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How many Chilliwack River hatchery marked coho salmon did you retain in fall 2009?

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Author Topic: 2009 Chilliwack River fall salmon fishery information & water condition updates  (Read 105072 times)

Rodney

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The fall salmon fishery takes place between late August and early December on the Chilliwack River. Like the past few seasons, 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, staying informed on regulations and etiquettes.


Fish species

There are four salmon species that anglers can target and retain.



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 salmon: 4, but only one can be over 62cm, which must be marked on the back of the fishing license.
  • Coho salmon: 4, but hatchery fish only (the ones that are missing an adipose fin). All wild fish are required to be released with care.
  • Pink salmon: 4
  • Chum salmon: 1
  • Sockeye salmon: 0

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


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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Salmon identification

Because there are both species that you can keep and cannot keep returning to the Chilliwack River, it is important to know how to identify all five species of salmon.

Chinook salmon
Chinook salmon have small spots across their back and small spots across their entire tail. Their gum is black and the edge of their jaw is white. Adult chinook salmon are defined as over 62cm and are required to be recorded on your licence when you choose to keep one.

Adult chinook (over 62cm)Adult chinook (over 62cm)Jack chinook (under 62cm)Jack chinook (under 62cm)Black gum with white
jaw edge
Small spots across both
upper and lower parts of tail

Coho salmon
Coho salmon have small spots across their back and spots on the top portion of their tail. Their gum is white. Two groups of coho salmon are found in the Chilliwack River - Wild and hatchery fish. Hatchery fish, which anglers are allowed to keep, do not have an adipose fin and a healed scar can be found at where the adipose fin is missing. This fin is clipped at the hatchery when they are at their juvenile stage prior to being released. If an adipose fin is present, then it is a wild fish, which is required to be released with care.

Wild adult coho
(with adipose fin)
Hatchery adult coho
(without adipose fin)
Hatchery jack coho
(without adipose fin)
Absence of adipose fin
with healed scar on
hatchery coho
White gumSmall spots on top portion
of tail

Pink salmon
Pink salmon have large thumb-print type spots across their body and large spots across their tail. Males have a distinct humped back and their body colouration are typically dark green in the Chilliwack River.

Male pink salmon with
hump back
Large spots across tail

Chum salmon
Chum salmon have two distinct characteristics, which are colourful stripes across their body and large teeth found on males.

Female chum salmonMale chum salmon with
teeth
Striped back

Sockeye salmon
Althought sockeye salmon cannot be retained on the Chilliwack River, it is important to know what they look like so you do not kill one by accident. Sockeye salmon that are returning to Cultus Lake are endangered and their recovery depends on your assistance. Sockeye salmon are typically spotless and silver until they are near the spawning ground. At spawning stage, their body colouration is red.

adult sockeye in
spawning colour
adult sockeye prior to
spawning stage


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 27th, 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=21938.0
« Last Edit: September 18, 2009, 01:16:05 AM by Rodney »
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Rodney

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Took a look at the river today while at the river cleanup. It remains quite low, too low for my liking. This week's rain should hopefully improve things, ie. coho fishing.

Rodney

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Here comes the rain. Start posting water condition updates if you head out this week.

chris gadsden

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Here comes the rain. Start posting water condition updates if you head out this week.
Saw some nice ones caught today before Terry and I removed the piano organ from the KWB gravel bar. Terry wanted a close look at the water while we were pulling the musical instrument up the bank. :-X

koko

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Saw some nice ones caught today before Terry and I removed the piano organ from the KWB gravel bar. Terry wanted a close look at the water while we were pulling the musical instrument up the bank. :-X
Thanks, you guys are good man, I can't believe you guys did that, Cheers.
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Steely

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The water was still low, saw three coho taken, one by me ;D
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Daniel Beast

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New to the sport, but hopefully the conditions will be nice this weekend!  ;) 

Gonna head up from Burnaby to see if we can connect with one of those Vedder Springs! Coho would be nice too :o

Can't wait!
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sugartooth

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Was out today. Water remains low and clear. Fresh snow on the mountain peaks. Saw 3 springs taken. More rain coming thurs. and friday.
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Kevgor

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Speaking of rain, has the river level changed much with the few days of wetness we've had? It was a veritable monsoon here in Vancouver for many hours on Tuesday, not sure about the wack...

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lapa

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My friend was yesterday. Water level was OK.
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mr.p

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Speaking of rain, has the river level changed much with the few days of wetness we've had? It was a veritable monsoon here in Vancouver for many hours on Tuesday, not sure about the wack...



As of yesterday evening, visibility was 4-5ft in the canal. 
Water levels can be checked here:
http://scitech.pyr.ec.gc.ca/waterweb/formNav.asp
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Rodney

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Heavy rain at times in the Chilliwack River valley today. Water condition was good, with a slight colour to it so visibility is around 4 to 5 ft.

Extremely peaceful today. I must have had a couple miles of river all to myself, probably because there were no fish in this stretch. ;D A couple of jack springs that look like giant olives and a beer can made up my catch result.

Dave

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Hey Rod
What species of beer can did you catch?   marked or wild?  Hopefully it wasn't a kelt ... unspawned beer can finds are the best, especially during the summer.
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Rodney

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This one was completely spawned out, just the way I like it. Sometimes you pick one up and it is partially spawned and has been sitting there for months, not good. :-X