Vedder fishing (when do I get the fish?)

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fishing Forum' started by Blair Charbonneau, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. Blair Charbonneau

    Blair Charbonneau New Member


    I know this may be a very "green" question. If I am to catch a Chinook when do I gut the fish, right after the catch? Do I keep a cooler with ice one me and just gut it later ?

    If anyone can let me know the proper procedure after catching and killing the best way to keep the fish fresh

  2. Salmon Seeker

    Salmon Seeker Crew Member

    bleed it right away, get it cold right away. I always gut before i leave the river cause i dont want to dispose of them at home. need to leave the head on though
    Ben Fougere likes this.
  3. Blair Charbonneau

    Blair Charbonneau New Member

    Is it illegal or just plain ride to gut the fish in the water? I'm assuming I would gut and dispose of in a garbage if possible ? If I'm not able to gut at the river is leaving it on ice and gutting it later that day okay? What's your method for gutting before leaving the river?

    Thanks for the help, I know these are probably a bit of dumb questions but I just don't want to upset anyone or get in trouble out there
  4. Salmon Seeker

    Salmon Seeker Crew Member

    as far as i know, its not illegal. i just slit the belly from the anus to the throat, cut the esophagus at just behind the head, pull the whole wad of guts out and chuck them in the river. then cut membrane along the spine and scrape out the stuff with the butt of my knife. sometimes i take the gills out other times just leave them in. some seagulls are probably going to eat the guts. if you didnt kill the fish it would have spawned then died and rotted in the river, so i dont see a problem with leaving the guts there. if you put them in a garbage can itll attact bears and really stink. after filleting the fish at home i like to put the spine and head into a bag and freeze it until garbage day, then put it in the green bin.
  5. Blair Charbonneau

    Blair Charbonneau New Member

    Perfect ! Thanks a lot. You covered everything I needed to know. Appreciate it
  6. Che

    Che Active Member

    [Sarcasm]The best thing to do is bonk the fish a couple times on the head to stun it, then leave it up on the rocks for a bit while you build a small weir at the river's edge. Don't worry the fish will suffocate soon enough. Once built, fill the weir with water that can warm up in the sun. Then gut the fish with too small of a knife and be sure to get lots of sand in the carcass. Throw the guts in the shallows, don't bother keeping the roe. Put your 'big spring' in the weir to stew while you try go get some more fish. Be sure to watch for crows and gulls, and chase them away before they peck out the eyes. When you're ready to go home, place your half cooked fish in a black plastic trash bag and haul it back to the car. [/Sarcasm]

    If you catch a fall run chinook on the vedder river. Stop and look at the fish before taking it out of the water. These are white fleshed chinooks, and while large in size they aren't always the best eating fish. An ocean caught white spring is awesome table fare. A fall run adult white fleshed chinook is a different story. They get dark very fast, and have a strong fish smell to them. Their flesh is oilier than normal chinooks and can impose a strong flavour. So while we might revel at the sight of a big Chinook at the end of the line. It might just be better to let it swim away.

    But, if you catch a nice bright one? Have at 'er. Stop and ask, what colour is its chin and belly? White, grey or black? Are its scales bright and shiny, or a little dull looking? Is it a translucent silver, or an olive green? Does the belly feel firm on a female, or all smushy gushy? How about a kype on the males? How big are the teeth? All things to consider before bonking that fall white chinook. Remember the fish will darken up after you kill it. There's no shame in letting it swim away.

    Once you decide to take that fish, pull it on to the shore. Give it a few good knocks on the head with a potato sized rock. Hit it right where the skull and shoulders meet. This will stun the fish, it won't kill it. Get out your knife and cut around the bottom of the gills. There's a large vein in there, cutting it will bleed the fish out. Keep the fish in the water, washing all the blood out. Squeeze the fish tail to head to help this process. Exsanguination kills the fish. Clean the fish up, wash all the blood and sand off, then take all your hero pictures. Now that the fish is dead and bled, the quality of meat is going to start deteriorating. If you want to stay and fish longer, and if you can, run back to the truck and throw the fish in a chest of ice. If you can't go back right away, put the fish in a wet burlap sack and hang that in the shadows. Keep the sack wet. The evaporation will help cool the fish slightly. Never open the cavity of a fish you intend to eat in river water. You will contaminate the meat with that river water and whatever else is in around there. Do it at home or somewhere that has safe potable water.
  7. Blair Charbonneau

    Blair Charbonneau New Member

    Wow, Thank you Sir ! I feel much more confident now if I am to hook a fish. Thanks for taking the time to explain everything so well.

    bigdogeh likes this.
  8. Che

    Che Active Member

    Well, it's easy to hook a fish, getting it to bite is another story.

    The Vedder river is a notorious black hole of salmon fishing. It's a river that is incredibly easy to access and fish, there is something like 50+km of fishable river. It has a good run of all five species of pacific salmon. It's possible to 'grand slam' on the vedder, though I've never done it. Because of this, it attracts huge crowds and often inexperienced but more so ignorant anglers. Locals refer to them as a "beaks." It's quite the insult to be called one, even though the biggest beaks have no clue about their low status. Being a newbie is not the same as a beak, but often newbies learn from beaks, which turns them into beaks and they don't even know it.

    Anyways, you want the fish to bite your hook. You don't want to snag fish or the bottom constantly. Float fishing is the best way to do this, but even still a lot of float fishers don't know what they're doing. It's an art that takes a bit to master. Reading the water is not that easy. The basic idea here is that you use a float to suspend your presentation (usually a chunk of roe) about a foot above the depth the fish are holding at. You want your float riding vertical, about 2/3 submerged, with maybe a 10-15 dgree tilt upstream. If your float is laying flat, you're doing it wrong. If your float is riding too high, you don't have enough weight. It's a balancing act, and takes years to perfect. Anyways, the fish will see your presentation, rise, bite your presentation and your float will sink rapidly. Set the hook and it's fish on. A slow sinking float is usually a snag. If you're snagged on the bottom, you're doing it wrong.

    Beaks however don't give a shit about any of this and only care about shouting "Fish on!" to anyone who can hear them. Then hoot and holler, dragging a fish in to shore like some kind of rock star. So they will cut corners and have some questionable practices. On the Vedder, often it's the dippers. These guys will stand on a rock and pitch a piece of wool on a hook through a shallow pocket in faster water, eventually lining it through a fish's mouth. Some will wear polarized sun glasses and watch for the fish to swim by and then 'dip' for them. Go to the Tamahai bridge rapids for examples of this behaviour. Its not really 'fishing.' For the most part, you will see guys out there with floats, using brightly coloured wool yarn tied on to a very large hooks, drifting this rig through a run. They get to the end of their drift and RIP the line before they reel in. The rip is an effort to drive the hook into a fish's body after the line passes by. Anyone setting the hook on every drift? Sure sign of a beak. A good presentation suspended by a properly balanced presentation, rides the river bed will never need this behaviour. The only time your float should go below water is from a bite.

    The early season on the vedder, before the rains come, is a tough one. Water is low, fish are holding and get broody and lock jawed. There are still biters, but it takes a bit more effort and nuance to really get them to engage. At the same time, September is your best chance to get that nice bright silver Chinook you've been dreaming about.

    Good luck & tight lines.
  9. Oly1

    Oly1 Well-Known Member

    There is all this around the Vedder for sure. Seen it lots myself. However there are still good people that fish there.

    I remember well over ten years ago I was just starting to river fish. (Fished all my life in freshwater but never rivers for salmon). Went to Fred’s in Chilliwack and bought an Abu Garcia C3 and a Shimano Convergence rod, some tackle and some local experience from Fred’s Tackle. The pinks were running and I was there for other business. Thought no better time than the present to try river fishing.

    That afternoon I went to the river with much optimism and a new rod and reel, along with some guaranteed to work tackle. (After all its only pinks right) I was float fishing with wool for bait as suggested from Fred’s. I walked down from the Vedder bridge to a couple spots that had been recommended. I stopped at the one spot that had been recommended. There were quite a few people there fishing already. I found a spot just above a slight bend in the river and rigged my rod as recommended. I started fishing and caught nothing but a cold. (Surprising?) Some people around me were catching a couple but the guy downstream of me was catching a lot. He was releasing them all and I started taking note of what he was doing. Didn't look anything different from what I was doing but he was catching “lots” compared to everyone else around him. I have been there for a few hours already and caught nothing. He has caught around 100 fish since I’ve been there. There has been other people around me catching a couple but nothing like this one guy that’s been catching the lions share to say the least and keeping none. With the light waning and the impending skunking inevitable I reeled in my rod and sat watching the guy a mere 10 feet downstream from me, catching and releasing all these salmon.

    I watched for about 20 minutes with rod in hand as everyone left and it was only him and myself left. He turned to me and said I’ve been watching you tonight. You fished rivers much? I said no. He said you almost got it but you’re missing a couple things. He showed me how to get the drift right. Bobber at the right angle and what to look for when a fish strikes. He showed what angle on the water to have. He asked if I was going to be here tomorrow. I said yes, it’s my last day here, before leaving for North again. He said get here early if you can and come a couple feet downstream to get a better angle, then proceeded to fill in the gaps that I was missing. He also said to make sure when putting the wool on make sure you cut it round like an actual egg. Made sense to me, and I think made a world of difference.

    Well the next affternoon I got to the spot and tried the suggestions made by the nice gentleman. It took a bit to get the feel and the right angle, but it all started to come together after a 1/2 hour or so. After everyone else got there I got the hang of it. After learning what to look for and getting the feel for this kink of fishing. I started to catch fish and lots of them. The knowledge passed on was invaluable. This was from a person that I have no idea who he was. I never met him again and probably never will. But it changed my river fishing life. All because a stranger on the Vedder helped a fellow fisherman. I know there isn’t a lot of them but there is still a few good ones out there.

    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
  10. Whitebuck

    Whitebuck Well-Known Member

    He taught you the correct way to floss He was at the right degree to line these someone who fishes bait hard on the vedder I laugh at the wool fisherman thinking the fish are biting...yess some do...but more likely the angle on the floss is perfect.
    As for any vedder fall Chinook...Wack it...don’t feel bad these fish are 100% hatchery fish!
    Get out enjoy yourself...lost of water no need to fish by anyone.
  11. Oly1

    Oly1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for saying I’m a flosser A$$ hat. He mentioned to keep the leader short around 15 inches so you don’t catch the fish flossing and take a pair of scissors and make the wool round to imitate an egg. In know you’re a highly sophisticated bait fisherman that looks down on anyone that doesn’t fish to your high standards of “Bait”. What exactly do you use for bait when fishing pinks. As I said I was just learning, in fact first time. Someone took the time out of their day to help a guy out. The point I was trying to say is that not everyone is unwilling to help someone in need. Then there are some that are just douche bags ^^^^^^^^

    Jon, Burban, california and 1 other person like this.
  12. mikeyman

    mikeyman Active Member

    Oly1 likes this.
  13. BCROB

    BCROB Active Member

    Thx Oly , enjoyed your read , there are indeed some good folks still out there
    Burban and Oly1 like this.
  14. spoiler

    spoiler Active Member

    best advise I can give for fishing the Vedder under these low clear water conditions is think small. small hooks, light leaders, small weights, swivels and floats and small pieces of top quality bait. fish your set up shallow. most of the Salmon are suspended so if you are fishing 6' of water your bait should be suspended 3' down. As Che said, if the float goes down it's a fish. My typical set up for this time of year would be a #2 or #4 hook, 6 or 8lb leader, 8lb main, a small black swivel, a small piece of hollow core pencil lead threaded on the line, a small 20gr float and a small natural colored piece of fresh roe. No brightly dyed bait or big pieces of bright wool. Your best action will be at first light for about 20 minutes and then it will fizzle out after that. After having fished the Vedder system for over 51 years this is the best advise I can give. If you are new to fishing the Vedder don't waste your time trying to bottom bounce with long leaders or casting big lures. You will only be spooking the already spooky fish in the run and screwing it up for everyone else. Also another big mistake people make out there is to start casting too early. There are daylight only rules on this river and jumping the gun and casting while it's still too dark only spooks the fish before it's light enough for them to bite.
    Oly1, Burban and Pineapple Express like this.
  15. AB3

    AB3 Member

    are you suggesting 8lb main and leader for Chinook? or is that more Coho? Just seems a bit light for Chinook!
  16. mikeyman

    mikeyman Active Member

    10 lb flourocarbon. All u need. Sufix has held up well for me.
  17. spoiler

    spoiler Active Member

    yeah, I fish 8lb main and use a 9' fly rod with an extension handle and a lightweight centrepin reel (rapidex or trudex) I can't remember the last time I cracked off a fall run Chinook in the Vedder and I have hooked quite a few over 30lbs
    AB3 likes this.
  18. Ben Fougere

    Ben Fougere Member

    Lots of great advice here. I don't get to fish the Vedder as often as I'd like, but rather take a week off and come fishing with my family.

    I bet you'd be suprised at how many anglers would help someone learn on the river. Not all of us live close enough to go fishing every other weekend. I'm sure there's a few of us who would gladly pass on what we have learned to others on the riverbank. Isn't that a fundamental part of fishing? I understand long leaders and bottom bouncing are frowned upon on the Vedder. I agree with the long leaders issue, but bottom bouncing can be extremely effective when fishing for Pinks, Chum, Chinook and Steelhead. Bottom bouncing is (or used to be....12 years ago) effective up north around Kitimat. It's a different technique all together and short leaders are needed to make it effective. Steelheading and Pink salmon fishing with a pink corky while slowly bouncing in a river can be extremely effective. Lift the rod and place the weight down again in slower water while steelheading. Wait for the fish to swim up to it and slam it. I had an amazing day fishing the Vedder years ago when a fresh school of Chum swam thru using a spin-n-glow with a hoochie (Kitimat special). Everyone around me was pointing at me as I caught all the fish and they caught nothing. That was the last day I bottom bounced on the Vedder. I chose not to, because there is a stigma against it. It's sad, because I have 2 amazing short rods made for bottom bouncing and I can't use them anymore for salmon (They work awesome for pike fishing so it's not a complete waste)

    Some of the great points here in this thread that I like are (and some of my own preferences):
    1. Keep a short leader.
    2. Keep your float short. You only want to be touching the bottom every now and then, not dragging on it.
    3. Bait works, but is messy and a lot of us are not local fisherman and can't get roe as readily as the locals.
    4. Trimming your yarn into a ball/egg shape will increase more "bites"
    5. Try natural colours of yarn (peaches/pinks) and adding a touch of white yarn (mixing colours) helps too.
    6. Bright colours can work as well. My favourite "go to" colour when the natural colours aren't working is Chartreuse.
    7. Use lighter leaders (fluorocarbon is best) to increase the "bite"
    8. Having a smooth reel (center pin or level wind) will help with the "bite" by allowing a free spooled presentation
    9. Always match your rod length to others around you. I brought my 8'6" rod one year and shoulder to shoulder fishing makes it hard to use. Bring at least a 10'6" rod.
    10. Stay away from Tamahi and learn to fish and not to floss. There are a few runs in the Tamahi area where fish will bite, but you have to know how to read the water and not fall victim to what everyone is doing.
    11. Most importantly, have fun and try to learn one or two new things each time you go out. Try a new section of water each time too.
    12. Always listen to the people around you who are catching fish (unless they're flossing or snagging). They are obvisoulsy doing something right. Listen to what they have to say and then take that information and compare it to what you are doing.
    13. It's all about the tug. There's nothing sweeter than a 20lb Chinook or rolling coho on the end of your line.
    14. If you do find some roe and it's legal to use, a bite on roe makes you feel like a kid again. It's the best bobber down you'll ever have.
    Oly1 likes this.
  19. aheny

    aheny Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure about the comment on keeping the head attached.
    That's only necessary if the filet to tail does not reach the minimum size. For example if you catch a chinook which needs to be 62 cm long, as long as the filet with tail attached is more than 62 cm long you are free to dispose of the head, as heads are not used by DFO to identify species.
    if you do filet or gut it in the field you are required to keep the tail attached to one of the fillets though.
  20. Ian wagner

    Ian wagner Active Member

    The head must remain on in freshwater fisheries for identification saltwater regs are different
    Marlas PV Landing likes this.

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