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Home / FIshing Reports / Vancouver Friday Fishing Report, April 12th

Vancouver Friday Fishing Report, April 12th


Well, we are into the final long haul of the steelhead season.  At least that is what it can feel like for a lot of steelhead anglers after a long January, February and March of slogging it out in the cold, hoping for that float to go down or your line to pull tight against your fly rod. While some anglers are suffering from steelhead burnout, others are anticipating some of the best fishing of the year over the next two to three weeks.

The key over the next few weeks for steelhead and cutthroat anglers will be to keep your eye on the river levels.  This past two weeks the rivers have been going up and down like a yo-yo.  If you have a flexible schedule try to get out on the river during a drop in the river level.  If you do not have a flexible schedule then make sure to adapt your outfit to the conditions.  Having the ability to do this will make the difference between hooking up and not hooking up.

A beautifully chrome steelhead taken by Dimitri on a pink worm.

A beautifully chrome steelhead taken by Dimitri on a pink worm.

The local saltwater fishing scene is starting to perk up.  The staff at the shop have heard a few reports of anglers catching some nice winter chinooks within the Vancouver Harbour and Howe Sound.  Our saltwater guides expect the first good waves of winter chinook salmon to start coming through the Vancouver Harbour and Howe Sound area over the next two weeks.  Crabbing and prawning has been good and will continue to be good until the commercial fishery opens later in the year.  This is a great side activity to trolling for salmon and very tasty.

The local lake fishing has continued to be good, especially on those sunny west coast days.  The Pacific Angler staff also expect the lake fishing in the interior to pickup as well for pre and post turn-over lakes.

It definitely seems like the lake fishing season is off to an early start.  The weather forecast in Merritt is calling for daily low temperatures above zero and highs up to 16 degrees Celsius.  This means that the ice should be melting at a good rate.

The Vancouver weather forecast is calling for rain and cloudy conditions on Friday and Saturday and then sun and clouds on Sunday and into the following week.  You can expect the daily high temperature to range from 8 to 14 degrees Celsius while the daily low temperature will range from 4 to 6 degrees Celsius.  This means that the rivers will likely receive small bumps in the water level throughout the day from snowmelt.  Overall, though these are good conditions for steelhead fishing and is what we can expect for the next three weeks until the freshet begins.

The marine forecast for the Strait of Georgia is currently calling for southeast winds on Saturday and then turning to northwest winds Saturday afternoon and for Sunday.  Currently there is a strong wind warning in effect.  Make sure to check the most recent marine forecast and conditions can change rapidly on the ocean.  Typically, northwest winds are the worst for saltwater anglers as these winds push up big white-caps within the harbour and make it dangerous to cross over the Strait of Georgia.

To keep up-to-date with all things Pacific Angler and the local fishing scene check out Pacific Angler Facebook and on Twitter.  You will find our detailed river and saltwater reports below.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop by our shop @ 78 East Broadway, Vancouver or give our friendly staff a call @ 604-872-2204.

Vancouver Stillwater Fishing Report: 

The following lakes have been stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC:

  • Gardom Lake
  • Lafarge Lake
  • Como Lake
  • Rice Lake
  • Green Timbers Lake
  • Mill Lake
  • Mike Lake
  • Rolley Lake
  • Buntzen Lake
  • Sasamat Lake

Since out last report Gardom Lake has been stocked and Pat, Morgan and Kilpoola Lakes should have been stocked by the end of this week.

Click on the link for a detailed map of each lake, stocking report, and location – Freshwaters Fisheries Society of BC Fish Map.  You can also check the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

As always please feel free to get rigged up for the lake fishing season at our shop.  The friendly staff are excellent at explaining not only what gear you need but how to use it!

Interior Stillwater Report: 

The Pacific Angler staff have heard more and more lakes coming off each day.  The Pacific Angler staff do not have any fresh reports since last week.  However, make sure to keep your ear to the ground.
Timing at this point of the year can be crucial.  You do not want to get caught up at a lake just after the lake has turned over.  Stay tuned for next week for a comprehensive update on all of the iced-off lakes in the interior.

Vancouver River Fishing Report:

Squamish/Cheakamus Rivers – The Squamish and Cheakamus River levels have been up and down like a yo-yo over the past week or so.  A combination of unusually warm weather and some heavy precipitation have brought up the water levels, which in hindsight was a great thing as the river was fishing low all winter.

We are now getting consistent reports of bull trout taking fry patterns off the surface with a floating line.  This is an exciting fishery, as the fish really stack-up in certain holes, making for a fun day.

The staff are also getting the odd steelhead report throughout the entire system, although as typical the Cheakamus River is the more productive system for steelhead.  For gear fishermen the mighty pink worm has been producing as well as the gooey bob.  For fly fishermen swinging flies, unweighted or slightly weight intruders in pink, orange and black and blue can be effective.

For this time of year it is simply a matter of getting out and getting good river time.  The days are nice and long.  Make sure to take advantage of the first and particularly last light conditions as this is when the fishing can really turn on.

The Steelhead Society of BC will be hosting a river cleanup in the Squamish Valley on Sunday April 21st.  This is a great event and worthy cause, particularly if you enjoy fishing in this amazing valley.  For all of the details click on the link – SSBC Squamish River Cleanup.

– Dave Fauquier

Dave steelhead






Capilano River – the Pacific Angler staff have heard of the odd steelhead being caught on Capilano River.  There won’t be much happening on this river until the spring coho start coming through at the end of May and beginning of June.  So stay tuned!

Remember that all steelhead, hatchery and wild, must be released.

– Dave Fauquier

Seymour River – The Seymour River blew out this past Tuesday so it might be worth to swing a fly or drift a float through your favourite holes.  This river sees a very minimal return of winter run steelhead so do not have high expectations.  Enjoy the fact that you can swing a fly within a 20 minute drive of downtown Vancouver and if you get a chrome fish, it’s just a bonus!

– Dave Fauquier

Fraser River – As the Fraser River has been coming up every day, the sturgeon have been getting more and more active.  Sturgeon fishing has been good to excellent this month.  The warmer water temperatures have made these fish more active and put them on the feed.  Anglers are using lampreys as well as oolichans.  Fish can be caught through out the Fraser Valley, but favourite spots are around Chilliwack at Island 22 and Mission, around the Stave River outflow.

As usual we haven’t heard much from the cutthroat anglers on the Fraser Valley but due to limited water visibility I would hazard a guess that the cutthroat fishing is coming to an end. Maybe if we get a little cold snap the Fraser River will clean up a little but it is looking doubtful at this point.

– Dave Fauquier

Chilliwack/Vedder River – High water has plagued us this last week, and the river continues to flow high. However, with rain and high water will come fresh fish.

Dimitri with a nice steelhead.

Dimitri with a nice steelhead.

From top to bottom, the entire Chilliwack/Vedder River has fish throughout. As mentioned in all our prior reports, covering as much water as possible and giving the fish the opportunity to taste test a few different baits is usually the ticket to catching steelhead. Higher water required larger presentations.  Think of baits the size of a loonie, rather than dime sized. High water also allows the angler to get away with larger terminal tackle in order to land the fish in the increased flows.

– Dimitri Roussanidis

Dimitri R

Chehalis River – Unfortunately there haven’t been many fish showing up in Chehalis this last half of the season. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from going. It still has the 2nd largest run of winter steelhead in the lower mainland, and in years past the last two weeks of April have been very productive.

With a large canyon, the fish are generally targeted better with a gear rod, where the more meandering lower river fishes much better with a fly rod. As there has been little to no rain this week you can expect the conditions to be fairly low and clear. The warmer weather should raise the river with some welcomed snow melt. This bump in the water level will bring in the last few steelhead for the remainder of the season.

– Dimitri Roussanidis

Stave River – the staff at Pacific Angler have not heard of any recent reports on the Stave River.  However, a couple of weeks ago we heard that this river was on fire.  You can expect to have a chance of good cutthroat trout fishing using fry patterns at this time of year as well as the odd steelhead.  The stretch of water is very short, so if you have a slow day on the Chilliwack or Harrison Rivers it is always worth a try to check out the Stave River.  You never know what you are going to get.

– Dave Fauquier

Harrison River – The Harrison River is high and just about at it’s bankful width.  This is unfortunate as the Harrison River usually fishes well for cutthroat trout until mid-April.

A nice cutthroat trout taken on the fly.

A nice cutthroat trout taken on the fly.

If we get a cold/dry spell over the next few days the river level may drop back down making it fishable.  But if we do not it won’t be until the coho season in the fall until this system is fishable again.

– Dave Fauquier

Skagit River – CLOSED

Vancouver Saltwater Report:  

It is that time of year where anglers are eagerly anticipating some of the best chinook fishing of the year off the S end of Bowen, QA Marker, and across the Strait over in Namaimo and Gabriola.  Unfortunately the winds have been consistently strong, so much so, that fishing out in open water like the QA and S end of Bowen has not been an option, and you can forget about crossing the Strait.  As a result, most of the angling pressure has been in the harbour in spots like W. Van, the Freighters, and the Bell Buoy.
We have heard of a few fish here and there, but nothing consistent.  Most of the fish are coming on the standard spoons like the Irish Cream or Glow/Green and some fish on anchovies in glow teaser heads as well.  It is going to be another windy weekend so I don’t think it will be possible to fish S Bowen or the Hump as the forecast is calling for winds up to 20-30 knots.  There is also a major corporate charter this weekend with pretty much all available guide boats on deck.  With not many options due to the wind, the harbour will be full of guide boats this weekend.  This will give us a pretty good look at what is really around in the local waters as the fish are definitely going to see a lot of flashers and spoons this weekend!  I will be out on the water on Saturday and Sunday, as will Eddie, so we will report our findings on Monday in the Guide Journal.
Crabbing and pawning continues to good to great so that is a bonus.  I am keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast and when the winds die down I am going to go fish the Hump off the S end of Bowen as it usually turns on right about now.  As mentioned earlier, we have heard of a few fish form this area already, it is simply a matter of the wind backing off so more boats can get out there and fish.  When this happens I am sure we will hear of some good reports.  We will let you know when that happens.
Stay tuned for a special Spring Saltwater Report coming up that will detail all you need to know to catch fish in April, May and June in our local waters.
We will also be reinvigorating our Facebook and Twitter account with regular updates on the saltwater fishing so make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute reports.
– Jason Tonelli
Jason with chinook





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, Dimitri, Andre, Dave, and Eddie