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Author Topic: 2022 Chilliwack River fall salmon fishery information & water condition updates  (Read 51760 times)

Rodney

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It is that time of the year again! The fall salmon fishery in Chilliwack/Vedder River takes place between late August and early December. 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

Four salmon species are found in this river during these months in 2022, but only some can be targeted and/or retained.



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.


Video resources

Some videos to get you started.



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.

Clipped.Adipose

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I have already seen springs cruising around! Itís starting!!!
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psd1179

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Go after Sep 14
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coastangler

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Thanks Rod, excited for the season. And that's a great looking Chum! (hopefully I'm right ;D )
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Chum Slayer

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don't go until we get rain, without rain we won't get a good push of fish.
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Phronesis

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I went there today, saw one giant chinook but thats it, no schools or anything, water is very clear, hope we get some rain soon, cant wait to go out again
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Darko

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I went there today, saw one giant chinook but thats it, no schools or anything, water is very clear, hope we get some rain soon, cant wait to go out again
excited to see how the hatchery number enhancements will bring in more fish.
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dobrolub

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Does anyone else notice that actual water levels seem to be a lot lower than the wateroffice reported levels? Am I completely wrong here?
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CohoJake

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I've been away from the river since Covid (stupid border ;D). In that time I have become enamored with soft beads. What have people found are the best sizes and colors for fall chinook and coho in the Vedder? In other systems, my go-to bead for chinook is cerise in larger sizes (14m to 20mm). For coho, I like 10mm to 16mm in cerise or shrimp colors.
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cabro

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Does anyone else notice that actual water levels seem to be a lot lower than the wateroffice reported levels? Am I completely wrong here?

I've seen it mentioned a couple times on Social Media that it hasn't been accurate since the flood and might be reading up to 1 meter higher than it used to. Hopefully it will get fixed.
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DanL

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The flow vs height relationship always changes a bit year to year (sometimes quite a bit), but this year is completely out of whack compared to historical values, presumably due to last year's flood. There was a discussion here about how those values are derived, but I dont recall the specific details

I've seen it mentioned a couple times on Social Media that it hasn't been accurate since the flood and might be reading up to 1 meter higher than it used to. Hopefully it will get fixed.

Maybe not quite a meter, but the current reported flow would have been about 60 cm lower last year. One will have to recalibrate their expectations, knowing that comparisons to previous years may not be valid
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RalphH

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I haven't been there since the November deluge and am kind of wondering what it will look like this fall. Now there will gravel removal around the KW bridge and above which there isn't even a point in heading up there for a look until after they are done! The world keeps on changing!

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Darko

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Since the water levels are higher than normal shouldn't more fish be pushing in, and earlier.
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Rodney

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Since the water levels are higher than normal shouldn't more fish be pushing in, and earlier.

There's only one way to find out... ;)