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Weekly Fraser Valley Sport fishing column; April 28 to May 5, 2014

After our experience on the Williston, I took charge; our first stop was to the local fly shop for some professional direction. I had narrowed my short list to the Black Water and Stellako Rivers; but when I heard about a thirty six inch rainbow caught and released on the Stellako, my mind was made up!

A day later when we pulled into the parking lot at the head waters of the Stellako, the parking lot was full of cars. Noticing a few foreign license plates; I walked around the parking lot and observed that except for three BC plates, all the plates were from either California or Oregon. Back at the car, Dennis was complaining about all the anglers crowding the river.

“Don’t worry, we’re at the right place,” I told him.

“How do you figure that,” he asked, still complaining about all the other anglers?

“Look at those license plates,” I replied. “Nobody travels that far, and certainly not a group of them, will travel that far to fish a dead river.”

“Okay; oh wise one. How do figure on fishing with that crowd in the river,” protested my brother-in-law?

“By hiking downstream,” I answer, “for every mile we go and hill we climb, we will lose about ten other fishermen. Most anglers are lazy and won’t walk more than one hundred yards from their truck.”

Though I doubt I had my brother’s confidence, we hiked down river and over hills, to where we had the river all to our selves. Did we catch any thirty six inch rainbows? No; but we did catch our fair share of them from twelve to seventeen inches.

It is not always the fish, their food sources, or any of the other commons factors that determine where you will find your fish; sometimes it’s the other fishermen.

The Report

Fishing on our lower mainland lakes is good. For wet (sinking) fly fishing try: Chironomid, 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 and pan fish lakes are also performing well. 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. For Pan fish try: Wooly Bugger, Bloodworm, Chironomid, Micro Leach, Pumpkinhead, Halfback, Dolly Whacker, Tied Down Minnow, Popin Bug, or Chernobyl Ant.

Many of our interior lakes are open. Early season tactics are the ticket.

Spring freshet (high water) is in full swing, a little earlier than I expected, making fishing in many of our popular lower mainland rivers a challenge. While fishing rivers under these conditions appears difficult, it can be done. Look for areas where the water slows in velocity and feeders streams enter. Fish tend to migrate to these areas during freshet for two reasons: they tend to be clearer and allowing fish an opportunity to clear their gills and a place with better visibility for hunting their prey. For cutthroat and rainbow try: Professor, American Coachman, Tied Down Minnow, Rolled Muddler, Borden’s Special, Dolly Whacker, Czech Nymph, Stone Nymph, Big Black, Zulu, Soubou, Hares Ear Nymph, Stimulator, or Irresistible.
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