British Columbia Fishing Blog

Fishing Trip Stories, Video Blog, Website Updates...

Welcome to our fishing blog, which takes you along on our fishing trips around British Columbia. This is also where we provide you updates on changes to our website and other related projects.

June 2014 Photo-essay

Published on July 8th, 2014 by Rodney

June is usually the month when all the less-known species emerge in lakes and rivers of British Columbia. We visited Cultus Lake several times where northern pikeminnow are rather abundant and can easily be caught on bait, lures and flies.

Cultus Lake Northern Pikeminnow

Beside northern pikeminnow and other native minnow species, carp also become active. MacDonald Park at Sumas Canal is one spot in the Fraser Valley where they can be caught. It’s a nice venue, as the tall trees provide shade throughout most of the day.

Carp Fishing at Sumas Canal

My job always takes me to different parts of the province and I am lucky enough to visit new lakes and rivers more often than others. Last month, I returned to Victoria on an assignment for GoFishBC and checked out several “urban lakes” in the area. One of these lakes really caught my eyes as the setting is just so pristine considering how close it is to the city. Durrance Lake is part of GoFishBC’s urban fishery program and it provides plenty of shore fishing opportunities. I spent a couple of evenings there during my stay.

Durrance Lake on Vancouver Island

Casting from the Dock at Durrance Lake on Vancouver Island

During the last day of my visit, I stopped by Langford Lake to check out the newly built boat launch. Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC regularly work with local communities to obtain fundings so better urban fishing infrastructures can be installed for anglers like you.

Boat Launch at Langford Lake on Vancouver Island

After returning from my trip, Nina and I brought our son Elliot out on the boat for the very first time. Not only did he enjoy the boat ride and holding the fishing rod for one hour, he also had a chance to see a fish being released.

Elliot's First Boat Ride

I took advantage of the nice weather and stopped by a couple of lakes and rivers in the Lower Mainland. Too often we forget how lucky we are because these spots are so close to us.

Chilliwack Lake

Another Beautiful BC River

We ended the month with another family fishing trip.

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

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Coho Release into Hyde Creek Watershed

Published on June 26th, 2014 by Rodney

Back in November we did a story which highlighted the work being done by Hyde Creek Watershed Society. Dedicated volunteers at the society has been reintroducing coho and chum salmon into this tiny urban stream in Coquitlam for many years. Here is an update from Jean Peachman, an active member of the group, on how the hatchery is now doing and what work has been done recently.

Hello Rod:

We had a great release on Friday (June 13th) with over 11,000 coho fry being distributed into the watershed.   The creek fry are looking exceptionally good this year and have made their way up into ponds by Hyland.

Our hatchery fry were distributed further into the watershed this year.   And we had some help from our Mayors.  Both Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam Mayors and Councillors have been very supportive of our hatchery and our requests.

We’re doing well and getting ready to clip our remaining fry.We’re still at the hatchery most Saturday mornings between 9::00 and 11:30, and the coffee pot is always on.

Jean Peachman
Hyde Creek Watershed Society 

Here are some photographs from the release.

Weighing Coho Salmon Fry Prior to Release
Hyde Creek Watershed Society member Terry Sawchenko weighing by volume so the hatchery can be accurate with the release numbers.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore Releases Salmon Fry
Mayor Greg Moore, who grew up a few streets away from this spot in Port Coquitlam, releases coho fry.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart Releases Salmon Fry into Hyde Creek
Mayor Richard Stewart of Coquitlam lending a hand with the release.

Hyde Creek Watershed Society President Cliff Kelsey
Hyde Creek Watershed Society president Cliff Kelsey releases coho fry.

If you would like to volunteer your time at this fantastic community salmon hatchery, please visit their website.

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Every Trip is a Learning Experience

Published on June 24th, 2014 by Rodney

Kokanee Fishing

If you have been following this website for awhile, then you’d know that I am not discriminatory when choosing my target fish. It can be giant sturgeon in the Fraser, chinook salmon in the ocean, or tiny peamouth chub in a slough. With the appropriate tackle, fishing is always fun and every target species has its own challenges! This is why I always get excited when the opportunity of catching some 14 inch kokanee becomes available during this time of the year, which can really baffle my fishing friends.

Beside trout, one of the more commonly sought-after freshwater gamefish in British Columbia is kokanee. These landlocked sockeye salmon, are confined to lakes due to geographical barriers such as landslides. The barriers prevent them from migrating into the ocean so they carry out the same life cycle in lakes. Prior to spawning, they are typically up to a couple of pounds large, bigger in some of the productive interior lakes.

Yesterday my friend Kitty and I ventured out to Kawkawa Lake in Hope, which is one of a couple of lakes in the Lower Mainland where kokanee fishing is available. Kawkawa Lake opens for kokanee fishing on March 1st, but by June these fish can gain a couple more inches in length as they constantly feed prior to spawning in September. A three year old fish is usually around 14 inches long, but occasionally you can encounter a four year old fish which is 16 or 17 inches long.

Because the fish are not exactly huge, paying attention to small details can translate into success. Kokanee are known for their subtle takes. Unlike a rainbow trout, they nibble softly and detecting the bites is almost impossible if your tackle is too heavy. Prior to this trip, I had already been to the lake a couple of times earlier this month with minimal success. This was partly due to my rustiness after being away from this fishery for a few years, but I felt my tackle could have been modified to gain more hook-ups.

These fish primarily occupy the bottom of the lake in the summer. At 40 feet deep, it’s almost impossible catch them on the fly so you are limited to a couple of options. Trolling is a popular method but I find it a bit dull and results can be hit and miss. The other option, which involves finding fish on the sounder before anchoring and bait fishing on the bottom, seems to yield better results.

Because the fish are swimming at the depth of 35 to 40 feet, I need to see every single bite as soon as it happens. An ultralight spinning outfit is the way to go. My favourite to date has been a 6′ long spinning rod rated 2 to 6lb with a thin tip such as a Daiwa Spinmatic Tuflite and a small spinning reel such as a Shimano Stradic CI4+ 1000FA. The entire setup is extremely light so I can perform those quick hook-sets.

Originally I have been spooling my reel with 4lb test Maxima Ultragreen fishing line, which is a fantastic line for casting and retrieving small lures. It’s pretty thin, yet strong enough to handle medium size bull trout. With that said, it stretches like all monofilament line. This stretch means a slight delay on detecting those kokanee bites. I looked for alternatives and gave the new Maxima Braid a try this time. I spooled the reel with 10lb test Maxima Braid Ultragreen, which is thinner than its 4lb Ultragreen monofilament line. At the end of the main line, I used its 4lb test Fluorocarbon line. With the most sensitive setup available, we should have no problem catching these fish!

I’ve also made modifications to my hooks. The #8 hook seemed to be too small as many bites were missed in the past. The fish were pecking off parts of the bait which were not threaded on the hook so they never had a chance to be barbed. Instead of the #8, I switched to a #4 hook to see the hook-up rate could be improved.

Kitty has been a Learn to Fish crew at the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC for a couple of months now. Since she has never caught a kokanee in the past, I invited her along so she could experience and introduce this fun fishery to her students. Our first trip in early June was a bust, so I kept the expectation low yesterday.

We arrived at the lake at 8:30am and anchored at the depth of 38 feet after seeing a couple of fish on the sounder. The bait of choice were krill, deli shrimp and single eggs. All were cured with Pautzke Bait‘s Fire Cure to give them that extra krill scent as an attractant. Within 10 minutes we could see the bites, the rod tips barely moved. Kitty missed the first one and I immediately had a bite right after. This is pretty common as the fish will move from one bait to the other if they are close by. I set the hook and was delighted to find the rod bending straight down. That joy was short lived as the fish popped off after a few seconds.

Although slightly discouraged, I was quite excited at the same time as early bites are always a good sign. We dropped our bait down again and the bites came after they were soaked for another ten minutes. Kitty missed her bites again while I managed to hook up. This time the fish stayed on firmly. As it reached the surface, it began skipping from one end of the boat the other, tangling her line at the same time. Just like sockeye salmon, kokanee produce lively fights. Kitty reached out with the net and scooped it up. It was a big fish! The measuring tape showed it to be 16 inches long, one of the rare four year old fish in the lake!

Big 16 Inch Long Kawkawa Lake Kokanee

With one fish in the cooler after 30 minutes of fishing, we were off to a good start. The bites were not constant, but they were consistently returning once every ten minutes as schools of fish returned to our boat. Kitty managed to lose the first couple of fish she hooked, due to the loose drag and light hook-set. These are tricky fish to keep on the hook. The hook-set has to be precise and firm, yet horsing them in almost always result in losing the fish due to their soft mouth. To make it even more challenging, kokanee have a tendency to swim straight toward you once hooked, which makes keeping the correct line tension even harder.

After some adjustments, Kitty finally landed one fish, then another. It did not take too long to get a hang of it. From 9:30am to 11:00am, we were able to boat four fish while losing twice as many.

Kitty's First Kokanee

The bites tapered off at 11:00am as water skiing boats appeared on the lake. The constant waves made it much tougher for us to detect the bites. It wasn’t until 2:00pm when we finally found some fish again after scouting out a few more spots. While the fishing picked up, so did the wind. Unlike the glassy surface in the morning, we had big chops pounding against the boat. Since the condition was not so favourable for detecting subtle bites, I decided to tie on a 1/16oz hammered Gibbs Croc spoon and jig it vertically near the bottom. To my surprise, it only took a few minutes for the lure to work. Kitty was also able to hook up more fish on bait. The lure seemed to be attracting more fish to the area so the two methods were working well together as a team.

We finished the day off with six beautiful kokanee in the cooler. It was a successful day. Not only did we catch more fish than what we had expected, I was reminded that there are always new lessons to be learned in every single trip. Kokanee fishing can be good throughout the summer months, so be sure to get out there and give it a go if you have a boat!

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Electric Boat Loader

Published on June 20th, 2014 by Rodney

Last week we published the video “Awesome Trout Fishing” and featured a new gadget on the vehicle, so as expected many have been asking about it. It is an electric boat loader made by 4 Boys Manufacturing Inc. in Kelowna. For anyone who has a car topper, this is a must have because it makes loading and unloading so much easier and less time consuming. If you’d like more information, please check out www.loadmyboat.com.

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May 2014 Photo-essay

Published on June 1st, 2014 by Rodney

Last month was yet another fabulous May just like every other year. The beginning of spring in British Columbia always brings on many fisheries we look forward to, from fly fishing for trout in lakes to the saltwater fishery on the West Coast. Here is a series of photographs for May 2014.

In early May, I teamed up with Great River Fishing Adventures and Fraser River Discovery Centre to catch one of the most recognized species in BC – Fraser River white sturgeon. The Fraser River Discovery Centre has been wanting to put together a short film which highlights this amazing species at their theatre, so I have volunteered to be part of this project.

Dean and his assistant guides spent a day with me and a few staffs from the centre for a day, and looked for a few big sturgeon.

Chad Awaits for the Big Fraser River Sturgeon

The Tidal Fraser River has a surprisingly large abundance of harbour seal.

Fraser River Harbour Seal

We were able to find a good specimen for the camera.

Fraser River White Sturgeon

My second stop took me to Douglas Lake Ranch, which is located in between Merritt, Kelowna and Kamloops. This 5,000 acres ranch property has several lakes where amazing trout fishing experiences can be had. We stopped at Salmon Lake Resort and fished for several days. It did not disappoint.

Amazing View While Driving Through Douglas Lake Ranch BC

Douglas Lake Ranch

Cabins at Salmon Lake Resort

Boat Rental is available at Salmon Lake Resort

Salmon Lake BC

How high can a Pennask rainbow trout jump? This high! This strain of rainbow trout is known for its acrobatic performance once being hooked. Pennask rainbow trout are stocked into many lakes in British Columbia by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.

Jumpy Pennask Rainbow Trout

Each morning was action-packed. These rainbow trout were feeding heavily on chironomids for several hours once the sun rose. Timing your outing was important, as the bite often switched off in the afternoon.

A beautiful rainbow trout from Salmon Lake BC

What better way to end a day of fishing? Having a fire by the lake of course!

Camp Fire After Fishing

Right after returning from Salmon Lake, we headed straight to Victoria on Vancouver Island. Most only know Victoria as the city for tourists, but some extremely productive saltwater fisheries are right outside its harbour. We headed out with Island Outfitters and Robert from Gibbs-Delta Tackle, in an attempt to find my friend Kitty’s first halibut and capture it on film. Our guide Dan Findlow got the job done easily, despite of the unfavourable condition. Kitty was able to land a 23lb halibut before the strong tide prevented us from anchoring at the same spot. You can watch the entire video now!

Kitty's First Halibut from Victoria on Vancouver Island

Kitty's First Halibut

Our final stop in May took us back to the interior region where lake fishing is good throughout spring. The target species this time was brook trout, or more formerly known as Eastern brook char. These fish, not native in British Columbia, are stocked at some selected lakes by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. While they do not jump like rainbow trout, they utilize their deep body to dive deeply during the fight.

Fighting a Brook Trout

Releasing a Brook Trout

Splash!

Brook trout are also very tasty, so being able to bring home a few is always a bonus. In this photograph, Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery fish culturist Dan held up several fish from the trip. These fish, averaging between 2lb and 3lb, had been living in the lake for two years after being released by the hatchery as fingerlings.

Brook Trout from British Columbia

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