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2013 Chilliwack River Clean-ups

Published on Monday, February 18th, 2013

2013 Chilliwack River Clean-ups

Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society has finalized this year’s river clean-up dates with the City of Chilliwack and Fraser Valley Regional District. They are:

  • April 20th at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve
  • July 20th at the Great blue Heron Nature Reserve
  • September 29th at the Chilliwack Fish and Games Club

This will be the twelfth year since we started the group. In 2012, participants racked up 2,464 volunteer hours, collecting 5.72 metric tonnes of garbage from the Chilliwack River. This shows the importance of having these clean-ups. Not only are we maintaining the Chilliwack River valley so it is a pristine recreational corridor for all to enjoy, we are also minimizing garbage from being washed into the Pacific Ocean. Please support these three clean-ups once again in 2013.

10,000 YouTube subscribers!

Published on Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Fishing with Rod reached a milestone today. Thanks to your support by watching our videos, subscribing to the channel and providing us with your feedbacks, Fishing with Rod is now the first Canadian fishing YouTube channel to reach 10,000 subscribers!

We started producing online video content in 2006 when YouTube first hit the internet. Our videos in the first few years were done on what was then a rather expensive DV camera. Since then, our videos have evolved to 1080p HD that can be viewed on your large screen television. Our goal has been to share our experience in fisheries that are family friendly, which you can also enjoy later on.

Many thanks to our commercial supporters last year, including Shimano Fishing, Islander Reels, Pautzke Bait, Yakima Bait and Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. Without their support, our video content could not have grown and improved.

This year, we will once again be producing long video blog episodes to show you different places to fish in British Columbia. There will be instructional videos as requested by many viewers.

To celebrate our milestone, we will be running some contest give-aways in the next several weeks, so please check our contest section often.

10,000 YouTube Subscribers

A tug erases all doubts

Published on Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Despite of being disappointed after each trip to the Chilliwack River this winter, we are determined to bring a steelhead to the beach. After all, persistence is the name of this game. As my friend Chris always says, “You are one cast closer to the next fish.” so the only way to succeed is to invest lots of hours and don’t repeat past mistakes. Our trip usually starts with “today is the day!”, followed by “I can’t believe how unlucky we are” at the end of the trip. One has to wonder why anyone would put themselves through these psychological roller coasters for a tug on the line.

Earlier this week, we returned to the same spot where I lost two fish in a row during last week’s outing. We decided to give first light a go, but that simply did not work out. After hunting for these elusive bullets for a few hours, we were pretty tired and obviously came home empty handed. An early start is definitely not my cup of tea for steelhead fishing. Most of my successful outings have been in an afternoon start, when you can relax and scout out where the fish may possibly be. Sometimes late afternoon can be just as productive as early morning. The morning crowd usually disperses by Noon, leaving the river pretty vacant.

On Thursday, Nina and I decided to give it one more go after hearing success stories from our friends. We arrived at the river bank just past Noon. The weather could not have been better for steelhead fishing. It was cloudy and drizzling at times. Water was also not too clear. It silted up slightly as the day went by, providing some cover for unsuspecting fish.

We picked a different spot this time. After walking and fishing through the same runs for three weeks, the repeating scenery was getting rather stale. Instead, we were advised by Chris to try out a few spots where he has had some luck recently. When we arrived at the chosen spot, we were delighted to find only a couple of anglers fishing in the area.

The spot where we started was a potential holding hole for fish, but not so great for landing a fish. The fast water ran tightly along the bank, making it a steep drop-off directly in front of us. The tail end of the spot had another channel feeding into the main run, so there wasn’t any shallow spot where we could simply bring the fish in. But who cares? It’s kind of silly to worry about landing a fish when hooking them has already been a struggle.

I baited up newly tied roe bags on both of our hooks and started drifting through where we thought the fish might be. Within a few casts, my float quickly took a dive! Not only did it disappear, the fish also pulled the rod tip down, yet for some reason I was asleep at the wheel. I did not even lift my arm! The pathetic performance was obviously not rewarded. The brief tension instantly vanished before I even realized what had happened. I was both excited and frustrated, explaining to Nina what she just missed. She didn’t pay much attention, focusing on her float that was wandering pretty far downstream. She drifted it past a log jam a few times before it was finally her turn to battle with a steel.

When she started retrieving her roe bag at the end of one drift, a fish suddenly grabbed it. Totally surprised by the unexpected take, she held onto the rod while the fish bolted downstream with the strong current. Adrenaline was pumping high, we now had to quickly figure out how to bring this fish in. The only option I could see was to cross the feeding channel so we could follow the fish downstream. To do so, we had to walk upstream and away from the bank slightly, but the angle of the line would bring the fish toward the log jam. I guided Nina upstream. She slowly walked backward while attempting to keep the fish under control. I took the first step into the fast flowing channel and anchored myself so I could grab her as she followed. Both of us took several firm and slow steps across the channel.

Fighting a Chilliwack River winter steelhead

Once we were on dry bank again, I told her to make her way downstream fast to avoid the log jam. It was too late, I could see the float caught up on a twig sticking out from the jam. I ran down to free it and expected to see a fishless hook dangling by the branch, but I was quite relieved to discover that the fish was still on. Once the line was freed, Nina could start gaining some control. We were not out of the woods yet, because the fish somehow brought her back to the same twig again! I freed the line for the second time and surprisingly the fish remained on the line. “Keep the rod high!”, I shouted. Eventually she was able to clear the entire log jam and brought the fish to a shallow opening.

By this point, Nina’s arms were ready to give up. Who knew steelheading can be quite a workout? She tucked the rod under her left arm and used her entire upper body to guide the fish in. It was a magnificent fish, roughly around 10lb. I could see the adipose fin, meaning it was a wild fish which needed to be released. She slowly brought it into the shallow, but it made a few more darts as soon as its belly felt the submerged gravel. Finally, after several minutes of uncertainty, I had a firm grip of its tail. Nina’s first steelhead of the season was landed!

Landing a Chilliwack River winter steelhead

We took a couple of photographs before removing the hook and releasing it. I opened its mouth slightly and the hook slipped out without any pressure being applied on it. The leader was frayed nicely from its teeth and the log jam. This fish would most likely not have been landed if it took a few more runs.

Wild Chilliwack River winter steelhead

Both elated and exhausted by her catch, Nina took a break while I returned to where I thought the fish might be. It actually did not take long before my float was swiftly pulled down. For some reason, I once again did not react! There was no doubt it was a bite. The depth of the water was a lot deeper than my float depth. I turned around, waved and explained frantically to Nina what just happened as if I had witnessed a car accident. Usually when a miss occurred, the fish will come back so I drifted through the same spot many more times. During one of these drifts, a fish suddenly surfaced and rolled at the exact same spot where the float went down! This confirmed that it was indeed a fish earlier.

We worked through the run for another half hour without any success. It was time to move. Even though we knew the fish were there, sometimes it is best to keep going and find fish that are more willing to bite. We took a walk downstream, found a few more runs where the fish may hide and did some casts. After two more hours of scouting around, we returned to our original spot with one hour of daylight left, hoping for an evening bite.

I, of course, started out at where I saw a fish rolling earlier. A dozen drifts went by and it didn’t seem to like my roe bag. Seeing my lack of success, Nina decided to try the same spot while I moved a bit further upstream. Perhaps it was the roe bag, the drift, luck, or dare I say it, the angler’s skill, Nina soon connected with her second fish of the day! It happened so fast. I was actually taking a break from the rod and hoping to capture some photographs of her fishing. While adjusting the settings on the camera, I looked up for a moment and saw her rod kicking furiously. She turned around and looked at me in disbelief. I did not need to tell her what to do, since she already brought one in at the same spot!

Another winter steelhead!

Perhaps it did not have the strong current or the log jam as its advantage, this fish was more manageable. Nina was able to bring it in without much struggle. I tailed the fish in the shallow, checked for an adipose fin and saw a healed scar but a tiny remnant of the adipose could still be seen.

A mis-clipped hatchery steelhead

It was clearly a hatchery-marked fish, but a mis-clipped, meaning the fish’s adipose fin was not completely snipped off during its juvenile stage at the hatchery. Pretty confident that it was not a wild fish, I asked Nina if she would like to keep it. “Sure!”, she said of course, since we did not have much daylight left for fishing anyway. It was the perfect end to a day of steelhead fishing on the Chilliwack River.

Chilliwack River hatchery-marked steelhead

I concentrated my effort on fishing through the same spots with the little amount of time left, while Nina patiently waited with a large grin on her face. The river was not about to reward my mistakes on this day. After all, I also had two opportunities to dance with a chromer but failed to grab them. I was both excited for Nina’s catches and also the possibilities in our future trips. When you go on without a single bite for so long, you often start doubting your bait, your spot and yourself. Those doubts are instantly erased when you’re greeted by a tug, then the whole process repeats itself. For newbies, this is an ongoing love and hate relationship with this ridiculous activity that we call steelheading.

Brookies and bows

Published on Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Unless you have been living in a cave in the last few months, you must have noticed how inconsistent the weather has been this spring in British Columbia. From one snowy day to another rainy day, the sun hardly made its appearance. To anglers who are eager to hit the lakes in Interior BC every spring, this has been a rather frustrating year. Like many others, we had been anxious to make a trip to the Thompson-Nicola region since May, but the last-minute changing weather held us back. After changing our minds several times, we finally decided to give it a go last week.

Because we’ve only been doing stillwater fly fishing since 2007, it is still relatively new to us so I’m always a bit hesitant when choosing the lakes. I decided that we should play it safe by visiting a couple of lakes where I had success in the past – One that has many brook trout in the same age class, while the other that has rainbow trout in a variety of sizes.

After driving through the misty coastal mountain range, we arrived in Merritt and the sun greeted us. The blue sky was a consolation, because the area was pounded by strong gusts. Wind is always an issue when lake fishing in this area, one simply has to deal with it by either braving the open water or finding sheltered spots.

We arrived at our first chosen lake around Noon. Only one other person was at the lake but he was not fishing. It wasn’t surprising, the wind was keeping him out of the water. We took our time setting up the boat, hoping that it would calm down eventually. That hope diminished as the gusts turned into hurricane strength. Reluctantly, we headed out to test the waters, only to be blown around as if we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. After struggling for awhile, we finally found a slightly more sheltered spot at one corner of the lake. It was time to hook a fish!

We started out by fishing with chironomid in size 14. The chosen colour was silver with red ribs. Because we were fishing in fairly shallow waters, it made adjusting the indicator depth rather easy. I tossed mine out and let it settled while rigging up Nina’s rod. Within minutes, my indicator began bobbing up and down occasionally. Thinking that it was wind, I neglected it so I could finish her setup quickly. They were in fact bites. Unlike rainbow trout, brook trout’s takes tend to be pretty light and your strikes have to be pretty precise to hook them.

Once both our indicators were floating nicely, we were excited to see who would get the first fish. Within a minute, Nina’s indicator dipped and she set the hook precisely. The rod was pulled downward as the fish headed for the deep water. Brook trout rarely jump, they often dive and hold their position in the deep. It took a couple of minutes for the fish to surface. The first brook trout, just over 1lb, was in the net.

After a few photos, we sent the fish back to the lake. Nina was into another fish not long after she sent the fly back out. By now I was getting slightly frustrated. My hookup rate was rather sad. After her third fish into the net, I was finally able to connect with one. The pulls definitely felt good after some struggles.

We ended our first day with around a dozen hookups. Although none of our catches were exceptionally big, it worked out better than we expected considering how rough the lake was.

We decided to give the same lake another try on our second day. The late morning start was even better than the previous day. Perhaps the chironomid hatch was stronger, we could not keep fish away from our flies!

Among the average-sized fish, we finally were able to find some bigger fish, in the 2 to 3lb range. These bigger fish were not much longer, but they were certainly much fatter. My biggest disappointment was the biggest fish that snapped the line before we had a chance to see it. It is always a good idea to check the leader after landing multiple fish.

We decided to end our second day earlier as we were satisfied with the number of fish that we connected with. The day was mostly sunny and the wind was lighter, beavers and loons swam around us without much disturbance. Having the entire lake to ourselves, this was definitely what quality lake fishing is all about in BC.

On our final day, we decided to visit another lake that has rainbow trout in it. Originally, I wanted to fish for more brook trout but Nina insisted that she was bored with them and wanted to catch some big rainbow trout.

We headed to a lake that we fished last year. Our previous visits were never so lucky. Each trip usually ended with only one or two catches. Because it was Saturday, there was a lot more traffic on the lake. Including us, there were 14 boats hoping to catch some nice rainbows. The morning was mild, but rather cloudy. We started out by anchoring near others, but the lake was void of action for two hours. Nearby chironomid fishers were doing just as bad, except a couple of fish that were hooked by one angler. Most boats were slowly trolling, but none were able to find a fish.

With such discouraging result, Nina wanted to move to a new spot. We decided to take the boat away from the traffic and anchored not far from where we launched the boat. Once I dropped the anchors, I noticed a rather heavy hatch happening around us. The water was 20ft deep in front of us, so I had one rod’s indicator depth set at 19ft, while the other one set at 16ft.

The move definitely paid off, because Nina’s indicator started dipping not long after we settled down. I screamed, but watched Nina’s rod sitting idly on the boat. Her mind had already wandered away after not seeing a bite for so long. By the time she yanked it, the fish was long gone. Not long after, her indicator took another dive! Again, the driver was not at the wheel. After missing two chances, Nina was ready to get the job done. The next bite again came in no time. With the rod in her hand this time, she was into the first fish of the day. It went for a couple of dives before showing some flashes below our boat. Unaware that her indicator had not released itself from the line, Nina frantically stripped in her line. Eventually the indicator reached the rod tip and she could not bring in more line. With just under 20ft of line between the rod and the fish, it was not a surprise that it came off the hook after some struggles.

I was both frustrated with seeing so many losses and encouraged by the number of bites she had. With an adjustment to my indicator depth and a switch in fly pattern, I was also into a fish quickly. The fish surfaced without much of a fight, because it was a spawner. Rainbow trout spawn in the spring, so it is not uncommon to see coloured fish occasionally.

Nina’s first fish came after I released mine, but it was also a coloured fish. Were we simply targeting a school of coloured fish? That question was answered by our next fish.

The bites were in fact rather light. The indicators dipped slightly each time. Adding a twitch to the fly after each dip, usually resulted in a good pull-down. My next pull-down sent the reel screaming. Before I had a chance to imagine how big the fish was, it leaped straight out of the water on the other side of Nina’s line. She quickly retrieved her fly, narrowly missing my line. By this point, the fish had already moved to the other side of the boat. It was a big fish, much bigger than what I expected to catch at this lake. This fish created some chaos on the boat as it circled around us. I nervously put pressure on the line, hoping the 4lb test tippet would not snap like the day before. After several netting attempts as it was too big for our net, I finally brought in my biggest rainbow trout to date. We didn’t bother measuring the fish, just admired its size. All I know is that our landing net was way too small for it.

After the beast was released, I was able to connect with a couple of more fish. Nina on the other hand, was not so lucky. With only misses and a few losses, she had to settle with one coloured fish before we headed home at 3:00pm. Nevertheless, both of us agreed that it ended well, considering other boats were not as lucky.

Even though the weather was not as nice as we had hoped for, the fishing definitely made up for it. This was definitely one of the better lake trips that we’ve experienced in the Thompson-Nicola region. For now, our boat will be packed away as we start getting ready for some river fly fishing.

Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to New Westminster on April 5th, 2008!

Published on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

This is what many of you have been waiting for!

Annual Fly Fishing Film Tour Hits the Big Screens Across the Nation! A new wave of fly fishing media is headed to a theater near you this winter

Date and time:    7:00 PM – Monday, April 5, 2008
Location: Douglas College Performing Arts Theatre
Get Directions
700 Royal Avenue
New Westminster, BC


AEG Media, a media production company specializing in adventure fly-fishing entertainment, recently announced the updated film and venue list for their upcoming film tour, which includes a show at the Douglas College Performing Arts Theater on April 5th.

Now in its third year, the film tour will travel to more than 60 U.S. cities this winter. The films AEG Media produce are not the average instructional and stereotypical videos that that have been all too common, they are instead high-energy, adrenaline rushing expedition documentaries mixed with stunning cinematography, crazy mishaps and encounters and cutting edge music. AEG Media’s mission is to revolutionize the world of fly-fishing, one epic adventure at a time. Film locations are chosen with the intent to share a glimpse into unique destinations around the globe and to create a fishing experience for generations to come. Past filming locations include Patagonia, New Zealand and Iceland. Current productions include Mongolia, Argentina, Bahamas and Christmas Island.

AEG’s passion for fly-fishing is matched by their belief in conservation. They are members of 1% For The Planet, AFFTA, Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers. As part of AEG Media’s commitment to the environment, they will be producing a DVD highlighting the 2008 film tour following its conclusion. 100 percent of the DVD sales will go directly to the conservation organizations of Trout Unlimited, the Federation of Fly Fishers and 1% For The Planet.

The 2008 Fly Fishing Film Tour is presented by Loop Fly Tackle and Adventures. Official and Major sponsors include Patagonia, Costa Del Mar, Scientific Anglers, Volvo, Brunton, Gerber, RO Drift Boats, Rising, Loon, The Drake and Big Sky Inflatables.

The AEG crew is comprised of four partners: Chris Owens, Thad Robison, Justin Crump and Brian Jill, known as the “AEG Fish Bums.” Their unique look into the fly-fishing industry is generating enthusiastic responses and mild controversy. The film tour consists of not only AEG’s films but also films submitted from other independent filmmakers selected by AEG that impact, entertain and educate the world of fly-fishing while at the same time generating enthusiasm and interest from the “new” generation of fly fishers.

The tour showcases some of fly-fishing’s most innovative filmmakers.  This year’s tour will include highlights of films from eight independent filmmakers including AEG Medias highly anticipated upcoming release “Fish Bum I: Mongolia – River Wolf”, “Castaway Films – Equilibrium”, “Double Haul Productions – Reel Time”, “Fly On The Wall Travels – River Poets”, “Roll Cast Productions – Fishizzle”, “Beaver Hill Productions – 4 Seasons of Steelhead”, “Beattie Outdoor Productions – Slovenia” and “Felt Soul Media – Red Gold”. See previews now!

Get your tickets early as they are expected to be sold out very fast!


For our subscribers, I have 3 pairs of tickets to the show and 6 DVD copies of “Fish Bum Volume 1: Mongolia, River Wolf” to give away in the next two weeks! More information to come.

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