The weatherman is forecasting light winds in the harbour and only a few spotty showers in the valley. It also looks as though we will see a warming trend Saturday – Sunday. These are all good things for the winter angler, whether you like hiking rivers or braving the salt chuck.
Many of the rivers blew out with the rain and wet snow last weekend but are coming into shape nicely. We are hearing quite a few early steelhead reports from the Vedder and a number of good fly fishing reports from the valley and the Sea to Sky corridor. Bottom line, it looks like a good weekend to head out fishing. Check the detailed report below.
There are also a few things happening off the water – The International Fly Film Festival (IF4) 2015 is coming to town February 5th and we have a number of great upcoming fishing courses. If you are thinking about float fishing the Vedder for steelhead there are two courses worth looking at. Check out the details below in the courses and events section of the report.
There is still time to register. Join Dimitri next week for two great courses. Call the shop to sign up for one or both of these courses. You won’t regret it!
TYING JIGS FOR STEELHEAD & SALMON
The use of jigs for catching steelhead and salmon is not a new idea; however, in the last few years we have seen a revolution on our local rivers. Fisherman using hand tied jigs are accounting for record numbers of steelhead! Join us around the tying tables and learn how to tie jigs for steelhead and salmon! If you have never thought of making your own lures don’t feel intimidated, Pacific Angler will help you with each step. For those who have lots of experience we will hone your skills and show you the tricks that make jigs the choice of top rods across the Lower Mainland. Students are required to supply their own vise, tools and materials. A 10% discount is available on materials and tools purchased for the course.
Date: Jan 12
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
STEELHEAD FLOAT FISHING
In this fishery, 10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fish. This is your chance to learn from the 10%! Our 3hr evening seminar will educate you on the gear, water types, conditions and other key variables that put veteran steelhead anglers in that 10%. Mastering this fishery will make you the envy of your friends. 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
Dates: Seminar on Jan 13. Guided Jan, 18, 24, or 25 (custom trip dates are available upon request)
Time: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
The International Fly Film Festival (IF4) 2015 consists of short and feature length films produced by professional filmmakers from all corners of the globe, showcasing the passion, lifestyle and culture of fly-fishing. The variety of films at this event are sure to peak the interest of all anglers. IF4 contains exclusive content not available in any other fly-fishing film event and is a must see experience.
Date: February 5, 2015
Time: Doors open at 6:30 PM. Film begins AT 7:00 PM. Rush Seating
Location: Landmark Cinemas Esplanade (200 West Esplanade N. Vancouver)
Drop by the shop and pick a ticket for $15. If available, tickets may also be purchased at the venue on the day of the event for $20.00 per ticket.
We are officially in winter steelhead season now that we are into the first week of Jan 2015 and I am happy to report that things are looking good! Last year was a slow year for winter steelhead by most accounts, and this year has certainly been much better. There has been a good showing of fish in the Vedder/Chilliwack for about 3 weeks now.
The Vedder is still high but the visibility is good. It did come up and blow out midweek for a short while due to the snowmelt, but there is plenty of vis now throughout the river. Some of the best rods I know are heading out and fishing all day and not catching anything, yet they or other anglers have had 1, 3, and even 5 fish on other days. This is very typical for January steelhead fishing. You have to cover a lot of water and have some luck on your side. If you run into a section of river that has some fresh fish you are going to hook up as the fish are aggressive. If you don’t run into any fish in the section you are covering, well what can I say, you are looking at a skunk day. Things are pretty hit and miss this time of year, but such is the life of a steelhead angler in January.
One thing you can do to put luck on your side is fish fast and with bigger and brighter presentations. These aren’t stale fish that are stacked up and have been fished on for months and months like we see in March or April. These are fresh, aggressive steelhead. That means fish fast so you cover a lot of water and fish with presentations that are on the larger or brighter side of things. 4 inch and 6 inch pink worms are a good choice or small and med size gooey bobs in BC Orange with some prawn or roe added for extra attraction. If you are fly fishing, think bigger intruder style patterns in pink, hot pink and fluorescent orange. This time of year fly fishing can be quite productive in the lower river from the crossing down to the train bridge as fresh fish come in. These fish haven’t seen a lot of gear or bait and are just as likely to crush and intruder as a 6 inch pink worm. Use appropriate sink tips like T-8 up to T-14 to get your fly down, cover as much water as possible, and concentrate on tailouts. Remember to keep moving and cover as much water as possible. If the fish are there, they are going to let you know in a hurry.
We haven’t talked much about this system in the past month but we have had some solid egg fishing/nymphing reports from this area and it is worth checking out. You will see whitefish, bull trout and cutthroat in this system feeding on salmon eggs.
The river bumped after the rain on Monday and has dropped back down to a fishable level. It looks as though the water color is coming back after the slide in the reservoir but it is still not back to traditional clarity. There are usually a couple of fish in the river this time of year but we spoke to the hatchery guys and though they have caught a few summer runs they are still waiting for the first winter steelhead reports.
We recommend float fishing the Capilano system. It is not a great fly fishing river due to its high canyon banks.
Release ALL Steelhead Hatchery and Wild.
The Chehalis is another river that has a run of winter steelhead and after the last bit of rain we can expect fish in the system. Roe Bags, Single eggs, and 4” Pink worms should be in your arsenal if you are heading out that way. Release All Wild Steelhead
Steelhead enter the Squamish system much later than most of the standard hatchery enhanced systems so though we have heard of a few random steelhead sightings we do not recommend steelheading on the system till much later in the season. That said bull trout fishing has been solid and we have had a number of good reports with fly anglers using indicator rigs or sink tips with skulpin patterns. The weather dumped a ton of snow up the Squamish valley. This has made access to the upper river a little interesting but things have warmed up quite a bit and there are areas to access the river. Bring a shovel and be careful but don’t let it stop you from going out. Below we have including our introductory description of indicator fishing. This is quite a technical style of fly fishing but when done right it is extremely rewarding.
Indicator Rig Basics
Employ a 9ft tapered leader in 6 lb-8lb test class. Mono-filament line is great but for this presentation Fluorocarbon line sinks faster and is less visible to the fish. We also add 18 inches of tippet. The knot used to tie on the tippet is important because we are going to use it to anchor a small weight. There are 2 great kinds of weight for this, split shot and putty weight. Put the split shot just above you tippet knot or put the putty around the knot so they do not fall off. The key to this rig is in the indicator. This is used to detect a strike but more importantly it helps us achieve a dead drift. We love the Thing-a-Ma-Bobber indicators for faster water and ease of sight and the fish pimp indicators when maximum casting distance is needed. Cast this rig with a wide loop to keep things from tangling and we recommend a 45 degree up stream cast. Mend the line aggressively. I like to see the indicator move or pop just a little bit with each mend.
A couple tricks with this method are to be constantly analyzing your drift. If you can mend just enough to pop the indicator off the water we can get an idea of what direction your leader is heading below the fly. This helps us analyze the drift and depth. Remember the water at the surface is moving faster than the water below so you might have you indicator dragging the fly down-stream. Popping it up stream 4-8inches will correct this. Oh – And set the hook on anything that looks funny. If the indicator hesitates or dips under, I like to use what is called a “set mend”. Aggressively try to pop the indicator. If it does not react correctly to the mend (because of a fish or bottom) continue the aggressive lifting motion into a strike. If it pops cleanly off the water drop it back down to continue your drift.
Good Luck and may the Nymphing force be with you…
Winter chinook fishing has continued to be productive overall this past week. It seemed things slowed down a lot up in Howe Sound but perhaps this was due to the full moon and the lower pressure system we had about 4 or 5 days ago. Mother Nature never leaves the good fisherman without some creative excuses as to why the fishing was slow!
There have been some decent catches of winter chinook in the Harbour at the usual spots like the W. Van shoreline, Cap mouth and the freighters. We are continuing to hear good reports from our neighbors down in Washington as well as Vancouver Island along the east coast shoreline all the way up to Campbell River and we also hear some good reports up towards Powell River. There has been some good to excellent fishing for those who have timed the wind and weather right and made the trip across the Strait of Georgia and fished from Nanaimo down towards Victoria. The overall consensus from those of us who have been searching around the last few weeks is there is a lot bait in the Strait and a lot of chinook as well, including plenty of juveniles and some larger “keepers”. This is good news and bodes well for the next few months of winter fishing and if you have been thinking about booking a charter, the time is now.
The weather looks favorable for this weekend if you want to fish locally or if you want to do some exploring up Howe Sound or over on Vancouver Island. The forecast is for variable winds and a mix of sun and clouds and perhaps a touch of rain on Saturday. Do keep an eye out for the fog though. It has been pretty thick this week, so don’t be venturing too far from home if you don’t have good a good chart plotter and radar.
For gear we have been doing very well with Purple Onion Glow and Green Onion Glow flashers. These flashers are both UV and work well in the clear winter water. The glow stripe helps if you are fishing deep as well. The Pesca spoons continue to be producing well in 3.5 and 2.5 sizes as well as the Kingfisher spoons in 3.5 and the Coho Killer. The best colors have had some green and some glow in them. We are using a 5 to 6 foot leader to the flasher. We have also been doing well with hootchies. The best colors have been UV White, White Glow, MOP (mother of pearl) White Glow and UV White MOP. For leader length try 32 to 36 inches.
See you on the water or in the shop,
Give us a call at 778-788-8582 if you want to get out on the water with us on a guided trip or call the shop at 604-872-2204 for any questions about the report.
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, Andre, Sam, Eddie, Dimitri, Kathryn