The fall salmon season is in full swing in the Fraser Valley. Although the Chilliwack is low and clear, it has been producing some beautiful coho and chinook. The other Fraser tributaries should have some coho and chum milling about. With rain in the forecast for the weekend and early next week, we should see rivers rise and the fishing improve greatly. There is a good chance that many rivers will blow out, but once they come back into shape, it should be some of the best salmon fishing of the season. The Squamish system is still not quite there as the weather has stayed unseasonably warm making the water clarity extremely poor.
Fall lake fishing is always an option if you are willing to drive. Most lakes in the Cariboo region are worth the drive in early October.
The mouth of the Capilano has been fishing rather slow in recent days. The fish are still out there and we are hoping more will arrive over the next week or so. Sandheads should be fishing well for chinook and coho, but we have not heard of many anglers making the run south.
We have a few spots left in our October/November courses. Spend some time with us here in the shop and on the water and brush up on your techniques for fall fishing.
INTRODUCTION TO FLY FISHING
Class Size: 12
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.
Date: Seminar on Oct 14th. Casting on Oct 19th.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Casting Time(s): 10:00am – 1:00pm or 2:00pm -5:00pm
TYING INTRUDER FLY PATTERNS
Class Size: 7
This course is designed for those that are interested in tying steelhead flies in the “Intruder style”. This style of fly is extremely productive for steelhead and salmon due to its profile and movement in the water. During this two night (5hr total instruction) tying series, you will learn the very specific techniques and unique materials used to tie this fly. This course is suitable for intermediate to advanced tiers. 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: Nov 4th & 5th
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
FLY FISHING FOR COHO IN RIVERS – Andre Stepanian
Class Size: 6
Catching a coho salmon on the fly in BC’s many coastal rivers is a bucket list item for any fly fisherman. Our course is designed to educate you on the very specific techniques used to catch coho salmon on the fly in the Lower Mainland. After your 3hr evening seminar you will then put the skills into practice during a fully guided day on the water.
Dates: Seminar on Oct 15th. Guided Oct 19th. Seminar on Oct 21st. Guided on Oct 25th or 26th.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
FLY FISHING FOR SALMON IN RIVERS – Andre Stepanian
Class Size: 8
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!
Dates: Seminar on Oct 28 Guided Nov 1 or 2
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
The water clarity in the Squamish is improving slightly, but it still only has a foot of visibility or less. The rain in the forecast will likely blow this system out unless the temperature drops dramatically. That said, there are a few fish around, but the poor clarity is making things very tough. We are still waiting for the temperatures to drop which will improve the conditions. Be sure to check out the water levels before heading out.
This is an excellent river to fly fish for salmon in the middle of October. The coho can be more aggressive in the Squamish than other lower mainland rivers and will often take big marabou flies swung on a tight line. The chum like pink and purple flashy marabou flies which will also catch coho in the same run. Chartreuse patterns can also be a deadly choice.
The Squamish System is 100% catch and release for all wild species. Retention of one hatchery coho (adipose fin clipped) is permitted. Be careful when identifying your catch, hatchery coho are rare on this system.
Fishing has been challenging on the Chilliwack over the past week. The water has been very low and clear, making for some tough sledding. With that said, there are quite a few chinook and coho in the river. If you focus your efforts on deep pools and runs, you should find fish. Salmon will use choppy water and deep pools for cover in these conditions.
Try toning down your gear to improve your odds. Size 2-4 hooks tied with 10-12lb fluorocarbon leader is a great choice for targeting coho. Size 1 hooks tied with 15lb fluorocarbon leader is ideal for chinook in clear water. 20-25gram floats weighted with split shot instead of pencil lead will also help to keep your presentation stealthy. Quarter-nickel sized pieces of roe, small wool ties, single eggs, and micro colorado blades have all been producing fish. If you are fly fishing, try stripping small and sparse flies on an intermediate sinking tip line. With that said, rain is on the way, and conditions can change very quickly.
Float fishing is the primary technique used to catch chinook and coho. The proper setup for float fishing is a 10-11′ medium power casting rod. Light action rods are excellent for coho, while those who are targeting chinook will benefit from a medium-heavy action rod. Roe, wool combinations, and colorado blades are all great float fishing presentations. Spinners and spoons are also deadly effective, especially for coho. 8-10’6″ spinning or casting rods are ideal for retrieving lures. Gibbs Koho and Croc spoons are good choices, as well as Blue Fox spinners.
You can also use a fly rod to target these fish. Coho can be readily caught on flies where as the chinook can be quite challenging with the fly rod. An 8wt single hand fly rod lined with a versi-tip system is ideal for this fishery. The versi-tip line allows you to quickly change out different sink tips to cover different speeds of water more efficiently. Small flash flies, muddler minnows, wooly buggers and even marabou popsicles will all work for coho.
Please familiarize yourselves with species identification as you may encounter Cultus Lake sockeye which must be carefully released.
Sam Graham & Max Stickel
We have heard reports of coho in the system, however, fishing has been very challenging. It is still quite early for this river as more fish will show up further into October and November. This river often flows very clear making the fish skittish throughout the mid day. Try toning down your presentations to match the clear conditions. Small chunks of roe and micro colorado blades fished on 12lb fluorocarbon leaders can make a big difference.
The Cap is flowing slightly on the low side of things. With more rain on its way, we expect fishing to pick up again. We have heard reports of some nice coho and chinook being caught with both spinning and float gear. This is typically a very busy fishery because of its proximity to the city. Mornings and evenings are definitely your best chance at hooking fish. We ask you to please handle fish with care. Do not pull a fish onto the rocks until you are 100% sure that it may be retained.
Because of the bait ban, we must use artificial baits to catch fish. Spoons, colorado blades, wool ties, rubber eggs, and jigs all catch fish. Salmon will readily take artificial baits when they are fresh from the ocean and we advise everyone to keep your float or lure on.
Please note: ALL steelhead (adipose clipped and unclipped) must be released with the utmost care.
Bait ban as of August 1st
We have heard some mixed reports from the interior. It is now frosting consistently in the 4000ft range. Things should pick up very soon as the cold October weather sets in. Indicator fishing with both leeches and scuds is a popular method in the fall months. Fish will often forage in shallow water as they fatten up for the winter, making for some excellent sight fishing opportunities.
Fall can be an excellent time to fish the Whistler lakes. As the weather cools off, the trout seem to really turn on the feed and move into shallower areas. For cutthroat trout in Alta try olive Wooly Buggers, and Muddler Minnows in various colours and flash combinations. Don’t be afraid to crack out the big streamers for Green. Large flashy rabbit strip streamers work well for the bull trout on the drop offs.
Please remember that Alta and Green Lake are catch and release/bait ban fisheries.
We’re well into October and we’ve had no rain since my last report. This means the fish have remained in the salt water and we can still target them. We have had a little slower fishing due to the strong tides. We’ve also lost some fish going home with anglers for dinner but it should improve as the full moon cycles out and more fish move in. Hopefully the rains hold off and the fish stay where they are.We’re still using the same method of anchovies and herring in teaser heads, with or without flashers. Glow Green, Chartreuse, Clear UV, Chrome Green and Frog teaser heads have all produced fish. Green Onion, Chartreuse Double Glow, and Highliner flashers have been my favourites. It’s a good idea to use the glow colors on overcast days and the chromes and UV’s on sunny days. I do know of another angler that lost the biggest fish he’d fought all season and he used a 4″ Cop Car spoon. A couple of other anglers I know have also hooked fish on white hoochies too. It’s all a matter of placing the lures off the bottom in front of them and patiently waiting for the bite to come on. Typically the flood tides are the best but lately the tail end of the ebb tides have been productive as well. Lately, it has been hard to predict when the fish will go on the bite, so you just have to be there when they do. Even after our local fish flush up the river there is usually fish found further south at Sandheads. I don’t have any solid reports from there since the Capilano is still producing but I’m sure I’ll be venturing down there once it’s slows down locally. Make sure to get out soon before the season ends or you will have to wait till the winter chinook arrive!
The P.A. Saltwater Guide Team: Jason, Eddie, Dimitri
Give us a call on our charter phone at 778-788-8582 to book a charter or come by the shop for all the right gear and some friendly advice. The shop number is 604-872-2204.
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, Sam, Eddie, Dimitri, Kathryn