Saturday, December 20, 2008

Upper Squamish River Conditions - Dec 20, 2008

Frozen Sidechannel

Wow! Has it been cold. The average daily temperatures have been well below the freezing point in Squamish for over a week. Itching to get out, I decided to take the family on a winter outing to the Upper Squamish River to look at bald eagles and river conditions. Knowing the kids would get hungry I packed us a small snack and the ever-so-needed thermos of hot chocolate. We bundled the kids up and packed them and the two dogs into the Jeep. Minus 9 read the thermometer when we pulled out of the driveway.Winter Hike

The kids had a blast pulling the toboggan and looking for eagles in the trees while we walked along a piece of the river with our two dogs.  Our final count was 4 eagles, quite a few less than I have seen in the past. 

The dogs sure enjoyed searching out the dead salmon carcasses that litter the forest floor. We realized, once they got into the truck and warmed up, that it may not have been a good idea to let them play with the dead fish ....yich.
River Conditions: The river was frozen in a lot of places with ice flows all over the place. I have not seen the river quite so icy.  Squamish is usually fairly mild even in the winter and rarely do the temperatures stay cold enough to freeze  the river to the extent I saw today. Unfortunately I also observed high and dry frozen areas where I had observed salmon spawning this past fall.  These conditions will surely result in the demise of the eggs in those areas.   

Below are a few shots of the Squamish River from the road taken today (Dec 20, 2008).  As you can see there is a lot of ice.  The weather report also suggests that we may receive up to 20cm of snow overnight which means that the road will become too snowy for safe truck travel.  If the temperatures do not increase to above zero for a significant amount of time, we will not be back up the road until spring. Thank goodness we have the Cheakamus and Mamquam rivers as options throughout the winter as well as some lower reaches of the Squamish.

Merry Christmas and see you on the water when it is warmer! Brrrrr.

Tight lines,


Bridge to Ashlu RiverPearing into the still water of a side channel we noticed some dead chum carcasses on the river bottom.  The water was very clear and very cold.

Clear River Channel with Dead chum salmon - they're white

Icicles Hooray!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brohm Creek - Reports and Global TV Special Report

The Brohm River is a valuable steelhead and salmon spawning and rearing stream located in Squamish British Columbia. It is currently threatened by a proposal to build a ski and golf resort in Squamish called Garibaldi at Squamish. Here is more information on the subject so you can be informed:

Global TV Report

Report on Brohm River by Biologist Pat Slaney

Here is an interesting article in MacLean's Magazine regarding the BC Ski Industry's dirty little resorts are not made for skiers....they are made for real estate development....and the real kicker is that according to a 1985 agreement if a ski hill goes bankrupt, the Province is on the hook to keep running it! Gotta love that!

Here is where YOU can make a difference:

Go to the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office website and let them know how you feel about the project!

Save our Rivers!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Catching Bull Trout on the Fly

The question on one of the message forums I take part in was basically how to catch Char on the fly....

This is my short response:

It all depends on the water you are fishing and the time of year. I have caught bull trout on the Squamish on floating lines in April on the dry fly. 

Now, with that being said, most times when targeting bull trout in moving water in the winter, use at least a Type III sink tip with no more than a 3.5 ft leader. 5, 6 and 7wts are great especially on the Squamish as some char can get quite large and it can get pretty windy. 

Fish 3' +- water depth when it is clear or slightly coloured. Cast and wait around 10 -15 seconds for your fly to get down to the bottom....=~ 3ft using a Type III sink tip. If your fly is "swinging" before you reach 10 seconds, you are most likely casting too far and not mending enough or not letting enough line out to allow your fly to get down OR you are fishing water that is way too fast. Your swing should take a considerable amount of time to get to your shore, I find for char the slower the better.....wait 5-10 seconds at the end of your swing...lots of takes happen here! Look for slow moving water with a slight riffle on the surface....and fish mid run to tailouts. Also, look for hidden deep channels that are visible only if you are wearing polarized sunglasses. They will appear as darker sections of water...kind of like when you are looking out at the run you can't see the bottom anymore. That is where the fish are. 

Early January and Feb the slower presentations work better since most prey items, dead salmon particles, and eggs are slow movers when temps are down...and eggs and dead stuff just don't swim! As the water temps increase, a faster presentation will work (March April)...ahhhh fry emergence is a wonderful thing. When fishing pools or very slow moving water cast and wait a long time for your fly to get down..sometimes I wait for it to hit the bottom.....then strip in 2-3-2-4-2-3 type varied 6" stips. Works wonders and hang on!

Here is a video that shows that "hidden channel" this run doesn't exist anymore so I don't mind sharing! Notice how the fly is barely swinging across the current. May take a while to DL.

Tight lines,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Going Fishing - Check Your BC River Levels First

I often get emails and phone calls as to whether the Squamish River is at a level that is fishable. Luckily our Government has created a website that allows anyone with access to the Internet to find out just that!

Here is the website you should bookmark:

When you pick your "Province", in this case "British Columbia" you are then given the option for a "River" or "Station #". For this example I have chosen "British Columbia" and in particular the "Squamish River" as I plan to get out there tomorrow. It is a good idea to have knowledge of where on the river that the river level recorder is located because some rivers in the province are very long and the level at one end of the river can be entirely different than the other. In any case, after running the report, I can tell from the graph below that the river will be at approximately 3 meters or less which I know is "fishable" from past experience. See the Pic Below:

As you can see from the graph the river is dropping because the rain we had that started the 31st of October is finally letting up. In addition, the daytime and nighttime temperatures in the mountains is dropping below freezing. I know as long as these temperatures continue into the night and that no additional rain falls between now and tomorrow, the river should be in good shape. ie Fishable. NOTE: The only time that the river is not fishable is when it is on the rise and passing "3".
Try it out on your local BC River to see what you can find out.
Tight Lines = Good Times!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sea Lice Debate - Get Informed

There is a significant Sea Lice Debate going on in BC that is being fueled by the money involved in Fish Farming.  Here is a great summary for those without scientific backgrounds regarding the "Science" currently monitoring the sea lice situation in the Broughton Archipelago in British Columbia:

Having read through the Summaries (78 pages), I feel much more informed about the "Science" involved in attributing the presence of increased numbers of sea lice to the survival of our West Coast Salmon populations. Although I did not go on to read the actual scientific articles, I found that reading the summaries was sufficiently enlightening to open my eyes to the many issues and areas of science involved in this debate. If you have an opinion about the salmon farms and their effects it would be wise to read this Summary to ensure you are informed to a better degree than just what we are given to read in the media.

In addition you may also be interested in the following publications provided by the Government of BC that clearly shows the amount of money at stake:

British Columbia Sea Food Statistics

2007 British Columbia Seafood Industry Year in Review - I was particularly shocked at the $$ involved in Farmed Atlantic obviously a fuel for the Sea Lice Debate.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

FN0826-Salmon: Region 2 - Non-Tidal - Cheakamus, Mamquam, Squamish Rivers - Zero Retention of Chum

Effective 00:01 October 30, 2008 until further notice, the daily limit for chum
salmon is zero (0) per day in the Mamquam River, Cheakamus River and Squamish
River (including tributaries).

The Squamish-Lillooet Sport Fishing Advisory Committee (SLSFAC) and Department
of Fisheries and Oceans staff have noted low returns of chum salmon to these
systems to date. The SLSFAC recommended that the retention of chum be set to

Current Salmon Retention opportunities include:

Until December 31, 2008 you can retain one (1) hatchery marked coho in:
the Cheakamus River,
the Mamquam River
the Squamish River downstream of boundary signs at the powerline crossing
approximately 1.5 km upstream of the confluence with the Cheakamus River.

Until December 31, 2008 you can retain two (2) chinook per day, none over 55 cm
the Mamquam River (downstream of the BC rail Bridge to the confluence with the
Squamish River) and
the Squamish River downstream of boundary signs at the powerline crossing
approximately 1.5 km upstream of the confluence with the Cheakamus River).

Variation Order No. 2008-447


The aggregate daily limit for all species of Pacific Salmon (other than
kokanee) from tidal and non-tidal waters combined is four (4).

Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon in tidal and non-tidal
waters of British Columbia. This includes all species of fish in the Fraser

The term "hatchery marked" means a fish that has a healed scar in place of the
adipose fin.

Sport anglers are encouraged to participate in the voluntary Salmon Sport Head
Recovery program by labelling and submitting heads from adipose fin-clipped
chinook and coho salmon. Recovery of coded-wire tags provides critical
information for coast-wide stock assessment. Contact the Salmon Sport Head
Recovery Program at (866) 483-9994 for further information.

Did you witness suspicious fishing activity or a violation? If so, please call
the Fisheries and Ocean Canada 24-hour toll free Observe, Record, Report line
at (800) 465-4336.

For the 24 hour recorded opening and closure line, call toll free at (866) 431-
FISH. The telephone number of the Squamish DFO office is 604-892-3230.

Call your local Fisheries & Oceans Canada office.

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0839
Sent October 31, 2008 at 1330

Monday, October 20, 2008

GaS Threat to Cheakamus Steelhead Stocks

For those who may not know about the Garibaldi at Squamish Project (GaS), you may find information here:

This development WILL take the water supply from the already endangered stock of steelhead.  Brohm Creek is the main spawning channel for Cheakamus Steelhead.  It must be protected.   Vote against GaS!

Here is the assessment office website: Environmental Assessment Office

Additional Media Articles:

Please email or write to the Environment Office your conserns.  We need your support.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Squamish Salmon Run 2008

Hmmmm....Well, the salmon have arrived.  I caught my first chum early in the run, however, numbers are pretty low meaning the fishing is darn slow.   Every day that I am out either fishing or observing (walking the dogs) I have seen fish moving but not in the numbers we are used to. The fish that are there are not very active except when avoiding the gauntlet of seals in the river.  I personally counted 6 seals in one run ~100m of river and another friend of mine counted around 20 seals earlier in the one location!   Yes they were outfishing all of us.

Generally speaking, the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend is when we can count on multi fish days.  Right now you are lucky if you hook up!  In any case, an increase will occur as we reach the peak of the run  in late October to mid November.... whatever that peak run size is.  Of note, the chum run on the north coast this year was terrible so I am hoping ours will be better than theirs.  Oh, and if you care, bears (both Grizzly and Black) are on the look out for the salmon too....and the less salmon there are, the more the bears will be looking.  So keep your eyes peeled and carry bear spray!

On a positive note, there are significantly high tides over the next few days and and bit of rain is expected.  These two events coinciding with one another should also put a push of fish into the river.  One thing you can bet on...I will be out on the water to find out!

Tight lines!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mel Krieger - Passes on Oct 7 2008

It was with great saddness that I found out  that one of the greatest individuals to share his knowledge of fly fishing with me through his books and videos passed away last week.  

I own several of Mel Krieger's books and casting videos and I owe a lot of what I know to his teachings.  He will sorely be missed.  A memorial celebration of his life will be held at the Golden Gate Casting Club in California on Nov 2nd.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Upper Pitt River Power Project Squashed...For Now

Hooray! All the hard work and uproar from concerned citizens has resulted in Minister of Environment Barry Penner to cancel the Upper Pitt River Power Project's plan to put power lines through Pinecone Provincial Park. Thank you to all who went out to show their disapproval.



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

6th Fly Fishing Canada National Fly Fishing Championships and Conservation Symposium

The 6th Fly Fishing Canada National Fly Fishing Championships and Conservation Symposium will be held at Mont-Tremblant (Quebec) from Monday, September 8th - Saturday, September 13th, 2008. Le Club des Moucheurs EnDiables (CME) is the host and organizer for this week- long event.

16 teams of five fly fishers will compete for team and individual points. Top finishers are eligible to represent Canada at international fly fishing events. The event will include practice days, fly tying, team and group meetings, opening ceremonies, trade fair, BBQs, VIP day, Conservation Symposium, closing banquet and awards ceremony (and, of course, three days of sometimes-serious competition and always-memorable camaraderie).

The Grand Lodge hotel on the shores of Lac Ouimet will be the center of operations for the week. Most of the competitors and officials of the FFC will lodge there and all the main activities other than the fishing will be staged at the Grand Lodge. All of the competitors will be transported to and from the competition waters from the Grand Lodge during the competition days.

Club Baroux Outfitters in Brebeuf is a strategic partner for this event. Club Baroux has graciously provided the event with three of their best headwater lakes each with 8 boats and motors and stocked to capacity with brook and rainbow trout for the duration of the event. We encourage all anglers to discover the great fishing opportunities there.

The 5km section of the Riviere Diable recently designated fly fishing only will be divided into 2 sections each with 8 beats, for the river fishing sessions. The Organizing Committee and the CME board of directors have developed a stocking plan that will assure all CME members with exceptional fishing on the river all season.

The Organizing Committee has made arrangements for free accommodation for volunteers who need it at the Domaine St. Bernard. Up to 50 roles need to be filled such as fishing judges and controllers, transportation coordinators and box lunch makers. No fly fishing experience is necessary.

The Organizing Committee intend to use this event as a springboard to other fly fishing events such as the World junior championships and the Commonwealth championships and to further establish Mont-Tremblant as an exceptional fly fishing destination. As always the primary focus of the Club being on improving the fishing experience on the Riviere Diable; the unique open access fly fishing-only river in the Province.

If you are interested in learning a bit more about Mont-Tremblant and the fishing and other activities it has to offer, check out the following web sites:

Toursime Mont-Tremblant
Ville de Mont-Tremblant
Le Club des Moucheurs EnDiables
Trembant Fly Fishing
Le Club Baroux

To register please complete the individual, team or volunteer registration forms and enclose a cheque for $300.00 per competitor, payable to Fly Fishing Canada, to the following address:

Diana Lavigne
LaBarge Weinstein Professional Corporation
515 Legget Drive, Suite 800
Kanata, ON K2K 3G4

This year’s event promises to be our best. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sockeye back in Coquitlam River after a century

It is efforts like this that are required to restore the mistakes of the past. Great to hear! Hopefully this is only the beginning of what is to come in BC!
Read the article here!

Tight lines,