The Summer run sockeye are starting to build in the marine areas. It is expected that a marine sport fishery (perhaps at the Banana (mouth of the Fraser)) will open as early as August 1, 2014. More news in the next few days. We were out there this morning and saw about 20 dolphins but not a lot in the way of fish.
During the big run of 2010, the Fraser River test fisheries during the last week of July had 2 net totals ranging from 63 to over 112 sockeye. The increase happened quite quickly and by August 14, 2010 the two net totals jumped to as high as 266. This week , July 27th, 2014 to be exact, the highest two net total is just 49 fish and August will officially arrive this week end. It's a hopeful hint but there is still a ways to go for an in river fishery. Here's hoping!
The Sockeye are Coming (Sort of)
Enjoy the Summer!
Gabe and his friend Cole decided to sneak off and do some fly fishing in local waters (the Vedder and the Skagit) and Cole snapped this early morning shot. Cole is one of the two partners in Nordica Photography and flew out from Sweden to shoot a wedding in Hope. (Yes he does that on a regular basis, i.e. zipping out to Greenland or South America happens to him all the time)
The scenery on the Vedder was great but the fishing was slow today. The last of the early red Chinook run are now moving to the upper reaches of the Vedder and you will have to fish from the Vedder Crossing Bridge to the closed section at the fish hatchery. There are Cultus Lake and Chilliwack Lake Sockeye in the system and they are all catch and release to handle them with care.
The Skagit was running clear and small caddis would be a good bet for trout.
The Chehalis was also running clear but full of very small trout and fingerlings so while you might get lots of action, it was, well, pretty small. A few early Chinook are possible as well as summer steelhead.
The Squamish is still rippin high. If the hot weather doesn't keep the level up due to glacier melt then the rains of last week help peak it. Some of the open tributaries will be open for rainbow, bull trout and cutties but finding those areas is tricky and be very careful of the high water. Using small minnow and sculpin or egg sucking leaches will bring about some strikes.
The Fraser has dropped a meter and a half and then came up a bit with last weeks rain. Chinook are in it and most success at this time is bar fishing with the standard Spin-N-Glo or plugs. There are not enough Sockeye which many people are still disappointed about. So there are only First Nation fisheries. Given the warmer weather of previous years, the later arrival of the main summer runs coincides with potentially cooler water. So maybe it is the Sockeye's way of adjusting to climate change. Makes the waiting longer though. The test fisheries in region 12 have not had the high sockeye returns so a prediction of mid August arrival still seems to hold true. The Sturgeon are there and ready to bite. Last week eulachon beat out roe, but having a selection of eulachon, roe, dew worms, eel and now that the salmon are in, some left over fillets from last years catch might just work.
There are lots of boats out in front of the mouth of the Capilano and both beach and boat fishermen have captured the odd coho. Not a lot in the way of springs yet. Heading out to the mouth of the Fraser would be a good bet. Mornings with calmer wind might make the trolling easier.
Campbell River; there is a pink salmon opening on the Campbell River on Vancouver Island and these are always fun on the fly. Anything in chartreuse pink or green will usually work. This is an excellent fishery to teach youngsters the art of fishing. With a good week of weather ahead, might be a good idea to head up island for good camping and good fishing fun.
Somass River: The Somass has an extended opening now to the end of July to allow more sport caught Sockeye. It also has another commercial fishery as the Sockeye number have a 90% forecast of 1.3 million fish.
Skeena River: As predicted, the Skeena Sockeye run is also very strong and the daily catch limit has been increased from 2 fish to 4 fish per day.
When the weather gets hot and tough, the tough go fishin! It wasn't crowded on the Fraser and it was a perfect day to get out on the water.
With the hot weather and the Fraser still closed to salmon fishing it doesn't mean there is nuthin to do. Ernst called up and wanted to know if there was a chance to get out on the water and enjoy the sunshine and maybe some sturgeon fishing. And a good day it was as Ernst got into some serious wrestling matches most of which he was the eventual winner! There was consistent breaching of fish throughout the day and some really big ones showed themselves either spy hopping or completely launching themselves into the air. Over the course of the day we had to keep re-positioning as the freshet currents and tides kept things changing. Once we found the right water depth, current and bait combo we started to get the takes and 8 fish made their way to the boat.
Ernst battled a few nice sized fish and by the smile on his face you can tell he was pretty pumped with his catches.
If you aren't so much into fishing you can just find a comfortable spot to snooze on the front deck and catch some rays. If you are into a good book, you can read or look at what the eagles, seals and other critters on the river are up to!
The Vedder River is open and my spy Art checked out the lower mouth where trolling for chinook got one fellow into 3 hookups and landed one fish. The Fraser is still in flood and backs up the water in the Vedder Canal so finding a place to fly fish is tough, though one fellow was enjoying that water in a jet ski. Up river near the Vedder Crossing bridge the water is looking very good in both color and level, with lots of gravel banks and bars becoming exposed. The sunbathers and tubing was the most popular river activity but we saw a fellow walk away with a nice 10 lb chrome Chinook. Drift casting with a float, weight and wool is a good bet.
The Fraser River is still closed to salmon but the Chinook run continues to build with the test fishery showing a very nice increase over the last three days. The sockeye are showing up and there was a first nation net fishery on the river yesterday. The run is primarily the early Stuart run which as of this weekend an estimated 50,000 plus have migrated past mission. Some early summer run sockeye were in with them and that added another 5,000 plus fish. In the past years the early Stuart run did not have numbers big enough to allow a sport fishery in tidal or non-tidal waters so at present with a run size estimate of close to 190,000 fish the fishery is likely limited to the native food and ceremonial catch. River temperatures will be the primary issue as this hot weather has already pushed the river water temperature to over 17 C. The ocean test fisheries are underway and the current forecast is that the Chilko run will peak around August 15. So no clear indication on run size estimate yet or as to when a Fraser Sockeye salt or fresh water fishery will be available.
The Skeena River will be going from a 2 sockeye per day limit to a 4 sockeye per day limit as that run continues to strengthen.
So still staying optimistic the main summer run sockeye will show up. Tight lines and book a trip!
Sockeye are in the Fraser!
This scene will hopefully be repeated soon as the first sockeye are now entering the Fraser River and have already passed by Mission. Everyone is looking forward to this fishery and it is hoped that the run will just continue to build. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is requiring the commercial Fishers begin to gear up and register to have on board observers. The commercial boats will be required to have 20% of the catch validated by an independent on board observer and all catch will have to be landed at approved designated offloading areas for more accurate assessments of the catch total. If the commercial boats intend to offload at other sites, they must first register those sites with the DFO independant observer. All this must be done by July 18th in order to participate in the commercial fishery.
20 commercial boats are already registered for the test fisheries so things are falling into place should the fish start to enter the Johnstone Strait.
DFO is also increasing the allowable catch for coho in anticipation of an increased run. Currently you can retain 2 hatchery coho in the southern Vancouver Island/Juan de Fuca areas 20 and 19-1 to 19-4. In September this will change to keeping 2 coho of which one may be an un-marked fish.
Last but not least, the Vedder has been starting to produce red springs of which a 40 pounder caught on the weekend is making the rumor mill spin.
The Fraser continues to drop and clear up, with much less debris it will be good to head out for sturgeon to get some big ones before they get too fat and picky with all the sockeye they will soon be gorging on.
Tight lines and book a trip for what will likely be a memorable salmon season.
Took three days up Island to check out the fishing scene and scenery. So as luck would have it the weekend weather in Ucluelet was almost as good in Prince Rupert last week but not as bad as my head cold. Took three days up Island to check out the fishing scene and scenery. If you were a surfer the waves at Long Beach were fabulous but if you wanted to get out on the water the rain, fog and swells and 6 foot plus breakers made it quite miserable! It was great on Monday morning as the weather cleared till about 11:00 and lots of boats made it out to the mouth of Barkely Sound but at 11:30 a fog bank rolled in and visibility died, though the seas were OK.
Beach coming was fun but if you wanted to catch fish you were stuck in the Alberni Inlet and there was narry a chinook to be found. An early opening for First Nations showed that the Somass River Sockeye were indeed already all the way into Port Alberni and heading upriver. There were lots of boats out and some were successful as the ice tubs at the Alberni Boat ramp were being loaded with fish. A general 14 hour commercial fishery is now underway.
1.3 million sockeye are forecast for the Somass river and DFO has approved an experimental river sport fishery for Sockeye in the Somass River for July 1 to 18, so after the First Nation Fishery is closed and if you are in the Port Alberni area, try wetting your line for some fresh sockeye in the Somass River!
The Columbia River Chinook are predicted to be passing the Broken Island group in larger than normal numbers but, it seems like in Prince Rupert, they just haven't made it there yet. The Chinook numbers entering the Fraser are relatively consistent and the total tally for the month of June test fishery is almost 10 times the same amount for the month of June last year, though not spectacular yet.
No news on what the Vedder is doing as today would be opening day.
Here's hoping the Fraser Runs of Chinook and Sockeye materialize in about three weeks. Off shore test fisheries will give an indication if the number of sockeye will exceed 25,000,000 fish. Tight Lines!
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My name is Peter Krahn and I want to welcome you to Fraser Legends Fishing Blog. We look forward to keeping up with all our friends as we pursue good times and tight lines!