STS Winter News Letter
Another season has past, lots of great fishing and fish stories to be told while sitting around the kitchen table or Christmas Tree. This is the time of year when I often reflect on the past season and think about ways to improve and what new adventures we can offer our guests and longtime clients. I also spend a considerable amount of time thinking about how lucky we truly are to not only have the opportunity to do what we love but to also have such a great bunch of guides and staff that help us get through what can sometimes be a crazy season.
STS Guides Thomas, Vic, John, Braeden, Tom, Rob and Doug
We also have a great bunch of support staff as well as our associate guides Ryan, Walt, Harry and Oliver. Dayna, Daniel and Laura at Above & Beyond, Bill our shuttle guy and Mike & Louisa who provide us with those great lunches. Thanks you so much for the great job that you all do to provide our guests with incredible memories, you guys are truly the best TEAM in the valley.
What’s New at STS
We have been working on a new YOUTUBE Channel for the past couple weeks, we started with 6 new videos from 2013 and hope to add another 2 or 3 with footage we collected . If you would like to check it out or subscribe please see our new channel at www.youtube.com/stsfish If you have video or footage you would like to share with us, please feel free to send along, we would love to see it.
FREE GUIDED TRIP DRAW
Go to our new youtube channel at www.youtube.com/stsfish and subscribe and we will enter you to win a FREE GUIDED FISHING TRIP with STS. All entries will be totaled on Dec 31 and winner will be announced in early January.
2014 Seminar dates are now posted on our website at www.guidebc.com/seminars_announcement.asp if you book two or more seminars you can choose to receive a discounted price or FREE STS Hoodie from our 2013 collection.
We have added a new 2 hour Hope to Sailor Bar Jet Boat Tour which will begin in late July when we start our canyon fishing adventures. This tour will be 60km round trip and we will navigate Lady Franklin, Saddle rock rapid, Saddle rock canyon and Sailor bar rapid. Although this a shorten version of our longer 4 hour tour, you still get to experience one of the biggest and most technical rapids and most scenic part of the canyon. These tours will be offered in the late afternoon after we return from our morning trip. Cost is $99 per person.
Celebrating 20 years of Guided Fishing Adventures
STS was established in 1994 which mean 2014 is our 20th Anniversary, we are excited to get our next season started and will be including our new 20th anniversary logo on all STS clothing sold in 2014. We will continue to offer our very popular STS hoodies for 2014 with the added 20th anniversary logo as well as our NEW waterproof jackets designed and provided by FIshbum Outfitters. These jackets are of very high quality and will sell for $149 plus tax. Hoodies will remain at $50 plus tax
The new jackets are available in men and women sizes, both are zippered , women jackets have no hoodie. We still have some ladies hoodies with pink sturgeon as well . Jackets and hoodies can be ordered on-line before you come or we can ship directly to your house. These make great Christmas gifts as well.
Speaking of Christmas we have a few gift ideas for the fisherman in your house, our seminars make a great gift, guided fishing trip or one of our new jackets or hoodies. You can also purchase a Gift Certificate in any denomination.
2014 Pre-season predictions
Believe it or not, DFO has already released their pre-season predictions for 2014. Now we all know that that is like the weather man telling us what the weather is going to be like in 6 months from now but a little reading between the lines, we can get a sense of what they are thinking and what fishing opportunities we might encounter.
To simplify how DFO rates the salmon returns they use a numeric system that is a simple 1 to 4 rating with 1 being poor and 4 being abundant. Without going into specific detail on each and every run I can provide you with a general overview of 2014 pre-season forecast. Overall 2014 will look very similar to 2013 with early salmon runs rating in the 1 to 2 category with summer and fall runs rating in the 3 to 4 category.
Some Salmon highlights for the 2014 season will include the May/June Gulf Island fishery that was very strong in 2013, our West Coast Salmon and Halibut charters out of Coal Harbour in July and August which were amazing and our August Sockeye, Chinook and Coho Fishery at the mouth of the Fraser. Vic will be guiding both in the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island this summer so if you are looking for a salmon/Halibut trip at an affordable price, give us a shout. We still have 4 trips available in July with Vic as your guide.
Keep on reading as I have provided more pre-season predictions in the following report.
Winter Steelhead – The winter steelhead season usually gets going after News Years, the first real push of fish begins in middle of January but fish are trickling into the Vedder River and Chehalis as early as December. The boxing day derby held on the Vedder River is a good indicator what the season will look like as there is 200 to 300 anglers who participate in this derby.
Most of our Steelhead guiding is what we call Instructional guiding, the reason for this is that this river requires no boats and is easily accessed by walk and wading. We can take you out for your first day, show you the ropes, where, when , how then leave you on your own to fish as many days as you like. We often combine these trips with one or two days of sturgeon fishing and we do offer some spring specials where you can book a 2 night 2 day Steelhead /Sturgeon combo trip .
If you are local and wanting to improve your catch rates or learn to read water, your best bet is to do an early season trip in January so that by the time we start seeing some good pushes of fish, your already dialed. Peak fishing for Steelhead is between Feb 15 and April 15 so if you are coming from out of town I would sugest middle to late March or even early April, that way you can fit in a day or two of Sturgeon as well.
We offer instructional guided steelhead trips for all methods including drift fishing, fly fishing and spoon fishing.
If you would liike more information on our combo packages, check out – www.guidebc.com/steelhead.asp
Winter Chinook in Vancouver
The Winter Chinook fishery in Vancouver can offer the local or visiting angler an opportunity to get out on the water on one of those calm clear days. Most of the salmon are in the 6 to 12 lb range and are what we call feedeers as they are still bulking up for next springs migration up their home waters. Many of these winter fish home waters are down south but offer us a great fishing opportunity right in downtown Vancouver.
Tackle used to target winter springs is much the same as spring and summer but tides really play an important role with flood tide producing best bites. We prefer to stick with our favorite UV Highliner Flasher and G-force or Silver Horde spoons , we also run one or two rods with anchovies cured in coarse salt. Speaking of using anchovies we just heard a rumor that Gibbs/Delta is coming out with a line of teaser heads for this spring. Can’t wait to get my hands on a few to try out. They will also be realeasing their new Lemon/lime UV flasher that has been kicking butt out on the water.
Checkout their website at www.gibbsdelta.com
Spring Fishing Opportunities
Spring is one of my favorite times of year, local trade shows are promoting new tackle,Steelhead fishing is at it’s best, spring Chinook fishing is picking up and Sturgeon are starting to move out of wintering holes in search of food. Salmon fry are beginning to hatch and local cutthroat fishing can be excellent. There really is a good variety of species to fish for and most of us are tired of the cold and ready to dust off the rods. This is also when we start making our first canyon trips up to Hells Gate and offer our spring Jet boat and Sturgeon seminars
You can find more info on our seminars at www.guidebc.com/seminars_
If you’re looking to get out of the Alberta cold, we recommend anytime between April 1 & May 30 for best fishing opportunites for sturgeon, winter chinook, steelhead, bull trout and Cutthroat. A two or three day trip can be just enough to get you back on track for that last run before Summer. Sturgeon fishing is usually on fire as fish are feeding on the Eulachon ( small bait fish). Tom, Thomas and the boys at STS are on the water daily so lots of great fishing days to be had with a few 20 to 30 fish days recorded each spring.
As I mentioned above the Gulf Island Salmon Fishery is really getting going in May/June with some excellent fishing opportunities. If your are in the area you can take advantage of this fishery as well as the lower river Sturgeon fishery all out of our Delta Airport Hotel location. We can put together 2 or 3 day packages that include both salmon and sturgeon fishing all out of the Delta Hotel.
July/August Fishing Opportunities look to be excellent
Over the past few years STS has expanded our fishery not only to include downtown Vancouver but also Vancouver Island. As most of you know, there is a tone of guides and established lodges along the West Coast. It wasn’t that hard to find the best location for our guests as good friend and fellow guide Grant Hewko has just spent the better part of the last 10 years dialing in the amazing fishing in Quatsino Sound, he also has built a lodge in Coal Harbour which we use for our guests.
Packages start as low as $1895.00 per person.
For 2014 we will be offering similar packages to last season although we have changed it up a bit to allow more flexibility in our schedule. We can now offer 2, 3 or 4 days trips that would include all meals and lodging or you can bring your own Motorhome and just hire us to do the guiding. We are located in the most scenic part of Vancouver Island on the northern tip near Port Hardy. You can reach us by car from Nanaimo or fly in using Coastal air out of YVR.
Check out these pictures from the great fishing we experienced last season. www.guidebc.com/photogallery_saltwater.asp
Summer Salmon on the Fraser River
Early summer salmon predictions on the Fraser are similar to 2013 where the early spring and summer 4-2 and 5-2 Chinook runs are in trouble. These early runs migrate through the Fraser in May, June and July and are very low. On the pre-season prediction scale of 1 to 4, these stocks are a 1 which is about as bad as they can get. Last season the Fraser was closed to salmon fishing for 3 weeks in late summer which could happen again. We are working on some gear restrictions posibilities that could allow a selective fishery to continue but we are still aways from agreement on exactly how that would look. The good news for STS clients is that we have options for our guests and have some great fishing in Vancouver and West Coast to offer.
Good News for the Fraser ( possible record year for Sockeye)
Although the early summer runs are not looking so great, the late summer runs of Chinook and Sockeye are both looking good with a 2/3 and 3/4 rating by DFO. This year is the return year from that record year of sockeye that was the talk of the country back in 2010. An estimated 30 million sockeye returned to the Fraser River so we could see another record breaking return. The migration period for this run would be August 15 to Sept 10 which is also peak for Chinook runs.
Along with large returns of salmon to the Fraser, is the migration of Sturgeon from the lower River/ocean to the Mission area. We are the first to see the large migrations of sturgeon following salmon to their spawning grounds. This migraton is the start of the incredible sturgeon fishing that has captured anglers from around the world. We are so lucky to have this fishery in our back yard and to have some of the best sturgeon guides on the Fraser.
We offer 3 location for sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River, Mission, the Fraser Canyon and Vancouver Delta Airport Hotel. That means we are covering over 150 miles of river offering the only full river service on the Fraser.
Fraser River Sturgeon Fishing
As most of you know August through to November is the best sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River and our bussiest 4 months of the year. You need to book early if you are wanting to request your favorite guide. We always do our best to provide you with your prefered guide but we do book on a first come first serve basis. We have already started to take booking so don’t wait too long to book.
Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser has been improving each year since the start of the catch & release fishery in 1994, through the tagging program we have learned allot about these sturgeon including migration patterns, gowth rates, spawning areas and most importantly the health of these stocks of sturgeon which live in the Fraser. Not that long ago it was thought that Fraser River Sturgeon never migrated out of the river, we now know that is just not the case and that there is a considerable amount of migration that occurs on only within the river system but also out into the ocean waters.
Interesting to note that most of these fish were in a similar size category of 5 to 8ft with several larger fish.
The Above picture was taken a few years ago near Port Alice in Washinton State just south from the Fraser River, these fish were feeding in a ocean estuary when the tide went out and left about 1500 sturgeon stranded in this shallow water. Fortunately only a handful of these fish died and the majority swam away with the next high tide. Although we can only speculate on why this happened it provides us with some interesting scenarios that could have caused this. Some biologists believe that some of these fish were probably Fraser River Sturgeon.
Here is a Video of us tagging a Fraser Canyon Sturgeon in 2013 – www.youtube.com/stsfish click on " 7ft White Sturgeon"
For those of you who are looking to improve your sturgeon catch rates and be on the leading edge of technology the Humminbird Side Imaging/Sonor unit is about as good as it gets at an affordable price range. We started using side imaging when it first came out in the early 2000’s and we now use it in most of our boats. Even if you are not looking to spot your prey using the side imaging will help with anchore placement and incredible bottom structure identification.
Currently a very expensive version of side imaging is being used to identify potential Sturgeon spawning locations on the Fraser River. Some of the images collected so far are amazing and so clear you can see finns, barbels and they can also measure its length with accuracy. There is funding to continue this project into 2014 which should give us even more data to add to the current Mark Recapture Study.
Tackle News For Sturgeon Anglers
This past season several of our guides including myself tested some new tackle for sturgeon fishing. Most of our guides use top of the line Penn International VSX 12 or VSX 16 which is a two speed reel virtually indistructable. This past year I ordered a couple Penn International V12 which is the same reel as the VSX but without the two speed option. I really liked how this reel handled large fish and I fished the entire season without any issues.
The international series of reels are far superior to anything we have ever used and we have used most reels that are available on the market, the big difference is when you have a monster sturgeon on the line and you are using extreme drag settings it continues to provide a smooth reliable drag curve. This is where most other reels fail and result in pulled hooks, broken leaders and lost fish.
STS Guide and Penn Pro Staff member Doug Elias also did some testing of his own, Doug chose to use the Penn Squal 40 lever drag combined with the Ugly Stick Tiger in a medium /heavy action. This set up proved exceptional with 400 sturgeon landed with many in the 6 to 8 ft range. This set up is very light for client comfort and extremely cost effective with a combination rod/reel set up selling for around $300.
Some of the key features:
· Ugly Stick Rods use Fuji graphite reel seats
· Fiberglass outer construction with graphite core
· Heavy Duty Stainless Steel reinforced guides and tip tops with aluminum oxide inserts( no wear using braided lines)
· Fast action tip &plastic fighting butt
· Exclusive Ugly back 60-day/5 year warranty.
Here is the Penn Squall 40 with Ugly Stick Rod Combo at work, Doug landed a 9ft sturgeon this season on this gear so safe to say it holds up
June, July & August Fly Fishing Adventures
A few years back the Fish’n Canada Show came out and spent a few days fishing with me on the Pitt, it took a bit of convincing as they are in love with our sturgeon fishery but I really wanted to show the world how amazing this river system truly is. The Upper Pitt Valley is unique as it offers a wilderness remote experience only 1 hours drive from the city of Vancouver.
The sea-run Bull Trout Fishery is one of my favorite fisheries, it all begins in late May and last to about August 15, during this time period you can catch Bull Trout, Sockeye and Chinook all on the fly or light spin tackle. All fish must be released and single barbless hooks are the required. If you look at all the other fisheries that are available during the same time period you really do have a wide variety of options . You can choose to fish a single day or pick two or three of our best fisheries and stay for a few days.
Upper Pitt River trips are available from June 1 to August 15, a maximum of 3 anglers per boat. We provide all fly gear including waders, rods, reels and fly’s. For those who do not fly fish we can also offer light tackle spin gear, we can also offer both fly and spin fishing on same trip for those who would like to try both.
Day trips departing from Grant Narrow at 6:15 am each morning, we run 30 km across Pitt Lake and up to 20 km up the Pitt River using our jet boats. It is common to see Eagles, Bears, Deer and sometimes Elk. Cost is $850 for 2 anglers, $900 for 3 anglers. We provide all tackle and can include lunch. You can choose to fish one or more days or combine one of these trips with a day on the Fraser for Sturgeon or Salmon Fishing in Vancouver.
Fraser Canyon Adventures
I am always amazed at the reaction of guests after spending the day in the canyon with me, I hear words like "best trip of my life" and " this trip needs to be on everyoner’s bucket list", "Just made my summer", unbelievable trip " and the best one " i think your having as much fun as we are". Yup I think I am, nothing makes me more happy than seeing those smiles and sticking the nose of my boat in the biggest dam rapid I can find. I think Braeden says it best, when I say " I think I am going to take it easy today" Bradens response is " no your not" then we both smile.
For 2014 we are offering our full day guided fishing/whitewater adventure, our 4 hour Hope to Hells Gate Tour and our new 2 hour Hope to Sailor Bar Tour. All 3 of these tours are available from April to June then again in August through to October. We don’t run the canyon is freshet when water is extremly high and dangerous. These tours are our #1 coporate trip and make for great Christmas Gifts for family and friends.
Full Day Canyon Adventure includes the 100km round trip from Hope to Hells Gate, Sturgeon fishing, Whitewater Jet Boating and Barbeque Lunch.
– Cost is $275 per person based on 6 or more guests.
2014 Sportsman Trade Shows for STS
Our first show of the year will be in late February in Red Deer Alberta then we will be heading home for the BC Boat & Sportsman Show. We will be attending several more shows in Alberta and BC and will keep you up to date through our Blog and Newsletter. We are really looking forward to seeing you all and we will be sending out notices as we get closer to these dates. We will also be attending the Vancouver Boat Show and several other shows representing our sponors Pure Fishing, GibbsDelta and Humminbird.
Last but not least all of us at STS would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, we hope 2014 will be the best year ever for both you and your family. We would also like to thank our sponsors Pure Fishing, GibbsDelta, Humminbird, Simms and our good friends at Proline Sports.
Have a great holiday and please feel free to call or e-mail us to book your next guided fishing adventure.
Tight Lines Vic Carrao
Facebook – Like us – http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/STS-Guiding-Service/220035516172
Join our mailing list – http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=vi9yq5bab&p=oi&m=1101609593109