For many, including myself, the summer fishing season was a major disappointment. The island, and mainland alike, went through an extensive drought, in which we didn’t get any substantial rain events from the middle of April until the early parts of September. Regardless of the low water, and before the fishing closures (and after rivers opened back up again), there were some fishing opportunities to be had.
It all started in late spring/early summer for me. I was back working for FFSBC, and I was up at one of our brood stock stations capturing rainbows via trap nets set in the lake. During our down times, I was lucky enough to be up there with a work buddy who loved to fish – so fish we did. The lake was fishing tough this year, but we eventually found our niche. I stood on the front of the boat, and we slowly cruised the shoals while I sighted rainbows feeding on 6-12 foot deep marl sections. Once we found the fish, we anchored around 40 feet away and cast towards them with either chironomids, scud patterns, or mayfly nymphs under an indicator. This way of fishing proved to be effective for us, and we were into a good number of large fish.
After that, the next eventful trip was to the island. We changed it up for once – going for trout in some underrated island rivers, instead of our usual steelhead target. We did well capturing our targets on both fly fished nymphs, and on spoons. Some were much bigger than we expected, and others were exactly what we expected. We got to explore a couple new, absolutely beautiful rivers as well, which is always a treat.
Right at the end of July, we made another trip to the island for a week. This was the best trip of the summer for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I popped the big question she had been waiting for, with the ring that she really wanted.
On that trip we found what we had been looking for… but that’s for a different blog post. While fishing for our main target, we found some extremely early running summer coho, which was a pleasant surprise! I was trying out these brand new (to us – they’ve been around a long time) white silver blade/black body spinners by R&B, and I have to admit they were absolutely deadly in low water on spooky fish.
We only fished rivers for a total of 2 days for the trip… our main goal was to get up north and fish for beach pinks with our friend Anthony. Last year the pink fishing was absolutely spectacular, so much so that we got bored of fishing wet flies and switched to fishing dry flies. (Check out the video posted below in 1080 for dry fly pinks).
This year was quite the opposite. We had to work extremely hard for the fish, mostly walking up and down the beach and looking for the slightest water disturbance, which signalled small schools of salmon finning.
After that trip, fishing really died off for us with the closures. The Vedder had been fishing well most of July, so I kept fishing it right to the third week of August. Most mornings produced at least 2 chinook, and I was quite often surprised with how many were still clean right to the middle of August.
Other rivers soon started opening at the end of August after the Vedder died off, which added more places to help feed the addiction that had been put on the back burner much of the summer. The fishing was spectacular, both for Chinook jacks and adults!
The new openings really signalled the start of what would be a great last half to the season. The Chinook runs, as many know, were absolutely spectacular. Nearly every river was having outstanding and/or record returns right from the start to the end of the run.
I was still working with FFSBC at this point, as I had been extended to help with kokanee brood capture. Before leaving for my first out of town stint, we had our “wellness day” at work – meaning everyone working at the hatchery gets together and does something fun. We all chose bar fishing for the day. This was my first experience bar fishing, and I was very lucky to have a bunch of experienced, great anglers at the helm showing me how it was done. The day was the best first experience I could have ever hoped to have, and it will probably stand as the best day bar fishing I will ever have if I decide to do it again. Rods were going off all day, with both jacks and adults. By the end of the day we had limited out the 11 licenses that were there. We ended up killing 7 or 8 adults, and lost a few more; there were so many jacks as well that we were having to release them at the end of the day while hoping we could finish off our adult tags. This day was definitely a great testament to how strong the chinook returns really were this year.
And it just kept getting better… that following weekend I had to move Kitty out to the island. They had just opened the stamp/somass river systems again to angling for coho and chinook. After moving most of Kitty’s stuff in to our new place on Saturday, we had a few hours to spare, so we took a quick boot out to the Stamp for a look to see how it was doing. That evening was incredible. We found a pod of fresh fish moving in and were easily in to 30 or more Chinook in a span of 2 hours. The float was dropping every second or third cast the entire time we were there. We ended up limiting out on our 4 Chinook (Kitty, Matt, Mike and I), and also got 2 lovely coho.
Although it wasn’t in the works to fish the next day, we just had to do it. We went for 3 hours the next morning and the fishing was even better. Literally every cast for 3 hours straight we were hooking up Chinook. I got so frustrated with them (mostly because of sore arms), that I started targeting 12 inch deep coho water as was still getting them! It was by far the craziest Chinook fishing I’ve ever encountered, with easily over 100 hookups between the 4 of us. The fishing was so good that I totally put taking pictures on the back burner, just so I could get that next drift which guaranteed a fish. I did take some videos however, and hope to put something together with those clips soon!
After helping move Kitty in on the island for school, I was back on the mainland and on my way up north immediately on the Monday after to capture kokanne brood stock. The area of the province I ended up in was beautiful. The leaves had just started changing, the weather was beautiful and cool, and I loved the big water I was on (there is something so refreshing about huge rivers with clear water and awesome backdrops). We had a decent amount of down time, and other than sit in logging camp, the only other thing to do was fish. This became the place I caught my first ever lake char – and then about 100 more. Some of them were absolutely gorgeous. I’d be lying if I said the fights were spectacular, but the initial hits were great, and the first run was always a good one. Even though the fights left something to be desired, there is still something cool about catching a big, pretty fish.
I eventually caught so many fish on spoons and spinners that I grew bored of it, and started fly fishing only. The fly fishing proved to be very effective. I swung a bunch of polar bear bucktails for the bulls, and sometimes switched to trout beads behind the kokanee for non-stop action on rainbows, whitefish and bulls as well.
After that work trip, I took my 4 days off and went to….
Fall Blog continuation here: https://outdooraddictions.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/the-2015-fall-recap-salmon-and-trout/