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Author Topic: 2018 Chilliwack River fall salmon fishery information & water condition updates  (Read 27681 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 three 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.


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: September 14, 2018, 09:03:11 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

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.

RalphH

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Quote
Fish species

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

    Chinook salmon (mid September - mid October)
    Coho salmon (early September - early November)
    Chum salmon (early October - late November)

... maybe 4 next year
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Rodney

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Corrected.

fic

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You guys don't think pink salmon will recover enough next  year to support a fishery on the Vedder?
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wildmanyeah

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You guys don't think pink salmon will recover enough next  year to support a fishery on the Vedder?

I am expected decent numbers of pinks next year as ocean conditions are better
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minnie-me

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Any reports on the rivers condition?, sure has been a ton of rain falling around the Langley area...
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BBarley

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Something else to add for newbies starting out, when you approach a run, make sure you storm out until your at least crotch deep, this accomplishes two things. First it establishes dominance amongst other anglers as a passive claim to a spot, also it makes distance a lot shorter because casting across the C/V all day gets tiresome and sore on the arms/shoulders.

All seriousness, anyone else have a chuckle/shake their head/grimace when some guy proceeds to grizzly bear it out to the middle of the river? Extenuating circumstances aside, I just don't understand the mentality there, just because you can wade out to your berries doesn't mean you have to.

River was low and clear as of 4:30, a little rain fell but not enough to do anything to the levels.
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Wiseguy

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I like my weight tapping bottom on occasion through a drift with a short leader and I rarely snag the bottom or snag any fish in the belly. Been fishing the Vedd longer then many on this board have been alive.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 07:03:05 PM by Wiseguy »
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VAGAbond

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Quote
Something else to add for newbies starting out, when you approach a run, make sure you storm out until your at least crotch deep, this accomplishes two things. First it establishes dominance amongst other anglers as a passive claim to a spot, also it makes distance a lot shorter because casting across the C/V all day gets tiresome and sore on the arms/shoulders.

It also makes sure that any coho hanging around in the shallow water are spooked and leave.

However, this trait is not restricted to newbies.  I have seen a veteran angler hold position way out in a run such that others could hardly fish for 5 hours.   Wondered if he ever had to pee.  During all this time he talked loudly and critically about the other anglers around him.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 08:18:11 PM by VAGAbond »
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redtide

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the canal was looking good today. rain bumped levels a bit but not much. was lined with anglers not shoulder to shoulder but reasonable. This weekend should be a zoo at the keith wilson bridge meat hole.
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zap brannigan

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Something else to add for newbies starting out, when you approach a run, make sure you storm out until your at least crotch deep, this accomplishes two things. First it establishes dominance amongst other anglers as a passive claim to a spot, also it makes distance a lot shorter because casting across the C/V all day gets tiresome and sore on the arms/shoulders.

All seriousness, anyone else have a chuckle/shake their head/grimace when some guy proceeds to grizzly bear it out to the middle of the river? Extenuating circumstances aside, I just don't understand the mentality there, just because you can wade out to your berries doesn't mean you have to.

River was low and clear as of 4:30, a little rain fell but not enough to do anything to the levels.

was that you just down and across from me weds? watched a guy wade well over halfway across the river right into the traveling lane then casted to the other shore and hung up.
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BBarley

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was that you just down and across from me weds? watched a guy wade well over halfway across the river right into the traveling lane then casted to the other shore and hung up.

It might of been, Iíve had the Skagit rod out mostly lately and hate dealing with the shooting line, sitting mid river justifies my waders and means I only gotta deal with the shooting head/tip :P
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MetalAndFeathers

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Lots fish landed and bonked in my area today. Brought home 1 jack spring and 2 smaller coho. Few nice adults and coho bonked by others as well. Mid river
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I know how to catch fish.......Sometimes.

Chehalis_Steel

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Lower and mid river has been very inconsistent. I saw a few Coho and Spring landed but the fish seem to be pushing through very fast, despite the low water. Best bet is to cover lots of water if you want to find pods of Coho, but that's the opposite of what most people are doing lol

Speaking of people wading out too far...I saw two guys fishing a run in the Canal a few days ago. The one guy had a spey rod and was standing about mid river and pounding the water every cast. After about an hour he finally gave up. Within 5 minutes after he left, the other guy starting hooking into coho. I don't think that was a coincidence...
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 02:56:45 AM by Chehalis_Steel »
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