Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Squamish River Chum Retention Opportunity


Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Subject: FN0923-RECREATIONAL - Salmon - Region 2 - Squamish River Chum Retention Opportunity

Returns of chum salmon to the Squamish River in 2009 are sufficient to provide
a retention opportunity on the Squamish River.

Effective 00:01 hours November 11, 2009 until 23:59 hours November 29, 2009 in
the mainstem of the Squamish River downstream of the powerline crossing located
approximately one and a half (1.5) kilometres upstream of the Cheakamus River
you may retain:

- one (1) chum per day.

You may also retain one (1) hatchery marked coho per day on the mainstem
Squamish River downstream of the powerline crossing until December 31, 2009.

The Cheakamus River and Mamquam River as well as all tributaries to the
Squamish River downstream of the powerline crossing remain closed to the
retention of chum. The opportunities on the Cheakamus and Mamquam Rivers remain

- one (1) hatchery marked coho per day.

V.O.# 2009-430

Anglers are reminded that a hatchery marked coho means a coho salmon that has a
healed scar in place of the adipose fin.

Anglers are reminded that the use of bait is not permitted on the Squamish
River and tributaries and that single, barbless hooks are required when fishing
for salmon and when angling in all streams of Region 2.

For more information regarding salmon fisheries please contact the Squamish DFO
office at 604-892-3230, or call our salmon information line at 604-666-2828.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is very concerned about illegal fishing activity
and asks for assistance from the general public in reporting activities of this
nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and Regulations. Anyone with
information can call the 24-hour toll-free Observe, Record, Report line at 1-

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Operations Center - FN0923
Sent November 10, 2009 at 14:40
Visit us on the Web at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Monday, November 9, 2009

Squamish River Steelhead Survey

It has been rumoured and pretty much verified that the Ministry of Environment (MoE) is taking the funding away from managing steelhead in the Lower Mainland. There will remain a steelhead biologist on staff, however, none of the time that this person spends will be on enhancing or managing steelhead. That would mean that all of us that purchase a steelhead tag, hoping that the money goes back into the area are in for a shock! None of the money will go into the Squamish River watershed with this change.

In an effort to gain momentum on increasing the Steelhead productivity in the Squamish system I am interested in getting some feedback on the readerships steelhead experiences on the Squamish River.

If and only if you spend time on the Squamish River Watershed - including the Mamquam, Squamish, Cheakamus, Elaho, and Ashlu Rivers specifically targeting Steelhead, please take the time to fill out the Survey. The results will be brought to the attention of our various local stakeholder groups to which I attend meetings of. If you have comments, please include them on the survey as well.

Click Here to take survey

The survey is anonymous by the way unless you put your name down!

Tight lines!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Squamish Salmon Return 2009 - Coho and Chum Salmon

Squamish Coho Salmon

Mountain peaks are white once more with the onset of the Fall weather this week and the salmon are here. The Squamish, Mamquam and Cheakamus rivers are all running low and clear, however, within a few days we should see an increase in flow. When the weather stays below zero up in the mountains, the rivers generally stay in good shape for fly fishing. In fact, a bit of colour wouldn't hurt right now not to mention that the additional flow will draw in more of those feisty chum salmon hanging out in the Howe Sound.

Wild Squamish River Coho

Coho have been coming in regularly with seals having fun hunting them down throughout the lower part of the Squamish river below the Cheakamus confluence. Targeting these coho on the fly with the low water requires smaller flies and perseverance. Look for slower water with signs of happy fish! Happy fish are the ones that jump out and give you a wave with their pectoral fin every 15 minutes or so. If you don't see any, move faster through that section of water! keep your leaders short and your retrieves fairly steady...stay above the fish. If you are hitting the bottom your are not fishing your fly fast enough!

As far as targeting chum this early, they tend not to be very aggressive until there are a lot of fish in the system or there is more water. Stay with smaller flies in the skinnier water conditions and use purple, chartreuse and orange with some flash.

Good luck out there and see you on the water!

Clint' Secret Coho Fly This fly was tied on a Knapek Size 8 Streamer Hook - Great Hooks!

-Tight lines,


Friday, July 31, 2009

Squamish Pink Salmon Return 2009 - Update 2

The Summer of 2009 continues to prove to be a challenging one. Local rivers continue to run high due to the 34+ degree weather we have experienced over the past week. The thunderstorms that occurred on July 25th raised water levels to freshet levels and melt caused by the hot weather has maintained those levels.

Squamish River Levels July 31
Squamish River levels are available online here

The Mamquam continues to carry glacial till from Ring Creek making visibility marginal at best, however, the Mamquam remains at a fishable level.

A debris flow from the Cheekye river caused by the heavy rains during the July 25th storm has partially blocked the Cheakamus River causing concern for the small village of Cheekye. There is a great photo of the debris flow in the Squamish Chief newspaper article that you can read further here. The Cheakamus River continues to add glacial till to the Squamish River from Culliton Creek.

The photo above is of the Squamish River July 30th with Mount Garibaldi in the distance. The thunderstorm clouds that caused the Blackcomb Mountain Fire are also visible behind Mount Garibaldi.

With all this gloom and doom, there is hope. I have seen seals actively working the river searching for salmon and I do not believe they would be there for fun. When the water does recede, fish will be present and we will be there to catch them! Maybe Squamish Days Loggers Sports is the thing to do this long weekend!

Tight lines,


Pink Salmon fly in coloured water
Underwater view of a pink fly in the current water conditions (the fly is a few inches from the camera lens...)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Squamish Pink Salmon Return 2009

I got up at the ridiculous hour of 4:15am yesterday to go try the estuary and beach of one of the local rivers for some staging pink and chinook salmon. Sitting on the beach for two hours waiting for a fish to show seemed like forever. Patience is a virtue. Finally at around 6:30am I saw my first salmon of the year jump clean out of the water, a Chinook. A jolt of energy got me up off the log I was sitting on and down to the water I went. Cast after cast I attempted to offer the fly to the area I thought the fish might be. Nothing. Then, like clockwork, salmon started to show about every half an hour until I left at 8:45...but alas none were interested in my flies. Two other fly anglers also showed up but not one of us bent a rod. Nest time I'll get 'em.

Later in the evening I went to the Squamish river to see what I could see...and fish of course. The only excitement to be had was watching the helicopters working to put out a forest fire at Alice Lake. Although we saw no fish, the one seal we did see makes me think there is a trickle of fish heading into the river and today the fish might arrive in some better numbers. Optimism is a fly fishers best friend.

Remember that there is ZERO retention of pink salmon for 2009 in the Squamish river. For the official DFO Fisheries notice visit this link.

Also Note that there is a daily limit of 2 pink salmon in the tidal waters. For the official DFO notice visit this link.

Tight lines

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spring Wrap Up

Spring Wrap Up
Spring 2009 has been a time of volunteering and reconnaissance. Volunteering with the Squamish Streamkeepers at the Meighan Creek fish fence once a week counting coho smolts heading to sea was great. On one occasion I had my 5 year old son and my 7 year old daughter come along to see what is was all about. I could see the excitement in their eyes when we were climbing down to the trap to see what bounty was inside the box. Fortunately there were a few coho smolts for us to count and release. The smolts were dubbed "Rainbow" and "Goldy" by the kids just before being released back into Meighan creek to continue their journey to the ocean. Good luck Rainbow and Goldy....see you in a few years!

Meighan Creek Fish Fence - Squamish BC (Brackendale)

Catching steelhead on the Cheakamus River for telemetry studies proved interesting as well. Watching how the fish were tagged and transponders inserted was very exciting and educational. The information that will be gained from this will be extremely valuable.

Stump Lake, Edith Lake, Brohm Lake, and Cat Lake all produced some nice rainbow and cutthroat trout fishing this spring. Of the lakes in the Squamish area, Brohm lake and Cat lake are probably some of the easiest to access with kids and produce the best on most occasions. Remember that with kids it is more important to find fish to tug on the line as they generally lose interest very quickly....unlike us die hards! For fly fishers, try leech patterns in the #12 to #8 sizes in black, brown, orange (for tannin lakes like Edith and Stump), and green especially when fish are feeding on daphnia and copepods. Finally, remember that it is best to go to these lakes on weekdays rather than weekends as most lakes are very busy with swimmers and other fishers on the weekends.

VFG Guide Ryan Treneer with a nice Edith Lake rainbow!

Rainbow Food! An assortment of Daphnia, Copepods, Glassworms, and Chironomids....that trout was eating well! - Ryan Treneer Photo

Using worms or powerbait is a sure way to get your kids into fish, however, be prepared to take home what you hook regardless of size. The surface temperatures of the lakes in Squamish right now are in the high 60's and low 70's due to the hot weather we received in late May and early June. Temperatures greater than 65F are lethal to trout if they spend any length of time there. A fight on the end of the line for even a short period will surely mean their demise. Make sure wherever you are fishing that you have read the current regulations regarding use of bait and catch and release: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/regulations/#Synopsis There is no fishing with bait in rivers or streams in our area! If it is moving water there is a bait ban and barbless hooks are manditory.

Future Guides in Training!

Looking Ahead
Summer solstice is upon us. Not much snow pack remains up in the Coastal Mountain range meaning we should be back on the rivers within a few weeks. Salmon should be returning to the river in mid to late July with the peak of the return occuring mid to late August. July and August should prove to be great months for dry fly fishing on the Birkenhead River, north of Whistler and the Upper Cheakamus and Mamquam rivers in the Sea to Sky corridor.

Upper Squamish Snow Pack June 11th, 2009 - Mount Cayley

The Chilko river is expecting a fantastic sockeye return of approximately 4,175,000 sockeye according to DFO estimates. Fishing in mid to late August through September 15th should be fantastic for both rainbows and bull trout with egg patterns. Mid July through August is the best time to go for the stonefly hatch! Dry fly fishing for wild rainbows is spectacular especially on the Chilko!

Chilcotin Mountains with Chilko Lake in the Distance June 11, 2009

We look forward to a great Summer of fly fishing in the Squamish area on Beautiful BC! And if it weren't beautiful enough, you could always take a flight into the Chilcotins!

Tight lines!


Flying in the Coast and Chilcotin Mountains June 11th, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Try Stump Lake in Squamish

Finally the ice is off our local lakes and the fish are hungry!  May 3rd marked the first day trip for fun to a local lake in Alice Lake Provincial Park called Stump Lake.  Stump lake is easy to get to with a short 5 minute hike in from the paid parking lot in the Park.  It is the first lake you come to when walking the Four Lakes Loop.  Once you reach the lake you can fish from shore, however, the lake is much better fished from a float tube or pontoon boat.  

Stump lake is stocked with nice little cutthroat trout as a measure to try and control the pumkinseed (sunfish) that were illegally introduced to the lake years ago.  Although we did not see any pumkinseed, we did catch quite a few cutthroat in the 8-12 inch range.   The day started a little slow with not much action while trolling to the north end of the lake.   One of us hooked the first fish just as we reached the far end of the lake from the put-in.  Fishing remained fairly slow between takes until I stripped in quickly to re-cast and wham I hooked a fish!  So I remarked to my partners that the fish took the fly on a fast retrieve.  From that point forward the fishing was great!

We actually caught most of the little guys on micro leeches and a great Bob Sheedy pattern first shown to me at the 5th National Fly Fishing Championships in Grande Prairie Alberta back in September of 2007.   The fly is basically a leech pattern with a bright orange head and a slightly darker orange body.   It was tied specifically for a  tannin-coloured lake.  Stump Lake is tannin stained.  Anyway, the fly worked with a very quick strip 3 strip 2 strip 3 pause presentation.  

We ended up retaining two of the fish due to a deep hookset.  The stomach contents showed that the trout had been eating leeches, chironomids, and black ants.   Daphnia were collected from a throat sample from another fish.  Unfortunately, there were no pumpkinseed in these fish but they may be just too small to have been feeding on them.

Stump lake is a great place to get slightly remote and catch a few when you only have a few hours to fish!  Good luck out there!

Tight lines

Thursday, April 9, 2009


For Immediate Release 2009


April 8, 2009 


Anglers who want to fish in British Columbia’s lakes, rivers and streams during the next nine days won’t have to worry about buying a new fishing licence, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today. 

Penner signed an order earlier today exempting sports fishers from having a fishing licence between April 8 and April 17. This will allow enough time for the Ministry of Environment to deliver paper licence stock to vendors throughout the province and fix some bugs currently affecting the new e-licensing system. 

The temporary exemption applies to basic licences, classified waters licences, white sturgeon licences and conservation surcharge stamps for all non-tidal waters in British Columbia. The exemption applies to all anglers, regardless of residence status, with the exception of individuals whose angling licences have been suspended or cancelled, or are prohibited from fishing under the Wildlife Act. 

All existing freshwater fishing regulations, including quotas and gear restrictions will continue to be in force during the licence exemption period. 

The Province eliminated paper licences and implemented a fully Internet-based e-licensing system on April 1 after several months of successful trials in which both paper and e-licences were available. The heavy volume of anglers attempting to purchase 2009-2010 licences last week caused the system to malfunction and repairs are underway. 


Contact: Kate Thompson Media Relations 250 953-4577 For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Fishing for Chinook in the Lower Lillooet River


Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Subject: FN0253-Salmon: Birkenhead River Chinook - Birkenhead River and Lower Lillooet River in Region 2 - Recreational Management Actions

In 2008, the spawning escapement of Birkenhead River Chinook declined to a very
low level. The 2009 returns are expected to be low as well and the Department
is implementing additional measures to reduce impacts.

Effective 00:01 hrs Thursday April 2, 2009 and until 23:59 hrs Friday July 31,
2009 additional recreational fishery restrictions on salmon will be in effect
on the lower Lillooet River from the confluence of Harrison Lake upstream to
the headwaters of Lillooet Lake and the waters of the Birkenhead River upstream
to Birkenhead Lake in order to protect Chinook salmon.

In these waters for this time period there is no fishing for salmon.

Variation Order No. 2009-206

This action is supported by the Squamish – Lillooet Sport Fishing Advisory


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

Anglers are requested to release any hatchery marked sockeye. These fish are
hatchery raised sockeye and part of a recovery program designed to increase the
numbers of Cultus Lake sockeye.

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.

Rockfish Conservation Areas that are currently in effect and are closed to all
fin fishing. Descriptions of these closures, and other recreational fishing
information, can be found on the Internet at:


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.

Contact the local DFO office in your area for further information.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Operations Center - FN0253
Sent April 2, 2009 at 14:54
Visit us on the Web at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Freshwater Angling Guide Career Profile Posted

Go2Hr.ca has posted a new article on a career as a Freshwater Angling Guide on the Go2 website. If you are interested in becoming an Angling Guide in BC there is some information located in another one of my articles here. That's all I have time to post for now. I'm off to get ready for my trip in the morning. Finally the rain has arrived and the fishing should be great!

Tight lines,


Monday, March 2, 2009

Squamish River Update March 02, 2009

Yeah! Finally some rain has fallen and the rivers have risen to great fishing levels.  Visibility is around 2 to 3 ft in the Squamish and there is a nice tinge of colour.  The Mamquam is running high and brown but should drop fairly quickly as should the Squamish.  Water temperatures are still quite low; in fact there were chunks of ice floating down the Squamish River today probably coming down from the upper Squamish.  Little rain is expected for the next few days  allowing water temperatures to increase slightly thoughout the mid afternoons.  All this considered there should be some decent opportunities for char and rainbows over the next few days.   See you on the water!

Tight lines,


Monday, February 9, 2009

Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project Community Open House

BC is under fire with many many hydro-electric projects and here is a chance for you to hear about one of the largest attacking the wild rivers of Bute Inlet.  Some of the rivers under fire are:  Homathko River, Southgate River, and Orford River.

Southgate River

The Environmental Assessment Office held 3 open houses in the small communities closest to Bute Inlet earlier this year:  Campbell River, Powell River, and Sechelt.  Like most people in the Lower Mainland, I did not have the chance to go to these remote communities to attend the open houses. 

To combat this issue the B.C. Creek Protection Society and the Watershed Watch Salmon Society  are holding their own un-official open house titled: “Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project Open House”, at the UBC Robson Square Campus (Room C150) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on February 10, 2009.

The Upper Pitt River hydroelectric project was held up because thousands of people attended the open houses.  The BC government had to listen.   Please take the time to get informed about the attack on the pristine wilderness that is Bute Inlet and its many wild rivers.  A multitude of wildlife including the grizzly bears,  the mountain goats, marbled murrelet, and fish including the bull trout, cutthroat trout, coho, pink, chinook, chum salmon and steelhead that inhabit these waters need your help. 

Some Photos of the Southgate River and surrounding peaks:

Read more by visiting:

You can submit your opinions on the project there as well if you can not make the open house.  Hope to see you there!

Tight lines,


Friday, January 23, 2009

Sculpins and Bull Trout Fly Fishing in Squamish

Winter in Squamish means its time to go catch bulls...bull trout that is. Bull trout are often referred to as Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) in these parts. Bulls and Dollys are almost impossible to distinguish visually from one another, however, some would argue that a bull trout has a flattened head compared to a Dolly. Maybe that is the case, but it is also kown that fisheries biologists rely on Genetics to distinguish the two populations. Genetic analysis has confirmed that the species of char that lives in the Squamish River watershed is in fact bull trout, Salvelinus confluentus.

Bull trout eat just about anything and they are very aggressive. They are Sharks!

Foods for Bull Trout in the Squamish
  • sculpins (Cottids)
  • salmon eggs
  • salmon fry and smolts
  • salmon flesh
  • small fishes
  • leeches
  • insects - mayfly, caddis, stoneflies
Winter is a time between the spawn and fry emergence leaving no eggs and no fry available to bull trout. What remains of big food items are sculpins and the Squamish system is full of them.

Sculpins are a small fish in the family Cottidae often referred to as Cottids. When CN spilled 40,000 liters of caustic soda into the Cheakamus River in August of 2005 it wiped out over 90% of the total fish population. More than half of the fish killed were cottids! Here is the full report: MoE Impact Assessment Report for 2005 CN Spill.

So how big were the sculpins killed in the spill? On average the sculpins killed were 3 inches long (76.9mm)! Makes you think about your fly selection when targeting these brutes!

The fly fishing for bull trout has been fairly descent the past few weeks. The trout are actively feeding on sculpin patters swung in slow to moderate speed water close to the bottom. Tailouts and runs between 1-4 ft in depth seem to be holding more fish. The water temperature of the river continues to hover around 2 to 3 degrees Celcius so midday fishing is best. Good luck out there!

Tight lines,

Clint Goyette

Thursday, January 15, 2009

All Cheakamus Steelhead to be Released

Please note that as of January 9th, 2009 ALL Cheakamus River steelhead must be released. This is an in-season regulation change that covers that fact that there might be adipose clipped hatchery fish returning this year. These hatchery steelhead are part of the Recovery Program on the Cheakamus River due to the 2005 CN Caustic Soda spill.

Visit this link for more information:

Tight lines,