Weekly Fraser Valley Sport fishing column; April 14 to 21, 2014

“The barriers between fish and fisherman are many and significant… We breathe, move, feed, sleep and no doubt, think differently… The fisherman’s brain and power of reasoning give him an important advantage… but it is limited by the… surface film of river or lake or sea… Most of us subscribe happily to the idea that we are just naturally good at this sort of thing-better than a fish anyway-so the illusion of impending success is happily sustained.

I am, for instance, not nearly satisfied as to the real attitude of winter steelhead toward a floating fly… The logic of water temperature and the apparent mood of the fish themselves are all against it, but then one could make a logical case against summer steelhead taking a floating fly… For reasons best known to themselves winter steelhead frequently come up and strike the bobbers of bait and spinner fisherman…” The thoughts and observations of Roderick Haig Brown in his book Fisherman’s Fall.

Winter steelhead are a fish that many pursue through the most inhospitable months of the year. I myself prefer to wait until things warm up some. My reasoning is not the fact that I don’t like the cold, which I don’t. My reasons have more to do with the fish themselves.

Steelhead do not enter our streams with the intent of feeding aggressively, they do that in their home waters. They have come here to procreate. Food or sex? Hmmm; I’ll leave you to answer that one for yourself. Secondly these fish are out of their element here; particularly in December, January, February, and most of March, when water temperatures slow a steelhead’s metabolisms to crawl speed. Later in spring, when water temps rise to 8 to 12 Celsius our friends get active again and active fish are feeding fish.

I have found bettering your odds for steelhead, is a delicate balance between waiting until waters have warmed enough, but getting at it before freshet (spring runoff). I didn’t say my methods were easy, just effective; and effective is the difference between trying and catching.

The Report

Fishing on our lower mainland lakes is good. With Good Friday falling on the third day after a full moon the weekend looks good. For wet (sinking) Fly Fishing try: Chironomid, Bloodworm, Pumpkinhead, Wooly Bugger, Big Black, Micro Leach, Zulu, Baggy Shrimp, Dragonfly Nymph, Doc Spratley, or Halfback Nymph. For dry (floating) fly action try: Lady McConnel, Griffith Gnat, Black Gnat, Renegade, Elk hair Caddis, Tom Thumb, or Irresistible.

Our lower mainland bass are active. For bass try: Big Black, Clouser’s Deep Minnow, Lefty’s Deceiver, Dolly Whacker, Wooly bugger, Pumpkinhead, Gomphus Bug, Popin Bug, Foam Frog, Chernobyl Ant, or Stimulator.

The Fraser River back waters and sloughs are fishing well for cutthroat, rainbow, and Dolly Varden. For Cutthroat try: Alevin, Professor, Anderson Stone, American Coachman, Rolled Muddler, or Tied Down Minnow. For dolly varden try: Zonker, Flat Black, Big Black, Clouser's Deep Minnow, Dolly Whacker, or Lefty's Deceiver.

The Vedder River is good for rainbow, and steelhead. For rainbow try: Czech nymph, Kaufmann Stone, Hares Ear, Big Black, Zulu, Soubou, or Irresistible. For steelhead try: Steelhead Nightmare, Flat Black, GP, Kaufman Stone, Steelhead Spratley, Irresistible, or Stimulator.

The Harrison River is good for cutthroat and rainbow.