We Sport Fish is thrilled that British Columbia is cautiously easing into Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan allowing safe and respectful travel within BC. To quote the province, “this is not a recovery from COVID-19, but the next stage of our response as we learn to live with the virus”. If you do plan to travel, we ask you to remember that travel should be considered a privilege at this time.
We Sport Fish talked with Graham Cloutier of Chillbilly Charters about their Phase 3 approach to guided fishing charters and current fishing conditions. Over the past few months the charter company took a cautious “wait and see” approach to bookings and ceased taking deposits and hosting guests. Now that we are in Phase 3 of the restart plan, Chillbilly Charters is once again resuming operations under the new recommended safety guidelines.
According to Cloutier, calls for chartered trips started coming in a couple weeks ago, and “are really picking up steam”. He has done a few trips already, and has 8 new trips booked. He is currently not taking deposits, but stated that may change soon if we stay on track keeping COVID-19 at bay and the calls keep coming in as expected. Most of his guests are locals within an hours drive, and some are from the Okanagan. Guests are able to stay more than 2 metres apart in the open-air drift boat, and the boat and equipment are given a complete wipe-down after every trip.
When asked about fishing conditions, Graham said the Walley fishing is just starting to pick up. He did a quick drift from the Robson Boat Launch to the Robson Ferry Landing jigging with worms on locally made jigs. He said he pulled in a few, and they were a little slimmer than normal due to the spawn, but now that it’s July and food is plentiful they will fatten up quickly.
Dry fly fishing for Rainbows is very productive. On an outing earlier in the week, he reeled in four trout on a green elk hair caddis fly in an hour and a half. Most were in the 18-20 inch range, and all were nice, healthy, fat Columbia River trout. He launched at the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers around 5:00 pm, and anchored in a big back-eddy. There were not many caddis out yet, but the massive hatch is still to come. There were not many fish rising, but he cast into the seam, dead-drifted the fly, and the trout were more than willing to cooperate. He paddled back in around 6, so it was a short, but productive excursion.
We are thrilled that our local guides are able to once again host guests as we reach our prime fishing season, but do ask that everyone remains vigilant and follows all precautions until a vaccine is developed to hopefully put this pandemic behind us. We Sport Fish is looking forward to once again providing fishing reports and fishing stories from our guides and friends. -Stay tuned, and stay safe!