The steelhead have been stacking up in certain pools in the river during the low water periods. Don’t be surprised if you see them tucked into the cut banks. These fish can be caught with persistence and changing your presentation often is a must. They won’t hit what they have seen over and over.
Yarnies, and Jigs have been doing the must damage lately but beads and the good old pink worm have there time. When the water has come up the fish have been in the inside seems moving around. We have hooked many fish in 1.5 feet of water on the fly and yarns.
The main thing is that you cover water!
The Squamish has been very low until mid march. Bull trout fishing remained consistent, but the steelhead are more on the feed when the river has a little more pace. These heavily pressured fish require stealth and perseverance. Pink Worm is always a go to, but 10mm Beads have been catching most of the Steelhead on the system for us. When the water dirties up I like a large bodied maribou jig as well.
Black, white, pink, purple combos for the jigs and intruders seem to be fishing best as we get further into march. Beads in red, pink and peach have been producing best.
We have been focusing our efforts on Steelhead for the most part since November. In the Fall and early winter, we were doing well on 8mm and 10mm beads. Yarns were also doing well. Fishing behind the coho also helped on the rivers with fall/early winter run fish. The bull Trout fishing in the Squamish system was very good this fall/early winter but has slowed down into late January. The Squamish area is just starting to see a few Steelhead push in. (Mid to late January) The North Island rivers in Late January are all fishing well. The fish have shifted to wanting bigger offerings. Pink worm, Maribou jigs and large intruder flies are all producing more and larger fish then the beads and yarnies. When the water comes up the fish have been tucked into the banks or in less the 2 feet of water. In mid to low water conditions the fish seem to be at the head and the tail outs. But they are steelhead and its fishing, they did not read the book! Fish everything you can and cover water. Pinks, Blues, whites, oranges and purples all have been producing.
The Salmon have been pouring into the rivers on the north island!
The Quatse, Clux, and all the other north island rivers have been producing coho, pinks, chum, chinook and I even managed to catch a steelhead on a single egg bead? It was very coloured but was tucked right in behind the coho.(Summer Run) The flies seem to outproduce the gear when the water is low, but spinners and jigs have also been doing well when the water comes up. Keep your gear close to bottom and fish the seems. (where the slow water meets the fast) But don’t be surprised it the fish are sitting in 1ft plus of water in the froggy sections. Coho are almost like bass at times tucking under logs and debris in real slow water.
Colours are day to day, I like blue crome combos when it is sunny and chartreuse/white combos when it is cloudy. Orange and pinks have there time as well depending on the water clarity and the species.
September has been unbelievable for Halibut fishing. Granted there were a few slow days, but on the whole it has been very good. Spreader Bars, cod jigs and mudrakers all producing. The Airport, Taylor Banks and the Ripple Passage are all good places to start. The Bigger fish were coming in 135-170 ft but hooking more fish in the 275ft range. The preferred bait this time of year is salmon belly, squid and octopus.
The First half of september there were still chinook around but in the last week (sept 15th) it has slowed down. The Coho are still out there but you need to find them first, look for birds feeding or even better coho rolling. We have been cut plugging/whole role a lot lately or even fishing a anchovies in a teaser head behind the dumby flasher. Great hooking these magnificent fighters with out a flasher! The depths have been all over the place from the surface to 93-97 ft.
August had some great Salmon fishing in Port Hardy! Many Chinook in the High twenties to a few hitting the low forties! That being said we did find a lot of Low tenors around as well. The Hot colours were white yellow combos, gold and silver. The Chinook seemed to be filling up on baby brown bombers all summer so small baits and spoons were the ticket this year. The Coho this August were Huge. We caught many in the high teens and even the low 20’s. (most of which were released). Our best results came fishing under the birds at various locations and many other guides did well at the old faithful bunker spots. (you will have to find your own) Duval fished very well early in the month Castle was Generally slow this year but did have some great day in the second half of August into september. The Halibut in August took some patience close to Port Hardy but stayed pretty consistent north of us. Spreader bars and Cod jigs caught most of our Bottom fish. The Airport turned back on at the end of the month with less long winning pressure. Taylor was good to some and did not produce for others. I try to stick to the east side of the Structure. There are plenty of Halibut spots that others don’t fish, have a good look at your chart and put your time in.
The Lings and Yellow eye fishing always seems to be decent in august, we caught most of our fish in the 160 to 220ft range on mudrakers and cod jigs anywhere from the Christie Pass to Cape Caution. ( Be aware of Closed Areas)
Chinook fishing got a little tricky the second half of July. You would get a couple and then nothing, that being said the coho fishing has been insane, with over 15 coho coming to the boat per day! many Hatchery marked fish around as well! The chinook bites have come on small spoons or anchovies. The feed in their bellies have been tiny. Purple/green glow flashers have worked best. But we have also done well with small plugs and cut plugs. The coho have mostly been taken on spoons but anchovies always seem to work.
The Halibut have been hit or miss for us close to home. But anchoring on the shelves to the north of Port hardy has produced some nice halibut.
The ling and yellow eye fishing remains solid on the slack tides in 130 to 230 feet of water.
The Chinook fishing has been great right into mid July, Some days you did have to burn some gas to find them, but they were out there. we had our best results working the kelp or fishing off shore structure. Anchovies with gold teaser heads, small Pesca spoons and coho killers caught most of the fish. The best Depths for chinook were location specific, but generally we fished 40 to 90 feet. The Coho and chum fishing was also very good! Spoons in green glow or blue glow worked great for us, but flash flys also killed them!
Halibut Fishing was also good in the early part of July, Although some days we did have to work/fish hard to get the big ones. Jigs were our most consistent producer, but the spreader bars caught the larger butts.
here is Chris with a beauty 67 pounder caught in 127 feet of water less then 15 km from the dock!
The Salmon have been a bit picky in the last week, there has been a ton of herring and squid around. We have done the best Shallow catching most of our fish locally at 33 to 60 feet. Things North of us have been slow as well. But the Mainland side of the Straight fished the best throughout the dry spell. The Larger Chinook have been taken on Anchovies with glow combo teaser heads, when it is low light and purple when the sun came out. The flashers were hour to hour with the changing light conditions, but purple glow and green UV combos seemed to do best generally speaking. The Last Couple days some Very Large chinook have moved back into the bay, We hooked over 8 chinook yesterday in the 20 plus pound range, one tipping the scales at 29.
The Halibut fishing has remained solid since may. The jigs still seem to be the quickest way to catch a halibut lately. That being said I always have one spreader bar out. Salmon Belly and Herring are needed to get the scent out. Trolling for Halibut to the north of Hardy has also been productive, we caught a nice 40 pounder last week at 57 on a pesca RSG 4 inch spoon with green glow flasher, but most of them were sitting on the 90foot drop off. Sandy bottoms seem to be fishing better then the rocks, but always more likely to get a ling or you rock fish while fishing the harder structures.
The bigger Ling cod seem to be sitting in 150-200 feet of water lately, same goes for the yellow eye. Look for rock pile in that depth range and try to fish during the low slack if you can.
Always a good idea to bottom fish during the days with smaller tides.