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Discover Squamish, an Outdoor Playground

 

It’s the end of July, mid-summer, and along the BC coast everything is stirring.  Blackberries are growing in abundance; plump, juicy, and sweet if you pick the ripe ones.  The rivers are clear and the ocean is friendly.  A look to Howe Sound from our balcony at Britannia Beach shows paddle boarders enjoying the protected waters.  Nearby at the spit; where the wind always blows, a host of kite surfers are doing their thing with as much flair as a bird of paradise.  In the hills and mountains surrounding us there are rock climbers and mountain bikers, and along the beaches of nearby lakes and the ocean, there are others still, happy to take a dip on such nice summer days. It is glorious, and peaceful.

 

Playing in the ocean around Squamish is a wonderful adventure.

Playing in the ocean around Squamish is a wonderful adventure.

How Sound and the Squamish area is our playground.  It is the childhood of my wife Melanie, and it is a place worthy of exploration.  In odd numbered years, we make time to take part in the abundance that is the pink salmon run.  Pink runs number in the thousands upon thousands, and sometime around early to mid-August they start to show up and they will continue to pile into the rivers through early to mid-September.  We can fish them at shoreline access points along the ocean, like the area around Furry Creek, and later we can chase them in the river proper.  The Squamish River fills to capacity with pink salmon, and when the run is on, it is easy as pie to catch them.

Fishing the Squamish.

Fishing the Squamish.

I believe it was 2015 when we took a west coast vacation with our friends Wayne and Leonie, and much to our delight, the pinks were running strong.  Wayne and I decided this was too good of a thing to pass up, so we bought our fishing licences and headed to the Squamish River.  On that day it rarely took more than a single drift to hook up and I am almost embarrassed by the number of salmon we caught.  Dozens a piece would be appropriate.  And all it took was to drift a little orangish pink piece of yarn on a size 4 Gamakatsu octopus hook under a float with just enough weight to take the hook to the bottom.  That was it.  Most of the fish we caught were near shore, in probably a few feet of water.

 

Prime pink salmon, eager to bite.

Prime pink salmon, eager to bite.


Prime pink salmon, eager to bite.

Prime pink salmon, eager to bite.

This year, 2021, was also a pink year, but we were just a little on the early side of the run, and that is okay.  There was much to explore, and we were filled to capacity doing fun stuff like exploring the tide pools, beaches, flipping rocks, and looking at sea shells at iconic Porteau Cove.  A place everyone should stop and spend some time.  It’s a kid (and adult) paradise.


Exploring the beauty of Porteau Cove.

Exploring the beauty of Porteau Cove.


Exploring the beauty of Porteau Cove.

Exploring the beauty of Porteau Cove.

Exploring the beauty of Porteau Cove.

Exploring the beauty of Porteau Cove.

There’s a boat launch at Porteau, and a good friend of mine, Jordan; who moved from Edmonton to Squamish in recent years made me keenly aware of this.  And the sell job he gave me was remarkably easy.   He took the direct approach.  He asked, "Fred, do you want to meet up at Porteau and go fishing tomorrow morning?"  "Yes!" I blurted out, without thought or consideration to anything else that may be going on in my life.  "Great, see you here at 6:00 am."

Getting on the ocean is always special, and I had a hard time sleeping that night, and when sleep came, morning came almost as fast.  Despite the lack of sleep I was up and in great spirits.  After a quick breakfast and packing lunch, I was on the road.  Porteau Cove was quiet in the early morning light.  The world had yet to wake up around it, and it was beautiful.  Jordan arrived at pretty much the same time and in minutes his boat was in the water, our gear was on board, and the quite purr of the motor pushed against the gentle lapping of small waves.


On the ocean and happy as ever.

On the ocean and happy as ever.

Our plan was simple, head towards the entrance to Howe Sound and troll for salmon in the early morning light.  Even though it was early in the season, there was still a chance we could get one to bite and for me, that was a chance worth taking.  Regardless of whatever happens with our salmon efforts, as early morning shifts to mid-morning, we would drift known cod and rockfish areas and see what we could catch jigging.  After that we would make the run home and call it a morning.

Quality time.

Quality time.

In the calm conditions, Jordan’s boat made easy work of the travel and soon we were passing by Anvil Island and on our ways towards Gambier and Bowen Islands.  In that neck of the woods Jordan eased off the throttle and came to a drifting stop.  We put together our rigger rods and dropped one off of each downrigger.  We kept the trolling depth relatively shallow, typically 70 feet or less and probed potential fishy spots.  This lead to a glorious morning of enjoying our coffee, sharing stories, and breathing the fresh salt air.  It was peaceful, and we are only interrupted once by a rockfish.

A bonus rockfish.

A bonus rockfish.

After a couple hours chasing salmon, we figured it was time to switch it up and we pulled in the downriggers and grabbed our jigging rods.  Jordan gave me the pick of jigs to choose from and I selected a 4 ounce glow jig that looked like a squid.  A good choice he told me.  We started jigging in around a hundred feet of water and it took no time before we both were getting bites and in short order all manner of rockfish and flatfish were making their way to the surface.

Jigging up fish.

Jigging up fish.

Jigging up fish.

Jigging up fish.

We caught several species, although I would be hard pressed to come up with a definitive ID for most, aside from the quillback rockfish.  The fishing was fun and Jordan picked up a mud shark, adding some size to the mix of fish.  We caught one flounder we could have kept, but we let it go.  The day was more about getting on the water in a beautiful setting with a friend, and it was cool to catch the fish we did.  I also hooked up on something hefty, but half way up it let go.  I suspect it was likely a mud shark, but I would have liked to have seen it first.

a bonus mud shark.

a bonus mud shark.

a bonus mud shark.

a bonus mud shark.

A great place to find yourself.

A great place to find yourself.

Time passed easily and soon enough we acknowledged that we had fished the entire morning, plus a little bit more and it was time to head home.  I was happy for this time, and super thankful that Jordan lived in this neck of the woods.  As we made the boat ride back to Porteau Cove, I revelled in how great the Squamish area is, and how wonderful it is that I have had the chance to explore bits and pieces of it over the years.  It truly is an outdoor playground and worth taking the time to get to know.

 



Previous Fishing Articles
(1) Caddisflies
(2) In the Good Old Summertime
(3) A Southern Escape
(4) Springtime in Alberta - Can Thrill You to the Bone
(5) Sunny Day Rainbows
(6) New "Fishing" Year Resolutions
(7) Five Fine Places to Find Trout
(8) Catfishing Revisited
(9) Discover Squamish, an Outdoor Playground
(10) Falling for Cutthroat
(11) New Water and Old Friends
(12) My McLeod
(13) Temperature and Trout
(14) On the Road Again
(15) Tips That Will Make You a More Successful Fly-Fisherman
(16) 5 Ways to Catch Your Trout
(17) The Difference Maker - Reading Trout Stream Waters
(18) Rollin’ on the River
(19) Windy Day Pike
(20) Cures for Cabin Fever
(21) Snowbirding with a Fishing Rod
(22) Alberta’s Spring Creek Browns - Blessings and Curses
(23) A day on our foothill streams
(24) Fly Fishing Crowded Waters
(25) Fly Leaders
(26) In the Zone
(27) Learners Permit
(28) Flies of Summer
(29) Selecting the Right Boat
(30) The Italian Job
(31) Making a difference
(32) Pass the Salt
(33) Hopper Time - Fly-fishing’s Second Season
(34) Pike on the Fly - Fishing New Waters
(35) Fall brings the big walleye out
(36) Hoppertunity Time
(37) Becoming a Better Dry Fly Angler
(38) Make Your Own Fishing Adventure
(39) Early Season Fly Fishing
(40) Walleye Logic
(41) Fly Fishing in the Desert
(42) Grammy’s Fish
(43) Top 10 Trout Lures
(44) All I Want for Christmas – Neil Waugh's Yule Tide Fishing Gifts Wish List
(45) Muskies - The Ultimate Predator
(46) What to expect when fishing the West Coast
(47) Tips & Tricks for Fall Fly Fishing
(48) There’s No Place Like Home
(49) A Golden Opportunity
(50) The Observational Trout Fisherman
(51) Un-matching the Hatch
(52) Alberta Super Bugs
(53) Glass is Back
(54) The Bull Trout of the Athabasca
(55) Speed Kills
(56) Entering the Twilight Zone
(57) Old Man River
(58) The Pink Salmon of the Squamish River
(59) Small stream BT fishing
(60) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started
(61) In The Walleye Zone
(62) Zoo Trout
(63) Fly Selection for Beginners
(64) Fly Fisher's Christmas
(65) New Waters
(66) Big Bad Burbot
(67) Looking Back
(68) Out of Africa
(69) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams
(70) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish
(71) The Browns of Autumn
(72) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons
(73) Walleye Town
(74) River Fun - One Bite At A Time
(75) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers
(76) Going With The Flow
(77) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman
(78) Swinging The Fences
(79) A View From The Aerie
(80) Dixieland Delight
(81) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts
(82) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon
(83) Montana's Cool Missouri
(84) Pretty Is As Pretty Does
(85) Toothy Critters
(86) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake
(87) Top Ten Flies
(88) Northern Exposure
(89) Home Water Lessons
(90) Chicken Of The Sea
(91) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish
(92) Deep In The Heart Of Texas
(93) Keep It Up!
(94) River Fishing for Fall Walleye
(95) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the 2013 flood
(96) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity
(97) Hawg Holes
(98) Saltwater Salmon
(99) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing
(100) Down a Lazy River - A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan
(101) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead
(102) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS
(103) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES
(104) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver
(105) Canada's "Other" Salmon
(106) Fall Walleye
(107) Wet Flies
(108) Versatility the Key to Success
(109) Grayling of the Boreal
(110) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish
(111) Size Matters
(112) Fly Fishing Small Streams
(113) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time
(114) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel
(115) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas
(116) The Point Of It All
(117) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day
(118) Fall Fly Fishing
(119) Personal Pontoon Boats 101
(120) Big River, Big Fish
(121) Bottom Bonanza
(122) Fishing Small Flies
(123) So Many Choices, So Little Time
(124) Four Seasons of the Bow
(125) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot
(126) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT
(127) Trout Hunting New Zealand style
(128) Don’t Leave Home Without Them – 10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box
(129) Edge Walleye
(130) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER
(131) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge
(132) Four Corners – Four Waters
(133) Chasing Pothole Trout
(134) Springtime Stoneflies
(135) The Torrents of Spring
(136) Drift Boat Fly Fishing
(137) Bust Them With Bait
(138) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book
(139) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months
(140) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout
(141) Terrestrials
(142) Fly In For Fishing Fun
(143) Rocky Mountain High
(144) Reading the clues
(145) Where the Trout Are The art of locating feeding trout in rivers and streams.
(146) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin
(147) Fly Fishing 101
(148) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod
(149) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay
(150) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder
(151) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead
(152) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital
(153) Eliminating the Spook Factor
(154) Trust Your Electronics
(155) The Most Important Hatch of the Year
(156) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout
(157) Finding Success for Ice Trout
(158) Walleye can be Humbling
(159) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed
(160) Winter Flyfishing
(161) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Fishing Gem
(162) Hot Fall Pike Action
(163) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down
(164) Reading Trout Stream Waters
(165) Frequently Asked Questions
(166) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout
(167) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice
(168) Deep Water Perch
(169) Post Spawn Brookies
(170) A Fisher's Life
(171) The River's Last Stand
(172) The Big Ones Come out at Night
(173) Coho on the Coast
(174) Chasing and Catching Halibut
(175) Summer in the Mountains
(176) Peak Walleye Season
(177) Slow and Steady Wins the Race
(178) Last Ice Rainbows
(179) The Burbot Event
(180) Tackle Matching
(181) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light
(182) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location
(183) The Lure of Brook Trout
(184) The Shallow Water Hunt is On
(185) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now
(186) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies
(187) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan
(188) The Vesatile Plug
(189) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout
(190) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures
(191) Good Fishing at Last Ice
(192) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations
(193) Daily Fish Migrations
(194) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn
(195) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star
(196) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing
(197) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing
(198) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser
(199) The Fun in Ultra Light
(200) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines
(201) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure
(202) Never Stop Learning
(203) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot
(204) Jigging through the Ice
(205) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline
(206) Rainbows on Ice
(207) The Season of Ice Begins
(208) Red Hot Fall Pike Action
(209) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman
(210) Facts On Cats
(211) West Coast Adventure
(212) June Walleye Frenzy
(213) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories
(214) First Fish of the Year Pothole Rainbows and Browns
(215) Northern Exposure
(216) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish
(217) Early Season Pike On The Fly
(218) Man Overboard
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