Frustrated by Capilano coho salmon

Published on September 29th, 2011 by Rodney

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.

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