Springtime Fly Fishing for Trout, Steelhead by Brian Mack

Flyfishing on Vancouver BC rivers really heats up in April as hungry Trout and Steelhead  are happy to see millions of salmon fry!

Expect some great results if you fish with fry patterns or small spoons/spinners. There’s some really nice fish being caught now.

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Fish on again!

April is by far one of the best months to enjoy some great fly fishing on local rivers for Bull trout, Steelhead, Rainbows and Cutthroat. When conditions are right and you’ve got the freedom to go you can be surprised nicely!. That was the case 3 days ago when we decided to take advantage of those ‘ideal’ conditions.

We were on our way to the Squamish river which is about 50 minutes north on the scenic Sea to Sky highway. There’s basically 2 productive sections of the river, lower and upper. The lower is right in the town of Squamish and the upper is about 20-30 km upstream. In between is a lot of inaccessible river with poor options anyways. I chose upper. Our first location was easy access by foot, only about 50 meters from the truck. We had 7-8 weight rods equipped with Rio’s ‘Rio Grand’ Trout series floating line. It’s a big hit because it’s very easy to cast especially for clients who typically don’t fish too much and might be a bit rusty with casting skills. I love this line because I can punch it right through a head wind better than any other I’ve tried recently.

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Steelhead fly fishing

My friends dad hooks up on his 3 rd cast I see him raise his rod and all hell breaks loose! He’s into a really big fish that is just screaming line off the reel and heading out into the middle of the river creating a wake in it’s trail. You can hear the line cutting through the water, it’s the sound of joy! I had to get dad to back off on the reel and let the fish run. He was very excited and holding everything tight. He figured it out and for the next 5 minutes it was back and forth, the fish would come close to us and then take off again. It was a rather large Steelhead, somewhere in the 12-14 lb range and absolutely chrome! These are the fish that everyone dreams of, and usually have to put in some time. As the fish is wearing out it’s getting close to us and I can sense it will be tired enough for me to grab that tail in about 2 minutes, maybe less. As I am video taping the action I see the fish violently head shaking and bursting for another run out into the deeper water and then it happened. Snap. Fish 1, Human O. When Steelhead wanna run, let ’em. At least it’s a good start to the day and it provides a lot of optimism for the day. And it turned out to be an omen of things to come. We never hooked any more fish in that gorgeous run which was really surprising for me for it looked promising to hold several trout. So off we went to go check out another run.

A short drive later and we’re walking down a forest trail to fish one of my favorite spots. You always hope that the 10 minute walk will pay off and the fish be there and not somewhere else. But my instinct was telling me to go there. As we approached the edge of the river it started raining lightly and then suddenly there were fish rising and thrashing everywhere.

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7 lb Bull trout is a nice fish!

The rain get’s the fish excited for sure! There was also a big Mayfly hatch going on. Due to the large number of salmon fry in the river right now most all fish are seeking them to fill their stomachs however some smaller trout, especially the Cutties will be more than happy to snap up some May’s. But we stick to the salmon fry patterns that I tie because they work. A few casts and we’ve got a fish on! A 4 lb Bull trout is landed and we get a picture. Over the next 3 hours there is a lot of fish hooked. A real bonus was that they caught every species possible. Many Bull trouts, 2 Rainbow’s, 2 Cutthroat, and yes they did hook another Steelhead but that one spat the hook after 1/2 dozen jumps and thrashing. Some highlights were the 4 lb Cuttie, a 4 lb Rainbow, and a 7 lb Bull trout. A little bonus for me was finding about 12 fat Oyster mushrooms growing on a dead Cottonwood tree.

Vancouver fly fishing rewards

If you’re going to be in Vancouver you’ll want to experience the great fly fishing that the Vancouver area has to offer. Best months are March to July and September to December.

Fly fishing is a passion of mine that I first started back in 1988. I have put countless days on the water and have tied all our flies since 1994. I am happy to share our amazing fishery with guests from all over the planet.

We like to conserve too, and I have discovered the best way to protect wild salmon and trout is by practicing catch and release where mandated and to not eat or buy farmed salmon.

Brian Mack wishing you the drug of the tug.


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