Fishing Report for Chilliwack to Vancouver – April 11 , 2015
With weather like we have been experiencing it not hard to be believe we are in full on fishing mode here at Great River Fishing. Our team has had the busiest start to the year ever to date.
A few things to keep you up to date and hopefully interest you as well.
FVSS – Fraser Valley Salmon Society AGM – April 23 – 6:45pm at the Evergreen Hall in Chilliwack. I would like to mention one important upcoming meeting that I encourage everyone to come, attend and join. There is 2 key speakers lined up – FFSBC (Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC) and Tourism Chilliwack – both will be speaking on the significant impact Sportfishing has in Chilliwack area.
The FVSS is having its 30th year anniversary date and for those of you who do not know why this was formed it was to protest lack of opportunity for the sport fishermen on Chinook. Goal was to re-open the Chinook (Spring or King Salmon) fishery on the Fraser River and to give the recreational sector a priority over commercial harvest. With a slated opening on the Fraser River in region 2 in mid July with a slot size restriction it is possible that we need to band together and let Fisheries and Oceans know this is not acceptable. Our bar fishery used to be open June 1st and I personally feel we need to get back to that date. Come voice your thoughts, continue your support and have a chance to win one of the many door prizes and have a chance to win one of 2 guided fishing adventures for Salmon or Sturgeon. *Restrictions apply – you must be a FVSS member to win the guided fishing adventures – or sign up at the meeting.
Sturgeon fishing has stayed consistent and with the Eulchaon migration in full swing we should see a feeding frenzy in the next few weeks that should last well into mid-May or early June. Most Sturgeon migrate to the lower Fraser River each year about this time to feast on the bounty and their first feed of the season. Eulachon are rich in oils and nutrients and these fish love them. With the higher than normal flow rate of the Fraser River right now, we should see strong returns and these fish may get upriver as far as Hope. Sturgeon school to feed and the baitfish continually move, so where you see activity of seals feeding and bird activity you will typically always find Sturgeon. We also find on days that when there is lots of bait that these fish can get picky, you need to sometimes use whole Eulachon and other times you need to use them only a third of the baitfish, this all can make a big difference to a good days fishing or a great days fishing.
I remember back many years ago when we did the mark recapture program for the Province of British Columbia (1995-1998) and there was a small Sturgeon caught in the Mission area and 3 weeks to the date later it was recaptured in the Big Eddy in Yale (nearly 100 kilometers each way) – that is some incredible early season migration and tells the story in my mind – these fish know where these Eulachon are and when they are in the river. It would be interesting to know just how far they will migrate from for this Springtime feast. Other good baits for this time of the year to have in your cooler are single eggs, eels (both Lamprey and ditch), salmon meat and dew worms. Key area’s in the next while will be affected by heavier river flow and you may need to move in a little shallower if the tide is ripping hard and to find feeding fish. I suggest lower river locations like the Alex Fraser Bridge, Portman Bridge, Douglas Island on the west side, Gillnetter area, Barnston side channel, Golden ears bridge both sides, Truncated Pipe, Booms opposite 2 bit, lower Crescent Island and lower Matsqui Island. Mission bridge upstream, Mission flats upstream of Hatzic, Dwedney, Strawberry Island, Vedder canal, Bedsprings, Cattermole, Mountain bar area, Jesperson and Mount Woodside. I always say to get out there and to explore the waters, there are many fish just like you and doing the same thing as they forage to keep up with their eating patterns.
Steelhead fishing continues to be strong and if the water levels continue to stay constant we should see very good opportunity right up to the end of April. May 1st the river is dedicated to fly fishing only and below the Vedder Bridge. This is a chance for the single handers and the spey guys to have the river alone. Steelheading in the Springtime has some real advantages with the water temperatures a little warmer and the river flow a slight bit higher, it seems to be a more predictable fishery. Using the right gear and having the right baits is the key, changing bait frequently will get you some of the best results. This has truly been one of the best Steelheading years we have seen in the last decade and we encourage you to come and see for yourselves.
The Lillooet River is another one of our rivers we like to visit and fish with clients in the late Fall and also in the early Spring. This river was unfishable for over 3 years due to the big slide at Meagher Creek and has come into shape well this season. We have been visiting quite frequently and have had some incredible success fly fishing. If you are looking for a fly fishing adventure on one of the most incredible rivers in southwestern British Columbia, this is your river. All wild fish use this river as their playing grounds – Cutthroat, Rainbows, Dolly Varden, Bull Trout, Steelhead and Chinook Salmon at this time of the year. Exhilarating river to run and scenery beyond belief sums it u for me. This is a fly fishers paradise!
The Harrison River is at a good water level now and the fry are emerging and the Cutthroat, Rainbows, Dolly Varden and Bull Trout are chasing them around in schools and attacking from below. This river is another scenic area that fishes well on the fly and spinning gear at this time of the year. Fry patterns and silver blades work best and always look for activity on the water as you can easily see when there is a fry on the surface being chased down. Get your gear out into this and you will have a great day on the river catching fish.
Finally I would like to touch base on some of the returning Salmon numbers this year on the mainstem Fraser and tributaries. 2014 was a banner year for the sportfishing here in the Chilliwack area and from all accounts it looks like 2015 is shaping up real well too. There are some very encouraging numbers we have to share with you. Sockeye returns at the 50% probability level (what Federal Fisheries- DFO- likes to use a mean) is about 6 to 8 million. Our Pink Salmon return is slated at about 14.5 million and Chum Salmon at approximately 2 million. Coho Salmon stocks are still rebuilding but if fishing is anything like it has been in the past 3 years we could see this fishery rebounding to 1 million fish in the not to distant future. Chinook Salmon in the Springtime are still a concern for DFO and the sport recreational anglers will get a chance to harvest some in mid July and the Spring/Summer returns are approximately 45,000 to 100,000. There is a potential we will see some new hatchery production to enhance the Chinook in the coming years and that is a encouraging.
That’s about it for now and we hope you come visit and fish with our team again this year. So many years on the rivers, so many clients and so many amazing fishing memories to share, truly this has been one of the most rewarding careers a person could hope for. We speak amongst our guide team on days we fish together and meet at the boat launches or Hotels in the mornings and talk about how lucky we are to share this amazing place and great fishing with all of you! We are blessed and thankful for your business and friendship!
One last thing is that we are always trying hard to cleanup our rivers and spread the word as to how important it is to keep British Columbia beautiful. We truly live in one of the most amazing places in the entire world and we hope you pick up a little or a lot of garbage each and every time you are out and about. This cleaning up is contagious – show other people around you and they too will follow suit. It is ours to look after for the generations that follow.
“The journey never ends when you share the passion”
Cheers and great fishing, forever, Dean <”)))><