For a view of a good sturgeon tilt click on Ernst's battle.
The alternating days of rain are good for salmon and sturgeon. The rains bring up the tributary rivers allowing fresh salmon to move up the rivers and old dying ones and carcasses to wash down the rivers into the Fraser. This brings in fresh salmon for fisherman hoping for Barbecue material. It also brings the carcasses down into the Fraser for sturgeon to feed on. The large sockeye run this year has made the sturgeon somewhat picky as many are very well fed. This means that the fishery may be slow for now but will pick up as October shifts to November.
The Fraser River Chum run is now in full swing with test catches that are exceeding the aily totals seen for sockeye this year by two to three times!. This is really good for sturgeon fishing as the sturgeon will be shifting to chum roe, bellies and yes, stink bait. Coho are also showing themselves though somewhat slower than expected especially in the Vedder River. The very heavy rains of this week may be blowing out the rivers but this should result in some fresh surges of fish.
For a view of a good sturgeon tilt click on Ernst's battle.
The end of the trip was a chance to explore the beautiful Elk Valley. This is a special place with a rich heritage of outdoor opportunities for hunting and fishing. It is a valley facing very significant challenges for sustainability. However, if presented a chance to explore it I would highly recommend you do so.
It's important as in any trip to the out doors to take time to look, see and enjoy all the small features of creation that make the entire kaleidoscope.
Enjoy the days on the water and in the woods and on the mountaintops and the journey home!
Kootenays Day 1; Sometimes there are days when your job and your passion come together and I have been able to team up with the good people at Elk River Guiding Company and a charter helicopter company and I will be updating you with the reports from field.
The Rocky Mountains of the east Kootenay are a mecca for the outdoor enthusiast and getting out to the Shangri la of cutthroat trout fishing is only 1/4 of the fun. Stay tuned for updates.
Kootenays Day 1 +1: West Slope Cutthroat Trout are a fabulous hard fighting fish that readily take a fly especially on the surface. As this is late in the season you have to hope for some sunshine to warm up the water and start some hatches. Even if the sun doesn't come out they will readily take a nymph or worm pattern. These are calcium and nutrient rich waters with some very large populations of benthic invertebrates that allow the fish to feed on a rich diet that leaves them with large girths and high energy for some feisty battles. The average fish ranges in the 13 to 17 inch range but there are larger in the 20 plus range.
In the fall the most reliable pattern was a pink chartreuse San Juan Worm pattern with glitter in the weave. The large cork strike indicator would drift with the current and it was important to mend the line so the drag on the float was from upstream, not cross current. As the float drifted down, it would frequently pull down or to the side and the appearance of a snag would usually result in the eruption of an angry trout into the air and the battle was on!
Foot note: Coho and Springs; The Thanksgiving day rains have brought much needed flow to local rivers and the Vedder River was on fire today as the hordes of coho holding in the Fraser at the mouth began a mad rush upstream. The backs of coho could be seen as newly formed rivulets crossed once dry gravel beds. Coho were hitting spoons and flies. Time to get out there!
Chum migrations are very strong with the test fisheries showing some very strong numbers. The current estimate is between 750,000 to 1,300,000 fish. So if you want some reel ripping, knuckle busting, arm bending battles that will test your endurance head to the Vedder or the Harrison rivers.
Kootenays Day 1 +2; Dawn breaks on another fabulous morning in the Elk Valley of the East Kootenays. As the sun is being kicked up from the flats of Alberta over the rocky mountains streams of light pierce past the jagged peaks to illuminate the sky and begin to bring warmth to the valley. As the day progresses, the water creeps up from 7 degrees Celsius to 7 1/2 maybe touching on 8 Celsius. It takes all day for the hatches to begin so the San Juan worm works it's magic until some October Caddis can begin to be seen to hatch. The pools begin to yield smaller then larger Cutties. One pool with a long dark run promises several battles but turns out to be the lair of a bull trout. Long and lean as they are fall spawners and all the fat seems to have gone out of the fish. However it attacks the worm and a feisty battle ensues. Nothing that wiggles would escape those predatory eyes in such clear water.....on to another day of fishing!
2014-10-16 Thanksgiving rains on the lower Mainland are indeed a blessing as the freshet clouded and then raised the water levels of tributary rivers to the Fraser. The large pods of coho schooling at the mouth of the Vedder began a mad rush up river after the first rainfall this week end and blue backs could be seen scurrying up new rivulets formed by the rising water. Coho were hitting spoons and flies in the Vedder and the long awaited Coho, Spring and Chum run is now underway. Friday's heavy rain will bring in more fish and the alternating days and cloudier weather and water will make it much easier to tie into multiple salmon.
I've been on the water when it was running like chocolate milk and the un-informed were leaving the river in droves dejectedly dragging their rods behind them. This is the time to drift the lures two to five feet away from the shore as the salmon, especially the Springs and Chum hug the shoreline. We have had days of multiple hook ups of large Springs that take you rocketing down the gravel banks playing steeplechase with logs and rocks. Occaisionaly one of us literally got yanked off our feet by a steam rolling spring heading down to the rapids. Tufts of brightly coloured wool not much bigger than a salmon egg dead drifted with the current under a pencil float and lead will often do the trick. Get out there and get fishing!
Kootenays Day 1+4, The same floods that devastated Calgary and the surrounding areas also hammered the Elk and Fording rivers. The floods caused landslides which in one area choked off a creek and created a new alpine lake. In the lower valley floor entire islands of cottonwoods and pines were removed resulting in pileups of log debris 14 to 18 feet high at most river bends. This made traversing the upper river very difficult and tough to find areas to get a clear drift of the flyline.
In several areas, the only way to get along is to push through willow thickets where the only thing you can see is bear prints. This causes you to sing out a little ditty that basically goes like this "Hey Bear! Hey Bear! Hey Bear" and hopefully they don't interpret it as a dinner call. In one area the flood had spared the channels and the island and there was a natural highway where all the wildlife that migrates through the valley could travers. There were deer, elk, moose, wolves, grizzly and black bear tracks, coyotes and cougar and most types of shore birds all criss crossing right next to one of the best fishing holes.
As the day warmed and the sun manages to break through some October Caddis are able to hatch and the swirl and gulp of hungry Cutties can be seen. I tied on a foam caddis imitation and with the first cast the battle was on!
2014-10-19 The rains have brought up the levels of all rivers in the lower mainland without blowing them out. The dry forest has soaked up most of the rain so the rivers are still running clear. The fish in the Vedder are not overwhelming in numbers but were very fresh and feisty. Those that worked for them were able to take home some nice coho and chums. The chum and coho run in the Fraser on Saturday was really strong and there was a first Nation commercial fishery but the number and size of the boats and nets were small enough to let fish through as was evidenced by the large number of jumpers heading up on the high tides. Those that were shore fishing at Derby Reach in Fort Langley were being rewarded with both coho and Chum.
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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!