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We took advantage of the intense sunshine that we had last Wednesday by visiting Kawkawa Lake for some kokanee fishing. As the days get longer, sunnier and warmer, lake fishing will continue heating up. There are many lake fishing opportunities in the Lower Mainland, get out there and enjoy it whenever you can! The Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery has begun stocking lakes this week, click here to find out where rainbow trout have been stocked. 

After hearing several banner days from Chris since last week, it was only a matter of time before I am lured back to the Vedder again. This morning I hopped out of bed at 4:38am, seven minutes before the alarm went off! After a quick bite in the kitchen, I was on the road to the valley. I arrived on the river bank at dawn and was delighted to find not a single soul around. Knowing that I would be the first one to dangle a few roe bags through some very fishy run, I was quite certain that there would be a connection this morning.

A few casts later, a parade of cars emerged on the other side of the river. They speedily made their way downstream, perhaps to where the fish really were. Chris’ car pulled over once the parade moved on. He made his way down to the river, waded across and took a look upstream at me. He made his way downstream, probably so I could fished the first run alone. It turned out that he thought it was not me standing by the river, apparently “he looked too tall to be Rodney.”

Once I felt that I had fished through the first run thoroughly, I made my way down to catch up with Chris. As I walked down and took a peek at him, I saw a silver fish flopping beside him on the river bank. Fifteen minutes into the morning, he was already done! A local fisher who scouts the river daily indeed has the advantage on the hook-up ratio. He almost felt bad once he found out I was upstream from him. He said that he would have let me drift through first, but I doubt that the result would be any different.

This female steelhead was approximately 7 to 8lb and one of the freshest fish that we have seen so far this season. Of course, I was glad to snap some photographs for Chris once he marked the catch on his license.

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful for me again. Other nearby anglers also reported the same result. Nevertheless, it was a splendid day as we were able to soak in plenty of sunshine. Water has been dropping and clearing steadily. The expected showers may bring in some fresh fish for the weekend. The hatchery is now holding 52 adult steelhead for its broodstock program. With over two months of steelhead season remaining, the 70 fish target will be reached quite easily.

Spring is here! Well almost… After a brief visit to Berry’s Bait and Tackle today, I headed down to the Tidal Fraser River to see if a bull trout or two maybe interested in my new lures. It is just slightly too early. Most bull trout should still be in tributaries, waiting for baby salmon to emerge and feast on them. This doesn’t mean that there are no bull trout in the mainstem Fraser River of course. There should be some patrolling the channels and filling their stomach up with lazy sculpins. No fish were harmed today, but like every other Vancouverite, I soaked in some warm ray. On the way home I spotted these two sitting high above so I quickly hopped out of the car and took a photo.

After another Vedder outing on Wednesday with dismal result, it could only get worse when the old timers rub it in by catching a few on the next day. Yesterday Chris managed to connect with a couple, donating one wild fish to the hatchery broodstock program. The second fish was quite forgiving, you can find out more about what happened by reading “A Valentine Fish, A Suicidal One Too, The Journal From The Vedder, Feb.14

This morning, another email that was attached with photos came in as expected. Retirement continues to pay off for Chris, with another hatchery steelhead beached. It sure makes working in front of this screen rather frustrated but entertaining at times.

We are expecting multiple days of sunshine in Southern BC starting tomorrow, which should make some good fishing days for the weekend warriors. Have a great weekend everyone!

Winter steelhead fishing, particularly on a heavily used river such as the Chilliwack River, can be both loved and hated by some (me). The sudden burial of that bright float is an instant rush, yet it happens so seldomly. The wait can be so agonizing, especially when the temperature goes subzero. Sometimes the wait lasts all day and when it finally happens, the worst that can happen is the dreadful missed hookset.

Today I ventured out to the Chilliwack River for the second time this season. The plan was to fish with either Chris or Nick, who both are currently fishing for broodstocks for the Chilliwack River Hatchery (Please click here to read about the broodstock collection program). The phone rang as I made the drive out from Vancouver.

“Where are you?”, asked Chris.
“Stuck in traffic!”
“Oh… I’m almost at the river, will check back later.”

Before I even reached Chilliwack, the phone rang again.

“Well, I’m done after six casts.”
“Arg!”

I decided to focus on an area where Nick and I fished on Monday, but it did not produce a bite for two hours. I wandered further away from my car to seek for new spots, then the phone rang at 10:00am.

“We just tubed a wild fish from Lew.”

When a wild fish is collected for the hatchery, it is kept in a tube where river water would run through it freely to keep the oxygen flowing until the hatchery truck arrives for pickup.

Excited, I began making my way to where Chris and Lew were. It was a ten minute sprint to the car then a short drive to their spot. I wanted to get some video footages when the fish was being picked up.

Upon my arrival, Chris proudly showed me his catch of the day.

Peter and Bob from the hatchery arrived soon after me. We gathered and discussed how the season has been before they left with the fish.

Here is a video of transporting this solid wild fish, which will hopefully produce many offsprings for this year’s hatchery program.

In the afternoon, Chris followed me around while I looked for my chromer. Apparently my roe chunks were not approved by the guide, who brought me some of his prawns and roe sacs.

At 3:30pm, the float finally took a dive. Somehow I hesitated and set the hook poorly, the result reflected that effort. No fish was going home today.

I arrived back to my car and discovered these broken glasses, which must have been from other cars that recently parked near me. It’s a reminder that all should pay extra attention on suspicious activities in parking lots along the Chilliwack River. Car thefts and break-ins continue to be a problem in this recreational corridor. Solutions?

Yesterday I followed Nick around with the video camera, hoping to capture a couple of chromers on film. It was also my first steelhead outing of the season. We managed to be pulled around by one massive fish, which Nick estimated to be around 18lb, for a minute before it spat the hook near shore. The river bank was still covered in thick snow. My toes were still purple when I hopped into the bath tub.

The milder and wetter weather in the next few days may either improve the fishing or turn the river unfishable. Good luck to all!

Today’s announcements

Lower Fraser Coho Conservation and Enhancement Initiative Recovery Plan Workshop

What is happening to wild salmon? Fort Langley (March 3rd) & Sechelt (March 5th)

Here is the second video clip that we have finished editing for STS Guiding Service. This video was filmed by my friend Svend, while I hauled in a smaller sturgeon of the day. Even though it was a foot shorter than the other fish that we connected that day, it was still quite stubborn and stayed down for a fair amount of time. If you are interested in the Fraser River Canyon whitewater jetboating and sturgeon fishing trip, then please email Vic Carrao. I highly recommend it! I will be adding this video to our video section in a day or two. YouTube has a tendency to compress our uploaded video so the quality offered in our video section is much better.

Our trip story…

Well, it took several weeks of learning but either the Baltic sea trout are feeling sorry for me or I am starting to get a hang of it. Today I took advantage of the unusually warm weather once again and spent two hours at the harbour. Ten minutes before I had to end my trip, I felt that tug once again! This was not a silver fish like the one I caught two days ago, but a coloured fish that is still recovering from the late fall spawning. It was a rather large fish. What’s more interesting is how extended the lower jaw is compared to the top jaw. The lower jaw hook also seems worn out or broken. Judging by its size, Stig believes this was the same fish that he caught last week. He also believes that the lower hook in fact broke off because the fish he caught had a lower jaw that is so hooked that it was touching the nostrils. My thanks to Magic for taking the following photographs for me.

Last night we cooked up two pieces of the silver sea trout from Saturday. The taste was slightly different to pacific salmon, but it was very delicious. I seasoned the fillets with salt, pepper and lemon. They are baked at 200C with onion and butter for 20 minutes. These were served with pan fried potato and carrots.

2nd annual Trophy Hunter Steelhead Derby

The Trophy Hunter Steelhead Derby took place on the Chilliwack River yesterday (January 20th). 70 anglers participated, 6 hatchery steelhead were weighed in, and more importantly $1,400 was raised for the Sportfishing Defence Alliance. The weight of the winning fish was 13lb 5oz. Congratulations to Rick for organizing the event and everyone else who supported it.

Yesterday while fishing briefly down at the local harbour just before dusk, we saw at least 15 risers in front of us with no takers. Frustrated, I was lured back to the water once again this afternoon. The overnight wind storm has changed the water condition completely. Wind has brought a large volume of water into the narrow channel between the two islands around Copenhagen, causing a sudden surge of strong current. Water visibility was also reduced to about two feet, making fishing even more challenging than what it already has been. The tidal difference in the Baltic Sea is only around 0.5m. Amazingly, current in fjords and narrows are primarily caused by the wind.

As I walked from the bus stop to the harbour, Stig raced by me on his bicycle, he was quite energetic as usual. My fishing companions Lars and Alan were also there. This is a typical hangout for many anglers, who enjoy either doing a bit of fishing, practicing casting after work or simply socializing with friends. Having a viable fishery in this urbanized region benefits the community tremendously. Young anglers can access it with their bikes after school and improve their skills and knowledge on fishing under adult anglers guidance. The facility is set up so older anglers can access it without jeopardizing their own safety. Fish species commonly caught include sea trout, garfish, mackerel, cod and herring. Such productivity did not exist once when the harbour was void of life due to pollution, but cleanups done in recent years have finally drawn both fish and anglers back.

The work of course does not end here. While conversing with the locals the other day, Stig and Ryan informed me that the group has proposed to the City for a permanent floating dock and club house where it can be used as both a fishing platform and a casting pool by everyone. Urban projects such as this are truly inspiring, which make me wonder if the same can be done in the Tidal Fraser River where public access for fishing is becoming more limited due to the surge of development in Metro Vancouver.

Seeing how milky the water was, I decided to make some casts anyway. I made my way to the other side of the channel where Stig has had success last week, so I could cast into this pocket of slower water. Perhaps, just perhaps, a large sea trout would be avoiding the fast main channel and resting here. I detected a light bump on the first retrieve but came up empty when I set the hook. It was possibly a patch of seaweed. The rest of the guys continue socializing back at the usual spot on the other side of the channel. I spent the next twenty minutes or so casting and retrieving with some optimism.

Finally I felt another light tug. I yanked the rod back reluctantly, thinking that it was yet another clump of weed. It was definitely not a clump of weed, because the weight on the other end had sped away into the current! My brain immediately turned off from sleep to fighting mode. I pointed the rod back to keep it from entering the fast flow. The 9ft long light spinning rod was bent to the cork, indicating that it was a rather large fish. Thinking that it was yet another coloured sea trout that we have been catching, I was in shock when this massive silver body made its first of three leaps in front of me. By this point, the hands were already shaking from both the cold and excitement. I began screaming as loud as possible at the gang across from me, hoping someone would come over to lend a hand. Of course, being such a light talker, no one heard a word. Finally one person spotted the second leap, Ryan and Alan started running over. Stig was also on his way from the other side of the bridge after hearing the commotion. I held on carefully and kept the line tight as the fish surfaced and approached shoreline. Once Stig arrived, he proceeded to reach down to the rocks and found a good landing spot. With one firm grab, my first solid silver sea trout was beached. At last, after hours of trips across Denmark and Sweden, I managed to catch what I have been seeking for just ten minutes bus ride from our apartment.

The boys wanted me to keep my fine catch. There are many large spawning trout to produce the next generation after all, so the odd harvest is well appreciated. At first I was not so sure, because hauling this beast during the bus ride on the way home would not make me so popular. I was then convinced when Alan was kind enough to offer me a car ride back. The cameras came out to capture the moment. Ryan informed me that they only connect with a fish in this size several times each year. We estimated it to be between 8 and 10lb.

This fish exhibited all the classic physical features found on a sea trout – The longer lower jaw, the extended jaw to the back of its eyes, the square tail and of course black spots on its gill plates and silvery body.

While cleaning the fish, I opened up its stomach and found three partially digested sculpins in the four inch range, two sticklebacks, two shrimps and two sandworms that were still wiggling. Sea trout are such greedy predators, it’s no wonder that the hook is often swallowed when they are caught.

The big silver finally showed itself with only one more week of my stay left in Denmark. Persistence, or obsession, has once again been rewarded. Maybe there will be one more for me next week? I better not ask for more…

No more crabby nights

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has issued a night closure for crabbing in Area 28 (Burrard Inlet, Port Moody Arm and Indian Arm). Crab poaching has always been a problem in the saltwaters around Vancouver due to the popularity of this fishery. There are three common violations:

  • Keeping undersized crabs
  • Taking more crabs than you are allowed
  • Keeping female crabs

By having night closures, it should make enforcement much easier since traps and fishermen are harder to spot in the dark. When you witness a violation, you should always call the ORR (observe, record, report) line at 1-800-465-4336. Remember, poaching is stealing from you because the resource belongs to every person in Canada.

A short bus ride to hungry trout

The weather was quite reasonable today in Copenhagen. Surprisingly, it has not gone sub-zero for many days as I had anticipated, which is a relief. Today’s wind was light with occasional sun peeks so I decided to take a ride down to the local harbour and make a few casts. Busses and trains are incredibly convenient in Copenhagen. People are forced to rely on them since cars are expensive (180% sale tax). The bus beside our apartment goes by once every ten minutes. Once I get on, I would be at the harbour in less than ten minutes, so it is in fact faster than driving as you have to consider the amount of time used to seek for a parking spot.

The locals have been taunting me with some emails about fish that were caught in the harbour last week. One of the regular hardcores, Stig, was into some of his biggest sea trout in his lifetime. The biggest one landed, was measured at 88cm long. That’s 35 inches! The estimated weight for this fish is 24lb.

Armed with some heavy flashy lures that I had just purchased, I too was hoping to connect with beasts similar in size. Stig was already hunting for more fish when I arrived. Ryan arrived soon after to practice his spey casts. It wasn’t long before Stig whistled from a fair distance away. We looked up. He waved his hand frantically while walking backward with a rather bent rod. A good size male sea trout he had on. Most of these fish are now starting to transform back to their ocean phase, losing the spawning colours.

I was able to hook one fish around the same size later on, but landing it was not to be today. The hook popped off near shore just as Ryan pulled out the camera for some action shots. Perhaps tomorrow, the weather looks fairly tolerable once again. Big hungry trout are only a short bus trip away, not many places can offer that.