So the sockeye run is winding down but the fall weather made it a perfect day to get back on the Fraser where the Spring and Chum salmon are making up for the difference. Rick and Ingrid decided to take daughter Nicole and son-in-law Scott out for the day to learn the finer features of bottom bouncing, and bounce they did! Nicole poses with her first Spring Salmon, a 30 pounder that stripped line and gave her a fine lesson in yelling "Fish On!, Fish On!, Fiiiiiiiiiish On!" According to reliable sources, by the end of the battle it was not clear who was more tired, the fish or Nicole!
Just to prove it was no accident a second and third Spring tore off a stretch of line and headed for the Harrison River and eventually landed! This was followed up by some fine sockeye and the family is all smiles as they contemplate some fine barbecuing to come!
Abe and Manny were determined to get their fair share of the 9,492,400 Sockeye which is the final tally estimated for this years run which passed the counting station at Mission. This is a strong number but still shy of what was originally predicted.
The good thing is that water temperatures and flows were favourable that good numbers have reached the spawning grounds and the main push of Adams River fish will hit the Shuswap Area in about 10 days making for a spectacular viewing opportunity. That is a good way to introduce the kids to the life cycle of the salmon and on your way back to the lower mainland, you can stock up on apples and grapes and veggies at the many Okanagen fruit stands. Not to mention seeing some of the great pumpkin displays.
Even though sockeye are now dropping off the spring, chum and coho will really start ramping up with freshet rains recharging the local rivers. Sturgeon are starting to move and can be found near the outlets of tributary rivers feeding on the many salmon carcasses. Sturgeon will start to congregate in the the lower Fraser from Mission downstream to the Pitt River and this area will start seeing more and more of the big migratory fish many of which will be in the 6 to 8 foot range or larger. Fall on the lower mainland rivers is really heating up. Bring it On!
There were a pile of Sockeye rushing up the Fraser River over the last four days with an estimated 1.7 million surging past the mission counting station pushing this years total past 8,400,000 estimated fish! Fish are showing up in good conditions in the lakes and rivers in the B.C. interior which bodes well for the runs of 2018. First Nation FSC fisheries are nearly complete so the in river sport fishery should really stay strong. Tidal water seine and troll fisheries are continuing and may still see their quota be upgraded!
However, the number of Chum caught in the test fisheries is higher than the sockeye numbers. This is a great improvement as Chum have had lower numbers and to see them come back strong bodes well that perhaps the number of coho will also be up as they are on Vancouver Island. This one took off like a spring and needed to be chased down the bank before it could be slowed down! Fishing for chum should be strong at the mouth of the Harrison where drift fishing a purple streamer either with a fly rod or a bait caster should bring some knuckle busting rewards.
So, this week should offer lots of opportunities to catch some great fish as in river commercial fisheries should be held off for the next few days and there is every indication that the Sockeye sport fishery will remain open for the next week.
So as predicted, the last decent run of Sockeye are heading up the Fraser and those that got out on the water today were rewarded for their efforts. The fish were there and as you can see remarkably clean which is a bonus. Having some of these fish make it through the system will bode well for the Adams river run which will arrive up in the Shuswap by Thanksgiving. If you ever have a chance, it is one of the spectacular views that nature provides us here in British Columbia to see the Adams River turned red and green with sockeye battling for the right to spawn.
The coho were definately off the Ambleside beaches in West Vancouver and while the fisherman were going nuts due to all the boats the fish were equally nuts leaping out of the water and putting a show for all the people out walking and enjoying this last weekend of summer. The best place for casting is at the mouth at low to rising tide and then at high tide between John Lawson Park and Dundarave pier.
So if you can't make it to the gravel bars in Chilliwack or Hope tomorrow for Sockeye then a quick launch at Ambleside will put you into fish. The coho are pretty focused on getting up river so expect to cast or troll a lot of gear to find the ones that will sacrifice themselves onto a hook.
The last blast of sockeye that were holding in tide water are definitely entering the Fraser River as the numbers continue to climb. As there will not be any commercial in river fisheries till Monday, it will be good weather and likely good fishing. In fact this late run seems to be higher than in 2010. Chum numbers are continuing to build so there should be some reel rippin battles for some fisherman. It will be a fine weekend for sturgeon fisherman as well so a good time to be out on the water this weekend.
The forecast for coho in the Alberni inlet is high so larger areas of the Stamp River are opening more areas near the Robertson Creek Hatchery to sport fisherman.
There is still one last large run of Sockeye holding out in the Strait of Georgia and likely it will start to move into the Fraser any day now as the charts indicate this may have started. In anticipation of this the salt water fisheries have been open to commercial boats who still have sockeye quota left. It's not certain if an in river fishery will be opened as a First Nation fishery will close around noon on Thursday. If there are no more commercials for a few days the upriver fishery around Chilliwack could see a boost for the weekend with good weather, good sockeye, chum and spring numbers providing a late stocking stuffer for the Barbecue crowd.
Some early coho got into the Vedder and a few were picked up by the fishermen who knew about them along with some spring salmon. The rain forecast is mostly for some dampness not a good drenching to encourage more fish into the river for the weekend. So it never hurts to try the early morning pools for some fresh coho.
The season of the sockeye is starting to wind down and in river fisheries were slow during the mid week and may continue slow till Sunday evening as there have been commercial fisheries every day including tomorrow Saturday, Sept. 13. This means the river may start to recover by Sunday afternoon and by Monday noon some of the remnant run should starting to show up at Chilliwack. The run is winding down, but there could still be another peak early next week, though it is unlikely to be as strong as the past few weeks.
The white springs are starting to show up in full force, especially at the mouth of the Capilano River. There is a fleet of boats tucked in front of it every morning and evening as the reports of large whites arriving enmasse has drawn the fisherman.
The spring and chum numbers in the Fraser Test catches have been strong so bottom bouncers will increasingly encounter them and this is the good time of year for bar rig fisherman as the bottom bouncers begin to fade from the Fraser. Springs will take spin-n-glo lures and even plugs and spoons in the Fraser River. You will start to see boats clustered around the mouth of the Vedder River as that run starts to pick up and will hit its zenith the first two weeks of October.
Enjoy the weekend sunshine as we will be out testing for sturgeon as they begin to cluster in areas where salmon carcasses accumulate. So sockeye salmon bellies, gills and roe will be a must have bait as well as backup of dew worms and eel/lamprey.
The one good thing about having a longer summer holiday than planned is that Mathew got to spend more time Grandparents "Papa John and Grandma B" as he calls them. So with this opportunity in hand, it was time to show Papa John how good he was at fishing and plans were made, the gear was loaded and we headed out for some "Fishin Time".
En route Mathew explained the finer techniques of how to land a pike and we talked about how it might be fishing for salmon. After that the topic wandered over to sturgeon fishing. Mathew was very interested in knowing what size sturgeon he could catch and whether he could handle one over six feet in length? We discussed the pro's and con's of various techniques of handling such a large fish and whether he could barefoot waterski behind one.
Once we got the boat over to the fishin spot, we got to the serious business of catching sockeye. With a four fish limit between him and Papa John, there was a lot of work to do.
After hooking the first fish a herculean battle ensued with Mathew and Papa John engaging in a team effort to fight the feisty fish! Mathew determined that it would hurt his stomach if he held the rod with the fish bucking at the end of the line so he explained to Papa John that he should do the easy job of holding the rod while Mathew did the hard job of cranking the reel and fighting the fish. Papa John seemed to catch on eventually and the team effort paid off with landing a really nice Sockeye.
Now that Mathew had explained the finer elements of how to catch Sockeye to Papa John, it was time to catch more fish and after three more epic battles Mathew was pretty pleased with the results. (Even if Papa John looked a little tired after all that hard work! ) Way to go Mathew, could a six foot sturgeon be far behind?.......Not if a good fisherman like Mathew has anything to say about it!
The total run estimates for the Early Summer Run, Summer Run and Late Summer Run Sockeye are in and at 19,800,400 fish are below the 24,000,000 pre-season 50% probability estimates. A large portion of these fish were obviously caught by the various commercial marine and Fraser River fisheries but a significant number were available to sport fishers in both marine and river. About a third passed the Mission counting station. The upper Johnstone Strait test fisheries and the Area 20 test fishery on Southern Vancouver Island are now discontinued. The number of fish now passing the Mission counting station are variable and should start to decline.
The weekend sport fishery was up and down but at times very good between the first Nation commercial fisheries which included set and drift nets. Dawn on the river was just fabulous on Saturday and Sunday and the upper river sport fishers out of Island 22 launch were like a determined military invasion force on D-Day.
The fishing started off with a bang and then required persistence as waves of sockeye and increasing numbers of chum and spring showed up.
Today the sport fishery was slow up river as first Nation Drift fisheries were in full force. Unfortunately for the sport fishers, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be dominated by in river commercial fisheries as DFO allows them to go after the lucrative Adams River run. These would be large fish and a pleasure to catch but the gill netters will be on the river till Friday morning so the peak of the run will be taken by the commercial guys. The coming weekend should show recovery by Saturday afternoon and Sunday could be decent if there are no additional First Nation fisheries.
The increasing numbers of feisty chum and powerful springs will hopefully add spice to the weekend fishery and hopefully start to be followed by coho headed for the Vedder and Harrison systems.
Update Sept. 6, 2014, The bulk of the Adams River run is now in the marine approach areas to the Fraser river and will be starting to enter the river en-mass. The runs in the river have been strong and those that have managed to get out between the commercial fisheries have done very well.
Today the First Nation commercial fisheries on the lower river will impact the upper areas near Chilliwack in about 24 hours so today could be good fishing upstream but Sunday and Monday morning will likely be impacted. The Adams River run is now in the marine approach areas and has some very big fish and is now entering the river.
Some years the Adams river run is allowed to escape up river without a commercial fishery impacting them but I would expect that either Monday or likely Tuesday the commercial in river fishery would be opened. However the in river fishery should peak again from today through the 11th of September. There are increasing chances of hooking into very large Harrison River white Chinooks. These brutes weigh to the 40 and 50 pound range and will take a shore fisherman on 300 yard dashes down the river before ripping off. So tough gear may be required. River water temperatures have been dropping and the sturgeon are starting to slip down river to the mouths of the tributary rivers and will be sucking up salmon carcasses and parts so sockeye parts especially belly strips will be good bets for bait.
Fraser River Sockeye are showing a strong late season bump as saltwater test catches are still well above normal and the Summer Run numbers have been upgraded from 6,000,000 late last week to 8,000,000 and the runs past the Mission counting area are currently tracking at the levels of the 2010 run. This bodes well for sport and commercial fishing and there will be full on first nation fisheries today, Sept. 3 and followed by in river commercial fisheries on Thursday. So Thursday/Friday might be slow up-river for the bottom bouncers on Thursday but hopefully the weekend will be good.
On Labour day Monday, it was tough slugging out at the mouth of the Fraser Banana as wind and tides worked against getting a good troll, though some boats were able to land a half dozen fish. The bottom bouncers around Chilliwack had to wait till Monday evening for the fish to arrive after Sundays closure of the in River First Nations commercial fishery but when they did arrive fishing was very good with lucky people catching their two fish limit in short order.
The Chinook numbers are also strong in the Fraser and several springs were caught in the evening and now the Chum numbers are starting to build and these fish will be starting to enter the Vedder and Harrison and Chehelis Rivers.
Yesterdays rain added a freshet to the North Shore streams and the Capilano River should have a fresh run of coho and maybe the odd spring so it would be worth tossing a fly, spoon or roe ball and get some bright fish.
Tight lines and book a trip.
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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!