Pacific Angler Outlook:
Well, the world didn’t end so it’s been a pretty good week. And oh yeah, some fish have been caught as well. Boxing Day is traditionally the true start of steelhead season and this fishery will be taking the limelight in our fishing reports over the next two months. We have had some great reports, so check out the river reports and the Pro Tip of the week below.
Winter Springs are also a hot topic this time of year for the saltwater angler. We have heard of some of the first good local saltwater salmon reports for winter chinook. Jason Tonelli will discuss this fishery in-depth in the Saltwater Report below. Other fisheries to pay attention to will be the trout fisheries for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, as well as char (bull trout and Dolly Varden).
The Vancouver Vancouver weather forecast is calling for light rain over the weekend with temperatures ranging from 2-5 degrees. Next week we will have mainly sun with relatively cold temperatures. This will keep rivers low. We are hoping for some warmth and some heavier rains to bump up the river levels. River levels
Steelhead Pro Tip of the week: When things are low and clear don’t only minimize the size and color of your lure of choice, look to minimize the size of your gear as well.
Get technical with your float and weights. Pencil lead is great for many situations but spacing out split shot is much less obtrusive. Fishing a smaller drab float and going to spilt shot instead of pencil lead can make a big difference in low, clear water. Some brands of split shot are silver and shiny when brand new or right out of the package. Let your split shot sit in some water or coffee to take away that bright silver shine. You want the shot to blend in to the surroundings, not reflect light on those sunny January days when it is cold and the river is dirt low and gin clear.
Be aware that split shot snag fast, pay attention and if you are tapping bottom reel up right away and reset your float. You want to be close to bottom, not dragging your shot across bottom. Split shot is not very forgiving, unlike pencil lead.
Also look to your swivels and leader. Go with small black swivels and fluorocarbon leader. The smaller, dark swivel is hard for the fish to see and fluorocarbon leader is virtually invisible to fish when wet, so it helps when fishing for spooky fish in low, clear water.
So don’t let low and clear water stop you from catching some fresh winter steelhead. Get technical and get rewarded!
For a detailed look at Vancouver’s river fishing scene by the Pacific Angler staff and updates on the saltwater scene by Pacific Angler head saltwater guide, Eddie, please read the reports below. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff @ 604-872-2204 or better yet, drop by Pacific Angler @ 78 East Broadway.
River Fishing Report:
For a complete river fishing report compiled by the Pacific Angler staff please read below.
Chilliwack River: The river has dropped due to the freezing temperatures. By the looks of it, the weather will stay the same, and the river will soon be at a state of low and clear conditions. Some rain and warmer weather is welcomed. This may blow the river out but it will bring in a fresh pushes of fish. As the New Year falls upon us, more and more steelhead will enter the river, giving us the chance to shake hands with one of these silver beauties. With the clear water conditions, toning down your presentation will be the ticket to success. Small roe bags, single eggs, 4” pink worms, and small pieces of natural roe or prawn are the things to use when confronted with low conditions.
Chehalis River: The river remains low and clear, while there are some late coho, most are either spawning, or about to spawn. The odd clean fish will trickle in. The steelhead will remain far and few between due to the water conditions. Some snow melt and some rain will help bring the first few fish of the season in.
Fraser River: The Fraser is a great system to explore in the winter months. In the past couple seasons we have seen resurgence in the cutthroat populations and though few anglers are out hitting the river the ones that have been able to brave the cold and find good water have had some great success. This is mostly a fly fishery and we recommend small size 8-12 bead head pheasant tails, black stone flies, or bead head muddlers on a full floating line or light sink tip. Using small spinners and float rigs are also a great way to cover the water.
Squamish River: The Squamish remains extremely low, although there are bull trout, rainbows and cutthroat trout in the river. A washed out single egg is the meals of choice this week. Conditions like these require finesse presentations. Light tippet, preferably fluorocarbon, and small drab colored flies. Rolled muddlers in a size #6 or #8, pale washed out egg patterns either in an 8 or 10mm bead or glo bug, or flesh flies.
Capilano River: We have heard of a few steelhead in the system and if you can’t make it out to the valley the Capilano is definitely worth hitting. It does not have a large population of steelhead and for the fly fisherman it can be a tough river to fish with its high canyon walls but with some persistence and a float rod it is a great system only minuets from down town. There will be more steelhead entering the river as we get closer to February.
Stave River: There has been some great fishing on the Stave lately. Reports of cutthroat trout, whitefish, and bull trout are the target species. Watching the water levels on the graph will dictate when the best fishing is to come. This week the bullies and whitefish were on the bite, with multiple hook ups in a morning a common theme. Egg sucking leeches, sculpins, muddler minnows, and small egg patterns should be in your box for this system.
Vancouver Saltwater Report:
Please read below for an extensive saltwater report from Pacific Angler owner and saltwater guide, Jason Tonelli:
“As predicted, things picked up just before Christmas. A few of our fellow guides, and one regular customer headed out to the harbour and was rewarded with some winter chinook for the Christmas holidays!
So far the fishing is just like it normally is this time of year. By that I mean you go out one day and get nothing, only to go out a few days later and get multiple shots at nice chinook. If you are a regular of our fishing reports you will know that the time to go fishing for winter chinook is simply when you have time. Don’t wait for the report and then plan to go, by then the fish have often moved on, if only for a few days before more show up. From now until April you can expect these aggressively feeding chinook to enter the harbour at any given time.
Now that the Christmas and Boxing Day rush has passed, we will again be focusing our attention on this exciting fishery! This is a great way to spend the day, cool crisp air, hard fighting chinook, and only minutes from downtown. If you would like to book a charter give Dave a call at Pacific Angler 604-872-2204. If you are heading out on your own, keep you gear close to the bottom and try spoons in the 3.0 to 4.0 inch range.
There has been lots of bait around so the 3.0 and 3.5 inch spoons in green/glow, Irish cream, cookies n cream, and black/glow (aka night rider) are top choices. We have good stock on these spoons in the shop right now, which is not always the case as the manufacturers often back order these spoons in the summer when they can’t keep up with demand. If you are not a spoon guy, of course an anchovy in your favorite teaser head will get the job done, but bait is truly not needed for these fish. In fact, most anglers will run a flasher and a 6 foot leader to a spoon.
In terms of tides, traditionally people will fish on the flood, but we have had success on the ebb as well. If you have a flexible schedule, concentrate on the flood up to the high slack and the first little bit of the ebb. Stay tuned for more reports as we are heading out on charters and some personal fishing over the next couple days. See you out there!”
On behalf of the Pacific Angler staff we wish you the best in your fishing endeavours 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.
The Pacific Angler Crew