Spring Fishery updates, 2013 pre-season forecast & local fishing report

This is the report everyone is waiting for, enjoy the read and feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

Lots of great news to report, we have just finished up with our spring fishery meetings for both Federal & Provincial Government as well as our Sturgeon technical and community working groups. Throughout our report I have provided you with 2013 pre-season forecast as well as some seasonal timing information. This is the report everyone is waiting for, so enjoy.

Trade Show season is in full steam ahead, I am heading to Edmonton on Monday for the biggest and best fishing show of the year. Quite a few changes at this year’s show as they have joined with Fish’n Hole. Not only will the Fish’n Hole have a large retail booth in Hall B but all the tackle manufactures will be there as well. I will be in Edmonton & Red Deer for a couple weeks then heading to GP so if you’re looking for a fishing partner, I think I might have a few days to spare.

Bookings for 2013 are very strong, if you’re wanting to fish primetime with us you need to book early especially if you are wanting to fish with us in September of October. The spring sturgeon fishery is approaching fast so give me a call and we will do our best to get you on the water.

Our booth location has changed this year from booth number #375 to #370 & 371. We are in the same isle as past years but further north on the main isle way.

If you have trouble finding please call me 604-671-3474.

After spending 6 hours on a sturgeon working group conference call yesterday I had the itch to get out, went out for an hour last night and landed 3 fish.

Sturgeon fishing is starting to warm up, I was out last night for an hour and hooked 3 fish. Tom and Walt are out on the water right now doing a couple trips, Tom just text me and reported the fishing as "Stupid" ?, I think that is slang for really good, lol. Tom texted me at 10:30am, they had landed 4 fish over 5 ft and a few smaller ones so looks like the season is starting a bit early this year. The Spring fishery is our next peak season with April 1 to May 30 being best for action. We have some great deals on right now " Fill the Boat" special so good time to take advantage of the great fishing opportunity.

Lots of talk about Eulachon this year as they are considering listing them under SARA and there will be no fishing for them on the Fraser which means you can’t use Fraser Eulachon for bait. what does this mean for you the sturgeon angler? At our local SFAC meeting on March 7 we received an update from C & P officer Doug Cliff. Officers on the water will be checking anglers for the usually violations but this year they will also be looking for "proof of purchase" for any Eulachon found on your boat. The only place that still harvests Eulachon is in Alaska so you must have proof that they were purchased from this region.

Sturgeon update – speaking of sturgeon, lots of encouraging news the past few days, population has increased to 49,313 from 44,713k with a good portion of those fish being from the 140 to 180 class range which is 4-6 footers. These fish could be potential spawners for upcoming spawning season so great news for sturgeon population. Another notable good news story is that the growth rates in 2012 were above average which means fish are happy, feeding well and growing faster than normal.

Sturgeon handling is still something that we as anglers and guides need to improve on. The Sturgeon Best handling Practices was designed provincial fishery managers with help from local fishing reps including myself. These guidelines ensure that sturgeon are being handled correctly with least amount of harm and that this world class fishery can continue for years to come. Please take the time to review the latest Best handling Practices at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/docs/ws_guidelines.pdf

This is a great example of how sturgeon must be handled, any fish over 1.5 meters must remain in the water at all times.

(except when they are tailing talking of course)

Salmon fishing in Vancouver area has been fairly good the past few weeks, best action that I have heard of is coming from the Ladner region near the south arm of the Fraser in front of the Delta Ship yards. Heard of a 10 fish day recently and fairly consistent fishing producing 2 or 3 fish each time out. The freighters around Vancouver Harbour are also producing fish and south end of Bowen should start to produce good results soon…

Our 28ft Kingfisher is ready to hit the water, we offer daily charters from the Delta Airport Hotel located across the street from the Vancouver Airport and only 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver & 2 minutes from downtown Richmond.

Fraser River Chinook Salmon pre-season forecast was released a few days ago, overall it is very encouraging but we still have issues with our early spring & summer Chinook stocks returning to the Fraser. Fishing for Chinook will be much the same as 2012 with no fishing opportunity in the Fraser River until July 16, then slot limit from of 1 fish under 77cm until August 1. These numbers are still subject to change based on the in-season test fishery at Albion but very likely this is what we will be looking at. The Summer 4.1 Chinook ( late south Thompson) return is expected to below 2011 but enough to allow for sport fishing opportunity. The Fall Chinook Runs look promising for both Chilliwack & Harrison with a pre-season terminal abundance of 66k.

Sockeye pre-season forecast is encouraging, early runs are still a concern but summer run is predicted to be strong with a 50% probability of 4.765million fish returning to the Fraser. These fish are mostly Chilko & Quesnel River stocks contributing 78% of the total return forecast whereas the early runs contribute 9% late runs contribute 12%. I would suggest that anglers who are planning on bb for salmon wait until the sockeye numbers are up and DFO announces a sport fishing opportunity.

Pink/Coho/Chum Salmon Forecast is a bit lower than I expected but still looking good for both recreational angling and sturgeon food supply. Pink Salmon Pre-season forecast at a 50% probability is 8,926,000, almost 9 million with a 90% probability of 17 million. My guess is it will be somewhere in between. Peak run timing is middle of September. The Chum and Coho returns both look to be about the same as 2012 which was good but we will still be looking at a Interior Fraser Coho selective fishery with window closure same as previous years.

Overall I think we are in for a better salmon season that 2012, the good news for STS clients is that we offer salmon fishing in Vancouver and Vancouver island from April to August so even when the Fraser Salmon Fishery is not open, we can still put you on some great salmon fishing. We also offer combination trips for Fraser Sturgeon & Vancouver Island Salmon so be sure to give us a call before making your holiday plans.

Fly & Spin Fishing the Upper Pitt

June 1 to August 15 – is peak fly fishing for sea-run Bull Trout on the Upper Pitt River. These fish enter the Upper river from the lake heading for their spawning ground in Garibaldi Park. These fish are chrome bright and full of fight. Size ranges from 3 to 10 lbs with lots of fish in the 4-6 lb range. Some of the larger fish can reach as much as 14lbs. This is one of British Columbia’s Premier fisheries with limited access and a wilderness experience. Late July the sockeye begin to enter as well as the Chinook Salmon so it makes for some great fishing. Our regular rate is $850 for 2 anglers but we are currently offering $100 off for early bookings.

This fish was caught in early August on the Upper Pitt River.

Our fly fishing adventures begin only 40 minute drive from Vancouver. We fish 7 river systems within 1 hours drive of Vancouver including one of British Columbia’s best kept secrets. Trout fishing is a year round fishery with several peak periods when trout fishing is at its best. Typically winter and spring offer some good fly fishing opportunities on several river systems, late May to June offers spectacular fly fishing for sea-run trout and local resident fish. Salmon fry are just starting to hatch so this is a good time to try your luck at fly fishing for cutthroat trout. We offer daily charters on both Harrison & Fraser River.

Left to right: STS Guides Vic Carrao, Casey Martin, Braeden Szlabon, Tom Pearce, Doug Elias

The BC Fishing & Hunting Show was a great success, I love seeing some of my old friends and past and current clients. Lots of great fish stories and we get to see what is new for 2013. The Berkley booth was by far one of the more active booths in the show, kids were reeling in the big one on our fish simulator while Dad got to check out all the great rods and reels.

Love those pink boots, you go girl.

I was caught off guard on Saturday morning when I was call to the Berkley/Pure Fishing booth for a Pro Staff meeting. I started to think we were all in trouble when Pure Fishing Marketing Manager Chris Hockely started to speak. Turns out that Chris is moving onto a bigger and better position within Pure Fishing as the new USA Berkley marketing manager and I was awarded the Pure Fishing " Ambassador of the Year" award. Thanks to Chris and Harry for their support and I much appreciate them for all they do for our team at STS Guiding Service.

I will be traveling for the next few weeks but we are open for business with Tom and the guys ready to guide you on your next adventure. You can call us on our toll free number 1-855-223-5453 or my cell at 604-671-3474. I will be checking my e-mails twice a day so feel free to e-mail me at sts@guidebc.com

If you have a friend who loves fishing, please feel free to pass along our report or have them join us on facebook or follow us on our blog.

Hope to see you along my travels, tight lines.

Vic Carrao