Last night, I had to attend the Upper Fraser Valley Sport Fishing Advisory Committee fall meeting in Chilliwack, so it only made sense to make a half-day fishing trip out of it. The Sport Fishing Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from the industry and community groups. Each year, two meetings are hosted with DFO to review the past salmon season such as issues and improvements. As a website owner, I feel that there is a need for me to be at these meetings so I have participated in this since 2005.
This year’s coho salmon fishing in the Lower Mainland has been spectacular. Although I have had my fair share of catches, none of the fish have been retainable because they were all wild. I must say that I envy those who have been lucky enough to catch their limits of hatchery-marked coho salmon and I am not embarrassed to admit it. Feeling the urgency of keeping a fish or two for eating, I kept returning for more failures. Last Thursday, I managed to hook seven beautiful coho salmon but only landed three of them, which were all wild.
From what others have reported, it seems like the fishing is winding down on the Vedder. Because the river rose a couple of feet late last week, it was likely most of the fresher fish had moved to the upper sections of the river. I decided to focus my effort in mid river yesterday.
Starting my outing around Noon, I met up with a couple others who had already been on the flow since first light. My friend Shane reported very little success in the lower river but some improvements at a spot in mid river. I arrived to find him with a coho jack on the river bank.
Because they had been fishing the spot for quite awhile, I suggested that we walk to a spot slightly further upstream where I have caught fish in the past. We walked up and found a prime piece of water unoccupied. It looked extremely fishy so I wasted no time to float a piece of roe through it.
There were a couple of misses first, which I thought were snags. I shortened the float depth slightly, put on a fresh piece of roe. With one cast, the float dove just after it started drifting. A coho salmon exploded on the surface once I set the hook. I guided it into the shallow bay but struggled to beach it for awhile once I saw the absence of the adipose fin. The 10lb or so doe was eventually slid onto the bank and I finally have a hatchery marked coho salmon in the bag.
The fishing only got better. Once I bled my catch and resumed fishing, I proceeded to hook another one on the next cast. It was another big coho salmon, but the hook popped out this time within seconds. The others also connected with their shares of adult coho salmon, but they all came off the hook.There were also chum salmon in the pool and a few also liked our roe. These were of course carefully released after each brief battle.
We spent about two hours at the first spot until the fishing gradually died off. With a couple more jacks landed by Itosh, there were no other coho salmon caught so it was time to make a move.
Our second and last spot of the day was flowing slightly faster, so it was difficult to say if we would encounter any fish. We fished along the shallows, hoping to connect with coho salmon that might move through.There were indeed coho. It did not take long for me to hook one, but it was the wrong colour. It is not unusual to come across fish that are much coloured in November.
The action did not end there. I had the float depth set at 2ft and the bites kept on coming. The next fish was much better, a silver wild coho that was around 4 or 5lb.
With a few more adult coho and jacks landed, we walked back to our cars with full satisfaction in darkness at 5:00pm. This is a peaceful time to be fishing on the Vedder, with the odd nice fish mixed in between. This was the most enjoyable trip for me so far this season.