Looks like fall has arrived and with it the beginning of some of our favorite fisheries! Saturday and Sunday may be the last summer weather of the year and we hope that the rainy forecast for next week is correct. The drizzle on Wednesday and Thursday did not do much to change river levels, and the weekend should be another low and clear affair. We have heard some reports on the Chilliwack and though the river needs rain, the salmon are on their way. We just received a huge selection of custom spinners and spoons for the fall salmon fishing season. For the fly fishermen, we also have a great selection of coho and chum salmon patterns for all of the local salmon rivers.
Sockeye fishing remains open, making it one of the longest openings ever. People are still whacking and stacking sockeye in both fresh and saltwater. Along with sockeye, there is no shortage of chinook in our local waters.
Beach fishing has been a little frustrating but people are still hooking coho from shore. We have also heard some good trout fishing reports from the Caribou region and even our local trout rivers have been fishing well. Check out all the details below and good luck on the water!
FALL SALMON RIVER FISHING: FLOATS, SPINNERS, & SPOONS
Class Size: 20
We have opened another course date due to popular demand! 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 Only Cost: $45.00
Seminar Guided Walk’n Wade Cost: $400 for one person or $500 for two people
Date: Seminar on Oct 7th. Guided trip dates are flexible.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
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): 10am – 1pm or 2pm -5pm
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: 7pm – 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 21st. Guided on Oct 25th or 26th.
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
We are nearing the time of year when we hear the first rumours of coho being caught in the lower Squamish. It is still quite high and will remain so until the first cold fall nights arrive. This is an excellent river to fly fish for salmon in. 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.
Low water conditions have made for a tough week on the Vedder for most anglers, but we have heard the odd report of fish being caught. That being said there is rain in the forecast so keep an eye on the water levels as the river could bump and fill with fish. If you are going to be heading out downsize your gear as the fish can be held up in shallow pools and are rather spooky. 20g to 25g floats, splitshot, fluorocarbon leaders, and smaller nickel sized presentations. Most of our reports have been from the lower river but if the rain comes expect fish to be throughout the system.
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. Casting spinners and spoons is 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.
Matt traveled up to the Skagit on Sunday and we have had a number of reports from other clients over the past week. Most anglers have reported very slow mornings and a big improvement in fishing as the day progresses. We recommend you arrive late and stay as late as you can. Last weekend, the bugs started to get active around noon and the fish began to respond around 1:00. Be prepared with a selection of relatively small grey and green mayflies and a few large ones too. Adult caddis flies are an important pattern to have in your box. Try small yellow caddis and even large moth brown caddis as well. Matt encountered a good hatch of extremely large grey mayflies, which the fish were really keying in on. We have heard anglers call these mayflies “Slate Drakes” “Blue Duns” and “Blue Hex”. They are not as common as the Green Drakes on the Skagit, but just like the green drakes, when they come off, the fish seem to prefer them over other available food.
Bull trout fishing has been tough because of the low water. Hike around to find the deep pools and you may be rewarded with some nice char. Try big streamer patterns fished on a sink tip to get under the jambs and over hang.
Other flies to have are the nymph forms of all the insects we spoke about above – Yellow caddis, grey or green mayflies and the classic golden stone. When the hatch starts, be prepared to change fast if a different insect is more prevalent. We also recommend having a full fly box for this fishery. For those of you who have seen Matt’s “Mother Ship” fly box, you might be surprised to hear that he ran out of the “right” fly, a grey/blue parachute adams in size 8 – they started with 7 of the right fly and when the last one was lost they stopped catching fish completely. That said, running out of the right fly was a good excuse to go home before it got too dark.
We have not had any reports from the Thompson trout fishery in the last week. We are all curious as to how the trout fishing has been. With large numbers of sockeye, the fishing should be slow for trout. Salmon tend to push the trout out of their feeding lies, making for some tough sledding. With the river remaining open for the month of October, we may see another window of good trout fishing once the sockeye have thinned out.
The fall coho salmon fishery is about to start on the Chehalis. The water will likely spike a little bit with the rain and then drop right back down until the next rain event. This may be enough to bring in some coho, but a big push of fish will likely require more flow to enter the system.
The Capilano is a trickle and the fishing is extremely tough. Hopefully the rain in the forecast is sizable enough to put some water in the reservoir. Time to start stocking up on spinners and spoons! The next high water event will bring in some big coho and chinook.
The fall salmon fishery on the Capilano is right around the corner! This can be a very exciting time to fish. 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
Non-tidal Fraser River
The Fraser sockeye fishery is still under way. We are still seeing fish swimming up river in numbers, many customers have been out reaping the benefits of the opening. With that being said, fishing can be slow at times due to commercial openings on the river. Check in with the Commercial Fisheries Notices online here.
The sturgeon fishery in the Upper and Lower Fraser has been fairly productive all summer. With the presence of salmon in the river, a good choice for bait would be sockeye salmon bellies and roe. Check this link to familiarize yourself with closures and regulations on the Fraser.
The lakes are starting to cool down and it is time to head to the interior again. I have heard some good fishing reports from the Caribou lakes and not many from Merrit/Kamloops area yet. This will soon change as the temps cool down close to 0 degrees at night and warm during the day.
Late summer and early 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 Alta cutthroat 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 quite well for the bull trout on the drop offs.
Please remember that Alta and Green Lake are catch and release/bait ban fisheries.
Beach: (West Van)
Fishing off the beach is over for a while until October 3rd as there are no real low tides to make it worth while. If we don’t get any rain until then their might be one last chance to see some fresh fish just before the next full moon. There are a lot of fish out there jumping and finning but I think they are ready to go up the river as soon as they get a chance. I spent 4 days in a row on the beach and tossed every fly I had and they would not look at it. I finally got the message and surrendered. It is pretty much over.
Fishing has been good this last week with a nice mix of sockeye and chinook. There are some huge sockeye down off the South Arm of the Fraser and we have been making the run down there in the morning to pick up some of these nice fish.
We are also hooking some big chinook and some coho off the South Arm as the fall white chinook, and fall coho are entering the Fraser on their way up to rivers like the Chilliwack and the Harrison. If you are looking for a full day charter, this is a great time of year to go to the South Arm of the Fraser as you can hook sockeye, chinook, and coho all in the same day!
Now is the time of year when we start to see chinook stacking up off the mouth of the Capilano River. If you are looking to do a 5 hour charter, this is the place to be. Only minutes from our dock, this unique fishery gives you a chance at a huge chinook salmon with the Stanley Park as your back drop.
We should have good sockeye fishing for another week and the chinook and coho fishing will go right into October.
If you are heading out on your own boat, drop by the shop for some friendly advice and all the right gear. We have lots of flashers and teaser heads in stock for your anchovy and herring setups which have been working well for the chinook off the Fraser and the Capilano Mouth. We also have lots of bait and salt in stock as well.
See you on the water,
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