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Author Topic: 2015 Chilliwack River fall salmon fishery information & water condition updates  (Read 187987 times)

Rodney

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This fall salmon fishery takes place between late August and early December on the Chilliwack River. Like past seasons, I usually like to get this information up and provide ongoing updates so those who are new to the fishery can have a chance to enjoy what this river has to offer by learning proper 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, including the daily quota of each species, can be found in Region 2 of the Freshwater salmon supplement.

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. This is the updated regulations as of August 31st 2015. Regulations may change during the season so please make sure you double check the regulations page before heading out.


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 so please don't confuse them with hatchery-marked coho salmon. Read about it some more...


How to float fish more effectively for coho salmon?

To effectively catch salmon 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.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 10:41:19 AM by Rodney »
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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



Water condition updates

Throughout the season, members will post up water condition updates so everyone 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. Please do not ask for updates. All requests will be deleted.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 09:55:28 AM by Rodney »
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Rodney

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With the heavy rain this week, it seems fitting to start this thread right now. For those who are considering fishing the Chilliwack/Vedder today, Chris phoned this morning and reported that the river was in good shape when he checked after dirtying up yesterday. With that said, with the heavy rain expected today, it's difficult to say if condition will remain good for the rest of today.

Nicolas The Fisherman

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It's raining quite heavily in Sardis right now. There is still a weather warning in place for heavy amounts of rain (50+mm) for the Fraser Valley so its anyones guess at this point.
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Every Day

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River was great with 3-4 feet of visibility from the crossing down at 8:30/9:00 am when we fished it. Went to the canal as well and fished down till around 10:00 am. After that we went upper river to take a look and it was complete mud and around 3 inches of vis. On our way back down at 11:30 am, the crossing was already down to a foot. It'll take a few days now to come back into shape with how bad the upper river and Slesse creek looked.
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Nicolas The Fisherman

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Took a walk to the river (around peach) to give an update on the conditions. Pictures were taken at 1:30. Still raining fairly good too.
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Nicolas The Fisherman

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Flytech

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River was great with 3-4 feet of visibility from the crossing down at 8:30/9:00 am when we fished it. Went to the canal as well and fished down till around 10:00 am. After that we went upper river to take a look and it was complete mud and around 3 inches of vis. On our way back down at 11:30 am, the crossing was already down to a foot. It'll take a few days now to come back into shape with how bad the upper river and Slesse creek looked.


Did I see you by the highway bridge? ;)

chris gadsden

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Not looking good at dark as the water was dark too.

chris gadsden

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Rain has stopped, levels dropping, fishable this afternoon?

Kever

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Freds report says 12" visibility, that's good enough to catch pinks. I'm going to make the drive out from van and give er a go.
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Nicolas The Fisherman

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Rain showers in Sardis now. Not going to help the conditions on the river.
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Kever

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Visibility was fine probably 2ft but there didn't seem to be that many fish in the system. 2 landed 2 lost, all pink, none chrome.
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chris gadsden

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Went out for 30 minutes tonight in the pouring rain, boy we sure making up for the lack of rain during the summer. It must have been all the rain dancing done  by members of this forum.

The river was holding as I found 3 fish and brought one small doe to the shore which I retained as we baked one this evening and found it more enjoyable table fare than I thought it would be, maybe it was the way I prepared and cooked it as I took that on tonight while my wife was at her band practice.

It was so good she let me go out this evening, well, after 1 month tomorrow, from our 50th anniversary I donot get in too trouble anymore when I want to slip away to the flow.

I have never really fished for pinks but is always good to see the Maple Leaf Drennan or DNE going down.  Shrimp was the ticket tonight, with a little pro cure for added color in the less than perfect water conditions.

Tomorrow AM will be a toss up, cool out, maybe some early snow in the Chilliwack River Valley mountains which holds some rain back.


obie1fish

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Fished the mouth this evening. Visibility decreased while I fished, water was high and brown. Not too encouraging, but nice to  have the chance to rinse off the inside of my boat!
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