Fishing Report for Chilliwack to Vancouver – February 28, 2015
Spring like conditions persist and the fishing here in the Fraser River and tributaries has been nothing short of incredible. We have experienced some great winters here in my 50 years but this one I have to say tops them all for warm weather and excellent river conditions.
As most of Canada stays cold and has snow, we have been basking in 10 to 17C degree days and many sunny days. The #bigmuddy (Fraser River) is running at May water levels and is currently about 6 Celclus (about 43F). Many things happen when the temperature goes up like this, Sturgeon begin to move around more and start the hunt for food that is being brought down by the rising waters and we are even seeing many Salmon fry moving downstream to the ocean. The flow rate of the Fraser is of late April early May and we see weather trends indicating a very early Spring here in the Chilliwack area. Best part of all this is we can all get out and recreate and have many options for fishing.
There has not been a better year to go out Steelhead fishing. So if you are looking to get out there this is the year, Ben Trainer is one of the best Steelhead anglers I personally know. His passion to seek these fish out and to catch them on multi gear types seems relentless. If you want to learn to Spey cast, centerpin or just learn to read the water properly and how to gear up and target this incredible fish, you need to book a trip with Ben. We offer 4, 6 and 8 hour walk and wade trips and what you will learn will help you to put the tools in your box for many successful days in the future. Drop us a line and we can hook you up!
The Vedder / Chilliwack River has seen some of the best Steelheading in many many years. I have not seen fishing and fish like this in over 20 or 30 years. There are many anglers using the river daily and it seems when a big spurt of fish come through many hear the news and the following days the angler count goes way up. The river has fished well due to a good hatchery program and the efforts of all the staff and the anglers who tube wild fish for the program. The Vedder/Chilliwack River is a nutrient rich system that goes as far as Chilliwack lake and all the Sockeye that spawn there. These Salmon carcasses help to feed the fry and smolts and allow them to be strong on their journey to the ocean. It is very critical to have healthy fish leaving our system, which results in better ocean survival rates.
So enough about what makes the river a good one and let’s talk fishing and having a successful day. The river has been up and down with water levels but has stayed in good shape and cleaning up fast after rains. It seems that most every method has been good but gear fishing seems to always win out on the number of fish caught daily. Jig fishing under a float has become super popular and the fish really are aggressive to bite these. Float fishing, roe, shrimp cocktail, wool and spin n glo seem to top out the list. Having many different baits to present can be the key to success. As mentioned many times before, change up and you will be rewarded. If you touch a fish and it does not come back, a quick change to a Colorado blade and your chances of a strike go up immensely.
Fly-fishing has grown in popularity and especially Spey casting on this river. With warmer waters the success of hook ups also rises and the fish are grabbier. I have always liked the lower part of the river below the Vedder Bridge and even in the canal when it is accessible. My thoughts have been focused around the fish coming in from the Fraser and if they see my fly first they are likely to give it a tug. Once you are at constant water levels as we are now, targeting on the fly becomes even better. When you know where the fish live you will eventually hook up. Intruders and tube fly’s seem to be the best attractors, but never forget big fry patterns and be sure to add a little polar uv or polar crystal flash for the added advantage. Looking for more detailed information, if so, contact us by email anytime. If you are looking to get out on the water and learn about fly-fishing either single hand or Spey casting our team of guides can be an invaluable asset.
Fraser River fishing has been excellent for Sturgeon fishing this winter and early Spring. With the flow rate up and warm river water these incredible Dinosaurs feed very aggressively. Our team fishes all year round and we can see the stats from year to year and this has been a banner one so far. It seems that it does not matter which section of the river you are fishing they are biting everywhere. This makes things nice as it gives us the ability to sample many parts of the river from Chilliwack to Vancouver. Best baits this winter have been Eulachon, Lamprey, roe and even dew worms. As most know our team is part of the mark recapture program and gathering data from many area’s is crucial for good knowledge on Sturgeon fishing. We have been leaders in this data taking for 20 years now and pride ourselves on providing not only a fishing experience but one that leaves you feeling a part of the recovery of these incredible fish. Most may not know but these fish have been roaming the earth for over 300 million years. We are so lucky to have them in our own back yards and able to have such a successful fishery for them. One thing we do know for sure is that our team at GRFA is on the river chasing Sturgeon more than anyone else and that translates to only one thing, success for our clients. Some of the best local areas has been the Vedder Canal, Mountain Bar, mouth of the Harrison River, swirl pool above Peg Leg and the Mission flats below Cox’s Station. Lower River has been producing by Matsqui Island, Hannah Creek, Stave area, Billy Miner, Sturgeon Slough and the Boardwalk. Best baits at this time of the year and what you need to pack along is Eulachon, Lamprey, Roe and dew worms – don’t leave without these.
If this weather keeps up and the river keeps rising, we will soon get a chance to sample back up in the Fraser Canyon and in my mind this is one of the best Sturgeon fishing experiences you could ever have. Incredibly historic and deep in cultural value, these trips are one of a kind. It is more like a day journey of seeing how the Fraser River was created and how Sturgeon thrive in this fast moving water flow. It differs so much from the lower Fraser and seems like a fishing adventure experience that goes back in time. Many days we are the only boat on the entire river up in that area and that is how I love to fish. There are limited days left available for the 2015 season so book early. We offer 8 and 10 hour adventures in the Canyon and sometimes that even seems to short for the day!
The Fraser Valley Salmon Society will be holding its annual meeting (AGM) on April 23, 2015 at the Evergreen Hall. This is an organization that cares for your rights to fish and has been engaged in many Fisheries related issues since 1985. There is a very diverse group of Directors that work hard to educate, promote and to keep fishing opportunity for every person that comes out to enjoy the resource. I personally encourage everyone that reads this to sign up for the $10.00 annual membership or for $100.00 you can be a lifetime member. Visit our website at www.fraservalleysalmonsociety.ca or keep even more up to date with FVSS on social media by joining us on Facebook. There is also a planned Fraser River Cleanup on March 21, 2015 from Island 22 and they are always looking forward to volunteers. If anyone is interested they can contact me by email. firstname.lastname@example.org
A few other things we need to touch on locally and to let our followers know about so bare with me on this and please help out where you can.
Proposed Hazardous Waste Facility proposed for the banks of the Fraser River in Chilliwack. This is a contentious one for us and me personally as I do not want to see this facility built in our own back yard. Avietas are looking to build it only 150 meters for the #1 Salmon and Sturgeon River in the world – this is absurd and we need your help to lobby and support our effort to stop this. GRFA and 54 other groups and organizations along with First Nations have come together to form “Protect the Fraser Coalition”. You can now learn all about this facility and what we are banding together to stop on our website at www.protectthefrasercoalition.com
We are seeking donations to pay for courts costs and any support one could lend.
Together we can send a united message to the Government that “we are not opposed to this facility, we are only opposed to the location”. Move this far away from any waterway and especially not on the banks of the Fraser River. I personally have logged many many hours supporting this and I urge each of you to sign the petition against this and to also write a letter:
Here is a good list to include in your letters and please ask for there to be a Environmental Assessment done and a proper consultation with all the people of BC and all user groups on the Fraser River – there are sample letters on the website and here is the link. http://community-revision.org/waste/letters-of-support
Sign the Petition and spread the word to as many as you can: http://community-revision.org/waste/media-news/petitions
One more in the news lately is the Gravel Mining Issue on the Fraser River. The Government both on the Provincial and Federal levels should be ashamed of giving the green light to extracting gravel from sensitive areas on the Fraser River. The Fraser River has been named a Heritage River of Canada and deserves to be treated in such a manner. This is the best Wild Salmon and Sturgeon Rivers left in the world today.
We need help, people need to write letters to the paper and to Government – Federal Fisheries Minster – Gail Shea and Premier Christy Clark. Even a short paragraph to let them know this is unacceptable. Also high impact is writing a letter to the editor of your local paper.
Scientists (Marvin R., John W. and Otto L.) show conclusive data and a clear picture that removing gravel is harmful to this delicate ecosystem. I am speaking of the stretch of river between the Vedder Canal (94km) and Hope (162km) the richest spawning habitat on the entire 1375km river. There is high potential of juvenile Sturgeon recruitment failure and that can be tied back to gravel mining that has been done in the 1990’s. People need to realize that this is not for flood protection at all this is nothing more than industry wanting cheap extracted gravel from a river. Unacceptable in my view and if we are wanting to have fish for our future and the next generations, we need to start looking after what we have here. The #1 Tourism product in Chilliwack is Sportfishing – this could easily all be lost.
Okay enough for this report and we hope you keep following us and stay engaged, we try hard to do all we can to give good reports and to stay on top of all the fisheries related challenges we face today. If there is anything in specific you would like to see included in our report, or you want more information, please email us we will try our best to get you what you need.
Keep our rivers clean and a happy place for fish and wildlife to live. Pick up garbage and encourage others to do the same. Educate others on the importance of caring for British Columbia – “the best place on Earth”.
“The journey never ends when you share the passion”
Cheers and great fishing, forever, Dean <”)))><