Friday, July 16, 2010

Latest Sportfishing Update from Oscar's Sports

Here is the latest sportfishing update provided courtesy of Oscar's Sports in Smithers.
Dont know how the updated sockeye run estimates will effect the recreational sockeye opening, but it might. We have some inquiries into DFO and will post any updates when received.

They Found some Sockeye!

Last week we asked the question "Where Have All the Sockeye Gone"? Today we can tell you that they have found enough for a Sockeye opening on the Skeena. Effective July 14 the Skeena is open from the mouth all the way up to the confluence with the Babine.

Limit is 2 per day, possession of 4. There is no retention of Sockeye in the area of the Kitwanga as marked by the boundary signs. The Babine will be open August 1-31, limit 2 Sockeye per day, possession 4, and fly fishing and barbless hook only.

The recreational catch rate is estimated at 4% of the total Sockeye catch. We are happy that we do have an opening but also know that the Sockeye commercial catch and native fisheries can greatly impact the Steelhead and Coho returns. The best solution is to not manage for any one specific group but have so many fish returning that commercial, native, and sport fishers are all happy. Let’s forget the politics and just think about the fish.

Low Water

Most of our rivers are running at near record low levels. Ministry of Environment data shows the Fraser, Thompson, Skeena and Nass systems are well below normal levels for this time of year. The Skeena and Nass are so low that they are classed as Drought Level 3 (very low condition).

The Bulkley is flowing at below normal condition.

All of this means that slower water flows tend to concentrate the fish a little more and will give anglers easier access to the many bars along the Skeena. It will probably mean that jet boaters should be very aware of the hazards and have good knowledge of the safe channels as water is much shallower than normal. Be careful.

Fishing Sockeye

When fly fishing for Sockeye the need for a good strong hook is critical. We are constantly hooking bottom so we need a very strong hook that holds as sharp a point as possible in these conditions. The hook we have been really impressed with is the Mustad R90 size 4. It holds a point extremely well and is a 4X Strong. Even though it is only a #4 we have landed 30-40 pound Springs with that hook. We like the #4 as Sockeye in the ocean are plankton feeders and are used to small feed. In observing Sockeye from a high vantage area we notice with anglers using those larger flies, that the Sockeye simply move aside to let the bigger flies pass by.

The technique for fishing Sockeye is called high stick nymphing. Google up High Stick nymphing and you can watch some videos on Youtube to get the idea. On the Babine or the bars on the Skeena the fast water seams are the Sockeye highway and concentrate the upstream migration. In slower water the Sockeye spread out, in fast water their line of travel is much narrower. Casts should be short and upstream. Keep rod parallel to the water and follow your fast sinking line and as it passes you lower the rod tip. The idea is to keep as tight a line as possible from your rod tip to the fly. I have watched many anglers cast medium to long casts with huge bellies in the line. All that will catch is a huge dose of frustration. Once anglers learn to high stick the rod on the seams their success is immediate.

Fly line must be fast sinking to get immediately to the bottom, raising and lowering the rod tip keeps the fly in the zone. Leaders must be short, in the one meter range and usually 15 pound test. We seldom go above 20 pound because we then risk losing our whole fly line. We would rather break a fish off than lose a $60 fly line.

All foul hooked Sockeye must by law be released, and anglers fishing the Babine which opens on August 1 must use fly fishing gear only. This regulation also means no external weight. You can't use split shot, lead wraps etc. Check with your speciality tackle shop for the proper weight sink tips needed.

If a fish is obviously foul hooked the fish should be broken off immediately, not trying to wrestle it to the beach.

Enjoy your weekend.

Kitimat River

Some rain and high tides should bring some fish in which have been holding off the river mouth. Anglers drifting the upper river have been picking up some fish and having fairly good results. Lower river has been a little slower but rain and tides could change that. Chums and pinks are now in the river.

Kitimat Tidal Portion

Anglers still hooking fish in the bottom reaches of the river. This fishery will soon end as main run enters the river.

Douglas Channel

The Douglas is fishing excellent with anglers boating Chinook, Coho, Pinks, Chums and some big Halibut including a 128 pounder.

Terrace area

The Skeena is right at the peak of the Chinook run right now. Hot weather brings the rivers up a little but all rivers are in good shape. Sockeye have just opened on the Skeena as of July 14. Limit 2 per day 4 possession. Kalum and Copper have been producing fish.

Prince Rupert

Excellent fishing out of Rupert with the peak of the Springs coming in and more and more Coho showing up daily. Bottom fishing good with rockfish, ling and Halibut.

Absolutely prime time to be there.

Bulkley River

Water is low and clarity is excellent. Fish are in but tough to get.

Kispiox River

We have had mixed reports about the fishing. Some guys are getting into a lot of fish while others are leaving empty handed. Water is low, but river clarity is excellent.

Morice River

Again, fish are in but catching is tough. The water is so clear and low that they will be in the deep pools waiting for more water before they move on.

Steve Hidber
Oscar's Source for Sports
Box 550
1214 Main Street
Smithers, BC
V0J 2N0

Tel: 250-847-2136
Fax: 250-847-3679

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