Well, if you’ve looked out the window at all in the last day or so you’ll be well aware that April showers have arrived!
Local lakes have been fishing well, interior lakes are becoming more and more ice free, and fish are starting to feed.
With the warmer temperatures starting to be more constant, we can expect the rivers to continue to rise and eventually colour up and blow out- as per usual this time of year with the Spring freshet starting to show itself.
Rivers that were once steady and clear/greenish are starting to become muddy and cloudy with the sudden influx of water being flushed down the systems.
Any tidally influenced river will be especially affected as the larger volume of fresh water mixes with the salt (even more so on incoming tides), causing it to become brackish and cloudy.
As more and more lakes start to become available, one will want to start exploring different bodies of water, including rivers, streams, and creeks.
Please be aware that on any day you are fishing a glacially affected river that the water can rise quickly and unexpectedly, and to exercise caution while wading
These upcoming courses feature in-depth material and instruction taught by local and industry professionals. As expected, these courses are filling up incredibly fast and only have a limited number of spots left.
If you are at all interested, please phone the shop right away to get yourself registered as these available spots are quickly being taken.
Single Hand Fly Casting – Faults & Fixes
Taught by Aaron Goodis
This is a 3hr course designed for beginner to intermediate fly fishers looking to learn without “the bad habits” or anyone looking to tune up their fly cast. We look at and break down the bare basics of fly casting. Students should leave this class feeling much more confident about their fly casting, they will have a much better sense of how to overcome and correct their bad habits.
1 spot just became available!
Class Size: 6
Cost: $100per person
Date: Saturday May 3rd
Time: 10am – 1pm (local park TBD)
TYING CHIRONOMID FLY PATTERNS
Taught by Andre Stepanian
80% of a trout’s diet consists of chironomids whose patterns vary from lake to lake. This 3-hour evening seminar will teach you how to tie a variety of the most effective chironomid patterns used in BC’s world-renowned lakes. You will finish this course understanding the very specific technical aspects ranging from beads, ribbing, colors, and body shapes. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Only two (2) spots left!
Class Size: 7
Date: Apr 30
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
MASTERING LOCAL SALT WATER SALMON FISHING
Taught by Jason Tonelli
Over 50 million salmon migrate past Vancouver annually. Learn how to catch these fish with Pacific Angler.
This course offers an in-depth look at the local saltwater scene. We cover the local saltwater salmon fishing for the entire year, showing you the how, when, and where. This course includes a 3hr evening seminar and a fully guided day on the water in one of our Grady Whites with guide Jason Tonelli.
One (1) spots has just became available!
Class Size: 8
Dates: Seminar portion is on May 21st from 6:30pm – 9:30pm in the shop.
Guided day on the water is May 25
Time: TBA (Full Day)
INTRODUCTION TO CHIRONOMID TECHNIQUES
Taught by Trevor Welton
Chironomids are the number one food source for trout in BC’s lakes; however, few anglers have taken the time to become true masters of this discipline. Those that do are often rewarded with the largest fish. Trevor is a former member of the Canadian Fly Fishing Team and an excellent chironomid angler. Dedication to his sport has helped Trevor become one of the top fly fishermen in the province as well as a fisheries biologist working for Dillon Consulting. This course is comprised of one 3hr evening seminar. Content is for beginner to advanced.
Class Size: 20
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
3-Tand uses a new sealed NanoCF Drag™ (nano carbon fiber) drag which is exclusive to them alone and is touted to be the most innovative drag system Rob Koelewyn has ever created in a fly reel.
Rob was the brains behind Van Staal fly reels, and in the spin-fishing world, ZeeBaaS.
During the heavy max-drag pressure testing, he brought the drag temperature up to excess of 180°F for significant time periods, simulating extreme runs of large fish.
The results: a smooth and flawless performance.
By treating the carbon fiber with a unique process, 3-TAND fly reels have the ability to take the punishment of extreme fishing under any conditions, while the waterproof housing is designed to protect the mechanics of the reel so that it delivers long-lasting and consistent use. Match this with the ergonomic designs of their light-weight and durable frame, the interchangeable spools, the hidden counter weights, and a mid-range price; and you have a truly innovative company.
The interchangeable spools allow you to pack only one reel while expanding your rods weight-length within three sizes. For example, you can switch from a 7wt to a 9wt just by swapping out the spools- letting a line and weight change happen in a matter of seconds. A 10wt to a 12wt changes the same way: changing the spool changes the weight.
The 3-TAND T-Series large arbor and mid-arbor fly reels are available in 5-weight to 15-weight fly reels, and the new line of light weight TF-Series reels are available in 2-weight to 7-weight.
Pontoon River Course
This course has been designed to enhance the knowledge of river safety & dynamics in anglers of all skill levels. Some of the topics you will learn are: river features & terminology, hazards, and navigating. The two day course covers all of the essentials, while the third additional day offers boat repair & swift-water rescue, plus the option to run a section of the Nicola in your own pontoon. KUMSHEEN Resort provides great accommodation, abundant activities, amazing facilities, and easy access to some of the finest rivers in BC.
This two and three day course runs on May 17/18 (19th for three day course).
For more details, booking information, and to download the information filled PDF, visit
Kumsheen Pontoon River and Safety Course
Squamish River Cleanup
Next month the Steelhead Society of British Columbia is hosting its annual Squamish River cleanup on Sunday May 4th. In the past 3 years, volunteers have collected about 20,000 lbs of garbage from Squamish, Cheakamus and Mamquam river banks.
On May 4th, meet at Sunwolf, roll up your sleeves for a few hours, clean up a river, or three, then come join us for a beer and burger at Fergies Cafe afterwards.
SSBC Should have some top notch raffle prizes this year too, including some Dave Currie prints from Currie Artworks, Searun Fly and Tackle apparel, steelhead flies by Dimitri Roussanidis, Pacific Angler apparel, assorted tackle from Trophy Tackle, Chromer T-shirt from Yos Gladstone, and more.
Follow the event on Facebook!
North Shore Fish and Game Club
On Sunday, May 4th, the NSFGC is holding their 13th Annual Salmon Open Derby, with the prize for the largest salmon being $500!
The entry fee is $25/ticket and includes the BBQ that follows. For tickets, come by Pacific Angler at 78 E. Broadway.
The derby runs from dawn until 2pm, with all fish needing to be at the weigh-in line by 2pm.
For more details, contact Derek at 604-444-9117
Finally the Harrison River levels hit the 9.0m mark which is the ideal height level. I have heard of some positive reports of cutthroat being caught throughout the river but not in big numbers.
If you have a chance to get out, do so, as the end of the season is just round the corner. If you do get out on a nice warm day, don’t forget to have some dry flies with you- particularly Stone flies and March Brown mayflies- as you might hit a hatch. Until the river level goes over a 9.4m, you are still able to walk and wade the river. Always check the levels before you head out.
Squamish & Cheakamus
Last weekend the river levels rose hard but did not blow out. It was in perfect shape on Monday with 2-4 feet of visibility and the bull trout, rainbows, and steelhead were for a better word “happy”- allowing us to hook a solid number on our guided trips.
This photo was from the past couple weeks and shows just how beautiful these fish truly are. Thanks for the photo!
The river has been dropping all week and the river is still at a good level. This is the time of the year that we watch the weather. If it gets too hot, freshet (spring snow melt) will blow out the river but the later we get into April and early May the better the fishing.
Watch the river levels and Squamish/Whistler air temperatures. We are forecasted for some warm weather next week but we do not think it will trigger freshet. Once you see high-teens and low-twenty degree temperatures for a few days in a row, it will be over.
We have been using Andre’s epoxy fry patterns lately with good success, though we are starting to lean toward the bigger sizes since the fry are putting on weight and are now about an inch to 1.5 inches long.
A beautiful and healthy bull trout from the Squamish River during one of our guided trips
We saw a few steelhead this week and though it has not been a banner year by most accounts, we are finding a few fishing using the standard issue pink worms fished with gear rods, and pink, black and blue, or orange flies.
Colorado blades are also great this time of year for both steelhead and trout.
The name of the game right now is timing. If you can get out in the next two weeks and the river is in shape, you will generally have a good shot at a steelhead if you fish hard. If you get worn out, switch to a lighter setup and some fry patterns and you should be able to get into rainbows, bulltrout, and cutthroat – but be prepared for the “fry fluke” as well because it is not unheard of for a steelhead to take a run at a fry pattern this time of year.
***Remember this is a catch and release only fishery so treat the fish with respect if you are lucky enough to find one, and respect your fellow angler***
Thursday’s rain was a welcomed sight for us. With any luck it will add some more colour to the water for the weekend. Sunny weather has also made fishing tough, making cloudy conditions definitely your friend this time of year, with catching darker fish being quite common considering that it is April. With that said, we have seen some fresh fish being caught. Fresh fish will continue to trickle in right through to the end of April.
This is a great time of year to fly fish for steelhead. Swinging natural coloured flies such as “Rick’s Par” or an olive sculpin can be quite effective during the late season, especially when the fry are out.
Gear anglers will find natural baits to be more effective this time of year. Roe bags in light coloured mesh, steelhead roe, ghost shrimp, and dew worms are all excellent choices. That being said, colorado blades and small spoons are also very effective this time of year.
**The Chilliwack River is closed to fishing above the Vedder Crossing Bridge May 1st-May 31st**
**The Chilliwack River is open to FLY FISHING ONLY below the Vedder Crossing Bridge May 1st-May 31st.**
The Chehalis River was in great shape last week. It is pretty late for this system, however, a small push of late-winter steelhead usually enter the river in late March to mid April.
Because of how clear this river runs, natural coloured baits are the most effective presentations. This is not a terribly easy river to access. Those who are willing to hike and explore off the beaten path can be greatly rewarded.
*The Chehalis River is closed to fishing for the month of May.
We have yet to have any affirmative reports of early coho. We have heard a few whisperings, but yet to see a picture or catch one for ourselves. This will likely change over the next couple weeks.
With the arrival of Spring comes great anticipation of this year’s Summer coho salmon fishery. The coho fishing in the Capilano usually picks up in mid May and can remain decent until the low flows of late July/early-August.
The most popular method for this fishery is short-floating with light/medium power casting and center-pin rods. Productive baits include cured roe, roe bags, krill, dew worms, and Colorado blades.Fly fishing is also quite effective for these early run coho. 7-8wt single-hand fly rods equipped with full sinking type-6 lines allow you to strip your fly reasonably fast while maintaining a deep presentation. The most effective flies are olive wooly buggers (Andre’s Cap Coho Bugger), muddler minnows, and small polar bear winged flies in sizes 8-12.
We haven’t heard of too many positive reports due to the cold and windy weather all this past week that went through the interior lakes region. With very minimal chironomid hatches being seen, the odd, short emergence were found on Stump, Morgan and Six Mile. Jacko was still cleaning up from it’s recent turnover and some hatches have been reported on White Lake. Most anglers who are out there are still fishing a lot of leeches and other well-known searching patterns such as Carey Specials, Doc Spratley’s, and small streamers.
With more and more lakes starting to become ice free, angling opportunities will start to grow larger for anglers. That being said, as lakes open up, typically seen ice-off fishing conditions will be experienced.
With trout fishing in the lower mainland still doing well, people have started to explore and experiment with different lakes, breaking away from their usual and normal haunts.
From Rice Lake in North Vancouver all the way out to Lafarge lake in Coquitlam, people have been doing well with your standard bait rigs as well as small spinners and spoons.
For a listing of local lakes, and a great on-line tool/search-engine for finding new lakes, check out www.gofishbc.com and use their lakes listing generator.
Ultra-light spinning combos or 4-5wt fly rods with your typical trout flies and baits should prove to be an effective and great way to spend the ever-lengthening days of Spring and Summer
As usual for this time of year, we have had to battle the winds from the Spring storms and have had our fair share of NW and SE winds in excess of 20 knots. When we have been able to get out to where the fish are, they have been cooperating nicely.
Things really picked up last Friday, April 18th, and fishing has been pretty good since then. We had some strong winds on the weekend, but were able to get out on the Monday and we hooked 5 nice chinook- 2 of which came on a double header.
Eddie was has also out this week on his day off and went out fishing with a customer on their boat. They were into some pretty hot action and landed this good size chinook as we came by to say ‘Hi’.
The fish in these pictures were taken off S. Bowen Island in an area called the “Hump”.
Hot downrigger depths have been from as shallow as 75 feet all the to as deep as 150 feet, but most of the action seems to be concentrated in the 90-120 range, which is typical for this fishery.
Fish have been taken on spoons, hootchies, and bait. Some of the hot spoons have been the Pesca RSG in Skid Mark, It’s Not, and Italian Stallion in the 3.5 size. The Kingfisher spoon in Irish Cream and Homeland Security in size 3.5 and 3.0 has also been doing good.
For us, bait has been king lately. All 5 of the fish hooked the other day came on bait. Top producing teaser heads have been the Rhys Davis Anchovy Specials in Glow, Glow-Green, and Bloody Nose.
Without a doubt the hot flasher has been the Oki Big Shooter “Kinetic UV Jelly Fish Yellow-Green Mist” or what I like to call the “flasher with the longest name ever”. There is something about this flasher when fishing rigger depths of 125 feet and up, making it seem to work incredibly well. All our fish were coming on this flasher with nothing coming on the glow flashers, so we put some more down, causing those rods to start hitting fish as well.
If you follow our reports, this won’t be anything new for you as this is one of our go-to flashers for the “Hump” and “Thrasher Rock”. It is also nick- named “Club Dub” so you might have heard us call it that before.I almost forgot to mention the crabbing! Crabbing has been doing really good as well lately. Some sets have been a little heavy on females, but over-all we have had some great sets and limits of big males.
So in short, the fishing is great right now for chinook and it is only going to get better.
We have been booking lots of trips everyday, so please give us a call and book your trip right away, especially if you need a weekend date. Call me at 778-788-8582 to book your trip.
See you in the shop or on the water,
On behalf of the Pacific Angler staff we wish you the best in your fishing endeavors and we hope to see you either at the shop or on the water. To check out the latest Pacific Angler news view the Pacific Angler Facebook page.
-Jason, Matt, Max, Andre, and Jordan