Fly fishing in BC immerses us in the life cycle of a river.
One of the cool things about spring rivers in BC is that the mountain landscape makes the runoff happen in at least two pulses. It’s also when fly fishing in bc gets put on hold. The first wave starts in early spring, when temperatures are warm enough for precipitation at lower elevations to fall as rain, but still cool enough for it to fall as snow at higher elevations. The warmth at lower levels causes snowmelt and with the rain, river volumes go up. There can sometimes be a wave of flooding but the biggest volumes come later.
Normally, after that initial runoff, there’s a lull when water levels either stabilize or go down. But as temperatures heat up later in the spring as they are right now in BC, the snow at higher elevations begins to melt, with noticeable loss on south-facing slopes first compared to those that face north. River levels rise even if there has been no new precipitation in weeks.
Some years flooding can make fishing impossible in some favourite spots. When the water’s moving fast, concentrate on the places where fish can hide from the current such as along the bank. Turbidity can also be a problem, but when the water colour shifts from brown back to green, sediment levels are coming down, and the fishing can start to be amazing as everyone is looking to gain back the weight they lost through the winter. We are seeing this kind of run off affecting fly fishing on the Elk River, Salmo River and Squamish River right now. Fortunately it passes quickly and anglers can get back to business soon.
Depending on where you’re heading to fish, a great fly fishing guide will let you know what flies are producing given the timing of what’s hatching, the water temperatures and volumes.
When you get out on the river, keep track of water levels and watch your step if you’re wading. The weather might be warm but the water isn’t.