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Archive for September, 2011

Frustrated by Capilano coho salmon

Published on Thursday, September 29th, 2011

If you were woken up by this loud profanity in Downtown Vancouver this morning, my apology. It was just me losing a nice coho salmon in the Capilano Canyon.

I originally wanted to go the Capilano River yesterday morning after the water level rose on Monday. As expected, there were plenty of fish rolling and jumping around when I arrived at first light today. After fishing this system since the mid 90′s, I wasn’t about to get too excited as I know how tight lipped these fish can be. I flicked the spoon out and hoped for at least a couple of hits in today’s outing. That’s as much as I would hope for because I rarely get more than that during each outing throughout these years.

As expected, the lure was untouched for a good period of time. I switched to a spinner at one point and found it very popular among those juvenile steelhead, so it was quickly replaced with the spoon after a few pecks. There was a mix bag of fish in front of me. Some very fresh coho salmon could be seen leaping around. They were easily in the 5 to 10lb range. A couple of fish looked much bigger than the rest. At first I mistaken them as large chinooks but was pretty surprised after seeing a few more jumps. There were also a few dark coho salmon, which have probably been in the system for awhile. Several pink salmon could be seen digging around gravels in the shallow water. The odd big adult chinook salmon made their appearance in the deep section. There were also some chinook jacks swimming about. With not a single person around at 7:00am, it was hard to complain. I just needed a fish at the end of the line.

After perhaps one hour, there finally was a sign of hope. During one retrieve, the line went slightly slack as if a fish was pushing the lure forward. This was followed by a solid tug. I set the hook swiftly, but could tell that it wasn’t set hard enough and most likely it was barely hooked. I nervously kept the tension as the fish surfaced. It was a really bright coho salmon in the 5 or 6lb range. Fantastic! Just one of these would make my day. After its surfacing, it began to run and roll a couple of times. That made me even more nervous. Due to the rolls, the line became wrapped around the fish as it does quite often when fighting a coho salmon. Seeing what was happening, I was a bit more confident. That didn’t last long of course, because the fish unrolled itself. A few seconds later, the dreadful pop and slack occurred. I was disgusted, the fish was so close to being landed! Like a big baby whose candy has been taken away, I of course began cursing away and splashing around with my rod. A heron stood 15 feet away from me, probably wondering what this mad man was up to at dawn.

It took a few minutes to calm down and regroup myself so I could get back to the action. The worst thing to do would have been losing my patience and the retrieve speed that was used to lure that coho. Luck was not on my side for the rest of that morning. Beside one other fish that followed my spoon to the shallow, it was uneventful until the sun hit the water.

Fish were splashing around the whole time. Some really nice fish could also be seen porpoising at the tailout. Frustrated, I took out a bag of boraxed roe and rigged up the DNE balsa float. Wait, scratch that last part, that only went on in my head. It certainly was frustrating during the bait ban when these fish could easily be caught with some freshly cured roe under the float. Oh well, rules are rules after all.

My Capilano River outings can be grouped into two categories, the good days and the bad days. Most of my trips have resulted in at least a couple of hook-ups. The good days are when the fish made it to shore. The bad days are when the river is full of fish and nothing sticks onto the hook. This is definitely one of those days, which keep luring me back every year. Why anyone would want to get up before dawn to endure this type of torture, only fishermen can understand.

As fresh as it gets

Published on Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Since the Fraser River pink salmon fishing season started around two weeks ago, fishing has been pretty challenging. there are always surprises every season. This year, fish seem to be travelling into the river without following a consistent pattern. In the last week or so, fishing has actually been pretty slow and many wondered if the season was actually tapering off to a dismal finish. Well, the last couple of days have proven it otherwise. Massive schools of fish have been rolling into the Fraser River with the tide and they were as fresh as a salmon can get. This female pink salmon fell for my spoon this evening and without looking at it closely, one may just mistaken it as a coho or sockeye salmon.

silver Fraser River pink salmon

Fishing should be good for at least another week, so be sure to get out and enjoy while it lasts.

Tidal Fraser pink salmon, video blog

Published on Sunday, September 11th, 2011

After fishing for pink salmon in the Tidal Fraser River for one week, we put together this video blog for you to enjoy.

If you have never participated in this fishery and want to, we’ve put together a ten-minute video tutorial in our subscribers section.

Pink salmon cakes

Published on Monday, September 5th, 2011

Normally, pink salmon are usually baked or smoked. In this video blog, we decided to try something a little different.

Be confident on your lures

Published on Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

This morning, I had intended to get up early to be on the rocks making my first cast at 7:30am. When I opened my eyes and looked at the clock, it said 8:00am. I immediately phoned my friend Mark, who was already down by the river since 6:30am. Lots of fish rising he reported, but nothing at the end of everyone’s line apparently. It was nice to get another hour of sleep and find out that I hadn’t missed much.

I quickly packed the car and arrived at the spot at 8:30am. Gotta love pink salmon season when one doesn’t have to travel far to find fish. A few dozen people were already trying their luck, but overall it seemed to be pretty quiet. A few risers could be seen in the far horizon at times.

My chosen lure for the morning was a spinner that I have made. After catching one a couple of days ago with it, I decided to stick with it and see if it would produce more. I’ve always used “the spoon” in the past and had great success. This year, since Fraser River’s water clarity is poor, I had lost confidence on it. A spinner may just do the trick instead, so I thought.

We cast and retrieved for another hour without much success. Meanwhile, a few fish were being caught further away from us. Slightly frustrated, I decided that there had to be a change. I decided to move to a different spot, just 50ft from where I was, because I thought the pylons in the water nearby are making a difference on how fish were travelling. I also decided to switch back to my spoon. By this point, at 9:30am, fish were rolling on the surface consistently. There was definitely a good push of fish in the system now.

I made a few cast and adjusted the retrieve speed during every cast. Finally there was a good take, and the sight of that bent rod was a big relief. It felt like a fairly heavy fish, which stayed pretty deep down during the entire fight. Based on the way it was fighting, I thought it was another male at first. It then proved me wrong by making a giant leap in front of me, it was clearly a female fish, a rather big one. Mark ran over and assisted me with the netting. It took a few attempts due to the steep and slippery terrain that we were standing on, but the job was done at the end.

Fraser River pink salmon

When I unhooked the fish, I was shocked to find this. It’s hard to believe how this hook was staying in the fish during the entire fight.

A bent hook by a pink salmon

As if it was orchestrated, the phone rang. It was Nina asking how the fishing was and of course she was not pleased about staying home and missing the action. When she hung up the phone, I made another cast and I felt another soft take instantly. I set the hook hard and the rod was bent to the cork once again. Once again, Mark ran over to be the netter. It was another good sized female fish that fought even harder than the first one. It took several long runs that almost made me question if it was actually a sockeye salmon. After tiring it out for a few minutes, Mark was able to scoop it up successfully again.

Fraser River pink salmon

After the second fish went into the cooler, the school seemed to have gone by. I decided to pack it up by 10:30am and save more better fishing for later on. It was not a bad morning excursion after all. With confidence regained on the good ol’ spoon, perhaps the next few weeks will be just as productive.

 

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