We have seen some adverse weather this past week, and it looks like this theme will continue for some time. Up until the mass blow-out of the rivers across the lower mainland, the fall salmon fishing was quite good. There won’t be much in the way of fishing opportunities until the weather dries up and the raging waters subside. This is a great time to stock the fly boxes, shine your spinners, and tie leaders. When the rain subsides, we suggest you call in sick, drop the kids off at daycare, and set your alarms for zero dark thirty. We should be in for one heck of a November coho season!
In other news, we just received a shipment of the new Cleardrift “sleeker” and “big water series” floats! Max has been fishing with some samples and he is raving about both of the new designs.
Simms Gore-Tex® ExStream™ Hat
With the forecast looking grim for the weekend, I thought it was fitting to look at one of my favorite wet weather products from Simms, the ExStream Hat! This product is sometimes overlooked because it isn’t exactly high fashion. I have heard people say that it looks a little goofy, but if you want to be comfortable in wet weather this hat is amazing.
I have owned an older version of the ExStream Hat for 5 years but I will admit when I first got it I didn’t wear it much because of the “goofy” factor. Last season I fell back in love with it during one of Vancouver’s classic rainy spells, and now I won’t go fishing on a rainy day without it
When fishing, I can’t stand wearing a hood because it cuts down my peripheral vision. Hoods make it impossible to look at your back-cast when fly-fishing, and you are less aware of your surroundings. No matter how high the quality of Gore-Tex, wearing a hood always feels a little muggy!
You will be blown away at how comfortable the ExStream Hat is. It feels as though you are wearing a ball cap but without the soggy hair! The fleece lining is also a great feature and you will be surprised how the rest of your body (hands, feet and toes) stay warmer because you are not losing a heat through your head.
At $69.99 this hat really is worth every penny. If you love to fish, or spend time in the outdoors, this hat is an investment you will not regret!
•3-layer GORE-TEX® fabric offers 100% waterproof, breathable protection
•Quilted fleece-lining for warmth in the most extreme conditions
•Ear flaps may be worn up over cap or secured under chin to provide extra protection
•Plush elastic sweatband and adjustable circumference with back cord lock
•One size fits most
We have the ExStream Hat in stock now, and they won’t last long this time of year!
While it is raining right now, the long-range weather report is looking up and rivers should be in better shape for the first week of November. Join Andre out on the water in his next class. Only three spots left!
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
Things are not looking good in Squamish for the time being. The sea-to-sky corridor, like the rest of the lower mainland, has seen lots of rain and warm weather. The Squamish Valley road did flood this week just past the Ashlu bridge. We will most likely not see the river drop down to a fish-able height until November. If you do decide to venture up this way, which we do not recommend, please be very careful and always let someone know where you are going.
This is an excellent river to target salmon with a fly rod. 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.
The fishing on the Chilliwack was quite good this past week. The river did blow out on Wednesday afternoon and the water clarity has degraded to 1ft or less. With mostly rain in the forecast for the next week, fishing opportunities will be touch and go.
We may see the Chilliwack come into shape briefly with the periodic breaks in rain. There is plenty of coho and chum in the river, so if you can find decent water clarity, you should have some good fishing.
Float fishing is the primary technique used to catch fall salmon. 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 and chum 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 coho salmon. 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, and wooly buggers are all good choices in clear water. Coho will also take big flies if water clarity is an issue.
Please familiarize yourselves with species identification as you may encounter Cultus Lake sockeye which must be carefully released.
Sam Graham, Max Stickel, & Dimitri Roussanidis
The Chehalis is no exception to the high water trending across the lower mainland. However, if we do get a decent break in the rain, this river should come into shape fairly quickly. Please exercise caution when fishing this river during periods of heavy rainfall. Due to the extensive canyon section, the river can rise extremely quickly, and has left anglers stranded in the past.
This system is definitely worth a look over the next month or so. There are coho and chum present and fishing is typically much better after a decent rainfall. This is an excellent river to float fish in, but carrying a second set up for the frog water is recommended. Fly fishing for coho with an intermediate sink tip line is effective in the slower water.
The Cap completely blew out on Wednesday and the waterfall at the hatchery wasn’t much of a falls at all! It has dropped back down slightly, but with more rain on the way, we should see the water levels rise again. This is a very dangerous river to fish when the water is high. We do not recommend fishing the Capilano until the river drops back down and the rain subsides.
The coho and chinook salmon fishing usually tapers off towards the end of October. 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 good things from the Vought Valley area recently. A customer reported some nice fish caught on big leech patterns recommended by Andre!
The main staples at this time of the year are big leeches, dragonfly nymphs, scuds, and water boatman. For deeper water use a full sink line with 6ft of 6-8lb tippet. The key is to find were the thermocline is and try to keep the fly in that zone and you should get some aggressive strikes. If the fish are in shallow, you can use a floating line with a strike indicator to suspend the fly at the desired depth. 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.
The local lakes are a great alternative if you are looking to get out while the rivers are not in shape. A number of lakes have just received their fall stocking of catch-able rainbow trout. Take a look at this website for up to date stocking reports in your area.
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 have had very little reported from local saltwater fishing in the last week. We are looking ahead to next season and starting our fall maintenance on our boats after a great 2014 of local saltwater fishing! It will be a few weeks before winter chinook salmon start showing up locally. We will be out on the water hunting winter chinook before too long, so stay tuned!
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