The main stem of the Squamish has really dropped so the typical runs on the lower end have lots of beach. The fish just started to come in at the end of the high tide which is at about 17:00 so there wasn't a lot of day light left when new fish came into the system. There are some fresh coho coming in and the Cheakamus seemed to be getting most of them.
The coho were mostly hitting spoons and a few were good sized but jacks were around.
And so were the bears. This fella did a fair bit of swimming around before he found a chum that he picked up and hauled up into the bush to have a good feast. If you want to check out this bear picking up the Chum Click here.
Today was a fabulous day out on the rivers in terms of sun however with dropping levels and clearing water it's best to get onto the water before the sun hits it or after the shade returns. Chum and coho are primarily the quarry of the day in most waters including the Squamish system. While the fish have reached over 20 km upstream of Squamish, they are still few and far between up there though several souls were out there enjoying the weather and the solitude.
It was a day to test some new fly patterns and today, chartreuse pink over purple certainly out-fished purple over chartreuse pink and with some nice chrome chum the rods bent hard and the reels sang quite nicely!
The fisheries technicians were out on the water tracking chum with transmitter to see how the upstream migration was progressing. As it turned out I managed to capture one of the fish which had a marked external tag. If you catch one of these, it is appreciated if you simply record the number and let the fish back into the water as quickly as possible
The Squamish main stem was very slow today, but hopefully some new fish will come in with the tides. So as this week end progresses, any of the rivers are a good bet for fly and spinner fishers. If you are in the Squamish area, the bears are along the river as the berry season ended by the summer drought has pushed the bears to the river. There were lots of bear tracks and yes, I did bump into one and only managed to get a picture of his considerable paw print. So, keep an eye open.
So, here is the current outlook for Chum and Chinook on the Fraser.
Today was a great day weather-wise for fishing (like most days are) and there were more than a few fishers out testing the water in Squamish and for good reason. They and the seals were out after the fresh chum and coho salmon that were coming in after each high tide.
Many of the chum were nice and bright and all were certainly feisty including this one. The seals were pretty aggressive and if you Click on this Chum Video you can just see the seal in the back ground and the dog running to head it off from chasing this fish. Some of the coho were about seven pounds and chrome bright, Click on this Coho Video if you want to see this wild one just before he spits the hook. The fishermen using spinners were definitely doing the best but they would pick up egg patterns in various colors and everyone had to pay attention as to where the seals were.
The ever present possibility of catching a bull trout porking itself out on salmon eggs or salmon parts can be a welcome diversion if the bite on salmon is slowing down. They will often take the offering that are presented for salmon, especially egg patterns and spinners.
At the beginning of this week the Vedder was still producing some fresh Chinook in the lower Canal section and many had moved up river to the Tamahi Creek area. Unfortunately there were many fisherman using "non-selective" fishing methods which were resulting in the snagging of many fish. This has been leading to some testy language at some of the crowded holes. I even saw one family, simply using a landing net to chase spawning fish in hopes of catching one for the plastic bag. Not a pretty sight. It's sometimes tough to watch this however, with the abundance of cell phone cameras these days it might do well to let these types know you are filming them......what you do with the images, ie sending them to local DFO/Conservation officers might start sending a message that others are concerned about the resource.
Anyways, Chum are still coming in in strong numbers and some were being caught in the Vedder and are showing up in the Harrison, Chehalis and Stave. No news yet on the Squamish however they should be starting to pick up there as well.
Checked out the Squamish today and with the tail end of huricane Ono hitting the north shore the Squamish took a real blast and the waters shot up to the 6 meter level at the Brackendale guage before sinking back with today's break in the rain. The road was closed just upstream of the Hydro plant so there was no way to get past that as the water flooded the road.
There was no sign of chum or coho in the lower end by Brackendale so it looks like it could be another week or two before decent numbers show. The river was so turbid today that it colored up Howe Sound by the time you made it to Furry Creek. So if you went elsewhere, then that was a better choice.
The hoped for Hurricane OHO rains didn't really materialize as of Saturday morning so jumps in river levels might be muted unless some more rain arrives later today which is still in the forecast as most of the residual hurricane rain swerved north to hit the tip of Vancouver Island and the Haida Gwai.
If the rain does materialize and the rivers come up a bit it should help to clean up the thousands of pink carcasses that are making the Vedder more than a little bit smelly! This should push a lot of carcasses into the Fraser stoking the Sturgeon till they look like bloated balloons. This may make sturgeon fishing a little tougher as there will be so much food in the water.
This week saw the Fraser Chum run take a major major surge and they should be showing up throughout the river and into the main tributaries like the Stave, Vedder, Chehalis and Harrison Rivers.
The next three days should pump lots more chum into the Fraser till the Commercial Fishery opens on Oct. 13th and then numbers entering the tributaries may take a hit depending on how many boats show up. This fishery won't help the residual chinook numbers as they are likely to be included in the catch due to similar net sizes.
Not a lot of coho showing up in the test fishery as they are typically smaller and are lower by catch. There are still boats out in front of the Capilano river but if rains bring that river up they and the rest of the Chinook out there will shoot up so in river fishing should improve. If you are careful, you can find shoreline coho is two to three feet of water along the West Van shorelines at high tide but mouth of the Capilano is the best bet till the rains bring up the river.
With the elbow to elbow crowds still clogging the main holes on the Vedder and the Chum making their appearance all along the coast, the crowd weary fisherman might want to shift over to the Squamish to avoid the Lower Mainland crush on the Vedder, Chehalis and Stave Rivers. No reports from the Squamish but it might be worth an exploratory trip.
If you are tripping out to Vancouver Island this long week end the Stamp river has had more of the river opened to the retention of coho to:
"That portion of the Stamp River southerly of a line from a boundary sign near the southwestern shore of the inlet to Robertson Creek hatchery Lagoon near the point located at 49 degrees 20.343 North longitude, 124 degrees 59.171 West latitude to a boundary sign near the southeastern shore of the outlet of Robertson Creek hatchery Lagoon located near the point at 49 degrees 20.360 North longitude, 124 degrees 58.787 West latitude."
Be warned though, if the Fisheries Officers catch people harassing fish, deliberately foul hooking them or targeting Chinook in the Stamp, they may decide to reduce the fishing area or close it down on the Stamp.
As we have flipped from September into October and there has been little if any rain in the watersheds for over a week, river levels are dropping and clearing again. The great fishing for Chinook has continued and last weekend about a 100 + boats were out at the mouth of the Fraser. It seemed that there were more boats than fish as few were reporting success but the fish were visible on the sounders. Seems that Anchovy were the ticket but still, few boats reported landing any. However, since mid September the Chum have been entering the river and in the last week they have been entering the Fraser in ever increasing numbers.
As the test fishery shows, the springs have hit one of the second highest peak numbers this season and the chum are entering in numbers that are starting to rival the number of Chinook. This means that the Vedder and Harrison and likely the Chehalis will start seeing improving numbers of Chum. The early season fish should be reasonably bright and extremely feisty putting up line ripping battles for both fly and drift fisherman.
Might still be a bit early for the Squamish and the continuing warm weather will result in continuing glacial melt which results in really turbid runoff. One of the most turbid is the creek that enters the Cheakamus River just upstream of the cafe by the river crossing. A few days ago the river was still very turbid and lots of effort was required to find any coho or bull trout. The Squamish river has dropped another meter this week so look for water that is about 3 feet deep and has a quiescent zone as this is where the coho will be starting to school up.
Once we get some cooler and wetter weather the Squamish will actually settle down abit and good numbers of coho and chum should be in the system in about two weeks. If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy the weather, it's still not a waste of time to try this river right now. One should always have some good weighted egg patterns for this system as you can either get a coho or chum or luck into a big rainbow or bull trout that is waiting in the tailouts to suck up any eggs that are drifting by.
The crowds on the Vedder were sometimes beyond the point of rediculous especially at the upper end of the canal. At the upper pool, people were literally crowding in elbow to elbow and it was a bit overdone where there seemed to be little common sense and move on to other places. Further up river around the rail bridge it was much more civilized and the drift fisherman were landing springs and the occasional coho. If we get some rain by mid week and the water comes up a bit it might wash a few of the pink carcasses into the Fraser. The smell of decaying fish was not for the faint of heart or nose!
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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!