Sunday, January 17th
Give and Recieve. Fred Helmer is donating a 6 hour guided sturgeon fishing experience to assist with the Fraser Valley Salmon Society GoFundMe page.
Message from Fred...
December 21, 2020
"Our team at Fred’s want to send our best wishes to everyone over the holidays. Please remember that despite the challenging times over the past year, we should be thankful for the incredible efforts, selfless dedication, and ongoing commitment from our health care and front line service people..." Follow this link to read the latest message from Fred.
Chilliwack/Vedder River Report
January 17, 2021
We are taking reservations for Walk-and-Wade trips. Please contact either location for details. Also, the Wally Hall Jr. Memorial Steelhead Derby tickets are now available either online at shopfreds.ca or through either of our stores. You can also buy raffle tickets to be eligible for the season-ending wind-up draw prizes.
It was an exceptional weekend with 9 fish weighed in on Sunday alone. When the water drops after an extended rainfall the fish get real bitey and that they were. There are a good number of fish in the river, and as the water drops further the opportunities will rise. Solid options include roe sacs, gooey bob / spin'n'glo combos, jigs, and beads.
Swinging a fly is tough in the strong current. You'll need a very heavily weighted tungsten leader, along with a smaller weighted fly (smaller flies reduce drag and sink faster). The key is to find some river where you can get the fly down fast, dumping plenty of line to add slack.
If you're new to the Chilliwack/Vedder system, be sure to pop into the Chilliwack store and talk to one of the boys (from 2M away) and see what they would recommend.
Please be aware of the regulations and how to identify your fish. Release all non-retention species properly. Do not take them out of the water. A single barbless hook is very easy to remove. Stay within your limit.
Fraser River Report
January 8, 2020
Fred got out the other day for a few hours to do some tagging of juvenile sturgeon. It turned into pretty much non-stop bite action, along with some very nice fish.
With the cooler water temperatures and food sources dwindling, the bigger sturgeon will begin to get more and more lethargic, saving up their energy stores. Juvenile sturgeon, on the other hand, tend to be a little more active and will continue to move around looking for a bite to eat.
If you're heading out for a relaxing day on the water, we suggest using circle hooks to avoid foul hookups. Juvenile sturgeon have been known to lay on bait and using octopus hooks could result in an ugly situation.
As usual, be sure to land and release your fish as quickly as possible.
About Sturgeon... The incredible power and strength of these unique fish are demonstrated with acrobatic jumps, long hard pulling runs, and most important the impressive durability. Making them one of the most exciting catch-and-release fisheries on the planet.
Many people have taken the time to educate themselves on the conservation and management efforts that the Sports fishing sector has dedicated over 20 years to ensure that these fish will be around for years to come. If you have never experienced a Sturgeon fishing excursion, we highly recommend you try this world-class fishery that is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable fisheries for generations to come.
Please handle these prehistoric beasts with care and keep them in the water as much as possible. Our job is to keep an eye out for these fish and report your observations to the authorities immediately.
Harrison River Report
December 04, 2020
We're very much nearing the end of salmon on the Harrison. There may be a few B run coho wandering through. For trout, char, and whitefish, beads and egg/flesh flies are good options.
Keep an eye out on the Freshwater Salmon regulations for retention opportunities and boundary restrictions.
Chehalis River Report
October 06, 2020
The early coho run heading up to the lake has been very good. Looking forward to some good numbers of the Fall salmon moving in soon.
Stave River Report
December 04, 2020
With salmon season finished, fishing for trout and whitefish will be the staple for a couple of months. Steelhead will usually move in around January.
Dewdney/Norrish Creek Report
November 03, 2020
Coho fishing has been quite good of late. Fly fishing, twitching jigs, and casting spinners/spoons are all good options.
Local Lakes Report
December 04, 2020
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please read this notice and let others know the significance of invasive species in our lakes and river systems. They are not welcome and practicing catch & release is not recommended for the longevity of our native fish.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society has been stocking a number of our local easy access lakes which make awesome opportunities for families, younger anglers, and for a nice evening casting a line. Both gear and fly fishing work well in these lakes.
Interior Lakes Report
December 04, 2020
As the lakes begin to ice up, we're moving into "hardwater" season. Tunkwa Lake Resort has found some areas close to shore with 4" - 6" of ice. Be safe out there.
Salt Water Report
November 16, 2020
Hello Fellow Anglers,
We are now truly into this year's winter Chinook fishery as we no longer have an option to pursue mature fish off various river mouths. The feeder Chinook fishery got off to an early and strong start more than a month ago, as legal-sized fish were getting caught quite consistently even in early October.
This fishery for "winter" Chinook runs from early October through until the end of March, so it is actually our longest "fishery" of the year. During it we are targeting the actively feeding immature Chinook, the majority of which will end up spawning next fall as 3 or 4 year olds. A very high percentage of our winter fish originate from US hatcheries. They feed within our local waters during the winter months then we encounter them again during the summer months over off Gabriola when they are migrating back down to US waters. These US hatchery fish are all clipped, and the hope is that we can get a change in the regulations this spring which will allow for the retention of clipped hatchery fish in some areas of the South Coast instead of us being hit with non-retention of Chinook from April 1st until July 15th in all inside waters again in 2021. I'm sure we are still several months away from any decision by the Minister on this subject, but I will let you know once we get the regulations for next spring. I wouldn't hold your breath on being allowed to retain Chinook next spring, but we can hope the Minister follows the science instead of some other agenda this year.
In the meantime, we are open for Chinook retention (2 per day over 62 cm fork length) during our winter Chinook fishery. Winter Chinook are also arguably the best eating salmon of the year as all the food they are eating is directed towards growing big and fat, so if you want to be sure to catch a few Chinook to eat before mid-summer it will likely be best to get out before the end of March.
The action during the winter fishery typically goes through a few ebbs and flows throughout the winter, and it is really hard to predict the best time or month in which to go out. Many anglers don't even feel that it truly starts until December, but in looking back over my catch records, there are some years when the best action occurred during November; however, typically the best months are December, January and February. March is a bit of a funny month for this fishery, as we have started to see the springtime plankton blooms begin in March during recent years. Back in the 90's they didn't start until at least a week into April, so this is a local indicator of global warming at work. Once the plankton blooms occur, the action at some of the winter fishing locations tends to become less consistent, though the fish are definitely larger than they are early in the winter. If we have colder than average weather during February and March, those plankton blooms will delay a bit, and the fishery stays consistent.
At the present time, we are still able to operate with our Covid protocols in place as we have had all summer. With the colder and damper weather of winter charters potentially putting everyone into closer contact under the boat's top, masks will need to be worn more consistently than during the warm summer days when we could spread out around the boat more. Hopefully, we will begin to see numbers of cases level off or start to go down after the spike that occurred after the Thanksgiving weekend, and additional closures of some activities don't get enacted so we can continue to operate through the winter months.
I am working at my winter construction job, but I am still able to "take days off" to do charters as long as I have a bit of notice. I also try to schedule trips so we aren't out in conditions that are too nasty as being out on those days isn't really enjoyable for anyone, so having a secondary "fall back" day for your charter is always a good idea at this time of year if possible.
The prawning has been quite good as of late as numbers continue to build back up after the commercial opening late last spring, and they should continue to build right through the winter and spring months. The larger "egged" females ow have to be released, but I have yet to get too many of them in my traps. In past years larger numbers of egged females showed up around late December and early January. Once they drop their eggs, the big females are able to be retained, so the largest prawns will be around in late winter and early spring.