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Home / FIshing Reports / Vancouver Friday Fishing Report, August 17th 2012

Vancouver Friday Fishing Report, August 17th 2012

Pacific Angler Outlook:

Welcome to the Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report.  The staff at Pacific Angler is proud to be your source for fishing information throughout British Columbia.

It looks like we are in for another great week of weather with temperatures in the low 20s. Fishing has been solid on a number of systems and we are seeing better fishing in the salt chuck. Things just picked up off Bell Buoy, Spanish Banks and towards the mouth of the Fraser for Chinook. We expect this fishery to improve over the next 2 weeks and last well into September. Peek migration of Fraser Chinook is predicted for some time in the next 2-3 weeks and with good numbers already in the Fraser this bodes well for our Labor Day Chinook Classic Tournament being held September 1st and 2nd. We still have a few spots available so give us a call at the shop or check out the website for details – It’s going to be an awesome party with big cash prizes.

The Fraser River is still coming down and though the sockeye outlook is less optimistic this week, the Chinook bottom bouncing has been very good. See the river report below for more details. The outlook on the Thompson River is good and with levels getting down into fishable levels we are hearing good reports from fly fisherman on the Skagit and Thompson. This week we have focused a large portion of the report on the flies and rigs for fishing these systems for the next two months. Check it out bellow.

Wednesday's crew with some nice fish!

Beach fishing has been solid. With the Capilano River still very low, fish are staging off the north Van beaches and it is definately worth a look on a low tide in the morning.

This weekend the Vancouver forecast is calling for sunny conditions and warm temperatures, with daily highs of 24 degrees Celsius.  Looking forward into next week you can expect stable, dry conditions with daily high temperatures ranging from 23 to 24 degrees Celsius.

River Fishing Report:

In years past we focused on the Skagit and Thompson fisheries in July but because of the high water levels these fisheries and many like them across the province have not fished well. That is changing. We have missed a large portion of the season but the fish have not seen much fishing pressure so we should have a great late season. In this report we are going to look at the 3 most effective fly fishing presentations for covering the major food sources on these rivers.

Nice fish caught last week - Thanks Ron!

This first presentation is the simple “Dry Fly” rig. Use a 9ft tapered leader. For most of our trout fisheries we recommend a 5-6lb tapered leader. We then add a 1.5-2ft section of tippet usually one weight class lower than the tapered leader. 5lb is ideal. You will need some dry fly floatant that comes in a past or powder. We apply this to our fly and back portion of the leader. Do not apply the floatant to the last 4 feet of leader because it will float the line and cut a line across the water that turns fish off. Some anglers will use a Sinking pasteto hide the last few feet of leader but it is not a necessary Flies we recommend for the Skagit are; Parachute Adams in grey and olive in size 10-14. We also like Elk Hair Caddis in the same size and larger Green Drakes later in the season. On the

Thompson fish large Hopper patterns like the California Blond and if fish get picky try a Royal Wolf or Humpy Attractor.

The key with this presentation is to achieve a dead drift. Mend and manipulate the line to make sure the fly moves without the line dragging against the current. A couple of tricks we recommend are adding a little twitch to the fly especially in the slower moving pools. If you see a fish that is looking at your fly but not biting give the fly a 2inch twitch pause twitch pause, twitch pause. This will usually get a picky trout to come flying out of the water after your fly. When the fish hits set the hook immediately and then get the slack out of your line.

The second rig is the Indicator Rig. This is used for fishing nymphs that are disturbed from under rocks or are trying to swim to the surface to hatch. We still employ a 9ft tapered leader in the same lb test class as the dry fly. Mono-filament line is great but for this presentation Fluorocarbon line sinks faster and is less visible to the fish. We also add a foot or two 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.

The basic gear for Nymping

Our favorite flies are Golden Stones and Olive Stones in size 8-10. For Mayfly imitation use the Hairs Ear and Pheasant Tails in 10s-16s.

A couple tricks with this method are to mend aggressively and 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.

Every January/February we put on the famous Nymphing Course where we take an in-depth look at this presentation and then take you out on the water to prefect the techniques. If interested call the shop to get on the waiting list or keep your eyes open for next years course schedule coming in early November.

The last technique that we fish in these areas is the swung fly strip. This is a great method for catching salmon and steelhead but it is also great presentation for big bull trout and dollies as well as the odd rainbow. We use a sink tip for this method and even if you don’t have a sink tip line you can purchase a sinking poly leader that loops onto any standard dry line. Though it doesn’t cast as well as a full sink tip line it works well to get you in the game.

For the Skagit use large olive and black streamers on the Thompson use large salmon fry imitations.

When you next head out to the trout rivers around the province make sure you can cover all 3 of these presentations and you will put more fish to the bank. If you have any questions come in to the shop and we will walk you through the gear or give us a call and we can help you over the phone.

We expect to see good levels for most rivers across the province with the heat having caught up with the snow melt. Make sure to check the river levels before you head out to your favourite river.  For a detailed look into the local river scene please read Dimitri Roussandis’s river fishing report below:

Capilano River

The Capilano River is still low and the report hasn’t changed much from last week with all coho salmon confined to the “Cable pool”. If we get a bump of water expect some more fish to push through and some Chinook should be hitting the river soon. First light in the morning and last light are the best times for success. Small spoons, spinners and flies have been the magic item when the fish do decide to bite.

Chilliwack River

The red Chinooks fishing is slowing down though there are still fish to be had. These fish will continue to show until approximately the 15th of September when the fall white springs start to roll in. Bigger gear is a must – Twenty pound mainline with 12 or 15lb leader and size #1 -2/0 hooks help land the Chinooks in a timely fashion. As for baits, roe is a key to success. Other items that are productive are wool, Colorado blades, Jensen eggs, prawns, jigs and larger Gibbs spoons.

Chehalis River

The Chehalis is still low. Though fish are spooky, you can have some cool sight fishing in the canyon starting from the boundary just below the lake, all the way down to the bridge or from the Chehalis campground down the Harrison River. Both Chinooks and summer steelhead occupy the river this time of year. These fish are extremely wary. First light is always the best time to be there for any sort of success.

Use caution when fishing the river, both lower and upper. It has treacherous terrain in both areas. Always let someone know where you will be and when you are coming home. And a can of bear spray is highly recommended when fishing this particular river, which you can purchase at Pacific Angler.

Fraser River

The Fraser River is still coming down and is quite high but fishing conditions are improving. Last week we were hoping for a sockeye opening but the numbers this week were not as strong as hoped and an opening is lest optimistic at this time. We will continue to keep you updated on the situation but there is still great fishing to be had. There are lots of Chinooks migrating up river and if the indications from the salt carry over into the river we are going to see peak migration any day now. Target the Chinook with traditional bar fishing rigs.

The Chinook salmon on the Fraser River require large riggings. 50-80lb braided mainline, 25-30 lb monofilament (for those who are die hards), wire spreaders bars, 14-20 oz of lead, 40-60lb test mono leaders, 4/0-6/0 hooks, and spin n glows in the #1, 0, & 00 sizes.

Thompson River

Summer Chinook fishing improved this week and trout fishing is starting to get good. Fishing for salmon should be good until end of September when the river closes but the trout are a little more picky. If too many sockeye come into the river the trout fishing will slow down. We expect the best trout fishing of the season over the next 10-15 days. Drift fishing and float fishing are all equally effective methods to target the salmon. Utilizing larger equipment in order to control the adults makes for mediocre fights from the jacks, while the opposite relates to targeting jack springs and hooking an adult, which proceeds to have its way with you. For the trout you can experience world-class dry fly fishing for large and aggressive rainbow trout. If the trout are not rising to your stonefly or attractor dry flies then try a large stonefly nymph (size 4 to 6) with split shot and indicator.


Fishing is decent up on the Mamquam and Lower Cheakamus Rivers. Though the rivers are still high we are hearing reports of rainbows and bull trout hitting on streamers with the swung fly technique we looked at above.

Andre is hitting the water tomorrow so give us a call on the weekend for a more detailed report.

Skeena Region Report, Nicholas Dean Lodge

After an intense thunderstorm mid week – one that was perhaps the largest I’ve seen here in Terrace over the past 6 years, lasting well over two hours – river levels on the Skeena and its tributaries bumped up slightly prior to resuming their downward trend. Daily temperatures have been consistently reaching upwards of 25C, but cooling at night, signifying that the onset of Fall isn’t all that far away.

On the mainstem Skeena, we’re in the heart of our Summer Steelhead and Salmon fishery, where you virtually have a shot at all species in the same day. With these fish just days from the Ocean, they are clean, bright fish that will test every ounce of your gear and your stamina. Largest fish seen this week were: Steelhead – 21 lbs, Chinook Salmon – 35 lbs, Chum Salmon – 28 lbs, Coho Salmon – 15 lbs, Sockeye Salmon – 9 lbs, and Pink Salmon – 7 lbs. When fishing the Skeena at this time of year, it’s highly recommended that you have a minimum of 150 yards of backing, as more anglers are spooled at this time of year than all others combined!

To fish the mainstem Skeena effectively at this time of year, it’s wise to break it down into smaller pieces of water so that it’s not quite as daunting as it might initially appear. Because of the long distances that the Steelhead and Salmon need to travel to upstream tributaries, they are almost always on the soft inside seams, where they can rest. For the angler, this means that casts need only be short – often 15 to 35 ft is the norm. So, if you’re a spey caster, just make sure to hold back on casting that full line – you can save that for later in the Fall when they’re in the tributaries! Ensure that you have a good assortment of sink tips, including Type 3 through Type 8, and varying lengths of either T-14 or LC-13. When your fly stops midway through its swing, just make sure you hold on, you might be in for the fight of your life!

Tight lines,

Chad Black


Operations Manager, Nicholas Dean Outdoors

Local Saltwater Fishing Report:

Last week was a tough go out on the salt. With big tides and a strong northwesterly fishing was difficult but over the last 3 days things have picked up considerably. On Wednesday Jason had a solid day on the water boxing 4 coho off the north Van coastline and still had time to head over to the Bell Buoy were they hit 2 springs landing a nice one for the barbeque. But the excitement started last night with a big wave of Chinook hitting the harbor (get out fishing!) We heard of two boats hitting 4-5 fish each on the evening tide.

The fish off the Capilano Mouth Have moved up onto the flats off the Pink Apartments. We have been fishing in 80-100ft of water with our riggers at 20-40ft. In the last few days the fish have been hitting more on anchovies than the spoons and hoochies. This is common this time of year when the staging Coho become picky but still cover you bases. Running a white hoochie, a red/white apex or 2.5 – 3 inch spoon and then 2 anchovies on glow teaser heads is a great 4 rod spread.

Off the Bell Buoy, T10 and towards the Sand Heads near the Fraser, our guides are fishing in approximately 80 feet of water, setting their gear anywhere from 40 to 70 feet. Anchovies or herring on a glow teaser head with your favorite flashers have been the most productive.

The weather for this weekend and the start of next week is looking excellent with lots of sun in the forecast and highs of 24 degrees Celsius.  Check out The Georgia Straight Marine Forecast for this weekends conditions.  Always make sure to check the latest marine forecast before you head out on the ocean as conditions can change rapidly.

Things can change fast but Jason is out guiding today and the “Guide Journal” was just updated with the latest info.  To book a charter for the glorious month of August please do not hesitate to contact Dave at Pacific Angler (604-872-2204).

Lake Fishing Report:

Though Lake fishing is considered slow this time or year we are still hearing good reports from the higher elevation lakes. This week we are pleased to have another contributor to the report. The boys at Hatheume Lake are going to be giving us weekly updates on the fisheries around tier area and on the lake where fishing has been solid all summer. Thanks again Glen and welcome to the report!

Hatheume lake is located in the Thompson-Okanagan region, mid-way between Merritt and Kelowna, off Highway #97C at the Sunset exit. At an elevation of 4600’, the summer weather lately has been excellent, with temperatures in the 30’s during the daytime (Bring your sunblock!) and the evenings have been cooling off to around 8*, helping the water temperature remain cool. Area lakes within minutes from the resort at Hatheume include Pennask, Pinnacle, Rat, Rock and Rouse which offer a variety of different sizes of both water and Rainbow Trout.

This year Hatheume lake has been fishing exceptionally well. Average trout size is at 20”, with lucky and patient anglers into 25”+ fish each week.

Prolific chironimid hatches in June and July yielded above average catch rates, 50 fish to the net in a day was not uncommon for many anglers. The frenzy has passed but there are still hatches coming off intermittently. Best bet at this time is to fish in the deeper cooler water during the day as the surface temperature is hovering around 70*. Full sinking line with a dragonfly nymph or leech is still taking fish in the 5+lb. range. In the evenings the surface action picks up, try a olive caddis or a Lady McConnell.

The Biggest fish caught and released to date this year (Of course that I am aware of!) is a 28”, 7.6 lb. beauty that was caught on a caddis emerger and released back into the lake for another to enjoy. Multiple tales of larger fish being hooked, but only hooked temporarily!

Take a look at the Hatheume website or give them a call if you are heading into the area.

On behalf of the Pacific Angler staff I genuinely hope you enjoyed our Friday Fishing Report.  If you have any comments, recommendations or feedback please do not hesitate to contact the friendly staff at Pacific Angler by phone (604-872-2204) or reply to this email.

Tight Lines,

Matt Sharp & the Pacific Angler Team