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.

Skagit River, Underwater Photography

Published on August 25th, 2014 by Rodney

The Skagit River is a popular playground for river trout fishermen in July and August. From Vancouver, it takes around two and a half hours to reach so day trips are possible for those who don’t mind the long days. It produces bull trout and rainbow trout, which are not hard to entice even in clear water condition. This presents plenty of opportunities for the photographers. During our recent trips, I invested more time on capturing our fish underwater before they swam away. Here are some of my favourites so far.

Skagit River Bull Trout

Skagit River Bull Trout

Skagit River Bull Trout

Skagit River Rainbow Trout

After each fishing trip, I usually have hundreds of photographs to go through and only the few best ones make it on here. This particular photograph sat on my desktop for a week now while I tried to decide whether it should be shown or not because the bloody eye kind of ruins it.

Skagit River Rainbow Trout

In the end I wanted to show this photograph for a couple of reasons. It’s one of the better underwater shots I have taken so far this year. Secondly, it raises an important topic on lure hook size and fish mortality, an issue which we like to conveniently ignore more often than not. The size of the hook you choose to use on your lure can determine the outcome of your catch. If the hook is too large, a small fish can be injured when caught, sometimes fatally.

In this case, a small rainbow trout grabbed a spoon intended for the larger bull trout, which had a size 1 hook on it. The larger gap of the hook ended up injuring the right eye of the fish. It’s difficult to determine the survival of this fish despite of the fact that it swam away quickly. In hindsight, to avoid this, a smaller hook like a size 2 or 4 could have been used which we do from time to time. If you are targeting big fish in streams where small fish might be caught, definitely take that into consideration. I know we will remind ourselves this more often in the future to reduce catch and release mortality.

Posted in Fishing trip, Photography | No Comments »

Fraser River Sockeye Opening, What You Should Know

Published on August 6th, 2014 by Rodney

Fraser River Sockeye Salmon

Whether you are into fishing or not, by now you most likely have heard about the anticipated large Fraser River sockeye salmon return this year. Fish returning this year are offsprings of the exceptionally large run in 2010, so it should not be a surprise to see another high return in the same cycle.

The current estimated range of this year’s return is 7.5 million to 75 million fish. 7.5 million fish being the most likely number, while 75 million fish is least likely achieved. Most reports prefer the 75 million number, but realistically the more accurate predicted return size is between 20 and 30 million fish. The large range of estimates is the result of uncertainties caused by the much larger return in 2010.

Recreational sockeye salmon fishing in the non-tidal portion of the Fraser River in Region Two begins on August 6th. Most consider this as a harvest fishery, as the fish rarely bite due to poor water visibility so they are mostly flossed (accidentally hooked in the mouth) and retained. It is a popular fishery, and on a good return year like this all participants can enjoy taking home some fresh sockeye salmon. Here are some important notes which I think you should be aware of before trying this fishery out.

Before heading out to catch your sockeye salmon, the very first thing you should be doing is to buy a freshwater fishing licence and salmon conservation surcharge, which allows you to retain your catches. You can do so by going to www.fishing.gov.bc.ca. The money you spend gives you access to all freshwater fisheries in British Columbia and it is also good investments for the recreational fishing community. Funds from the licences are allocated to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. Both organizations are responsible for the development of BC’s freshwater recreational fisheries and conservation projects.

If the return becomes as large as predicted, then it is possible that the daily quota will be raised from the current 2 fish per day to 4 fish per day. Earlier this year, members of the Sport Fishing Advisory Committee in the Fraser Valley have made this recommendation to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. By raising the limit to 4 fish per day, it allows participants to quickly catch their limit and leave, so other participants can also have a chance to fish. Secondly, when the daily quota is kept at two, participants are likely to continue fishing after retaining the limit for a chance to retain a chinook salmon. In the process, too many sockeye salmon are often caught and released, which only does more harm than good. By raising the limit to four sockeye salmon per day, hopefully it can eliminate this behaviour. If the daily quota is changed during the season, we will have it published on the website or Facebook page so be sure to check back often before each trip.

If you decide to partake in this fishery, you should know that there are other species migrating among these sockeye salmon. Wild coho salmon and steelhead, are encountered sometimes and they need to be released with extreme care. Too often fish are dragged onto the beach immediately prior to being identified. In some cases, fish are not identified correctly and protected species are killed. Wild coho salmon and steelhead travelling in the Fraser River often come from endangered stocks, so it is up to every participant to ensure the survival of these fish. To do so, you should carry a landing net so the fish can be scooped and kept in the water prior to being identified. Know your fish species so you can identify each fish correctly. When a fish cannot be identified, please release it.

The Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery can be a family friendly, but whenever fishing pressure is high, an unpleasant environment can develop quickly. In the past, conflicts among recreational fishery participants and with First Nation fishers have occurred. In 2009, a serious incident between a band chief and two recreational participants resulted in the creation of the Fraser River Fisheries Peacemakers. This group is made of key representatives from the recreational fishing communities and First Nations in the Fraser Valley. Together, the group has developed many excellent initiatives in the past four years. One of these accomplishments is the document Fishing Together on the Fraser, which is designed for those who are trying out the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery for the first time. One important resource available in this document is the fishing map produced by the Fraser Basin Council, which shows various fishing spots, First Nations’ land, boat launches, and other important landmarks. You can download these resources at the following links.

While there is a lot of attention on the good fishing, too often water safety is neglected. Quite often we see participants standing in waist deep water and forgetting how turbulent and dirty the Fraser River is during this time of the year. One slip can sweep you away and help is not always nearby. Personal floatation devices are inexpensive and can keep you alive if you are swept away. Better yet, you can avoid getting into these situations by not wading too far out. Observe the current in the river prior to walking in the water.

The high abundance of returning sockeye salmon is not the only good news. This large biomass will have both direct and indirect effects on other inhabitants in the Fraser River watersheds and other fisheries. Rainbow trout and bull trout which reside in large lakes such as Shuswap Lake, will be able to enjoy feasting on the abundance of eggs being deposited by these sockeye salmon. By this fall, these trout and char can be anywhere from 1lb to 8lb and actually provide an excellent catch and release fishery for anglers. Because there isn’t a lack of food, these will be some of the strongest trout and char you can encounter. Bears and other predatory mammals also benefit from the return. The feeding process also brings well needed nutrients to the forests when these animals drag their catches into them. The feasting continues next spring when juvenile sockeye salmon hatch from these eggs. Overall, a salmon return at this magnitude is not only welcoming news for the all fishery sectors, but more importantly it revives all the ecosystems connected to the Fraser River.

Finally, if you are lucky enough to catch a couple of sockeye salmon for dinner, be sure to dispatch and bleed the fish immediately. The fish should also be placed in a cooler full of ice. Any fish being kept in the river will lose its freshness fast, as the water temperature is quite high in the shallow parts of the river right now. Have fun, be safe and please share your experiences of this fishery on our website.

Posted in Conservation, Website news and updates | No Comments »

Gigantic Sturgeon!

Published on July 28th, 2014 by Rodney

Last week, our good friend Lang Nguyen from Lang’s Fishing Adventures was able to land a gigantic Fraser River white sturgeon after the 3.5 hour battle! Check out this video to see how big it is. Lang’s a full time licenced fishing guide in Southern British Columbia. If you’d like more information on his services, please check out his website.

Posted in Video blog | No Comments »

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

Posted in Photography | No Comments »

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

« Older Entries |