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First Sturgeon for the Girls

Published on Thursday, August 28th, 2014

We went out with Lang’s Fishing Adventures this week to do a bit of sturgeon fishing in the Tidal Fraser River between Maple Ridge and Mission. The goal was to get the girls into some fish since they have never caught one before.

The start was a bit slow and it took awhile to find some fish. Once Lang got it dialed in, we were into one bite after another. Second and third rods were going off while fish were being released. The first fish was a warm-up, only around 2 feet long. Second and third fish were 4 and 4.5 feet. After that, we landed a bunch of 3 and 4 footers which were quickly unhooked in the water to save time, before we ended the perfect day with a magnificent 6.5 footer.

Sturgeon fishing in the Fraser River is prime now due to the abundance of food (sockeye salmon). This is an excellent fishery for all ages and genders so if you have family members who have never tried it before, then you definitely want to considering booking a trip between now and October.

Fish On!

Battling Her First Sturgeon

Sturgeon Jump!

Almost Landed

Mission Accomplished!

Skagit River, Underwater Photography

Published on Monday, August 25th, 2014

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.

June 2014 Photo-essay

Published on Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

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

May 2014 Photo-essay

Published on Sunday, June 1st, 2014

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

Chilliwack River Juvenile Steelhead Release

Published on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has spent the past three days releasing juvenile steelhead into the Chilliwack Vedder River. This is always a three-day operation because fish have to be transported from the Chilliwack Hatchery to various location in the lower river downstream from the Vedder Crossing. They are released in the lower river for a couple of reasons. One is to ensure returning adults do not move upstream too fast so more angling opportunities are provided. Two is to prevent any direct competition between released hatchery fish and wild fish in the upper watershed where wild juvenile fish typically rear. 115,239 fish were released in three days and their average size was 70g. Hopefully in a couple of years from now, we will be seeing these returning as large, chrome fish which we all enjoy catching every winter.

Releasing Juvenile Steelhead into Chilliwack River

Releasing Juvenile Steelhead into Chilliwack River

Releasing Juvenile Steelhead into Chilliwack River

You can find out more about this project by watching this video.

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