Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: October 16, 2020

OUTLOOK 

We hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving Long Weekend and enjoyed an extra day on the water or around the table with family.  Last week we saw a ton of water but we also saw less water than was forecasted.  Things came into shape on the river fast and we heard good river reports across the board.  

There is more rain expected this weekend but, not half as much as we saw last week, and we will see the first cold nights early next week.  We expect things to clear up fast and drop when those low night time temperatures hit.  

We will touch on all the river fishing in the Freshwater Fishing Report Section below updates on the Squamish, Stave, Harrison, Capilano and Vedder.  Fishing has been good and we are seeing some of the later runs start to show up on the Stave and Harrison.  Matt goes over it all in the video version of the report here:  

We also have some updates from the saltwater world because there are still some fish out that way.   

Last but certainly not least, Andre has a cool coho fly video that you can check out here:  

On to the report!   

FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report 

Well, if you go ahead and take a look at the Vedder/Chilliwack system’s water level graph, you’ll notice that it looks a bit like a roller coaster.  With another forecasted dose of rain, we will probably see it spike again in the next few days but there is way less water coming than last week. 

At the time of writing, the river is sitting at a fishable level; a tad on the high side, but with decent visibility, fish are getting caught throughout the whole system.  If you can get out there before the big rains hit, do it, as the last dose of rain brought a bunch of fresh coho, chum and chinook into the system.  The river is at my favorite stage… dropping, with good visibility and at a reasonable level.  Suffice to say, it’s fishing well right now, but expect that to change with the rain. 

The Coho run should be near its peak, so I’d recommend taking advantage of the fishable water.  The Spring run should be tailing off, but there will still be some fish showing up into late October, and the Chum run should be ramping up over the next week or two.  Everything I discussed in my last report will still be valid, so I won’t ramble too much about that.  Just remember… bigger presentations, preferably with scent, flash or vibration in dirty water when the rain comes.  

Keep an eye on the forecasts for the next few days, as the amount of rain that falls on Thursday night and throughout Friday will dictate if the river is still fishable for the weekend, and forecasts around here seem to change every five minutes.  A gradual rise on the graph usually means the river is fishable, but a spike like we saw last week means the river is blown. Hopefully the river stays in shape for a few more days so the weekend warriors like me can actually get out and fish the river for once.  In any case, good luck, tight lines and stay safe out there. 

Squamish River Fishing Report 

Well, as expected with the storm, the Squamish blew out over the weekend.  No surprise here when you see 100mm of rain in the forecast.  Things settled a bit early in the week then we saw a bit more rain on Tuesday which bumped the river up again.  Finally, some cooler weather hit on Wednesday and she’s slowly dropping back into shape.  I expect things to start clearing up as the weather in Whistler is cooling quickly and they are even starting to see some snow in the village.  

Jordan was able to make it out on Monday after the blow out and fished between the bridges on the Cheakamus.  As I figured would have happened, fresh fish pushed in and they found some decent coho action on twitching jigs.  The water was still like chocolate milk so it made fly fishing almost impossible and spoons and spinners were able to get a few but the twitch was king.  

River_fishing_Cheakamus_October
Misty Cheakamus River

The upper river is still a touch high and dirty from the last report that I got earlier in the week but as mentioned before I expect things to clear up later this week.  We are also going to see a touch of rain which is what we love to see this time of year; we like to call it the “coho drizzle.” If things stay cool over the next couple of days, visibility should improve and it will be game on. Bead fishing will really start picking up as the rains will have pushed some eggs around and there will be hungry trout cruising around looking for an easy meal, so have a variety of sizes and colours at your disposal for the different conditions that you may encounter.  Have some smaller streamers in black, olive and white ready to go for the swinging and dirty water as well as the small flash flies for stacked up coho.  

Twitching will really start to pick up as will the spoon and spinner fishing so have a variety of colours and sizes to cover all water conditions.  If you did any scouting before the storm that may have all changed as it usually does after a big blow out.  Annoying as it is, I love the big blow outs because they completely change the look of the river and one has to unlock the secrets all over again.  I’m looking forward to getting out later this week again to see how things have shifted.  

Zach Copland 

Stave River Fishing Report 

Over the past week, the Stave has started to see fresh schools of coho and chum push through the system.  It’s been a bit of scene on the eastern shores of the river as most other systems were blown out due to the heavy rains of last week.  With some more rain in the forecast for the weekend, the Stave continues to be a fantastic choice as the dam is unlikely to open, barring an unexpected monsoon hitting the coast.  
 
As it’s still a bit early, most anglers on the system are having fun with chum – yet hoping for coho.  There are many presentations to target both species.  For float fishing, I really like to use small jigs, generally 1/4 ounce as a dirty water presentation, and if the system stays nice and clear throughout the rain, sticking with a simple egg cluster or wool setup.  Don’t forget that this system has plenty space for the more fly inclined angler.  Swinging large intruders has been outperforming many conventional presentations recently.  My favourite colours are pink & purple for the chum, and white / blue for coho. 
 
Please be aware of the regulations on the system as there is a spawning channel on the eastern side, from the inlet near the dam down to the boat ramp, which is closed to fishing.  We’ve been hearing reports of anglers targeting the spawning fish in there, so always try to avoid that area and notify any anglers which are unaware of the closure.  
 
Aidan Munro 

Capilano River Fishing Report 

My heart goes out to those who were involved in the recent Capilano River events.  All of us at the shop are sending our condolences to the family and friends of those who were lost in the high water.  We are grateful that everyone else was rescued safely.  It really hits home, and hits hard, when lives are put in danger or lost in places that many people frequent every day.  Stay safe out there and be mindful of how powerful rivers can be.  

Fish are still moving into the Capilano, and the water is moderately high at the moment.  Follow this link to monitor the water levels in the Capilano River: http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/water/sources-supply/watersheds-reservoirs/seymour-capilano-river-levels/Pages/default.aspx .  It is always a good idea to check the water levels of any river before you head out.  Follow this link for most other rivers in BC: https://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/google_map/google_map_e.html?map_type=real_time&search_type=province&province=BC .  There should be opportunities to find fish throughout the system, whether you choose to go to upper pools or lower runs.  I was conducting some stream-keepers work for the West Vancouver Stream-keepers Society and did see multiple chum and coho salmon spawning in a local creek that is a tributary of the Capilano. I was super happy to see these fish return to their resident spawning habitat, and it reassured me that the Capilano is still receiving fish.  

Small spinners & spoons, float fishing jigs, wool, and twitching jigs are all great ways to target the salmon in the system.  If you’re fly fishing, go with small presentation in olive, black, or flashy.  Small wooly buggers and leech patterns in those colors are great, but don’t shy away from trying a flash fly in some slower moving water.  

If you’ve got any questions about techniques and/or gear, stop by the shop and we’ll get you set-up with some knowledge and tackle. 

Stay safe everyone and tight lines! 

Haiden MacDonald. 

Harrison River Fishing Report 

We are still a little way away from hot salmon fishing on the Harrison, however, it has started. There are now a few chums and some coho milling about.  It is by no means hot fishing yet but it is a good time to scout it out and is a feasible drop-by point if you are fishing other systems in the area. For the chum you will want to drift a pink/purple/chartreuse jig under a float or fly fish with similar coloured streamers.  Once in a while, they will take swung spoons and spinners too. For the coho, cover water with small spinners, spoons, light twitching jigs, or sparse flash flies.  
 
Keep in mind that if you are wanting to walk and wade the Harrison you will want to make sure the river is below 9 metres, otherwise, you will find very little space to traverse. 

SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Well this is pretty much the end of the season for migratory chinook and coho.  I just took a look at the Albion chum and chinook test set data, and all but the last of the chinook are up the Fraser and coho numbers are starting to dwindle as well.

Chum numbers are really ramping up, right on schedule.  Traditionally, not many or any anglers have targeted chum off the mouth of the Fraser.  If you wanted to give it a go, this would be the week to do it.  It looks like the run is forecast to be about 1,000,000 and this is considered a pretty good run as the escapement target is 800,000.  Some anglers have had success in the past trolling purple hootchies, so that would be a good place to start.

The Cap is over as well.  Any chinook or coho hanging out will take advantage of these rains to head up the river.

The next season is winter chinook.  There have been a few fish taken here or there by the keeners who are already out there exploring but typically fishing will pick up as we get into November.  I will cover winter fishing in more details in November and December.

Saltwater_fishing_Vancouver_scouting_for_Chinook
Scouting our favourite winter spots, this past week

Now is a good time to check on your boat.  As we all know, it rains a lot in Vancouver in October and November.  If you can, get some heat in your boat so you don’t get mildew.  I like to head down to the boat mid-October and wipe down the interior with disinfectant or a light bleach solution to remove any bacteria, then get some heat going to keep things dry.  The best thing to do is actually go down to the boat on one of those days when it is a 50-60 mm heavy rain forecast.  This is when you can see if you have any leaks and can see where it is coming from so you can make the necessary repairs on a drier day.  Take pics and a video on your phone or tape areas off that need to be addressed with a new seal or some sealant.

It is also a good idea to test your bilge pumps this time of year.  Make sure they are working and make sure that all important float switch is working.  A lot of boats will actually get a significant amount of water in the bilge during the fall rains.  It enters from drink holders, seals that need to be replaced in the floor, anchor storage areas, cracks, etc. Eventually your batteries might even get drained from your bilge pumps, so it is also a good idea to charge up your batteries periodically during the winter or if you have shore power, use that.

If you aren’t going to run your boat all winter, you should also consider filling your tank to minimize condensation and to add some fuel stabilizer.

Whatever you do this winter, give your boat some care and attention and it will pay you back the next time you use it.

See you in the shop or on the water,

Jason Tonelli

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