Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
We got our July 15 chinook opening, and like other years, there are a lot around. We have been focusing our chinook efforts over in area 17 around Gabriola Island and Entrance Island. The winds have been cooperating for the most part, so we have been across on most days and have had great chinook fishing.
For those of you heading across in your own boat, here are some tips. Fish deep, and by that, I mean within 5-15% of the bottom. The bait is deep and so are the fish. We are often fishing in 180-250 feet of water, so our downrigger counters are showing those depths and likely more because of cable angles. To fish deep and stay deep, use 18- or 20-pound cannonballs. 15 pounders just don’t cut it in this fishery. We have these heavier cannonballs in stock at the shop if you are in need.
For gear, I have been doing very well on black blade flashers. Two of my favorites are the Oki Black Double Glow (both sides of the flasher glow) and the Gibbs CB55 (one side is glow and one side is Moon Jelly). I pair this up with a blue splatter back hootchy or a glow army truck hootchy with a 32–36-inch leader. Chartreuse glow flashers and hootchies have their days, but on recent trips the darker gear seemed to noticeably outperform some of the chartreuse or green shades. This can and will change, so I usually experiment between black, blue, chartreuse and green flashers and hootchies in this fishery.
Coho fishing off South Bowen and up the Sunshine Coast continues to be excellent. Many days we have gotten our limit quite quickly. We are going on 5 weeks of amazing coho fishing now. As mentioned in previous reports, I am not sure where all these hatchery coho are coming from, but we are sure are happy to have them around. The fish seem to be in the 15-45 foot zone on the riggers with 25-35 being the most productive, a bit shallower in the morning and a bit deeper later in the day. I have been getting quick limits using Oki Betsy flashers and Gibbs Twisted Sista flashers with a white UV hootchy with a mylar insert. The flash from the mylar insert definitely makes a difference, so don’t skip that step.
I expect the chinook and coho fishing to stay consistent in July and August so if you haven’t been out, get out! It’s well worth the effort. If you would like to book a trip, give us a call at 778-788-8582.
See you in the shop or on the water,
Beach Fishing Report
This past week saw similar results to last week, with anglers finding little flurries of action during tide changes. This weekend sees some good tides for the beach in the afternoon as the weekend progresses. These afternoon tides will last for a couple days until the middle of next week when we see a nice morning tide on Wednesday.
Under these tough conditions, anglers will want to scale back their presentation to lighter-than-normal fluorocarbon, smaller spinners and spoons, and small flies. Keep in mind these fish are staging and lingering- hanging out and waiting to spawn; not hunt, chase, and exert energy. Keeping your tactics in line with this can sometimes lead to more fishy encounters.
With temperatures being on the warmer side of things going into the weekend, remember to stay hydrated. Based on the forecast it looks like Wednesday will be the start of cooler weather and lined up with a morning tide, anglers will want to keep beverages and water close at hand.
As you likely saw on our social media feeds this week water was released into the Capilano today to help fish travel towards the hatchery. If they do this again in the future, we will share any plans/notices received!
If you’re looking ahead to pink season have a read of Eric’s special report this week on pink tactics!
Pinks! Tactics and Gear
Pink fishing can be an excellent way to introduce new anglers to salmon fishing, get your first salmon on the fly, or just go out and have some fun in the sun! I have a few tips and tricks to consider for pink fishing.
Run time varies every season. We have had some reports of pinks off Bowen, but the bulk of the run is still out. Over the next few weeks, we should see schools push up past Porteau Cove, Furry Creek, with a few mixed-up fish at Ambleside. Later into August we can see fish push up on a few North Vancouver beaches like Cates Park all the way up past Deep Cove and Indian Arm. You can stay tuned to our fishing report for more run info in the coming weeks.
Tides play a big part in beach fishing. Low tides are generally best as it provides access to fish holding in deeper water. Try to fish on the low slack and beginning of the flood tide. Low tides early AM is the ideal situation. During the peak season I like to try and fish a low tide at the beach and make my way to the river to fish the high tide
Flies and Gear:
Spinning setups are very effective for targeting these salmon on the beach. Medium action spinning rods in the 8-9 ft range paired with reels in the 2000-3000 size are great for most situations. Salt water sealed drags are preferred. We have a few combos in shop that are perfect for this. Mono or braided line in the 15-30 lb class will do the trick combined with a durable 12lb Maxima Mono leaders. The usual salmon spoons and spinner will work well. Coho, Crocs Spoons, Buzz bombs, Zingers and Blue foxes in a variety of pink, and metallic finishes do well. Don’t be afraid to try something a little different than everyone else when the bite slows. Change colour, size or retrieve to get a few extra chances.
Fly anglers of all levels can have success on these fish as well. Rods in the 6-8 weight range can be used but you will notice most anglers opting for the 8 weight to combat the wind. Full floating lines paired with longer leaders and weighted flies are a great start point. If you want to get a bit more technical with your presentation you can look at clear intermediate sink lines or clear poly leaders to help get smaller lightly weighted flies down to the fish zone. I might splurge on the fluorocarbon leaders if the fish get picky. I would like to have a few options for flies. Smaller Clouser minnows, buggers, Cali Neils, Shrimp Patterns, and Handlebar patterns. Try to have a few weighted and unweighted in a small assortment of sizes. Lastly use pink for pink… almost always, but I fish a fair bit of chartreuse, blue, metallic silver and copper flies when the pink stops working. The last bit of beach fly fishing kit I recommend is a stripping basket. This will be essential for keeping your line ready and coiled for casting, and not thrashed around in the waves and rocks underfoot.
A few little things every angler should have would be a decent pair of polarized sunglasses, brimmed hat and sun protective clothing. We have a variety of solar shirts, sun gloves and hats in stock to keep you cool, protected and looking good on the water. You can also check out our Saltwater Simms boots. These provide great grip and extra durability for the harsh saltwater environment. Pink fishing can be a fun and exciting community fishery. Be courteous with your fellow anglers, keep your fishing spot clean and have fun.