Pacific Angler Outlook:
The story for the past week has been the cool weather conditions and dropping river levels. As of now all of the systems in the Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky Corridor are low and clear. But do not let that discourage you. The fish are still out there and the conditions simply make it more of a challenge to fool them and thus make the whole experience more rewarding. At least that’s what I keep telling my self to get me through the cold days and the persistence has paid off because we have been hooking fish.
Pacific Angler steelhead float fishing expert, Dimitri, was on the Vedder/Chilliwack River for 6 days straight and faired quite well, especially on his last two outings. He fished fairly hard making sure to cover lots of water throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to adjust your tactics to the conditions at hand. For low and clear conditions smaller presentations with lighter gear typically works best. Also focus on those areas with heavy cover as the fish will naturally gravitate to these areas in clear water conditions.
The Pacific Angler staff has started to hear of the first cutthroat reports in the Fraser Valley, which is very exciting. If this season is anything like the past two years we will be in for some amazing cutthroat fishing over the next 3 months.
There have also been a few reports of winter Chinook salmon caught locally over the last seven days. The conditions are looking great this weekend and so are the tides so if you are winter Chinook salmon angler it is time to get out on the water. For a detailed saltwater report please read the report below written by Pacific Angler head saltwater guide Eddie and Pacific Angler owner Jason.
The Vancouver weather forecast is calling for sunny conditions over the weekend and into next week. It won’t be until Wednesday that we start to see cloudy conditions with some rain. The daily high temperatures will range from 4 to 8 degrees Celsius while the daily low temperatures will range from -2 to 2 degrees Celsius.
For the saltwater anglers the marine forecast for the Straight of Georgia is looking favourable with light wind conditions over the weekend. In combination with sunny conditions this will be a great weekend to be out on the water in pursuit of winter chinook salmon and Dungeness crabs. The tides are also looking perfect with a nice high slack tide at just around noon.
STEELHEAD PRO TIP OF THE WEEK “READING WATER”
This weeks steelhead pro tip of the week comes from Pacific Angler’s booking manager Dave.
“I have been dedicated in the pursuit of steelhead for the past 6 years. When I first started I new absolutely nothing! I found the hardest learning curve was having confidence in the water that I was fishing. I am sure I spent many hours fishing over water that simply didn’t hold steelhead. From trial and error I discovered that certain types of water held fish and others didn’t. But it wasn’t until I started to work at Pacific Angler that I really started to figure out how to identify good steelhead water. One of the perks of working in the store and being immersed in fishing 24/7!
This is what I’ve learned. The 3 key things I look for when reading water are:
1.) Speed of water is king! The first thing you should look at is the speed of the current. A current that moves at a normal walking speed is best.
2.) Look for water depth around 4-6 feet. Steelhead prefer this depth because it offers good cover.
3.) Identify structure that could potentially provide cover for a steelhead. Examples are boulders, depressions and large woody debris.
If you can find a piece of water that has all three keys then you are most likely fishing over good steelhead holding water. Try to focus on these areas maximizing your time on the water. And make sure to fight that urge to fish less than good holding water!”
To keep up-to-date with all things Pacific Angler and the local fishing season check out the Pacific Angler Facebook Page. You can also follow Jason Tonelli and Pacific Angler 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 River Fishing Report:
Chilliwack/Vedder River – Fishing this past week was the best we’ve seen so far for the season. Lots of fish rolled in with the higher water, and they were eager to taste the offerings presented. Looking at the coming forecast, colder weather, with a little precipitation means the river will slowly drop and clear. It will be in good shape for some time. The challenge now is finding a fish, they are still eager to bite when conditions are like this. The best baits for the conditions at hand consist of prawns, roe, roe bags, 4” pink worms, single Jensen eggs, and jigs. For Flies: 2-3” intruders and bunny patterns in Pink, orange, peach and black/blue.
Chehalis River – The Chehalis came up with the rain, this river is known to come back into shape and drop quickly. With the large canyon its flows rise and fall like a yo-yo. With this first good rain of the season, the fish made their way up river quickly. The canyon is their sanctuary. Fresh moving fish are aggressive fish. They key to catching them is covering lots of water and fishing bright presentations in order to get their attention. Fishing now with the lower water will take finesse and persistence. Toning your gear down to match the conditions is a must. Small floats with split shot, lighter leaders in the 6-8lb test range with #2 hooks. Single Jensen eggs, small drab jigs, small pieces of prawn and roe work well when the conditions are tough like this. We expect to hear good reports when the river bumps again with the next set of showers.
Squamish River – Though we are still battling the snow and access is difficult we have a few whisperings of decent fishing. Because of the low clear water eggs have actually not been the best producers. The success we have heard has come on Sculpin patterns fished slow and deep. The second the conditions change and the river rises this will change and we will see the eggs go off. Make sure to head out onto the water with both presentations ready.
Capilano River – The river has been dropping since the high water event last week. We expect the river to stay low until another rain storm rolls through. Some fish most likely moved in with the higher water, and are now staging in some of the canyon pools. Because of the major fluctuations between high and low water, this river is best fish on the drop after a high water. Take extreme caution when fishing the canyon portion of this river, big rocks covered in algae and ice make for dangerous hiking conditions. A reminder that ALL steelhead on the Capilano (both hatchery and wild) are 100% catch and release.
Stave River – There have been a few steelheading showing up on the Stave. With no recent rains, things are obviously low and clear so it is important to scale down your presentation. More steelhead will enter this system as we head into February and March. We haven’t heard of any cutthroat reports this week from this river. Most anglers will start to fish for cutthroat on this system in March as the chum fry start to emerge later that month.
Harrison River – The Harrison has been fishing well for cutthroat for those anglers willing to venture out into the cold. Things look to be warming up a bit in the Valley, so this usually helps out the cutthroat fishing. At the very least you can feel your hands and you won’t be popping ice out of your guides. That alone can help you catch more fish! The cutthroat fishing will pick up as the fry emerge, but we are still a few months from that happening. In the meantime, general attractor patterns and nymphs will produce fish. If you aren’t fly fishing, small spinners and spoons will work, as will a single egg or a worm under a float. Most of these fish are wild so make sure you release them and treat them with care.
Vancouver Saltwater Report:
The seas have been calm, we have even seen a little sun, and there have been some nice slabs hitting the boat deck! Eddie was out on a charter on Thursday and got into 3 fish and a few customers have been out this week and hit fish as well. So it is definitely worth heading out. Most of the action has been off W. Van from the “Green Marker to the Pink Apartment”, close to the bottom on spoons in the 3.0 to 3.5 sizes. Productive colors have been Irish Cream, Cookies n Cream, Night Rider, Glo Green, Glo Yellow Tail, and Flaming Hans. You can run a glow flasher with a 6 foot leader to the spoon or you can run the spoon by itself without a flasher. We have had success with both methods lately. We have also heard of a few fish off the QB, Freighters, and over around the Mile Markers.
Crabbing has been so so, but prawning has been very good. Crabbing will pick up as we get closer to March.
So the weather is good (the forecast is for sun on the weekend), the fish are around, the seas are flat (the forecast is for light winds), and the prawning is good, so get out there in your boat or book a charter!
If you would like to book a charter give us a call at 604-872-2204, or drop by the shop and we can show you which gear has been getting the job done.
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.
Jason, Matt, Andre, Dimitri, Dave and Ron