Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: November 20, 2020

OUTLOOK 

As we are heading into the back half of November, we are dodging the usual late fall storms and high-water levels, but when things have lined up, solid salmon reports are still coming in.  We have updates on the Vedder, Harrison and Stave in the freshwater fishing section below.  

There is still good salmon river fishing but we are now past “prime time” and are looking to the next fisheries.  One that is a ton of fun at this time of year is using egg patterns to target all the species feeding on salmon eggs.  You can tackle this fishery on the almost any river that has salmon.  In the Squamish River section, Matt talks about this and shares some videos on the technique.  

Also if you’re heading out be sure to take into account the new COVID guidelines.

As we head into the winter months, we will be bringing you our saltwater report on a bi-weekly basis so tune in next week for Jason’s saltwater report.   

Here is this weeks’ video version of the Friday Fishing Report:  

On to the Report!  

INDUSTRY EVENTS AND UPDATES 

SFI Webinar Series 

SFI_Webinar_Series_2020

If you’ve been following this section of our reports you will know that the Sport Fishing Institute is hosting a webinar series for the month of November with a new webinar every Friday.  

This series of virtual discussions is intended to seek pathways for the recovery of salmon stocks and the predictable opportunity and reliable access for BC’s public fishery.  Each session is approximately 90 minutes long and covers topics within this year’s theme, “Charting a Predictable Path for Salmon and BC’s Public Fishery”. 

Attendance is free, but you must register in advance for the next session.  

Friday November 27Charting A Predictable Path For Salmon and Access For BC’s Public Fishery 

To register, visit the SFI website

Fraser River Sportfishing Alliance 

As you may know the Fraser River Sport Fishing Alliance and others have been working to fight for a sustainable public fishery on the Fraser River.   At this time, they are looking for support from the broader fishing community.   Now is a great time to learn more about  the current issues surrounding the Fraser River Fishery.  Be sure to check out the pinned post on their FaceBook  page for their latest update or to the GoFundMe page set up by the the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, to assist the FRSFA, regarding the situation and how one can get involved to support their efforts.   

FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report 

Not much to report on the Vedder/Chilliwack this time around.  Wind storms, pouring rain and generally unfavorable conditions have made things tough for the past week, but there is still some clean chum around, if you’re willing to brave the conditions.  At the time of writing this report, the weather forecast isn’t great, but that is subject to change, of course.  Rain isn’t our friend this weekend, as the river is running a touch on the high side.  As of Wednesday afternoon, we heard it was clearing up … but a bit of rain can change that very quickly. 

As I’ve said before, there will be a few coho moving in through November, but these late run fish can be very difficult to find, and a vast majority will be wild fish.  If you decide to go out looking for these late run ghosts, be prepared to cover lots of water looking for them.  Fish for them like you would fish for steelhead.  All the standard gear that I’ve discussed this season will work, just be sure to adjust presentations according to conditions. 

River_Fishing_Vedder_Chum
A dime-bright doe from the lower section

The late run chum season has been pretty good this year, with good numbers of very clean fish being encountered whenever the river is in fishable condition.  A majority of the late chum will be encountered in the lower river, but they can also be found in the mid/upper as well.  This run will also persist until the end of the month, and as always, short floating jigs will be the ticket to getting these chums to bite. 

One great thing about November on the Vedder is that a majority of the crowds will have dispersed, so it should be a lot more tolerable than it was earlier in the season.  This is also a good time to check your gear, respool your reels and get out there to start scouting for good steelhead water.  As mentioned in previous reports, be sure to avoid spawning salmon and refrain from wading through their spawning areas if at all possible, as doing so interrupts the fish and, more importantly, crushes their nests and eggs.  

Taylor Nakatani 

Squamish River Fishing Report 

With a mix of rain and snow and relatively lower air temperatures in the forecast for the weekend, it will be hard to call if the Squamish will be in fishing shape.   

As we write the report on Thursday it is dropping and looking perfect on the water levels.  All we can say it keep an eye on it and make the call in the morning.  A ton of rain in the forecast with a spiking river will be bad news.  Dropping river with lots of rain, means snow and probably good water levels.  Take appropriate snow related driving precautions but she should be good.  

River_Fishing_Squamish_River_Coho_snow
Great Squamish coho caught in the snow last week. Good job Matt!

Salmon fishing continues on the system and we have heard of more coho reports this week but we are also shifting to the egg fishing season where we target species eating the salmon eggs.  You can do this with a gear rod and a light float setup but many anglers use lighter fly rods in the 4 -7 wt range and “nymph” Beads. 

River_Fishing_Squamish_River_Bull_Trout_egging_beads

 If want to try this very effective method, come down to the store and ask the guys to walk you through the setup and you can also check out the video below, on the technique.  

Insert Egging video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5yZEjYN6dE&t=884s   

Important note on this fishery: We ask everyone to be very respectful of walking through areas where the salmon are spawning.  This also means respecting small tributaries.  Even if there are no salmon present, avoid walking down the middle of these smaller pieces of water as there may have been salmon spawning there in past days.  This goes for all salmon bearing streams this time of year but is hyper critical on the Squamish where spawning habitat is quite unstable.   Also all unlisted tributaries are closed to fishing on the Squamish.    

Matt Sharp 

Stave River Fishing Report 

Salmon fishing on the Stave is coming to an end.  The chum run is basically over; numbers have dropped off drastically since the previous week and there are very few fresh fish in the system now.  Coho fishing can still be decent until end of November but we typically see a lot of coloured fish at this point. These coho can sometimes be tight lipped so low light conditions and finesse presentations work to your advantage.  This means flash flies, small muddlers, or wooly buggers are your go-tos for fly fishing.  Small chunks of roe short floated at first light can be effective, or downsizing your spinners, spoons, and twitching jigs into trout sized options can stir up lock-jawed fish.  

Speaking of trout, this time of year can be a great time to hunt for cutthroat trout on this system.  This is a great ultralight fishery and can be a ton of fun if the late season salmon aren’t responding to much. The trout will mostly be clued in on eggs now so single beads or Jensen eggs can be deadly fished in behind the spawning coho and chum.  Once in a while, you may find a surprise coho on the end of your line too.  

Alex Au-Yeung 

Harrison River Fishing Report 

Even with all the rain we’re seeing this week, it looks like the Harrison will be one of the few systems not entirely blown out for the weekend.  The river is hovering around 8.0 – 8.2 as the surrounding areas avoid most of the heavy downpour.  The river is absolutely fishable from shore on the Kilby park side, however if the levels go up much from here the Sandpiper side of the river will have limited shore access.  
 
Overall, reports have still been good for the past week on the Harrison.  Still good amounts of chum are pushing through the system along with OK reports of fresh coho though we have heard of tough days when netting has stopped fish from pushing into the system.  

Your focus on this system, much like any other, is to cover water as efficiently as possible.  Thus, I suggest using presentations you can work quickly.  On the gear side; spoons, spinners and twitching jigs have been the most consistent in getting the aggressive coho as they push through.  For the fly inclined anglers, stick with your go-to flash flies in a multitude of colours and work them through the entire water column.  
 
Aidan Munro 

SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS 

As we mentioned in the outlook for most of the winter season we will be bringing you our saltwater report on a bi-weekly basis.  So be sure to check in here next week for a full report from the water. If you have any questions in the interim don’t hesitate to give the shop a call at 604.872.2204. 

See you in the shop or on the water! 

Jason Tonelli 

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