Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: October 2, 2020

OUTLOOK 

Sumer 3.0!  Well, we keep getting waves of unseasonably warm weather and with-it smoke from the forest fires down south.  We could do without the poor air quality but the warmth should make for great fishing weather.  This week we look at all the major river systems along with an update from the saltwater front.  

We’re taking a break from the video version of the report this week; instead we have a cool video on leaders for coho fly fishing.  Check it out in the feature video section below. 

Last but certainly not least our thoughts and prayers are with those who were a part of the tragic accident at the Capilano yesterday.   To all, take care and be safe when you head out on the water this weekend.

FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Vedder/Chilliwack River Fishing Report 

We finally got the rain that our rivers so desperately needed, and now that it’s had some time to clear up and drop, the Vedder/Chilliwack is in pretty nice shape.  It’s running at a comfortable level, although another forecasted dry spell could change that, and visibility is good.  The higher water levels allowed fish to move freely, and as a result there are now decent numbers of coho, chinook and a few chum throughout the entire system, top to bottom, and there are still fresh fish pushing in.  Despite this, fishing has been somewhat spotty, and lots of people, including myself, have been reporting finding lots of fish that are very reluctant to bite. Having said that, if you show up at the right spot for first light or if you can find some good water that isn’t too busy, you will be rewarded. 

There are still good numbers of chinook in the system and the rains brought in a fresh wave of coho as well.  Nothing has changed on the gear front; all the stuff I’ve discussed in the past will be good options.   

Now that we’re officially into October, we should start to see a steady increase in the number of chum in the river.  Chum are incredibly fun to fish for and catch, as they’re big, strong, and incredibly stupid at times.  They’ll bite almost anything, so there’s absolutely no acceptable reason to floss or snag them, and standard coho/chinook gear will also work just fine, but my personal favorite way to target chum is short floating jigs.   

Short floating is very simple, as you’re just drifting a jig, usually purple, pink, blue, black, or any combination of these colours, a few feet under a float.  No need to tick bottom or fish deep, as aggressive fish will come up a long way to crush a jig, so you almost never snag fish or hang up on bottom.   

If you’re a fly guy, anything in the aforementioned colors will be your go-to choices, and bigger is oftentimes better.   

The system is currently open for chum retention as of the 1st, but please pay close attention to the regulations, as the DFO has been known to change them arbitrarily and with very little notice. 

October is my favorite month of the year… the leaves are changing color, it’s not too hot outside, and the salmon runs are at their best.  The chinook, coho and chum runs all peak sometime in October in the Chilliwack/Vedder, so be sure to get out there and take advantage of the best month of the year.   

Don’t forget to stock up on gear now, as it’ll get tougher to track down the essentials during peak season.  

Good luck out there. 

Taylor Nakatani 

Stave River Fishing Report

Now that we’re fully in the grips of salmon season, it’s always a good idea to have options open if your original plan doesn’t pan out.  The Stave is starting to see some small numbers of coho rolling through.  Generally, we see this system really kick into gear midway through October, but expect it to be a little bit later due to the conditions we’ve seen this year.  Hopefully we get a better chum run this year as they are one of the main target species of the system, which were severely lacking last year in numbers.  
 
My favourite part of this system is the variety of presentations you’re able to approach it with. Whether float fishing, chuckin’ spoons and spinners, twitching jigs, or swinging flies; you can pick up fish with each presentation as the water conditions permit.  The key is always to have a variety of presentations.  Of course, if you plan on fishing the more popular areas near the boat ramp, arriving early morning can be a difference maker for your day.  If you’re a bit more of a sleeping in type, try covering ground along the eastern shore to find the type of water which matches the gear you’re approaching the system with.  For the early coho I like to focus on presentations with a lot of flash such as colorado blades, float / twitching jigs, spoons or small flash flies. 
 
Aidan Munro 

Squamish River Fishing Report

 Well the weather came and as expected she blew out.  Since last week’s big rain storm, the river is coming back down to a high but fishable level, hovering around the 3.0 mark on the graph.  The water is still quite dirty and I haven’t heard much from the Cheakamus area as to how clarity is but I assume that it is still dirty as well.  Looking at the weather reports for this weekend it is going to be smoking hot temperature wise once again, I plan on being up there while you are reading this and the forecast is for 30 degree weather so I don’t expect the clarity to get any better.  The weather in Whistler is above the seasonal average and it looks like that trend is going to continue for the next week or so.  This will continue to keep the main stem Squamish pretty dirty.  If you are going to head out and explore the main river, I would keep your presentations big.  For the gear guys, bust out the 45 and 55 size Koho spoons in silver, twitching jigs is a good idea as well if you can find some cleaner pockets of water.  For the fly guys, big intruder style patterns in black and purple will help to contrast with the dirty water and have brought me success in the past.  If you are beading for trout, look for cleaner pockets of water and don’t be afraid to fish the bigger 10mm beads in darker colours.  When the water finally starts to clear in the coming weeks you will see us reporting on our favorite 8mm colors in the reports.  Like I said before, I will be out this Friday poking my nose around and seeing how spots are shaping up so I will try and get some firsthand intel and photos for the report next week! 

Zach Copland 

Harrison River Fishing Report:  Season Outlook 

It is October 2nd and the rivers known as the “North Side Systems” will start to garner attention from many anglers.  The biggest one, literally, is the Harrison River.  The Harrison historically has gotten spectacular runs of coho, chum, and chinook. These days it still has viable fisheries for coho and chum and as of October 1st, these two species are open for retention.  Please check the regulations for in-season changes before heading out.  This fishery really hits its stride from third week of October until about the second week of November with some stragglers on either end of that window.  Chum fishing can be easily done by either float fishing with jigs in some combination of purple, pink, chartreuse, and fluorescent blue, or by swinging large streamers of similar colour on a fly rod.  Coho fishing gets a little more technical as the need for stealth does come into play but they can be tricked by a myriad of twitching jigs, spinners, or spoons for gear anglers and flash flies, rolled muddlers, and wooly buggers for fly fishermen.  

It is worth noting that the water levels plays an integral part in this fishery, especially from a walk and wade stand point.  You want the river to be at less than 9 meters on the hydrograph, otherwise access will be extremely limited to basically the highway 7 bridge area.  Once the water is below 9 meters much more bank will open up.  The other alternative is to launch a small boat as the current is relatively tame on most days.  

If you are looking for a cool fishery to explore then come down to the shop and we can get you ready for your next trip! 

Alex Au-Yeung 

VIDEO FEATURE 

Coho Leader Video 

If you are going to go coho fishing in the next couple weeks Matt walks us through his leader strategy for covering the varied conditions and water types that we find coho in.    Check it out here:  

STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Interior Lakes Fishing Report 

It’s finally getting to that time of year for those lake anglers seeking cooler temperatures. 

Larger meal-ticket items are the key at this time of year, making boobies, blobs, dragons, and boatman standard issue. 

Having a variety of the above patterns in various colours and sizes will be important, as well as chironomids. There have been reports of small gunmetal chironomids in some areas as well, with those prepared being rewarded. 

The lower elevation lakes in and around Merritt have been producing decent action for those headed that way, either for a weekend or the day, with no specific lake being the ‘hot one’. Reports have been steady, with anglers usually finding success between a few different lakes.  

Sink-tips, full-sink lines, and full-floating lines are all used at this time of year, so it’s not quite time to put stuff away for the season.  

Remember to keep your leader/tippet short when fishing full-sink lines as you want the line to take your fly down, not have the line sink and the fly riding up higher.  Takes can be fairly aggressive, so don’t be scared to size up your tippet.  I find most fish that are willing to hunt/kill patterns such as those mentioned above are not leader-shy, and can sometimes break off on lighter tippet when initially setting the hook.  That being said, it isn’t as important to be on the water at first-light either as temperatures will affect fishing. 

Also keep in mind that daylight hours are shortening, and to be safe when spending time on the water in watercraft.  Give yourself time to get back to the shore, and pack down your boat safely.  Doing this will ensure you don’t forget anything in the dark! 

Interior_lake_flyfishing_Sheridan
First light at Sheridan Lake

Keep it tight! 

Jordan Simpson 

SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report 

This time of year, we basically have two options for fishing, the Cap Mouth and the South Arm.  Things have been pretty lack luster in both locations for the most part.  I think the rain last week, and just the time of year, triggered the migration for a lot of the fish to move up river.  Looking back in my journal, there have been some decent days at the Cap and the South Arm in October, each year is different, you just need to get out there and give it a try. 

If you want to keep it local, the Cap Mouth does traditionally offer some decent opportunity in the first 2 weeks of October.  It is looking pretty dry until late next week, so if some October fish do show up, the river should be low enough that they will stage out front.  As usual, a flasher and bait presented close to the bottom is the most productive technique.  Our trips there this past week were slow, but we are optimistic there will be more fishing coming in this week on the flood tides. 

If the sea conditions are good and you have more time, you might want to head down to the South Arm.  The September crowds are gone, and the pressure is relatively light.  There are still a few chinook around, coho, and some chum are starting to show up.  A reminder that you can only retain hatchery coho with no adipose fin.  Fishing from 25-75 on the riggers is a good zone for all of these species.  I have done well in October with a UV or chrome flasher and white hootchies for coho.  A Herring Aid Betsy and Yamashita white UV hootchy with a shorter leader around 24-30 inches is a good bet.  It’s a good idea to run some bait as well as we have hooked chinook well into October at the South Arm. 

Vancouver_Saltwater_fishing_South_Arm_hatchery_Coho
Guest, Meyer and PA Guide Jordan with a South Arm hatchery coho from yesterday’s trip

See you in the shop or on the water, 

Jason Tonelli  

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