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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: August 29th, 2016

Ross Lake offers good fishing opportunities for trout and char

There have been no indications that the Fraser River will reopen for salmon fishing in the near future. Some have suggested that it will happen for the upcoming Labour Day long weekend but none of the resource managers have hinted that. If an announcement is made later this week, we will make it available here and on our Facebook page where you can get the fastest updates.

Below are the notices for Fraser River's salmon fishing closures. Once an announcement is made for the river to reopen, we will have the information available either here, or on our Facebook page where you can get the fastest updates.

Despite of the Fraser River salmon closure, white sturgeon fishing has been excellent. Chilliwack River remains very low and clear, the odd coho salmon and chinook jacks should be making their way into the system now. Skagit River is doing quite well for fly fishermen and light tackle spin anglers who wish to chase after rainbow and bull trout. With these brief showers which we have been getting lately, it should pick things up soon. Lake fishing has not been fantastic, due to the warm water temperature. Evenings have been best.

Upcoming Events and Promotional News

Here are some of the latest news and upcoming events in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley!

Capilano River

Capilano River is very quiet, don't expect to see any fresh salmon in the system right now unless we get a large amount of rainfall. There is a bait ban in effect until the end of October, and ALL steelhead (both wild and marked) have to be released.

The best alternative right now is to fish the river mouth and nearby Ambleside Beach. This is usually where coho salmon stage if the river is too low to enter. Best time is usually early in the morning. To catch these coho on the beach, you need a long spinning rod setup and cast small spinners or saltwater jigs. With that said, fishing has not been very productive. Only the odd coho salmon have been hooked each day. Local guides on boats have also not been hooking into many fish nearby.

If you need more information on fishing around North and West Vancouver, stop by Pacific Angler in Vancouver. Jason and his staffs fish these areas regularly and also do guided trips/seminars so they can help you out if you are just getting started.

Stave River

Stave River is very quiet during this time of the year because there are no salmon returning to it until October. For now, anglers have opportunities to target coastal cutthroat trout, northern pikeminnow, mountain whitefish in the system. These can be caught by either fly fishing with a small nymph or float fishing with bait such as single eggs, dew worms.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River does not offer any salmon fishing opportunities throughout August, but you can still catch rainbow trout and mountain whitefish right now. These can be caught by using an ultralight float fishing setup, or fly fishing with nymphs. The river is very low and clear at the moment. Salmon fishing is expected to resume in mid September when the first wave of coho salmon start moving into the system.

If you are unfamiliar with the summer fishery, please check out this overview. For hands-on information, be sure to visit Fred's Custom Tackle in Abbotsford where you can also pick up a map of the Chilliwack/Vedder River.

Pitt River

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has issued a closure for all salmon fishing. Anglers who venture up to the Upper Pitt River can still enjoy the fantastic bull trout fishing available during this time of the year.

Chehalis River

Chehalis River is another option in the summer for those who want to do river fishing. fishing has been slow due to the clear and low river conditions. Your target species during this time of the year are chinook salmon and summer steelhead.

Skagit River

Skagit River is a great option for anglers who enjoy targeting rainbow trout and bull trout. These can either be caught by fly fishing or spincasting. The Lower Skagit River is known to have rather dense populations of mosquitos, so be prepared if you intend to fish this area. Check out the video above to get a sneak peek on what the fishing is like in the Skagit. Bull trout in this system are between 2 and 4lb. Rainbow trout are usually around 12 to 14 inches, with the odd ones up to 18 inches long. Anglers are reporting nicer rainbow trout being caught this year than previous years. This is a catch and release fishery, and a bait ban is in effect.

Tidal Fraser River

Tidal Fraser River northern pikeminnow

Tidal Fraser River is still pretty dirty.

Northern pikeminnow, peamouth chub and other related minnow species are active right now in the Tidal Fraser River. These can be caught by using dough balls or dew worms close to shore. Most of these fish are less than 1lb, so an ultralight setup is best for targeting them. Bigger northern pikeminnows up to 4lb can be caught by casting and retrieving a lure, as shown in this video.

Salmon fishing is closed as of August 12th until further notice due to sockeye salmon conservation concerns. Once the bulk of the sockeye salmon passes through the Lower Fraser River, fishing should reopen for chinook salmon. We'll have updates available on both here and our Facebook page.

Please note that in spring 2016, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has issued a night time fishing closure for all finfish species in the Tidal Fraser River. To fish the Tidal Fraser River (downstream from the railway bridge in Mission), you are required to have a valid saltwater fishing licence.

If you would like more information on fishing in the Tidal Fraser River, please stop by Berry's Bait and Tackle in Richmond. Mike, Len and Michele have a team of knowledgable staffs who regularly fish this area and they can help you out.

Non-tidal Fraser River

11'1" white sturgeon by Lang's Fishing Adventures

Sturgeon fishing has been excellent as expected. Salmon parts are the go-to bait for most fishing guides right now. The above photo is an amazing 11'1" sturgeon caught by Lang's Fishing Adventures last week!

Salmon fishing is closed as of August 12th until further notice due to sockeye salmon conservation concerns. Once the bulk of the sockeye salmon passes through the Lower Fraser River, fishing should reopen for chinook salmon. We'll have updates available on both here and our Facebook page.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Ross Lake in Skagit Valley Provincial Park is a good place to check out if you are thinking about doing overnight camping/fishing trips. The lake offers good bull trout and rainbow trout fishing as the cold water drains from the Skagit River keeps the lake cool. These bull trout feed on redside shiner in the lake. Check out the video above for more information.

Urban lake fisheries in the Lower Mainland are not so productive now that stockings are completed. Most of the fish are found in the deepest part of the lakes. Your better option right now is to venture out to lakes one or two hours outside of Metro Vancouver. As the weather warms up, you have a bigger chance catching introduced species such as bass and carp than trout.

Hicks Lake should still be very productive. Beside the catchable rainbow trout which were stocked a few weeks ago in the lake, anglers can also expect to get into bigger rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and some kokanee. All the fish are down deep right now due to the hot weather, so a boat is required to access these spots.

Weaver Lake is producing well. Most of the rainbows are not big but they are plentiful so this is an easy lake to fish for kids. The road up to the lake can be rough so a 4WD drive is best.

Cultus Lake in Chilliwack is often overlooked but the fishing can be pretty good. Boat traffic can be heavy so that is one disadvantage. Northern pikeminnow, cutthroat trout, bull trout are your target species.

Jones Lake's water level is back to normal height. Most of the rainbow trout and cutthroat trout caught in the lake have been skinny early in the season, most likely due to the lack of food in the lake. Casting small spoons, float fishing with bait such as krill, shrimp, single eggs have been working very well. The road up to the lake is in pretty good shape now that it is quite dry.

Chilliwack Lake can be very good during this time of the year, especially in the evening hours, for bull trout and rainbow trout. A boat with a gas motor is usually needed, or you can fish at creek mouths where fish are more likely to congregate. Big schools of sockeye salmon can be seen swimming along the shallow parts of the lake right now. This is quite a sight for those who have never seen it before.

Alta Lake in Whistler has a healthy abundance of rainbow trout and also produces large cutthroat trout. There is a bait ban in effect for this lake, so casting lures or fly fishing are the best methods for targeting these fish. This is a catch and release lake.

Another lake which we always highly recommend, if you are looking for a family vacation which involves multiple days, is Tunkwa Lake. Tunkwa Lake is excellent during this time of the year due to the heavy "bomber" large chironomid hatches. Rainbow trout which you will encounter are between 1 and 4lb large.

These articles may assist you:

Please remember that for lake fishing, if you are fishing from shore, you are only allowed to use ONE rod. If you are fishing alone in a boat, then you are permited to use two rods. Only one hook is allowed on your rod. Please note that single barbless hooks are required to be used at some lakes. You should note the daily quota of trout for the lake where you are fishing. Catch and release is required in some lakes, please check regulations.

Before heading out, please read the freshwater regulations in Region 2 first. For more regular updates, make sure you follow our Facebook page. If you witness violations, please contact the nearest conservation office or phone 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Conservation officers can not attend all calls, but they do their best to catch those who do not choose to play by the rules.

Good luck and please conserve your catches!

Rodney Hsu
Webmaster, Fishing with Rod Production