Holiday Greetings and warm fishes to all those following our monthly blog. With the festive season among us, the days much shorter and the weather not nearly as nice as it was in the summer, I guess we can all agree winter has finally arrived.
Think positive, we have lots of great fishing;
Not all is lost to poor potential weather. We have lots opportunity for great fishing experiences through these next few months. There are many positives about winter fishing. Next to little or no angler pressure on most of your rivers, which for some is exactly what they enjoy. I know that many guide companies like to tell potential clients that fishing Sturgeon is terrible at this time of the year, but we feel totally opposite. I think the real reasoning behind the negativity is these are not year round companies and they have other jobs, simply put – summer time operators. GRFA crew has 4 full time guides that stay on over the winter months and also some on standby. These team guides have been with us all over a decade and they do over 270 days on the water guiding each season, they love this lifestyle and we in turn love their commitment. Some of the most consistent days can be had and contrary to belief, our weather on the southwest coast of British Columbia is pretty mild with most days ranging from 0 to 10 degrees.
Sturgeon fishing is very productive and all you need to know is what bait to use and where the fish are feeding and at what times. You need to downsize bait and hook size and go back to the simple staples like Lamprey Eel, single chum eggs or just good roe and Eulachon. These are the top 3 producing baits we find the best success with, but presentation sizing is essential and we find the smaller the better. Tides seem to also mean everything and typically we have found best results on the incoming and turnaround but have also had many days where the Sturgeon just keep eating and giving us opportunity to hook up. Another benefit that sometimes is forgotten is we are able to watch feeding habitat, different wintering spots and sampling of many fish that we may not have seen in the Spring through Fall months. There is a trend to the large migration area these fish roam and it is very interesting. So in short (which most tell me is very hard for me to do…lol) Sturgeon fishing is great in the winter months so come out and help us with our annual research in preserving this incredible species.
Trout Fishing is another great way to spend a day on the Fraser River from Chilliwack to Hope and including the Harrison River. There are opportunities for all fishing styles, spinning, float, bottom or fly all productive. Back channels of the rivers hold every species of Salmon in the smolt size, all Trout species, Dolly Varden, Bull Trout, Steelhead, Suckers and Pike Minnows. The migrating and nomadic lifestyle of the Cutthroat Trout makes them interesting and fun to stock, once you find them you will usually get a number of fish. Worms, small roe clusters, single eggs, crocs, spinners, almost any red or pink small fly, we like the tie crystal terror (simple flys work best) and even krill and powerbaits. This is a great fishery to take kids to introduce them to fishing and usually catching something is norm, that and getting to enjoy incredible scenery. Have a small fire, roast a few hotdogs and marshmallows and if it is too cold you can always sit in the truck and still fish with a ribbon and a bell on your rods. I reflect on this fishery like a bar fishing one, my entire growing up years I enjoyed going bar fishing just to have a chance at hooking a fish and enjoying time with family and friends. I am looking forward to spending many days in the coming years with my Grandchildren, teaching them the ways of the river and how much peace and pleasure it has brought me.
Steelhead fishing on the Vedder / Chilliwack River is another favorite for many anglers. The chase, challenge and addiction runs deep in many and and most don’t understand this but these are one of the hardest sportfish to catch. I spent many of those days out there from dark till dark, freezing cold conditions, pouring rain and just about anything mother nature could through at me, all for a possible hookup. I see this in so many of our team guides. They are much younger than me and their drive and intensity warms my heart. Now I have a different mindset and prefer Spey Fishing (double hand fly casting ) and choose the afternoon to fish and mostly on nicer weather days, more for the joy of fishing and making nice casts – I like to call them medicinal afternoons out of the office.
You must learn from the masters to become a great Steelheader and that is not easy, most don’t give up secrets readily or give you their best spots to fish. Learning takes years, many days without a bite but covering lots of water and knowing how the river flows, depths, right presentation. We offer instructional days on the river with our team guides over the winter months at a very reasonable rate. These guys are addicts and they will help you to be a successful Steelheader. By the time this report gets posted there will already be the 1st Steelhead landed of the season. Steelheading runs from December to May with some of the best timing from late February to the end of April. Our team can teach every method, spin fishing, float fishing and fly fishing (single and double handed) and these are the guys you want to learn from.
The last river system I will share with you is the Lillooet River system at the far end of Harrison Lake. This is one of the two most incredible river systems that I feel is the best in southwestern BC. A paradise of wilderness fishing and this river has had some shaky years since the slide 4 years ago, but has really come back into shape. Winter months and cool air helps this river stay cleaner and fishable, so rain is something we don’t wish for.
We are going to offer our Wilderness Camp from April 8th to the 26th (3 and 6 day packages only open to 3 to 6 anglers). A fly fishing haven with all wild fish that have not been targeted much over the past 4 years. All Trout species and some of the biggest Cutthroat I have ever seen, Dolly Varden and Bull Trout that are aggressive. Also a chance at a Wild Steelhead and even migrating Chinook. These Chinook are chrome bullets and the 1st of the year, Birkenhead fish and some real clunkers we have seen over 30 pounds – now that’s incredible. We offer day trips throughout the winter months and some great days are always had in February onward.
A Challenge to you and all fellow anglers – How can you make a difference?
Come out and get involved!
I would like to ask how we can all help the community of Chilliwack keep the Fraser River banks clean for the future. Yes, enjoy our incredible resource here in British Columbia but for Pete’s sake, keep our river area’s clean. It seems no matter how many clean ups are organized or how much garbage is taken off the banks we still leave trash everywhere. How is this possible, how do we stop this, how on earth can we allow this to happen?
The Fraser Valley Salmon Society – www.fraservsalleysalmonsociety.ca has now done 2 organized river cleanups in the 2014 season and is looking to do many more in 2015. Please come and lend a hand to the river that is known as the “The greatest Salmon Highway in the World”. Also home to the White Sturgeon “The Living Dinosaur” a fish that has been dated back nearly 300 million years in time. If you want to make a difference, contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org and or any member on the Fraser Valley Salmon Society’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fraser-Valley-Salmon-Society/111769675563789?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Memberships are only $10.00 annually or $100.00 for a lifetime membership
Wishing all of you a safe and Happy Holiday Season!
Cheers and great fishing, forever, Dean <”)))><