October is by far the most exciting month of the year for anglers in the Lower Mainland. There are so many fishing opportunities that many of us probably wish there are 60 days in October. Several species of Pacific salmon can be found in every stream, followed by trout and char. Lake fishing is also productive once again as the weather cools, and further improved by the fall catchable rainbow trout stockings.
Here is an overview of what options are available for you throughout October.
The Lower Fraser River coho salmon fishery will begin around Thanksgiving weekend. Opening date depends on which part of the river you are fishing in. They are as follows:
In the tidal portion of the Fraser River, you can apply the pink salmon spincasting technique which you have been using for coho salmon as well. The fishery is very tide dependent, so be sure to check the tide table. From two hours before to two hours after the peak tide is best. Lures such as the 1/4oz brass fire stripe Gibbs Croc spoon are deadly. Spincasting lures also heavily depends on water condition. The water clarity in October for the Lower Fraser River can sometimes be poor, due to heavy rainfall in Northern British Columbia. If this is the case, then bar fishing (or plunking, bottom fishing) with roe is a better option. These techniques can also produce chum salmon, bull trout, cutthroat trout and the occasional chinook salmon. It is important to know that all wild (unmarked) coho salmon, trout and char have to be released with care, so be sure to double check your catch before retaining it. The following video tutorials can be helpful if you wish to try out this fishery.
While most are only familiar with bar fishing for big chinook salmon in the non-tidal Fraser River in August, bar fishing between Hope and Chilliwack can also be very good in October. In fact, it is a rather exciting fishery because you may encounter chinook, coho, chum salmon and even steelhead. These fish, often travel in less than 10 feet of water, will grab a spin n’ glow as it spins in the fish’s travelling lane. Warm clothes, a fire and plenty of hearty food are recommended because it can be rather cold and wet out on the bar throughout October!
White sturgeon fishing is also at its peak in October, after these fish have been feasting on a variety of salmon carcasses and their eggs. The strength of these fish will be peaking, so be sure to fuel up and pump up those muscles prior to your trip. A massage session is also highly recommended after the trip! Sturgeon guiding services will be available throughout October.
In the lower part of the Tidal Fraser River, downstream from the mouth of Pitt River, fishing for anadromous bull trout can be incredibly productive throughout October. These fish, believed to be overwintering feeders, will feed on anything which swims in front of them. Small spoons, spinners, flies presented close to shore will produce. Watch for fish following behind your presentation as it is being retrieved.
The most popular Lower Fraser River tributary is definitely the Chilliwack/Vedder River system. Coho and chum salmon will be the target species throughout October, while some chinook salmon will be available in the first two weeks of October. We are seeing an exceptionally good return of chinook salmon so far in 2015, so it is possible to see the productive chinook salmon fishing continue in the Chilliwack/Vedder River for awhile. Water level always plays a key to success when fishing this system. Low water means spooked fish, so early morning or late in the afternoon are the best periods for targeting these fish. Once rain begins, fish will be constantly on the move and you should be able to catch them throughout the day. You can check updates for this fishery in our discussion forum.
Other rivers which have similar fisheries include Stave River, Chehalis River, Nicomen Slough, Harrison River, Squamish River. Information on all these river systems can be found in our location guide. The regulations and daily quotas for all of these systems are different to each other so make sure you check before heading out.
Bait ban will be in effect throughout October for Capilano River. This management measure is done to protect the vulnerable run of summer steelhead, which are suckers for bait. By removing bait during their return,hopefully it can reduce incidental catches and mortality. Coho salmon will be in this system throughout October, but generally this fishery dies off faster than the fisheries in the Fraser Valley. Fish are also hard to entice with lures, even at first light.
Once salmon start spawning in these tributaries, fishing for coastal cutthroat trout will pick up. These anadromous trout, often follow right behind spawning salmon so they can feed on the deposited eggs. While lures and flies will work well, egg patterns suspended under a float or strike indicator are much more effective.
Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery, operated by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, has resumed its catchable rainbow trout stockings. Fish will be released into various lakes across Metro Vancouver in October. As a result, plenty of fish can once again be caught at your favourite lakes. This fishery is excellent for young families and beginners, due to the abundance of fish and the easy shore access. The following articles should get you started if you have never tried this before.
Fishing will also be productive at the more remote lakes such as Jones Lake and Hicks Lake in the Fraser Valley. As the weather cools down, water temperature close to the surface will also drop to tolerable levels for trout. Resident rainbow and cutthroat trout should be active on the surface for at least a couple of months before the weather gets too cold.
If lake and river fishing do not fancy you, then there are still some saltwater fishing opportunities just outside of Vancouver for the first couple of weeks of October. The news throughout September was that anglers have been seeing the best chinook salmon fishery at the Fraser River mouth in a long time. While the fishing is tapering off as most fish are now in the river, you should still be able to find some late returning fish. Once the Fraser River mouth fishery finishes, then the focus is shifted to the Capilano River mouth where big white chinook salmon will also be staging. If you do not have a boat and are interested in trying out these fisheries, then you should contact the best in this business, Bon Chovy Fishing Charters and Pacific Angler. Both charter companies offer half and full day trips from Downtown Vancouver.
So there you have it! With so many recreational fishing opportunities available in the next several weeks, you do not have an excuse not to catch a fish! If you have other questions regarding any of these fisheries, regulations or techniques, you can email us, or message us on Facebook, or fill out a form at “Ask an Expert”. Good luck!