5,000 to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. All in all the event was a great success and we had a tonne of fun and are looking forward to next year already!
We have had a number of trips this week from the Bell all the way down to Sand Heads and for the most part the fishing has been excellent for this time of year. We had all 3 boats out on Thursday and we were all hooking fish at the Bell, N. Arm, T-10 and Sand Heads. We are still seeing a lot of red springs, which is nice for this time of year as we usually start to see some more white springs right about now. Most of the fish we landed this week have been around 12-18 pounds but we did lose a nice one that was high 20’s at the side of the boat yesterday down at Sand Heads, perhaps one of the big white springs we have been waiting for.
Best depths have been from 40-80 for the most part, with 57 and 67 being hot, but on Thursday the fish were very shallow for a while. We hit 2 fish at 20 feet just putting the first rod down and a few more at 27 so it is worth trying a little shallower early in the day or in lower light conditions. Bait has been the ticket, anchovies or herring, in glow green or glow green chartreuse teaser heads. Glow green and glow chartreuse flashers have been very productive, particularly on the deeper rods, and green onion glow flashers have been good on the shallower rods. Make sure you bring lots of bait if you are heading out all day. We have been going through 20-40 pieces a day.
We have been fishing the Fraser Mouth so much lately we haven’t put much time in off the Cap Mouth yet. Usually this time of year we have put in a few charters off the Cap Mouth and hooked our fair share of Cap chinook, but this year it has been so hot off the Fraser that most of our guests are booking 8 hour or 10 hour trips so they can enjoy the awesome chinook. If you are looking for a half-day fish, get out there on the flood tide and give the Cap Mouth a try. The river did bump up to 7 the other day, so it was super high, and a bunch of coho did go up the river, but the chinook are coming in each flood tide all through September and October so it well worth fishing this weekend. Bait is the way to go, just like the Fraser fish, the only difference is you want to fish close to the bottom. Drop your gear to the bottom and come up a few feet and you are in the zone.
See you out on the water or in the shop,