We are extremely excited about the weather this week. The heavy rain degraded the clarity on a number of our local rivers during the mid week down pour. The water should be running clear by the weekend on most streams in the Fraser Valley. We still consider it early for the Squamish system which will need cold weather to drop back down into fishing shape. The blast of rain run-off should help to kick off salmon fishing in the Chilliwack, Harrison and Stave systems. Watch the river levels and check out the river reports below for more details. Andre has brought in his first batch of fall coho patterns and they are already flying off the board!
Saltwater anglers, have no fear! The Capilano was only flowing high for a brief period of time on Wednesday evening. This will hopefully move some of the stale fish up the river and make way for more waves of fresh chinook. It will be interesting to see what reports come in over the weekend. Check out the saltwater section for more details.
With salmon season getting started we have a number of great courses that still have a few spots available. They are specifically designed to get you on the water and teach you how to fly fish and gear fish for salmon. The details are below.
Once again, we are excited to be offering drifts on the Squamish, and we are waiting for the river to come down to start booking dates. Watch your emails for more details next week and we can expect great fishing from about the 10th of October till late November
The forecast calls for a dry weekend, brief rains on Monday, and then returning to warm temperatures and sun next week. Should be a good week to go fishing!
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: *ONE SPOT LEFT 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: *ONE SPOT LEFT seminar on Oct 1st. Guided Oct 5th.
Seminar on Oct 28 Guided Nov 1 or 2
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
We have heard rumours of coho being caught in the lower Squamish. We had a scouting trip planned for the end of this week but the river rose over a meter with the rain and warm temperatures. Scouting will have to wait till next week! We recommend most anglers do the same and if you are thinking about drifting we do not recommend it for safety concerns. 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.
Well if you haven’t heard by now the Vedder blew out on Wednesday from the rain. We are expecting the river to come into shape by the weekend. Once the river drops you can expect to find fresh fish all the way from the Keith Wilson Bridge to the Cement Slab. It could still be on the high side so be prepared to fish larger presentations. Roe, blades, and jigs in a quarter to toonie sized presentation will be the ticket this weekend. Fly fisherman get out and do some foot work to find that “frog water” where coho will stack up in. Rolled muddlers, Christmas Trees, and Woolly Buggers are necessities when chasing coho this fall. Max and myself have been out in the last week with some success but we are really expecting the season to take off after the rain.
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.
We are still hearing good reports from the Skagit and though we have not heard anything from the Thompson we are excited to hear what’s going on. Both rivers rose a little with this week’s rain but did not blow out.
Flies to have in your box are yellow caddis, grey or green mayflies and the classic golden stone along with nymph patterns to match these insect species (hare’s ears and prince nymphs are always worth a try). 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. As we reported last week it is easy to run out of the “right” fly. So make sure you have a good spread with backup patterns. We have heard mixed reports from the bulltrout fisherman on the skagit. There don’t seem to be as many around this year but definitely have a few big streamer patterns in your box and with the low water keep your eyes peeled. It is quite common to see bulls lying in the runs if you take time to look. Matt is debating a trip this weekend if the weather holds so we should know more next week.
Skagit River is 100% single barbless / catch and release fishery – Have fun and play by the rules.
We have yet to hear any reports of coho from this system, but they should be there. Wednesday’s rain was definitely enough to bring the water level up a little. The emerald green doesn’t last very long on this system! 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 water level finally came up on Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday morning, the Cap was back down to 1. Those who got out for this very narrow window were likely to encounter some fresh fish. We are going to need steady rainfall for the water level to stay up for more than one afternoon!
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 going. Most people are reporting less frequent action and more coloured fish. They will likely close retention at the end of the month.
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.
More and more customers are coming in the store to stock up for their fall lake trips. We are looking forward to hearing some great reports from the interior.
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.
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 well for the bull trout on the drop offs.
Please remember that Alta and Green Lake are catch and release/bait ban fisheries.
We are nearing the end of Sockeye fest 2014 at the end off the month and a lot of our guests are well stocked up with fish. We’ve now been fishing one of my favorite fisheries, which is for the big chinook! They can be found as far as the South Arm of the Fraser River or as close to just west of the Lions Gate Bridge. We have been spending most of our time at the Cap Mouth and the fishing has been pretty good. Each day is different as waves of chinook show up and get caught each day on the flood tide. Typically with these fish it’s a waiting game for the bite. You look around and nobody is catching fish and then it’s like someone flips a switch and rods start bouncing as fresh fish show up or the ones that have been there for awhile finally start to turn on.
The fish we have been hooking into have been from the low teens to the high twenties, with a few nearing the 30lb mark. Typically anchovies and 4″-7″ herring in an assortment of glow teaser heads towed with or without a flasher will hook fish. In most areas like West Vancouver, Point Atkinson, Bell Buoy, T10, and the South Arm of the Fraser the fish can be found in 100 to 200 feet of water and we usually fish from 30 to 75 on the downriggers. At the mouth of the Capilano the fish are mainly hooked close to or just off the bottom. There are still a few cohos being taken and one our guides Dimitri got the first chum salmon I have heard of this year.
Getting back to the anchovy teaser heads, we have been doing well on the Frog, Green or Chartreuse Spackle back, Green Glow, Blue Glow, and Bloody Nose. For flashers we have been using the Green Onion, Purple Onion, Chartreuse Glow, and Green Glow. Some days taking the flasher off and running the bait on its own will work and provide very exciting fights without the added drag of the flasher on the line. If you try different combinations the fish will tell you which ones they like that day. As I was writing this report we had our first heavy rain in quite a while. This is good news for the river fishermen but not for the saltwater angler. The rain brings the level up in the rivers and allows some of the fish to head upstream. We do lose some of the fish initially that have been around for a while, but it also tends to draw more fresh fish closer towards the river mouth.
It looks like the rain is going to hold off for most of next week and we always see a good push of fish in late September and early October so I am sure there will be some good catches in the next 2 weeks off W. Van. In October we also do some trips down to the South Arm of the Fraser to intercept all the thousands of coho that are heading up the Fraser. So all in all there is at least another 3 weeks of great saltwater fishing to be had.
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