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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: October 30th, 2017

Here is our latest episode, featuring a trip to Shea Lake in late September for rainbow trout. Check it out above!

Chilliwack River hatchery coho salmon

Update (October 17th): Most rivers have been rising and colouring up due to heavy rain so they are not fishable. Now is a good time to take a break and wait for conditions to improve in a week from now. We'll keep you updated!

We have had quite a bit of rain on and off in the past week, and a bit more is expected this week as well. This means local rivers' level has been fluctuating. Salmon have been travelling upstream when the river is high, but once the level drops, fishing has been fantastic. The chinook salmon fishing is coming to an end for both the Chilliwack and Harrison River systems. Coho salmon fishing has been excellent on the Chilliwack River, while Chehalis and other North Lower Fraser tributaries are just picking up right now. Chum salmon are quite abundant this year. We will achieve escapement requirement and many fish can be found in the Stave, Chilliwack, Harrison Rivers. This also means that commercial openings for chum salmon have been issued unfortunately, so the salmon fishing is not as good in the Lower Fraser River when these take place. It doesn't help that the water clarity in the Fraser is poor right now. White sturgeon fishing remains excellent. Urban lakes have been restocked with rainbow trout so good fishing can be expected if you can brave the wet and cold weather.

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's level surged a couple of times last week due to rain. As a result, there were good pushes of coho salmon and those who timed their trips right were able to experience some really good fishing. Because there is a bait ban until the end of October, your best option right now is to cast and retrieve a spoon or spinner, or twitch jigs. These freshly arrived fish can be aggressive biters so using the right lures can easily entice them. Please be aware of the river level change, which can be fast! When the dam is letting out water, the river can rise by a few feet within a couple of hours. A few fishermen had to be rescued last week as they were trapped on an island when the river rose.

Please also note that ALL steelhead, both wild and hatchery marked fish, have to be released with care. The Capilano River's steelhead run is threatened so please inform other anglers, and report those who choose to ignore by retaining steelhead illegally.

Stave River

Stave River's chum salmon fishing has been excellent. Expect more fish to arrive in the system in the next couple of weeks. Float fishing with a jig is the most efficient way to target these fish. Try to keep your float depth a couple of feet shorter than the actual river depth to avoid accidentally snagging a chum salmon or bottom.

Coho salmon fishing can also be good in the system, but they are generally found in the lower river where access is limited to boats. Further upstream in the pools where current is absent can also be good. Casting and retrieving a spinner works really well, or you can also float fish with roe.

Because Stave River is dam controlled, it generally stays fishable while other systems are not if it rains too much.

Squamish River

Squamish River was very high last week due to rain! It is dropping but the main river is still very murky and not really fishable. Tributaries like the Cheakamus, Mamquam and Ashlu can be good for coho salmon fishing, as well as trout and char fishing. Trout and char in this system are now feeding heavily on pink salmon eggs. Fly fishing with trout beads can work really well for these fish. The above video by Matt Sharp at Pacific Angler covers this subject, please take a look. A bait ban is in effect year round for the Squamish River and its tributaries.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River hatchery coho salmon

Chilliwack River was excellent for coho salmon fishing a week ago but it tapered off as the river level dropped. There are definitely fish around, but you have to look for them. The season is not over, we still have at least three weeks of good coho salmon fishing left. Chinook salmon fishing is done for the year, but some are still reporting fish being caught in the upper section. Water level is a bit higher than average right now, rain is expected later this week so it's likely to rise pretty fast as soon as that starts. There are lots of chum salmon in the system right now too.

For hands-on information, be sure to visit Fred's Custom Tackle at 34150 South Fraser Way Abbotsford where you can also pick up a map of the Chilliwack/Vedder River.

Tidal Fraser River

Coho salmon in Tidal Fraser River

Tidal Fraser River is open for salmon fishing. Please see this fishery notice for details. Hatchery coho salmon retention is open and bait ban has been lifted. Fishing has been poor. Commercial openings for chum salmon have disrupted this fishery. Water clarity has been poor so bar fishing with roe is your best option. There are still around two weeks of coho salmon fishing left in this section of the river.

Berry's Bait and Tackle is hosting a Tidal Fraser River coho salmon derby until November 15th. Entry is free, simply bring your hatchery coho salmon to the store for weigh-in. First place will win a sturgeon fishing trip with Lang's Fishing Adventures!

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

Non-tidal Fraser River's water clarity is poor. River level has come up quite a bit due to rain in Northern BC. Salmon fishing is open. Retention of hatchery coho salmon is now open and bait ban has been lifted. Bar fishing is the best technique for targeting these fish right now. Bar anglers have been reporting catches of chinook, coho, chum and even steelhead lately. Please make sure you are aware of which species you can retain.

Fraser River white sturgeon

White sturgeon fishing has been excellent as expected. This time of the year, because of the amount of salmon in the river, white sturgeon have plenty of food to eat. Sturgeon are always in high abundance during this time of the year, and they are stronger too. Guides have been doing well with using either salmon roe or flesh for bait. Fish up to 9 feet are being caught, but majority of the fish are between 5 and 7 feet. This is a catch and release fishery, and please remember that you must pay the sturgeon conservation surcharge with your freshwater fishing licence.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Releasing rainbow trout into Rice Lake in North Vancouver

Lake fishing for trout is now good due to the cooler weather, as well as the start of Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery's fall catchable rainbow trout stocking program. Lafarge, Como, Green Timbers, Rice, Rolley, Mill Lakes and Sanctuary Pond at Hastings Park were stocked last week. Check out our Region 2 lake list for fishing trip ideas.

Rainbow trout

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