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Trailer: Canada Chronicles Fraser River Sturgeon

Published on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Back in September, we did a video collaboration with Kanalgratis from Sweden, which is currently the largest YouTube fishing channel in Europe. Channel owner Johan Ruhe has been talking about catching a big sturgeon for a very long time now and he finally got the wish on his birthday, with the help from Great River Fishing Adventures. Here is the trailer of the collaborated video “Canada Chronicles, Fraser River Sturgeon”, which will be aired on October 14th.

Vancouver fishing opportunities in October

Published on Thursday, October 1st, 2015

October coho salmon fishing in the Fraser River

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 in the Fraser River

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.

Vedder River coho salmon

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.

Fraser Valley coho salmon

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.

Spawning coho and chum salmon

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.

Stocking urban lakes in Vancouver

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.

Trolling for salmon in Vancouver

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!

Second Q&A Video

Published on Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Here is our second Q&A video. If you have a question which you’d like to be featured in the next one, please feel free to add a comment in that video, or ask on our Facebook page, or on the “Ask an Expert” page.

Lower Fraser River Opens for Pink Salmon Fishing!

Published on Friday, September 4th, 2015

Fraser River Pink Salmon

Finally! The Lower Fraser River pink salmon fishery which many have been waiting for is here! Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced the opening for both the tidal and non-tidal portions of the Fraser River, which begins on September 5th 2015. This fishery generally starts around the 1st of September and peaks by the 10th, but the season can extend until the third or fourth week of September. It is a fantastic fishery for beginner anglers who wish to get into salmon fishing due to the high abundance of fish which are more than willing to bite. Millions of pink salmon are expected to converge into the Fraser River with each incoming tide. They will chase your lure without much hesitation. If you have never done it before, here are some tips to get you started.

  • Make sure you have a valid fishing licence! If you are fishing in the Fraser River anywhere downstream from the CPR Bridge in Mission, then you need a valid tidal water fishing licence. If you are fishing upstream from the CPR Bridge, you need a valid freshwater fishing licence. If you want to keep a pink salmon, you also need to purchase a salmon conservation stamp.
  • Know the daily quota, which is the number of pink salmon you are allowed to keep per day.
  • Know the regulations. There are some general fishing regulations that you need to know when fishing for pink salmon in the Tidal and Non-tidal Fraser River. Make sure your hook only has a single point and barbless. You can read the rest on this page.
  • Identify your catches before killing them. Among millions of pink salmon, there are three species that you need to know and must release with care when caught. These two species are sockeye salmon, coho salmon and steelhead. During the pink salmon season, late summer run sockeye salmon, endangered interior coho salmon and steelhead will make their way into the Thompson-Nicola region. Fishery managers are working hard to conserve these species while ensuring our fishing opportunities remain available. As anglers, we need to work with them to minimize our impact on endangered species.
  • Time your fishing outing with the tide. This fishery is heavily influenced by the tide. The magic hours are the last three hours of the incoming tide. During this time, fish will follow the tidal current into the river. There’s no such thing as the “best spot” on the Fraser River. You can catch pink salmon anywhere along the Fraser River, just make sure you are at the right spot at the right time.
  • The weather can be fantastic for fishing in September, but it is still too hot to keep your fish on the beach or in the river. To preserve the freshness of your pink salmon, make sure your fish are bled immediately and packed in an ice-filled cooler while you fish.
  • Bring a landing net. Majority of pink salmon are lost just before they reach the angler. Having a landing net can improve your catch success significantly. The rocky shorelines along the Fraser River can be steep and slippery at times, so a landing net can also make sure you do not fall in while trying to grab your fish by hand. Because some fish are required to be released, a landing net with a soft or rubber mesh finish is best.
  • Respect other users. When taking part in this fishery, you will most likely be fishing among other anglers. Treat others like you would like to be treated so everyone can have a good experience. Some considerations include to avoid casting over other people’s lines, avoid talking loudly, pick up some garbage on the river bank and help others when they need a hand.

Here are some useful links to get you started:

Selective Fishing for Fraser River Salmon Requested

Published on Friday, July 31st, 2015

Salmon fishing opens for the tidal portion of the Fraser River on August 1st and for the non-tidal portion of the Fraser River on August 3rd. The openings are for three species, chinook, pink and chum salmon, while sockeye salmon fishing remains closed because their abundance is currently not high enough for an opening.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has requested all anglers to fish selectively, meaning that you should specifically target species that are open while avoiding catching sockeye salmon.

“There is no retention of sockeye salmon permitted at this time. Given the low abundance of sockeye and the expected en-route mortality, impacts on sockeye are to be minimized and DFO is working with all users of the resource to limit impacts on sockeye.

While fishing for pink, chinook and chum salmon, anglers should avoid using fishing methods that catch sockeye salmon and fish selectively. The first principle of selective harvesting is to avoid catching non-targeted stocks. This means that anglers should use methods that do not catch sockeye. The following fishing methods enable anglers to catch pink, chinook and chum salmon and rarely intercept sockeye salmon:

Bar Fishing
Trolling Spoons at Creek mouths
Float Fishing
Pulling Plugs
Fly Fishing

We encourage anglers to continue to use these methods to target pink, chinook and chum while avoiding sockeye.

Please note that bottom bouncing is NOT considered a selective fishing method and is strongly discouraged. The Department requests that selective fishing techniques be used and will continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure impacts on sockeye are at a minimum.

Should DFO feel that the rate of compliance is insufficient to ensure the adequate passage of sockeye, spot closures or a “no fishing for salmon” restriction may result.”

In the summer months, especially this year, water temperature is not as tolerable for salmonids so fish which are released always have a chance of dying due to stress. It is important for the recreational fishing community to demonstrate that selective fishing practices can be done while protecting runs which are closed for fishing so future stocks are not jeopardized. If the department observes too many sockeye salmon being caught and released, then the fishery will most likely be shut down once again to ensure the safe passage of these fish.

Sockeye salmon in the Lower Fraser River generally do not bite as they travel upstream. During a sockeye salmon recreational fishing opening, fish are usually caught by flossing (or more commonly referred to as bottom bouncing), which involves the use of a long leader so the fish are accidentally hooked in the mouth as it swept across the river. This technique is not encouraged when sockeye salmon are not open for fishing, because it is not selective. Instead, anglers are asked to catch chinook, pink and chum salmon by bar fishing, casting and retrieving lures, float fishing with bait, etc. The chance of hooking a sockeye by using these methods is significantly lower than flossing.

Bar fishing is done in the non-tidal portion of the Fraser River, usually between Hope and Chilliwack where the current is adequate enough to troll a spin-n-glow at a stationary spot. If you have never experienced bar fishing before, please check out the following links for more information.

In the tidal portion of the Fraser River, chinook salmon are typically caught by plunking freshly cured salmon roe. This technique can be very successful for jacks, which are males returning one year earlier than other fish in the same run. The video, Tidal Fraser Bottom Setup, gives you an idea how this is done.

For pink salmon, which don’t enter the Fraser River until the end of August, they can easily be caught by casting and retrieving spoons and spinners. The article, Fishing for Tidal Fraser Pink Salmon, provides an overview of this fishery and explains the technique used to catch these abundant fish.

Have a great long weekend! We will have some fantastic salmon fishing opportunities coming up in the next four months across Southern British Columbia so lets enjoy it without impacting closed species. By complying to these requests, the recreational fishing community can lead by example when it comes to protecting vulnerable salmon stocks.

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