With moderate river flows, bug hatches, and warm water conditions, summer-run steelhead will take a dry fly readily. Almost all of the water works best fished upstream using floating lines and dry flies, then with a second pass, on your way down with a wet fly or nymph. Sight fishing is a possibility on certain rivers. There are “fly fish only” rivers for the fly fisherman to enjoy, while searching for summer steel.
With the winters being very mild on Vancouver Island, you don’t have to be very tough to brave the elements. Wet flies and sink tips are used almost exclusively for winter-run steelhead as colder water conditions keep the fish down on the bottom. Winter-run steelhead are bigger in size and more numerous than their predecessor, summer-run steelhead. When water temperatures rise or a fresh splash of rain occurs, the fish will be more than willing to take a fly. Rewards are pleasant! Egg, shrimp, intruder patterns will reward the fly fisherman.
We offer river wading and drift fishing trips for all five species of Pacific salmon that run up the rivers on Vancouver Island. The river fishing consists of swinging or retrieving wet flies through the pools and runs where the fish are holding. Dead drifting with indicators can be rewarding as well. The timing for the different salmon species are as follows: Chinook (July-September), Chum (September-November), Coho (July-October), Pink (July-September) and Sockeye (June-July).
With Vancouver Island generally having mild winters, we’re fortunate to have fishing opportunities all year round. Rainbow trout, Coastal Cutthroat, and Dolly Varden char are all available to the lake and river fly fisher. Cutthroat and Dolly Varden are also available on the beaches and
estuaries of some local rivers. Some of the better months for trout fishing here on the island are April-December. Nymphs and streamers are mainly
used in the early season. Once the insect hatches start most fishing is with a floating line and dry flies. Summer and Fall bring the return of the salmon to the rivers, and at that time egg patterns, flesh flies, and streamers work best.