Hello Fellow Anglers
I am sitting at home today looking out the window at some torrential rains today after correctly postponing a trip that was booked for today. I know I definitely wouldn't have wanted to be out there in this weather today...lol. The weather also serves as a reminder that fall is coming, and with that the change in the fishing regulations. Starting on September 1st, the waters around the mouth of the Fraser River and Vancouver, in general, will finally open to Chinook retention since it closed on April 1st, and the daily limit will be 2 Chinook per day with no maximum size restriction (it is 80 cm at present in the open areas away from Vancouver).
Since we opened up for Chinook retention in the portion of the Strait of Georgia west of the Gower to Thrasher line (July 15th), and then West of the Gower to Porlier Pass line (August 1st), I've been fishing off Gabriola on about 90% of my trips. Unfortunately strong winds kept us away from Gabriola a few days, but at least most days have been calm enough to cross. While we are definitely past "prime time" for that area, we are still finding decent numbers of Chinook over there, though lately "oversized" Chinook greater than the 80 cm maximum size have been making up a significant portion of the catches...close to 50% of the fish over the last week or so. I'd think we will see similar action over there for these last 10 days of the month.
All of Vancouver's saltwater anglers are waiting for the September 1st Chinook opening off the mouth of the Fraser. While I have not done a catch and release DNA sampling trip there yet this August, reports from those that have indicated that the Chinook numbers are fantastic again this year (or at least they were prior to the monsoons today and yesterday). This should mean that once it opens up, we will see some great action from the N. Arm/Bell Buoy area all the way down to Sandheads, though the Sandheads area should be the more consistent producing area due to the fact that the majority of fish head up that arm of the Fraser. Remember, a trip down to Sandheads requires a minimum 8 hour trip (like Gabriola trips) as well as relatively calm winds. The Mouth of the Capilano river will also begin to produce Chinook on a regular basis in early September, so this is another option for the shorter 5 hour charters.
If you wish to do a strictly catch and release trip, getting out before September 1st will likely provide the best days of action off the Fraser since there won't be crowds of other anglers to contend with. My scientific license for DNA collection means I can fish the mouth of the Fraser in August and target Chinook strictly to collect DNA even though this area is closed to Chinook fishing until September 1st (i.e. it isn't even open to catch and release)...we need that data to show that stocks of concern are not present in the hope that we can get this area re-opened or at least partially open in future years. The present regulations will leave a blank hole in the vital data for this time and area without the odd trip out there.
As of this time, I still have lots of open dates during these last few days of August and in September, though many guys have said they are going to wait and book a trip in September or we have postponed a trip until September if we got "blown out" on a scheduled August trip to Gabriola. Now that September is approaching, I expect that over the next few days many of my open days will get booked up, so if you are thinking of getting out in September, don't leave it too late.
Of course October can also provide us with some great fall weather as well as Coho fishing off the Fraser, and there should also still be some late Chinook kicking around off the Capilano early in the month. I have also encountered several legal sized "feeder" Chinook off Gabriola in recent weeks (one was already 74 cm), so this may be an indication of a good strong start to our "winter Chinook" fishery. We are lucky in that the Howe Sound winter Chinook fishery can start as early as October, and some years it is already producing very well early in November, so this is always an option for those wishing to get some prime eating Chinook before the end of the year.