Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: September 18, 2020

OUTLOOK 

Last week we were excited about warm weather and a possible summer 2.0.   Unfortunately, we did not tell them that we didn’t want a repeat of summer 2017 where we didn’t see the sun for days on end because of the smoke.   While the smoke is not great for getting outside, we did see some cool outdoor photography this week.  

Rigger-Mist-shot-Vancouver

Looking into this weekend, the smoke doesn’t seem to be going away.  We have been hoping for more north west winds to push out the smoke but as we are writing this report it is not coming Friday.   Hopefully, Saturday and Sunday will shift things.  That said, we will see some moisture over the weekend and into next week.  This is what we have been hoping for on a number of our river fronts.  

With this in mind, we will touch base on the Vedder river.  There were positive reports this week and, with some rain in the forecast, we could see it turn on for chinook and coho.   We are also going to look at an overview for the Stave.  We have not heard much info yet but this fishery should turn on soon and is one to put on your radar.  

We also have a brief update on the saltwater fishing.  Many days have been challenging but we have also seen some good days mixed in.  Whales have been coming through the area consistently but all the major areas (Capilano Mouth to Sandheads) has been productive.  Jason is away this week but we will tune in with a couple of our guides for an update on that front.  

Lastly we have a  fly video from Andre and an interior lake fishing update. The forecast looks good with temperatures dropping this week and into next.  Check out the stillwater section for Andre’s back swimmer pattern video and a lake update.  

As always check out Matt’s video version of the report here: 

FRESHWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Vedder River Fishing Report  

We’re well into September now, and the fishing in the Vedder/Chilliwack is finally starting to ramp up a bit.  Of course, the very low, clear water conditions are making things challenging, but there are decent numbers of fish scattered throughout the mid and lower river. 

The continuing lack of any significant rainfall continues to create very challenging fishing conditions that are only exacerbated by heavy fishing pressure.  As such, first light is your best bet.  Sure, there may be lots of fish around, but that doesn’t mean much when they’re all spooked and refusing to bite.  The previously discussed gear continues to be your best bet, with roe in particular being a top producer.  

As is typical for this time of year, there’s a lot more Springs around than there are Coho. They’ll both bite the same stuff, but they usually occupy different water. Springs will typically take the deepest parts of a run and push the Coho out onto the shallower water.  Fish accordingly. 

Vedder_Chinook

Low water can make things incredibly frustrating, as you can often see fish rising and swimming around as they refuse to bite anything.  Sometimes you can get lock-jawed fish to bite by continuously changing presentations until you find something they like, but please don’t try to snag or floss them… nothing ruins a run more than aggressive line ripping.  If one run is full of fish that refuse to bite, move on to the next run, or stick it out and try to convince a bite.  Also, keep in mind that the endangered Cultus Lake Sockeye run is passing through, and some of these fish are adipose clipped, so please identify your catch before brutalizing it.  There’s some rain in the forecast for the next few days, so hopefully that brings the river up a bit without blowing it out… we’ll have to wait and see.  If it does blow out, that just means it’s time for golfball-sized gobs of roe and larger presentations.   

Good luck, tight lines and stay safe out there.  

Taylor Nakatani 

Stave River Fishing Report – Season Overview 

The salmon season in the valley has officially gotten underway, and while most anglers right now will be flocking to the Chilliwack, and rightly so at this time of year, we will start to see a few other salmon fisheries happening in the near future.  The one in the spotlight for this week’s report is the Stave River.  Now, I can hear the cacophony of both cheers or groans from you readers on this one already as this is a pretty polarizing fishery.  Some people love it and some people hate it with a vengeance.  While it is not for everyone, I personally think it is a fun fishery and at the very least, another option to try if you want a change of scenery from the other main salmon-bearing rivers. 
 
The Stave predominantly gets runs of chum and coho returning from mid-October to mid-November.  Both fisheries can be fantastic when timed correctly and since the river is quite short there is no real “scouting” per se as it is relatively easy to find a good spot to fish, even with limited knowledge on how to read water.  The river can be accessed from both the west and east sides quite close to the road so this is also a great fishery for those that have mobility issues.  
 
By far the easiest of the two salmon here to target is the chum salmon. Typically returning in droves, at times it will appear as though you can walk across their backs.  In my opinion, the Stave chum fishery is one of the best out there for those new to salmon fishing or for kids. These fish are extremely willing to bite, large, fight hard, and look super cool.  When I say they are large, I’m not kidding either.  They average 10-15lbs and can get much larger than that so make sure you are using an appropriate rod/reel, and line for the job unless you want to find out how a warranty claim works.  Gear rods in the 8’6″-11’3″ range and medium-heavy to heavy are recommended.  A medium powered stick will do the job too but will struggle on larger fish or in current.  Fly rods in the 8-10wt are pretty much mandatory.  Heavy leaders/tippet are a must as well due to a chum’s size and for its canine-like teeth. I personally run 17lb leader but you can go down to 15lb comfortably, just make sure to check your leaders after every few fish for knicks as their teeth will shred up lighter material. 

Chum are notorious for their aggression and when you get a bunch of them together, this aggression shifts into overdrive and it can be lights out fishing all day long.  The best part is that the method for catching them is super simple; a jig for gear anglers or a streamer for fly anglers in any combination of purple, pink, fuschia, chartreuse, or blue is all you need.  While other fisheries rely on first light/last light bite windows, the Chum are all-day biters so it is not necessary to wake up at some terrible hour in the morning in the hopes of getting a few fish.  

The Stave chum get a bad rap a lot of the time for being dark or even moldy by the time they hit the river.  While it is true that a good proportion of them have already turned colour there are still a fair number of clean or even chrome fish to be had.  In addition, a coloured but not moldy chum can still put up a fantastic fight.  These fish are known for their strength and ability to hold their own, so don’t be surprised if after a good day of chum fishing you have extremely sore arms.  I know I have had days out there where, by the final few hours of the trip, I almost didn’t want to hook any more as my arms were about to give out on me but the floats just kept dropping. 

Stave_short_floating_ for _salmon

Coho on the Stave are a different beast altogether. When the chum are in the system they typically push the coho out and so you will find coho schooled up together, often in slack water or in log jams away from the bigger chum. While they are sometimes taken by anglers drifting chum jigs, there are a few more generally tried and true methods for targeting coho. These include drifting pro-cured roe, casting and retrieving spoons and spinners, or casting and stripping small flash flies and muddlers.  Unlike the chum, these coho are more of a low-light kind of biter though they definitely can be convinced to bite throughout the day.  Because the water in the Stave runs quite clear on a typical day, you will want to fish with more finesse presentations and lighter fluorocarbon leaders, especially once the sun has hit the water.  This means that using a lighter and more sensitive rod than those used for chum fishing is imperative.  Gear rods in the medium-light to medium power and fly rods in the 7-8wt range are adequate. 
 

Stave-salmon fishing_casting and retrieving_spinners_and_spoons

 
We have everything you need to get you out on the Stave or any other river this Fall, so if you are looking to get geared up come on down to see us! 

Alex Au-Yeung 

STILLWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Interior Lakes Fishing Report 

We are going to see cooler temperatures in the interior this week with nights dropping almost to single digits in the Kamloops area. This should bode well for anyone going lake fishing. The Fall is a great time because lower water temps turn on the fish and we expect the reports over the next 10 days to be excellent.  

You will want to have a selection of patterns but we lean toward the meat and potato patterns this time of year like shrimp and leach patterns.  You can cover ground with these patterns and aggressive fish are not as picky as they try to bulk up for winter.  

That said, there is one pattern that we don’t talk about much in the summer months that can be critical for late season.  This food source is the water boatman.  In this video, Andre shares a simple boatman pattern that you will want in your box – check it out here  

SALTWATER FISHING REPORTS 

Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report 

Jason is away this week, so the report will be brief.  The smoke has made for some interesting days this week including some tough visibility at times.  The entire guide team has had good days but also had to work through some tougher ones as well.  

saltwater_fishing_Vancouver_South_Arm
Eddie’s guests had a great day on the water just before the smoke rolled into town

The general trend seems to be a shift to the south arm if fishing the Fraser. This is common for this time of year where the later fish seam to focus on the south arm and don’t go up the north arm as often.  We have also seen more coho and even a chum or two.  

Saltwater_fishing_South_Arm_Chinook
Customer Keith with a nice one off the South Arm

On shorter trips or on the tail end of our full days on the water we are fishing Point Atkinson to the Capilano river mouth.  The river remains low and there are fish staging.   This will continue to be the case as long as we don’t have a ton of rain! 

Depths we have been fishing at South Arm have been 30-70ft on the rigger and fishing close to bottom is recommended for the north shore.  We focus on bait this time of year but a plastic bait or spoon can be productive when the tides really starts moving.  

Good luck and be safe out there!   Fingers crossed this smoke blows through and we see some sunny fall fishing days soon. 

Matt Sharp 

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