Well I think Steelheading is probably at its peak right now. The rivers have lots of water and good numbers of fish in all the systems. Fishing rivers after a good rain is always going to put yourself in a good chance for a good day.
The Vedder/Chilliwack is high at the moment, but is on the drop, and fish numbers are great right now. There is beginning to be a mix of colored and clean fish, however clean fish are still dominating the composition. The fry are hatching heavily on the Chilliwack right now (as well as all other systems), so fishing fly patterns that imitate the fry are a good choice, as well as fishing blades and spoons. Of course, your usual arsenal of worms, gooey bobs, and jigs will also always produce.
The Harrison and Fraser sloughs are fishing quite nicely for cutthroat at the moment and will continue to be great all the way till the end of May.
Anyways, get out there and tight lines.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW – LET IT GO…….
Dreams of Steelhead swim through my brain. It’s 3:30 am and I’m in a deep sleep. Abruptly I’m woken, by my saviour Ralph, to a terrifying nightmare. The wall tent that I’ve called home for the last week is engulfed in flames. The tent looks as though it is about to become our canvas coffin. Brilliant flames dance hideously, inchs from my face. The heat reassures me that I’m no longer dreaming. Fumbling with the stuck zipper, Ralphy can’t open the door. Gus, man’s best friend, the one who didn’t wake me up, is anxiously waiting beside Ralph for the door to open. The hair on Gus’s back singes from the heat. Desperate, I push past Ralph, grab the zipper and yank it with everything I’ve got. The sudden influx of oxygen as the door opens gives the fire the fuel it needs to take complete control.
Gus runs for cover. Ralph and I roll out, grabbing the last thing we can: me, my Cuban cigars; Ralph, his Dad’s last gift to him, an 8mm Mauser. Slow motion appears to happen when it feels like your last moments. As we stand up and dust ourselves off the whole structure collapses. With my face already burning from from the bear spray that exploded all over us, the heat is even more excruciating. My eyes are swollen. I can barely see the flames, but as they set into our ammo I can hear what seems like the sounds of Iraq as the shells begin to fire off. Shrapnel sails all around us. All I’m left with is my T-shirt, my underwear, my cigars, Gus, Ralphy and my life.
A simple spark arrestor in the chimney stack could have prevented this event. Please learn by my mistake and take to heart this simple fact- safety comes first.
Things happen for a reason this last experience has changed my life for the better. From this, I know that my family will never again be put in that danger. Every room in my home now has a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher. My trailer is now getting gas certified even though it’s only a few years old. Check the fire extinguishers in your campers and trailers and install CO2 detectors. A simple investment of around $100.00 can save the lives of you and your loved ones.
As an avid outdoorsman I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been in more – near death experiences than I care to recall. I’ve spent a lot of time fishing a lot of rivers. I’ve seen a lot of people inadvertently go in and quite literally have to swim for their lives. I’ve lost my best friend in the Upper Pitt River and saved the life of another friend in the Chehalis.These experiences haunt me and make me a wiser person. The secret to safety is to not put yourself in dangerous situations. If the river is blown and running high just say, “No, I can fish another day.”
Aggressive wading is one of the most dangerous things a fisherman can do. I see it time and time again. Fly-fishers are the worst. Waders do not make you invincible. Countless times I have seen this situation: the fisherman buys the cheapest waders they can, with boots attached but no felt. They end up slipping and sliding everywhere. They also don’t buy or wear a wading belt. When they inevitably fall in and their waders fill with water, they are dragged downstream swimming for their life. Everybody can recall that deep sink hole or that slippery rock they’ve stepped on sending them for a swim. As sport fishers we have an alarmingly high yet preventable death rate. I don’t wade past my knee anymore. If I’m fishing new terrain, I only wade to my shin when looking for my line. I always wear a wading belt and I use a wading staff. Nobody is invincible. Act safely. I always use the saying “if you don’t know,let it go.” These simple words can save your life to fish another day.
When nature calls be smart about it. Standing up in your boat, showing your fishing neighbours your goods, losing your balance and going for a dunk is just not smart, especially if you bonk your head on the way down and drift into an eternal sleep. Getting caught with your pants down is not so funny when you’re dead.
I love to fish and hunt by myself, but that doesn’t have to mean that I’m on my own. I always let someone know where I am going and when I expect to be back. If the unthinkable happens, someone will miss me and know where to go to find me. That one simple act of safety helps to ensure that I can be here to fish and hunt another day.
I know this all sounds morbid and not so upbeat but thankfully I’m here to tell these stories so you don’t have to go through them. Stuff happens out there. While there is little we can do when it does happen, the best thing we can do is be prepared so that it doesn’t.
Learn everything you need to know about float fishing for Steelhead in this course!!! From baits to jigs to pink worms to spinners, participants of this course will learn in class and on the water!
When? Saturday January 19/2013 at 5pm for in class learning at the store and Sunday January 20/2013 on the river, time and place to be determined depending on water conditions.
What? Learn all the essentials needed for float fishing for Steelhead. Baits and preperation, how to fish jigs and spinners, terminal t
ackle rigging, reading water and different tactics for different times of the season.
Fee? $100 plus tax.
Who? Steelhead expert Aaron Leckie from Riverside.
Class size is limited so sign up sooner then later!!!! 604-944-2479 or at the store.
Salmon season is in full swing here in the Lower Mainland, despite the lack of rain and low water conditions the fish are still making their ways into the rivers and fishing is very good.
The Vedder is your top producing river locally right now. Fish are being caught throughout the system from the Cement Slab down to the mouth at the Fraser. If fishing in the canal watch your tides and fish the incoming. Schools of Coho and Chinook as well as Chums can be seen moving through the lower canal and your best bet of targeting them is with Gibbs Koho and Croc spoons especially the hammered brass fire stripe. Blue Fox Vibraxes in size 3-5 as well as the new Flash Glow spinners are working really well too. For float fishing try spots such as just above the Vedder Crossing Bridge, Peach Road, Lickman Road, Browne Road, Train Bridge and Keith Wilson Bridge. Float fishing with small colorado spinners, jigs, pro-cured roe, single jensen egg/wool combos and roe bags will ensure you some fish.
Chum fishing is outstanding on the Harrison right now. Tossing big green/chartreuse spoons will guarantee you some fish. For fresher fish, fish near the mouth below the Train Bridge. Float fishing with purple/chartreuse/pink and red jigs will put you onto fish as well. For Coho try fishing closer to the mouth of the Chehalis River with Gibbs Koho and Croc spoons as well as Blue Fox Vibrax spinners. Fly Fisherman should try Green Wooly Buggers, Rolled Muddlers and Copper Xmas Tress with a clear intermediate line or slow sinking tip. If targeting Chinooks try float fishing with roe, tossing spoons as you would for Chums or pulling plugs in the slower, deeper water such as the K-13 Kwikfish we have in stock in custom colours. Sturgeon fishing is good too below the highway bridge, try using fresh Chum roe or decaying salmon.
Salmon fishing on the Stave this fall has become alot tougher. With limited access near the Hayward Dam and lots of no parking restrictions, be prepared to do alot of walking to get at some fish if your not fishing in a boat or near the mouth. The river is currently full of Chums with the odd Coho and Chinook thrown in. Use the same methods as listed above for the Harrison River.
Nicomen Slough/Norrish Creek and Chehalis River
These streams are in desperate need of rain and when the water rises you should begin to see fresh Coho and Chums moving through.
In the tidal portion of the Fraser a bait ban is still in place until October 5th for salmon fisherman. Coho fishing will open October 6th with 2 hatchery marked fish for retention. If targeting Coho once the bait ban is lifted. Bar fishing with a bar rig spreader bar and chunks of salted or boraxed roe will be a good option as well as chucking spoons big enough and bright enough for the fish to see depending on the water clarity.
In the non-tidal portion of the Fraser a bait ban remains in effect until October 8th. October 9th the river will reopen to the use of bait and 2 hatchery marked coho for retention. If targeting Coho and Chinooks try using #00 Spin-N-Glows in the Chrome with Green/Chartruse, Red and Blue Top variations. It doesnt hurt to put a chunk of roe or a bit of the Pro-Cure or Smelly Jelly scents with your Spin N Glow once the bait ban is lifted.
Sturgeon fishing has really ramped up this past week. Fish in the 4 to 8 foot range are becoming more commonly caught. If you can find a floater(Stink Bait) or get your hands on some fresh Chum roe you will catch fish for sure. Eulachons are still catching the odd fish too as this bait works year round.
Not every year is perfect. We can’t always have mind blowing sockeye returns like years past, or pleasant surprises like the new Chinook fishery developing in the Lower Mainland. Every season nature throws something at us; rivers blown out by torrential monsoons or excessive snow melt, or shrivelled up with drought, or even crippled by dangerously low levels of oxygen in the water. But the world is not ending. This is Nature’s way, and always has been her way of keeping the strong stocks sturdy. It’s Darwin’s theory od survival of the fittest. When these events occur we fishers need to look at things differently, and break our water down strategically to target river salmon.
This year I was invited on a special trip up north to stay in what used to be known as Canyon City, now called Gitwinksihlkw – the “land of the lizard” along the banks of the Nass River. I showed up to high water, with Terrace having been issued a flood warning; the Skeena was bursting at her britches and the Nass was as big as ever, with standing waves and visibilty at zero. These rivers would be impossible to fish, even for a native fishery, with fallen cottonwood trees taking out anything in sight on their journey downstream. Our only option for angling, especially with a fly rod, was to locate fishable tributaries. Three tributaries were still running clean, although high, and they fished well. In two- and a half days we brought in a wealth of feisty cutthroats, bulldogging Dollies, and dime-bright Chinooks, along with two steelhead. Every big river system has tributaries, and these smaller pieces of water can be a key factor in searching for fish in high or low water conditions.
During a low water season the mouths of these smaller rivers and creeks can be very productive, as fish will stage in front of their natal stream, waiting for the water to come up for safe passage. Every style of fishing is effective at this time, but bar fishermen suspending roe, single eggs or a Spin-N-Glo is one with a green and orange top, a silver body and mylar wings. In low water conditions decrease the size of your presentation. In high water do the opposite: increase the size to a double zero with darker colourations, such as black, and punch a hole in the wings to create more noise and bubbles.
No matter where the water levels are at tides always play an important role in targeting river salmon successfully. I pay attention to what tides are doing to decide when and where to fish, with my favourite being an incoming high tide that runs right to its peak(what we call an ebb tide). Tides are the oceans way way of breathing , just like you bring oxygen into your lungs to filter through your capillaries. They bring fresh fish from the ocean into watersheds and push them into their natal tributaries.
One of the rivers we were blessed to visit on the Canyon City trip was the Kincolith. This system has a boundary that permits only a short distance to fish, approximately three quarters of a kilometer leading to the ocean. We arrived to an incoming tide, and watched as it pushed its way upriver, bringing the Kincolith’s first influx of spring salmon. These fish were virgins to freshwater, and proved to bite aggressively as they moved in with the tide.
Fish are creatures of habit and prefer to lie in a system in which they are comfortable. When staging upstream with the tide they will hold in particular pieces of water that they feel is deep enough with the right substructure. On a particular run youwill find that some bits of water fish well and others don’t. Learning which is which comes from experience. It is important to note the depths at which you are having success. Writing down your water levels in a journal is good practice when planning to fish a piece of water at it’s magic point. When fishing an incoming tide you can often follow fish from pool to pool as they head upstream. I will note down where they will hold during this time, and where they are most comfortable after the tide subsides. Becoming acquainted with the water in this way builds confidence and, ultimately, success. Learn as much as you can about where fish will be during tide movement and through changes in water level.
The Skagit River is always a favorite for this time of year and I think we all know why…. Dry Flies. Guys have been having lots of success on the river lately, especially with nymphs. Dry flies however are starting to work better by the day, probably due to the fact this is the start to the large green drake hatches that begin in September! Some flies to try would be prince nymphs, hares ear nymph, pheasant tail nymphs, Beafus stoneflies (golden), tom thumbs, elk hair caddis’, royal coachmens, and of course green drake dry fly imitations.
Remember though, Skagit rainbows can be professor trout, and are not always easily fooled, so make sure to make your drifts as natural as possible.
The Vedder has seen its first COHO, yes a few have been reported in the lower river just today. The white springs are just starting to move in now, with the red springs pretty much almost done.
The Salmon are here and the fishing will only be getting better from here on.
Not a whole lot going on right now in the rivers, largely due to the spring closures of course. However, there is still fishing to be had at the Vedder River till the end of the month, when it then fully closes till July 1st. The stave river is open all year, and good cutthroat and whitefish fishing can be currently had, when u can find them that it, (they are a very mobile fish and tend to be there one day and gone the next). All the other local river all fully closed during the months of May and June.
Until recently the Vedder had been consistently low and clear for the last several weeks. Now that we see early signs of snow melt the river has started to colour in its glacial summer fashion. This provides a feeling of safety for fish and can very possibly encourage them to move and bite. Personally I consider water like this perfect for bright plastic presentations such as your standard pink worm. This is starting to be considered late season for vedder Steelhead but some fresh fish will still continue to move in over the next month before the river becomes fly only on May the first. The majority of fish this time of year are wild fish, many reports we have received in the shop have consisted of people catching 10 or more fish before finally catching a desired hatchery marked Steely. However this time of year is often when anglers can try new things and learn a lot about how to fish different presentations and new water with the advantage of the added confidence knowing there are large amounts of fish spread throughout the entirety of the river system.
The Capilano is never the most productive Steelhead fishery around but can often be fun to fish and explore. Definitely one of the more scenic rivers around the Capilano has high canyon walls that can aid a good angler in spotting fish. try fishing small presentations and fluorocarbon lines.
In about a months time the Cap Coho will start running. These particular Coho run in the spring and average around 3-6 pounds. Fishing can be productive on spoons spinners and drift fishing roe.
Please remember this river is entirely catch and release for Steelhead, hatchery marked or not!
The Stave river has been fishing very well for Steelhead this past week and should continue to fish well throught the next month or so. The river has a large number of chum fry that are hatching right now which provides fun fishing opportunities for cutthroat trout and white fish as well.
Fly guys should try using fry patterns and Squidro intruders. Gear fisherman can continue to use standard Steelhead drift gear or switch over to fishing Croc spoons in an effort to imitate hatching fry. This can be an extremely fun time of year for the stave do to the aggressive feeding habits of all fish in the system. It is not uncommon to see Steelhead rising in chase of the salmon fry.
Always feel free to give Shea, Mike or Garry a call at the shop (604) 944 2479
For all you guy’s who love free stuff Riverside Fly and Tackle is proud to be supporting the River Rats Steelhead Derby this year on March 6 2010. Big prizes this year for the 3 biggest fish plus lots of draw prizes. Weigh-in is at the gravel pit by the train bridge at 4pm, Don’t Be Late! Tickets are $25.00. Everyone taking part will receive a free River Rats hat. For tickets call Scott @ 850-3814 or 308-8684.
Harrison Wry with his first Vedder River steelhead. It was taken on his new centerpin rod and reel, Harrison was fishing that day with his dad Hollis and was polite enough not to rub in the fact the he caught the only fish that day, so we’ll do it for him. Good job Harrison!