- Cascade Fishing Adventures
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Even though we really don’t experience cold winters, our local mountains which rise up over 7000′ above sea level usually acquire decent snowfalls, while on the valley floor we receive precipitation in the form of rain. Unfortunately, with the “pineapple express” coming through our region as frequent as it has, even the upper elevations are receiving plenty of rain. The continual shedding of rainfall off the mountains causes our local rivers to be higher than normal – even the main stem Fraser river is up and a bit of a mess. On top of that, the Chilliwack/Vedder river has been prone to siltation from exposed clay slides since the mid-eighties. At times, it seemed even the thought of rain turned the river to clay. An outstanding amount of work in the form of rock berms beside those clay slides greatly assists in keeping the river in shape during rain events. But, with excessive rainfalls, the river will still colour up.
Many anglers choose to stay away when the river is high and dirty. However, I enjoy those days on the water. You have the whole river virtually to yourself and armed with some confidence that steelhead are in the area, there’s a good chance at success in having an enjoyable outing, and hooking a fish. I realize the conditions are far from perfect, but there are other qualities that you will find that are rewarding. You may be surprised at where a relaxed steelhead will lay, especially when river visibility is poor. The visibility factor works both ways, too – you can’t see them, and they can’t see you! This is all to your advantage as an angler.
With a free day today, I decided to give the river a go. It resulted in a nice wild steelhead doe being released and seeing an early glimpse of spring – and I only saw one other angler. All in less than a 4 hour outing. Here’s some helpful ideas when the river is going full tilt, and the clarity is substandard:
– Fish with bait (where legal). It is not a necessity, but bait in the form of roe, shrimp and even dew worms help because bait offers scent. If you don’t have bait, you can still fish effectively with pink worms, gooey bobs and bright wool ties and enjoy success.
– Fish side channels if you can. The Vedder has plenty of braids/side channels in the lower river. If you think the bottom end of the side channel has enough water to allow a fish to swim up it from the main stem, you can count on a fish swimming into it. Find the nice resting waters in the side channels.
– If you don’t have side channels, fish the slower edges of the main stem. Chances are, in high dirty water, steelhead will be on the move taking advantage of the water levels to migrate upriver. Fishing the slower edges where fish will rest are good bets. Slower water also increases the opportunity of interception with a fish in dirty water as it gives them a chance to see and grab whats coming at them with limited visibility.
– When you find good water, keep fishing it. If you move along, come back to it later as a moving fish may have dropped in after you fished it the first time. I was backtracking when I found today’s fish!
– Be prepared to get a grab anytime, because generally it happens when and where, you least expect it! This was the scenario today. I missed the fish’s first take, but knew instinctively it was a fish. I shortened up the float (to drift through a bit shallower) and sure enough, the steelhead grabbed it on the second go. Incidentally, earlier on in the day I missed a fish in some slow water while “daydreaming”, and the fish never came back. I hadn’t barbed it, but perhaps the fish was on the move and I just couldn’t relocate it again.
– Enjoy the peace and solitude. Those qualities can be a bit on the rare side these days.
For something different, the Chehalis river thrives on rainfall and can rise and fall sharply due to rain, or lack of it. The Chehalis doesn’t colour up as fast as the Vedder does, and can be an excellent alternative. Should the Chehalis have a “blow out”, this river comes back into shape much quicker than the Vedder does. There are other tributaries in the valley, but we’ll leave those up to you to explore on your own.
Whether you are looking for a day trip fishing or you want to stay longer, we can arrange everything from your pickup at the airport in a limo, to your hotel accommodation and the best guided fishing tours in the Fraser Valley. Please contact Marc or Maggie on Toll Free: 1-877-887-4366 or use our contact form.