Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Looks like winter is coming in with a vengeance after this weekend with sub-zero temps day and night forecast for next week. It’s not going to be too cold on the weekend, but the winds are less than desirable, at least according to the current forecast this Thursday afternoon as I write this report. Let’s hope the forecast for the weekend improves by Friday afternoon, as we have plans to head out with some clients as well as some personal trips. There is no doubt this time of year you need to be prepared for the weather. If you are dressed right the wet and cold days can be not only tolerable but also quite comfortable. Good deck boots, some layering pieces, plenty of fleece and good quality rain gear will keep you comfortable. Add in some good gloves, a toque, some hand warmers, and a portable heater and you are good to go. Leave the jeans, sweat pants, and cotton at home. Invest in some good next to skin base layers for warmth and wicking, top it off with fleece and/or some wool, then a good waterproof breathable shell and enjoy. All the hardcore river rats and winter steelheaders know what I am talking about; we are old hats at this game. If you are cold, come to the shop, we have a great selection of gear to keep you warm and dry.
Fishing was solid this past week. As usual, find the bait and you find the fish. Covering water and good electronics are two keys in achieving this. If you aren’t seeing bait balls and arcs on your sounder, like ever, you need to call me and I will figure out what is going on.
For whatever reason it was a hootchy show for us on our last trip. My usual spoons failed to produce and the fish wanted the hootch. I don’t argue after a few bites, so down went a hootchy on the other side and we got into some nice keepers and lost a few as well. Stomach contents didn’t offer any hints, as the fish we cleaned were empty. In last week’s report I covered in detail which Yamashita hootchies have been productive. For leader length we have been having success with 32-38 inch leaders on 40 or 50 pound mono and two single hooks of 5/0 or 4/0. A good tip is to use heavy mono like this as the stiffness gives the hootchy a bit more action from the flasher rotation.
Prawning has also been good and we are getting no prawns with berries, so that is good as well. It is definitely worth taking the time to drop your traps, but look out for those outflow winds in the forecast. They can make retrieving your gear not so much fun. Check out Jordan’s Prawning 101 piece below for some tips and tricks for your next trip.
It’s prime time right now, so give us a call (778-788-8582) and let’s get out there winter chinook fishing and prawning.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Jason Tonelli (the warm and dry guy)
With winter chinook fishing on its merry way and anglers finding some local fin fish, this week I’ll talk about a fairly basic but effective prawning set up for those wanting to drop some traps for shellfish.
Starting inside the boat, the one thing you’ll need is a trap or prawn puller. The two most common ones are the ones from Scotty and Brutus. They both work great, with the Brutus even helping you clear your gunwale and helping you lift the trap right in to the boat. Both attach to your Scotty downrigger base. Trap pullers will save your arms and back, making the experience more enjoyable.
Next up, you’ll need is a buoy or two that can hold up the length of weighted rope used. You can use two or three of your standard crab floats, or you can use one larger dedicated prawn float. Either way, both work- just make sure to have your name and phone number clearly labeled.
From there, spliced or dedicated prawning rope is used, usually in lengths from 400′ to 500′ feet. This length is important as most traps are set in or around 300ish feet, give or take.
Another reason we use this length is that depending on one or two traps, plus the trap line weight, a good portion of the rope is spread across the ocean floor between the first trap and the line weight.
The next thing attached is a trap line weight. This is usually between 5lbs and 7lbs, and is attached about 25′ away from the trap closest to the float. This will help inhibit any wave action from affecting the traps as the rope bounces around.
Up next is the trap itself. Trap styles come down to personal preference, with stackable and collapsible both being options depending on storage space and boat size. Unless you get yourself bigger commercial traps, most recreational traps will require additional weight- either strapped on to the frame, or wrapped around its circumference. Regardless, you need the trap to stay still and stationary to encourage prawns to explore and enter the trap.
Other accessories needed will be prawn snaps that attach the trap to the main prawn rope, and of course, your bait jar. It’s important to use jars instead of bags as most prawn baits are in pellet form, and you need the pellets to swell and then break apart/disperse. A bag will not work as the holes are too big.
As for bait, most available baits such as oils and pellets work great, with a lot of anglers finding their own secret formulas and ratios. The biggest thing is to not over-fill the jar as the pellets will expand and clog the perforated walls of the jar.
For a more hands-on look at the gear, come on in to the shop and see us; we will be happy to help walk you through any questions you may have.
Good luck out there, and stay safe!