Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First things first.

Last night I got a text from my brother in law asking if I wanted to go fishing today. My answer was of course "yes", and luckily I had the day off. I dropped my daughter off at school and drove out to meet him at the boat launch. The sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, we hoped in his boat and set off for the Stave River. I had a few productive spots we could visit and I knew we would be able to hook into a few fish there. My brother in law had never caught a chum, never landed a salmon from his boat and had a new rod and reel to break in. We beached the boat on an island and fished a side channel. Before he had even set up his rod I was into my first fish of the day. I landed the fish and went over to talk to him and explain a few things about his new rod and reel set up (how to cast/adjust it). His third cast and his float plunged under the water. On the end was a nice chum doe. We landed the fish and sent it back on its way. This was his first chum ever and his new rod and reel were now broken in; he was quite pleased. As the day progressed we both caught many more chum at a couple of different locations. Each place we moved to produced fish. It was neat to be able to access different parts of the river by boat and to see the large school of fish swim around us. The last place we stopped we switched things up a bit and fished it for about half an hour targeting coho with spoons. I managed a couple of chums on the spoon I used and he hooked and landed a beauty chrome coho! His first coho ever. Again, his smile was big and we agreed it was the nicest fish of the day. A quick picture and the wild coho was released to do its thing.

It's always nice to get people into fish they haven't caught before. I know I get excited when I catch a new species.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coho fly

Tonight I was tying a few flies and jigs and I thought I would add a little substance to this blog, so I decided to add a productive coho recipe. This fly is easy to tie and I am not sure if it has a name already. I created it from some supplies I had and it seems to work quite well. I have had sucess with it on a few flows in the past. Enjoy!

Hook: Size 4 Tiemco 7999
Tail: Rainbow crystal flash
Under body: Medium copper crystal chenille
Body: Medium UV Copper UV polar Chenille
Head: 3/16 hot red bead

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Low water; chum fishing; and spey casting

Today began with a late start. I didn't get to the Stave river until 9:15am. My wife dropped me off and went off shopping with my daughters who chose shopping over fishing. When I arrived at the river I was surprised by how low it was. I started down low and due to the low water I was able to cross the braids to acess a few islands. It wasn't long before I found some fish. I was drifting jigs and swinging a fly on my spey rod. Both methods produced and I was able to land my first ever fish on the spey; a nice chrome chum doe. I was very happy with the performance of my spey rod and reel. The reel was silky smooth with the fish on peeling line. I now feel like I am able to cast half decent. With a little fine tuning I will be looking at increasing the distance of my casts. I did recieve some good advice on casting that proved to be very valuable. I was told to take a look at my grip on the rod. Apparently it is common for beginners to over grip (too tightly) the cork. I was told to be gentle and hold it loosely, let the rod do the work. The advice paid off and I felt much more competent casting today. The casts layed out on the water much better.

As the water rose more fresh fish pushed in. I was happy to catch quite a few chrome fish barely showing their bars. I even retained two for the smoker and some fresh roe.

Get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather we are having. It won't be long before the weather turns and the salmon begin to die off.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Salmon and Sturgeon

Yesterday I once again braved the dry October weather we have been having to fish the Stave river. It has been so tough this fall with all the Sunny and dry weather we have been having (insert sarcastic grin here). Yesterday was dry and quite foggy on the river. I arrived when it was still dark and was greeted by the hordes of people that had beat me there, or possibly had slept at the river. Either way it was looking like it would be a busy day of fishing.
I fished for coho for the first hour or so and managed only one jack on the roe I was drifting. When the crowds began to get too much for me I went for a walk to find more seculded water and caught a bunch of chum salmon on purple over pink jigs.
It was then time to head for sturgeon. When I arrived at the location there was someone in the spot I wanted to fish. He was fishing for salmon. I fished further up and had a couple small hits but no fish. When the guy left I moved into my preferred location and switched up to chum roe (I was using chum belly strips). Chum roe was the ticket as I was soon getting bites. The bites began soft and then turned to strong hits. I proceeded to land two 4' sturgeon and one 3' sturgeon all on roe within 5 minutes of each other. The action was fast and effective. So important, when sturgeon fishing, to have the right bait!
I left shortly after landing the third fish as I ran out of time and had to head home. Another good day out.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A day on the Stave River

What a beautiful day today! It was foggy at first but that soon burned off. The sun was out and the sky was clear. I fished the Stave River from first light until the afternoon with my drift rod. The morning proved productive for coho jacks with three hooked drifting roe in some slack water. As the morning progressed and the hordes of people arrived I started my trek to more secluded areas. I don't like fishing crowded spots and boy were most spots crowded. The Stave is getting busier and busier every year.

My next stop was further down stream tight up against a bank. I rigged up a jig under my float and began dead drifting it through the run. It wasn't long before I was into the first of many chum salmon. I lost count of how many chum I caught by the time I left. My arms were tired and my smile was big.

It was a great day on the river.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stave River

The sun was out and I was on the river fishing, I couldn't ask for a better day. The fishing was a little slow though.  I started off well, catching a large pikeminnow, a wild coho jack and a resident rainbow. All three were caught on the fly rod using a blue body muddler minnow at first light. Alas, that's where the catching ended. I switched over to my spey rod and targeted chum. Unfortunately they were not going to cooperate with me. I did hook one but it spat the hook half way in. Nothing I threw at them would convince them to bite.

Despite the lack of fish it was a beautiful day out and I can't wait to go again. Next time I will give the spey and fly rod a  break and the gear rod will make a reappearance. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Float fishing for salmon

Today's post is brought to you by the letter 'E' for 'ethics' and 'effective'.

After visiting the river last weekend and seeing so many people bottom bouncing for salmon that are very willing to bite, I thought I would post on how to properly short float for salmon. I am not going to get into the whole bottom bouncing/snagging debate except to say that I don't do it. I have decided to take an educational approach to prevent new anglers from being caught up in this method of fishing by carrying a 'float fishing kit' with me when I go to the river. This kit will be given to random bottom bouncers who may need a little education in a better way to target salmon. The following is a brief introduction to short floating for salmon. There are many wonderful videos and resources on the internet so if you want to get more detailed information, Google or YouTube are a great start.

Float fishing for salmin is a very effective way of fishing. You will find you will lose less gear and snag leess fish. Remember a snagged fish must be released, so for those of you that like to take their fish home float fishing is a better way to fish.

Float fishing in its simplest form involves a float, a few split shot weights, a swivel and a hook. One thing to note is I used a bright yellow braid for the purposes being able to see the line. I use a mono main line although some people do use braid. It is a matter of preference. I tend to use anywhere from 8 to 25 pound main line depending on what species I am targeting. Obviously a larger fish requires a larger pound test.

To begin with, slide your float onto your main line starting from the top. In these pictures I chose a simple foam float. These types of floats are quite popular. There are also two main kinds. There are straight through ones where the line passes directly through the middle from top to bottom. There are also the wrap around kinds as seen in my pictures. I prefer these over the straight through because the line comes out the side of the float before leaving through the bottom. This allows the float to be gripped by the line for easy set up and adjustment of fishing depth.

The tag end of the line will come out the side of the float. Next wrap it around the body of the float one or two times then through the side of the float near the bottom.

The tag end will now come out the bottom of the float. Pull some line through so you can add the swivel and the weight.

The next step is to attach the swivel and weight. I usually tie on the swivel first and then attach a couple split shot just above it. However some people like to use different weights such as pencil lead. It is a matter of preference. The main thing to remember is that the lead weight needs to be heavy enough to stand up the float but not so heavy that it sinks it under the surface.

The last part is tying a leader from the swivel to the hook. The leader should be a lighter pound test than the main line so in the event you snag up, the leader will break before the main line which prevents you from losing all your gear. The hooks I use for salmon are usually between a size 2 and a 1/0 hook. On the hook many people attach a small piece of wool in a bait loop or they fish roe. Other alternatives are drifting a colorado blade under the float or jigs  I prefer to drift jigs. At this tine of year there are lots of chum salmon coming into our local waters and jigs can be deadly. They don't just work for chum though. Different colour variations work well for chinook, pinks, and coho too. The purple pink and chartreuse jigs pictured are my favorites for chum. The best part about fisuing jigs is they  are weighted and stay in the zone and they ride hook side up. Having the hook facing up helps to reduce unwanted snagging of fish or debris.  For chum I like to drift them just above the fish as chum can be quite aggressive and will move to a jig drifting above them.

When fishing a float cast to your favorite spot on the river and let the float drift upright down stream. It is important to get a natural drift. Do not hold back on the float and do not let too much slack out. Too much slack prevents a solid hook set. Watch your float and when it dips under the water, set the hook. It really can be just that simple.

Lastly,  don't forget this has only been an introduction to float fishing for salmon. There are many other ways to fish this method but they all have commonalities.  They all have a float, weight, a short leader and a hook of some sort. Now get out there and fish. Don't forget your licence and salmon stamp!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First time spey fishing

A mixed bag of inconsistencies, triumphs and failures; that's what my day looked like.

I fished the Stave river this morning from first light until around lunch time. I arrived at the river to find parking at a premium and ended up having to walk a long way up stream to find my first spot to fish. I began with a muddler minnow on my single hand fly rod. The target species was coho, of which I had no luck. I did manage to hook a big chum but it broke off my lighter leader I was using to attempt to fool the coho. Other than the chum, nothing else was interested in my fly so I moved on to the method of fishing I  come to the river to try. I was going to attempt spey fishing for the first time.

I rigged up my two hander and tied on a pink and purple chum fly. This trip was more about learning to spey fish than actually catching fish. It took me a while to get used to it but eventually I was able to cast half decently, fairly regularly and inconsistently had a good cast I could be fully proud of. I managed to hook into one chum but it spat the hook. I was concentrating so much on the propper cast and drift, analyzing the last cast in my head, that I was slow on the hook set. Oh well. By the end of the trip I was pleased with my progress and I feel more confident for next time I spey fish.

At around lunch time I put away the salmon gear and went off to try for sturgeon. I had some lamprey and some pink salmon belly to try for bait. When I arrived at my location on the Fraser River I was disheartened to see someone in the spot I wanted to fish. Not wanting to crowd them I went up stream. Unfortunately it was a bit of a snag fest and I kept snagging bottom. A few casts and some lost gear later my rod started to dance.. I set the hook and did manage a 6 footer to hand... however the species was not sturgeon. .. it was a stick fish... *sigh* The afternoon continued as it started with more snags and more lost gear. Taking the hint I decided to pack it in and head home. No sturgeon for me today.

Can't wait until next weekend. I may take the spey rod out for round two.