Thursday, April 1st
Message from Fred...
March 27, 2021
"The work that is being done along the Chilliwack / Vedder River is adding tremendous habitat improvement projects that are so important to our future fisheries. The funds that we raised this year will likely be leveraged into nearly $150,000. Totally awesome that Fred's has been able to help grow this program over the years."◊ Follow this link to read the latest message from Fred.
Chilliwack/Vedder River Report
March 21, 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.
Switching into Spring fishing really opens up opportunities for swinging a fly. If you've thought about getting into spey / two-handed fly fishing, now is an excellent time to get out there with the 7 or 8wt and chuck a big intruder. As usual, you'll need to adjust your sink tip to match the flow you're swinging through. This is when you want a well-rounded tip wallet to cover all conditions.
With the salmon fry buzzing around, and the water sub 1.45m at the crossing, the char, trout, and cutthroat are getting more active. Minnow patterns on the fly, or small blades, along with troutbeads, are working very well right now.
Steelheading will be productive for a few weeks still, with less fish moving in as the run slows down. Be prepared with a good range of tackle options, and ready to cover lots of water. Solid options continue to be roe, wool ties (check out our video series), single-egg sacs, gooey bob / spin'n'glo combos, jigs, Colorado blades, and beads. Now is also not a bad time to consider throwing spoons and Blue Fox spinners.
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
March 21, 2021
Early Spring is an interesting time of year on the Fraser River. Cutthroat are cruising around the back-channels and sloughs looking for salmon fry. Getting out with the fly rod with minnow patterns, or the light spinning gear with blades can be very rewarding.
Sturgeon fishing is picking up has been good of late. Eulachon is a good choice for bait this time of year. Be sure to keep a lamprey and some roe on board as well - they can be pickey.
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
March 6, 2021
It's cuttie season on the Harrison. Alevin and small fry are working the shorelines which means it's feeding season for the roaming cutties, rainbows, and char. Work the shore with small fry/alevin patterns, and small Dick Nites or spinners.
Keep an eye out on the Freshwater Salmon regulations for retention opportunities and boundary restrictions.
Chehalis River Report
March 21, 2021
It's cuttie season on the Chehalis. Alevin and small fry are working the shorelines which means it's feeding season for the roaming cutties, rainbows, and char. Work the shore with small fry/alevin patterns, and small Dick Nites or spinners. This is a relatively short season, as the fry will work their way out to the Harrison quite quickly.
Stave River Report
March 21, 2021
It's cuttie season on the Stave. Alevin and small fry are working the shorelines which means it's feeding season for the roaming cutties, rainbows, and char. Work the shore with small fry/alevin patterns, and small Dick Nites or spinners.
Dewdney/Norrish Creek Report
March 21, 2021
It's cuttie season! Alevin and small fry are working the shorelines which means it's feeding season for the roaming cutties, rainbows, and char. Work the shore with small fry/alevin patterns, and small Dick Nites or spinners.
Local Lakes Report
March 21, 2021
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 folks have been stocking many of the local lakes. This is a great opportunity to get out with the young ones and teach them to fish.
Kawkawa Lake in Hope is open now for kokanee. Jigging in about 40' of water, or a deep water chironomid pattern are good options. Check out Fishing with Rods video on this tactic.
The other local lakes are just starting to warm up as bugs get more active.
Interior Lakes Report
March 21, 2021
Countdown to ice off is well underway. Tunkwa Lake is showing dark areas around the shoreline which is a very good indication we may be in for an early start to the season.
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.