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Author Topic: 2008 Chilliwack River fall salmon fishery information & water condition updates  (Read 132308 times)

Rodney

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The fall salmon fishery takes place between late August and early December on the Chilliwack River. Before it takes place, I usually like to get this information up so those who are new to the fishery can have a chance to enjoy what this river has to offer by learning the techniques and staying informed on regulations.


Fish species

There are three salmon species that anglers can target.


Here are some photographs that may aid you with identification.

Jack chinookAdult chinookJack chinookWild coho
Hatchery cohoHatchery cohoChumChum


Fishing regulations

The salmon regulations of Chilliwack River can be found in Region 2 of the Freshwater salmon supplement.

The current daily quotas for salmon in the Chilliwack River:

  • Chinook: 4, but only one can be over 62cm, which must be marked on the back of the fishing license.
  • Coho: 4, but hatchery fish only (the ones that are missing an adipose fin).
  • Chum: 1
  • Sockeye: 0

You can only keep FOUR salmon in total per day, which means if you keep four coho salmon, you can't keep anymore chinook or chum salmon.


Cultus Lake sockeye salmon alert

Cultus Lake sockeye salmon are endangered and usually enter the Chilliwack River in late summer so their run time overlaps with other fall salmon species. All sockeye salmon caught in the Chilliwack River are required to be released carefully. Please be aware of the difference between a coho and a sockeye salmon. Some Cultus Lake sockeye salmon are also missing their adipose fin. Read about it some more...

The differences between a chinook salmon and a coho salmon can be hard to tell for a new angler. Here is an article that tells you the differences between the two.


How to float fish more effectively for coho salmon?

To effectively catch coho on the Vedder by float fishing, you want to keep your offerings in the strike zone. New anglers have a tendency to mistaken the strike zone as the depth where the fish are sitting. It is not. Salmonids look up and strike at the offerings above them. The fish position themselves near the bottom, so the strike zone is usually 1 or 2 feet above the river bed. This technique does not only apply to the Chilliwack River, but also other Lower Fraser River tributaries.

Gear setup

Rod:9' to 10'6" baitcasting or centerpin rod, rated between 8 and 20lb
Reel:Small baitcasting reels or centerpin reels
Main line:12 to 15lb test
Leader:6 to 10lb test
Hook:Size 4 to 2/0

The diagrams below illustrate the correct and not-so-correct ways of float depth adjustment.

Excessive length of leader



For some reason, many people believe a longer leader would produce more fish, quite the opposite! Your hook will always travel faster than your weight in a river. By using a long leader, your hook and bait are lifted up higher from the river bed, away from the strike zone.

Excessive float depth



Some choose to adjust their float depth so the weight is "tapping" or sitting on the bottom. The weight will usually anchor itself to the river bed, while the float drifts slowly or becomes stationary. Two things will result from this setup:

  • You'll snag onto the bottom, and lose your weight, hook and bait.
  • Even worse, you'll end up snagging a pink or chinook in the belly or tail, which can be time consuming to bring in and release.

My way of float adjustment, but not necessarily the ONLY way



So far this has worked very well by producing about a dozen or more coho each season on the Vedder River without losing any hook, weight or line. I usually like to keep my leader length (the line between the hook and weight) around 1.5 feet in length. Judging the depth by looking at the gradient of the river bank and the water, I adjust my float depth (the length from the float to the hook) so that it is about 1 to 2 feet shorter than the actual depth. When this is drifted, the bait will lift a few inches higher, remaining in the strike zone. When the float dips under the water, there is no hesitation as I don't need to question whether it is a snag or a fish. The hook is usually set hard and most of the time the fight is on.



Some other small adjustments

I find these adjustments would connect me into more fish in the past.

  • The float size varies, small (11 grams) in clearer, slower water, while big (25 grams) in faster, deeper water.
  • Tie on enough weight so only about 0.5 inch of your float (or the coloured tip) emerges on the water surface. This allows you to detect the bites sooner.
  • Keep your main line (the line between your rod tip and your float) tight enough without disrupting the drift. Always try to avoid having any line laying on the water surface.
  • Keep the drifts short. A longer drift doesn't necessarily mean a bigger chance to catch a fish. Long drifts also cause inconvenience for nearby anglers
  • Avoid standing in the water, especially when you arrive at a new location. Undisturbed fish have a tendency to stay close to the river bank.

Rodney

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Some thoughts on fishing locations

The Chilliwack Vedder River is long. Some say it gets crowded, but only at certain spots. To have a good experience, it's best to avoid the busy spots. The busy spots are usually the visible ones that have easy access. These include Keith Wilson Bridge, railway bridge, Lickman Road, Peach Road, Vedder Crossing, Tamahi, Alison Pool, Limit Hole. By going to a spot where less people are fishing, the likelihood of you hooking into some quality fish is bigger since the fish are not spooked. Surprisingly, you can usually find a nice quiet spot by taking a very short walk from one of these busy spots.


Additional readings



Additional video clips



Additional helps

Your local tackle stores in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley provide excellent additional resource.



Water condition updates

Throughout the season, we will post up water condition updates so readers can be alerted if condition is not ideal. Please feel free to post updates in this thread after your trips. We can all benefit from each other's updates and save gasoline and cost of our season.


Help us improve the Chilliwack River

BC Rivers Day - On Sunday September 28th, the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Coalition will be hosting its annual BC Rivers Day celebration at the Chilliwack Fish and Games Club House. The celebration will include a river cleanup, BBQ, entertainment, displays and draw prizes. More information will be available soon.

http://www.fishingwithrod.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=18471.0
« Last Edit: August 28, 2008, 05:26:32 PM by Rodney »
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Tex

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I've been fishing the Vedder since I was a young chap, and I've progressed from crappy foam floats, long leaders and gooey bobs, to sensitive floats, short leaders and small wool ties.  I've managed to learn how to hook fish legally and cleanly now, but all I ever get are jack springs and a few nice adult chinook mixed in.

To be honest, I've never really had much luck for coho... and with all the fantastic stories I read about all of your days on the flow... it's tough to stomach.  ;)  Seems most everyone uses roe or spoons/blades, and I think it's about time I learn how to do the same.

Now I know this has been discussed before, but salmon season is approaching for our local rivers and I'm jonesing for some good discussion about how to succeed out there - so please indulge me!

Share some thoughts and ideas that you like to employ while fishing the Vedder. 
Some possible questions to answer:
- Do you prefer metal or roe?  Why?
- under what circumstances would you prefer one bait/lure over another?
- what type of water do you like to fish?  upper, lower, pocket, pools, runs, etc...

And if you have a particular story or two you'd like to share, I'd sure appreciate reading them... I'm needing a fishing fix here bad, folks!
:D
Tex
« Last Edit: August 28, 2008, 03:32:29 PM by Tex »
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Every Day

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When I left last night at 7 - 7:30 pm it was not in very good shape. Was up quite a bit from the day before and was only 2 ft visibility AT MOST. Thinking of going to give it a try today, but my hopes are not very high. Will have to go to the freshwater source, maybe get one cleaning its gills  ;D

We got quite a bit of rain last night over top of what the river looked like at 7:30 so Im assuming that it will have made it worse. It has also been raining most of the day in the Wack and they are forecasting another 30-40 mm between now and tomorrow night, just something to think about before you head out for the long weekend  ;)

Probably going to be going out tonight and tomorrow night, will see if I can get some pics of water clarity/height (and maybe a few fish  ;D)
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Rodney

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Share some thoughts and ideas that you like to employ while fishing the Vedder. 
Some possible questions to answer:
- Do you prefer metal or roe?  Why?
- under what circumstances would you prefer one bait/lure over another?
- what type of water do you like to fish?  upper, lower, pocket, pools, runs, etc...

Maybe we'll run into you at Timmy's and Reaction at 5am like last year. ;D

Re: Metal vs roe.

I primarily float fish with roe for coho salmon on the Chilliwack River simply because the sight of the quick float burial is irresistable. Each trip you hope for better a hook-up ratio, but the sneakiness of these silvers and a lack of sleep usually result in that float flying empty over your head. :-\

The type of water I prefer to fish for coho is 3 to 6ft deep, with moderate flow and chops on the surface.

Last year, I spent a bit more time casting spoons (maybe not plural, since there is only one particular type that I use ;D ) with plenty of success. In fact, I hooked more coho salmon on spoons than roe:

http://www.fishingwithrod.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=16405.0

http://www.fishingwithrod.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=16074.0 <-- I think this was the day when we bumped into each other at Timmy's

The type of water I use my spoon is fairly similar to where I would floatfish, since I use pretty a pretty small float to accommodate the slow current anyway. Slow tailouts are great, too often fish would follow the spoon to shore, either commit or turn around in the last second.

I now like to float roe through a run first, then quickly fish through it again with a spoon. I find that the fish usually commit to a spoon in the first several casts.

Every Day

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Check the topic just previous to this one "The 2008 Chilliwack River Salmon Fishery one." I would help you out but I have a feeling this is going to get moved right away and I would only be repeating what I have said previously.

Here it is though :  Right now the river is fluctuating quite a bit right now, and when I left yesterday conditions were not very good. Visibility was only around 2 ft at most and it was coming up. There are not too many fish around, but with that being said the numbers will start to increase every day now. One of my friends did quite well yesterday afternoon for white springs. There are some coho around, I would suggest chucking a big blue/silver Kitimat or Koho spoon. If you want chances for the whites, they were hitting roe, and will also take colorados under the float (so will coho).

I would probably fish mid/lower right now as most of the fish will be just starting, but there are a few up higher already; I know there are already 3 coho in the hatchery. Good luck if you decide on going.  ;)
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Rodney

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Yep, identification by tails:

Adult chinook salmon (disregard the chipped portion, the entire tail should be covered with spots)


Jack chinook salmon (again, the entire tail is covered with spots, except the spots are larger)


Adult aoho salmon (only few spots on the top portion of the tail)



For coho salmon, you must release all fish that have their adipose fin. You can only keep fish that have a healed scar at where the adipose fin would be, which are hatchery raised/marked fish. The healed scar looks like this:




Further reading:

http://www.fishingwithrod.com/fishy_news/051005-1.html
http://www.fishingwithrod.com/articles/2006/0906_01.html

Every Day

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What about the fact that a coho tail is normally squared compared to most fish that have a forked tail.

Here are pics from the Vedder tonight, to my surprise when I got there conditions are quite fishable. It is up a bit (like 6 inches) and it quite cloudy with about 2-3 foot visibility.



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lovetofish

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Rodney, Thanks for posting the chinook and coho tail pics. A refresher is nice once  a year.
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Every Day

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Came over at 2:30 ish. River was completely blown (0 vis) and looked 2 feet higher than yesterday. Also we just got the biggest downpour of rain I have ever seen in my life. Like 10-20 mins ago the drains were pumping water OUT because they couldn't take any more. Parking lots had 2-3 inches of water on them and we were doing 50 down the highway (just to give you an idea). I don't think it will be even the slightest bit fishable this weekend  :'(   

May post pictures this eveing if I decide to go take a look.  ;)
« Last Edit: August 29, 2008, 07:05:03 PM by Every Day »
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Every Day

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Well I decided to go for a look at around 6:45. River was exactly what I thought it would be.. high and muddy. I went to the crossing to try to get a pic of where the sweltzer creek met the river (contrast between clear and muddy water) but to my surprise even sweltzer was completely blown (I have never seent hat before). I did take a few pics, they dont do too much for what it really looks like, the water is a lot browner than in the pics. Use the rock in the water for visibility.





« Last Edit: August 29, 2008, 07:23:53 PM by Every Day »
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Every Day

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Had a look today. Still around the same height and pretty cloudy, maybe 1 - 2 feet visibility at most. Up top was running clear but quite high and fast. Anything below the clay slides just below limit there is pretty much blown. From the slide at limit down to around allison water is so-so (2-3 feet visi, maybe tiny bit more). Water below allison is like I said maybe 1-2 ft visi.

On another note, tones of springs up at the hatchery. They def have their brood stock. I was talking with one of them up there and they said that right now they have a bear lurking around the hatchery trying to get into the holding pens, and eating the fish coming up the channel. If you see it don't go near it, she really doesnt wanna see someone get mauled   :-\

Other than that the river should be fishable tomorrow and should be decent by Monday. Will keep you guys posted until it clear up again. Good luck this weekend and tight lines.

Cheers   ;)
Dan
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kingpin

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river was brown all day and i expect the same for today
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Every Day

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River was great today... Guess you can tell what that means  ;D
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slurpie

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Some interesting numbers from the Chilliwack hatchery (not sure how this will look, unformatted text...link below).  I would expect this year to be like the last couple of years....definitely not huge numbers of coho

Chilliwack Hatchery - Fish Production
Fish Production - Targets
Species Eggs/Alevins
to be taken Juveniles
Released
Summer Red Chinook 500,000 410,000
Fall White Chinook 1,500,000 1,200,000
Coho 1,419,000 1,200,000
Chum 1,200,000 1,100,000
Steelhead 200,000 120,000

Juvenile salmonid releases from the hatchery for the past five years.
  2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
Summer Red Chinook 418,105 1,150,811 501,659 501,659 357,265
Fall White Chinook 1,150,811 1,313,736 1,221,825 1,221,825 1,233,113
Coho 1,075,359 1,652,806 1,538,639 1,554,071 2,108,776
Chum 1,200,830 1,459,311 1,141,870 1,742,687 1,612,557
Steelhead 109,123 116,641 122,444 122,444 131,879

Annual fish releases are also available through either the Mapster project, or through a query to the release database

Adult returns to the hatchery for the past five years.
  2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
Summer Red Chinook   619   620     682   1,460     435
Fall White Chinook 7,905 2,801   2,314     839   4,624
Coho 8,311 7,360 22,720 36,888 52,499
Chum 3,791 1,923   9,560   4,013 15,755
http://www-heb.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/facilities/chilliwack/fish_prod_e.htm
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