Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
There is quite a bit going on, so let’s get right to it! To start off with, we will talk about pink salmon. For a good 3 weeks or more now, the fishing for pink salmon has been good to great in the South Bowen area. Best depths have been 50-80 on the riggers most days, out in 300-600 feet of water. Your favorite brighter flasher like a Salty Dawg or Lemon Lime, paired up with a smaller pink hootchy from Delta or Yamashita has been producing well. Leader length has been from 28 to 40 inches, depending on how fast your boat trolls. If you want more action, use a shorter leader. For less action, if your boat trolls fast, try a longer leader.
I am not entirely sure where all these pinks are going. Reports deeper in Howe Sound have not been that great for those that know where to find these fish on the fly and light spin gear. The in-river reports on the Squamish have been average for the most part. It could be a fair number of these fish are headed for the Fraser. The diversion rate of fish coming on the inside is looking like it is currently around 50% and that is forecasted to increase to around 75%
September 1st. So, this means there should be some more fish on the way.
The current Fraser River forecast for pinks is in the 2-3 million range and we are tracking around the 3.4 million level so far. Keep in mind that isn’t a great run. In 2019 the run was around 9 million and the longer-term average is around 11.5 million. We will see where we end up, as pink and sockeye runs are notoriously hard to predict, but for now enjoy the ocean fishing for pinks while you can. I don’t anticipate any in river access to these fish because of sockeye concerns and the low number of the pink return in the first place. I can’t really agree with the 4 a day limit when the river guys on the Squamish and Fraser don’t get a shot at them. The Fraser forecast is low, and they really have no enumeration data for the Howe Sound stocks, so 2 a day would seem to make more sense, but hey, what do I know?
Switching over to West Van, we are also getting a few pinks and some hatchery coho. As most of you know, there are now some chinook opportunities along the West Van shoreline in areas 28-6 and 28-9. Here are excerpts from the actual fisheries notice FN 0746.
Subarea 28-9: August 13 to 23:59 hours August 31, the daily limit for Chinook salmon is one (1) per day. Marked and unmarked.
Subarea 28-6: August 1 to 23:59 hours August 31: 1 Chinook per day with a maximum size limit of 80 cm on marked and unmarked Chinook.
When you look at the regulations page for Area 28 it shows an 80 cm max size limit for Area 28 as a whole, but it doesn’t read that way in FN0746. Clear as mud, so I will let you make your mind up if you want to retain an 80 cm plus fish in 28-9, but it’s clear you can’t in 28-6.
Zipping over to the Gulf Islands now, we have been doing well for chinook at the top end of Gabriola off Entrance Island, around the reef. Not an easy fishery with the wind, tides, boats and the deep bait. 18 or even 20-pound cannonballs are the norm here, and we are fishing 250-300 on the riggers. As you can imagine, glow gear works the best. Two of our favorite setups are a blue flasher and hootchy. In particular the Gibbs Brain Freeze flasher with a blue splatter back Yamashita hootchy. Another all-time favorite over here is a chartreuse flasher and hootchy. Either the Salty Dawg or Lemon Lime with a chartreuse splatter back Yamashita hootchy. These two setups have put a lot of nice chinook on deck.
We will fish here right until the bitter end of August when the mouth of the Fraser will open back up for 2 chinook a day on September 1. I will report on this next week, but so far test sets are looking decent and DNA anglers have reported some good catches. I am hopeful that the first week of September will see a good mix of red and white chinook and the second week will see some of the biggest chinook of the year, the Harrison and Chilliwack whites.
See you in the shop or on the water,