Vancouver BC Fishing Report
By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: January 21st, 2014
Heavy rain on the weekend bumped the river level up a bit but most rivers are now back in shape again as we experience some beautiful winter weather here in the Lower Mainland. Winter steelhead fishing has been quite productive in the Fraser Valley. Chilliwack River is seeing fish up to 18lb being caught. Cutthroat trout fishing should also be excellent right now, as well as mountain whitefish for those who enjoy fly fishing for smaller species. Crabbing is excellent right now due to the absence of commercial crabbers. With the mild temperature, Lower Mainland lakes should also be producing some rainbow trout.
Below is "Best of 2014", a compilation of our video highlights from last year. I look forward to bringing you more video content in 2015!
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Upcoming Events and Promotional News
Here are some of the latest news and upcoming events in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley!
- Mystery fish #19 is revealed!
- Check out Bent Rods 2014/2015 Steelhead Specials!
- Check out STS Guiding Service's 2015 fishery forecast!
- Sign up for this year's Wally Hall Junior Memorial Steelhead Fishing Derby in Chilliwack!
Fishing Gear For Sale!
I have several rods and reels for sale. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Trophy XL TCS5105MLC 10'6" rated 8-17lb. A good startup centerpin/mooching rod. Brand new. Selling for $80. Deal pending.
- Islander slate LX 3.2 fly fishing reel. Brand new. Retail price is ~$550. Selling for $500.
- Islander gold LX 3.6 fly fishing reel, spooled with 8wt Rio Versitip line. Pretty much brand new with no wear and tear, it has been taken out for one casting session. Together with the line retail price is $700+. Selling for $650.
- Islander silver Steelheader centerpin reel. Used, has plenty of backing line on it and already has Maxima Ultragreen 12lb mono on it as well. I'll throw in an extra spool of 12lb Maxima Ultragreen mono. A couple of scratches can be seen at the edge but overall it is in very good condition and works perfectly. Retail price of the reel is ~$400. Selling for $300. Deal pending.
While you have some opportunities of encountering the odd steelhead between now and April, fishing is generally pretty slow in the winter months for the Capilano River. The good news is that angling pressure will be minimal in the next few months, so if you enjoy fishing alone with the possibility of catching a nice fish, then this is perfect for you.
Please note that ALL steelhead (both hatchery marked and wild) have to be released with care in the Capilano River. Be sure to identify your fish correctly in the water. This is a vulnerable stock and your action will decide its future.
Due to the large rock slide which occurred last year, anglers are advised to stay away from this system due to safety reasons. Seymour Salmonid Society, Metro Vancouver, Ministry of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have all been working together to determine if current returning steelhead can make their way past the new barrier. Some fish have been tagged to determine this. Currently, no action is planned to remove the barrier.
Chilliwack River's level is reasonable and water clarity has remained excellent for fishing. Winter steelhead fishing was very good last week with plenty of hatchery marked fish being reported and weighed in at Fred's Custom Tackle. We are seeing bigger fish this year, the average size has been around the 10lb mark while the biggest ones have been up to 18lb. Roe bags and shrimp have been the go-to bait, while jigs, spinner blades and pink worms have all produced. The key is to cover as much water as possible and find spots where fish have not been disturbed. Early morning has been best but afternoon can also be quite productive due to the lack of fishing pressure.
Fred's Custom Tackle is your go-to store for the Chilliwack River fishery. Currently there are two locations, the original one by the Vedder Crossing in Chilliwack while a second new store in Abbotsford. Wally Hall Junior Memorial Steelhead Fishing Derby begins on December 1st! Get your derby ticket now at Fred's Custom Tackle. The first two steelhead were weighed in at the store on December 15th.
If you need accommodation or guide suggestions around Chilliwack, please take a look at the listing on Tourism Chilliwack's website.
This is the time of the year when fishing for trout and char becomes productive in the Squamish River. To target these fish effectively, drift a trout bead or any presentation which imitates a salmon egg. Side channels where spawning salmon were found is most productive as trout and char like to stage behind them and feed on eggs. If you are fly fishing, you should also try larger patterns which imitate sculpins and leeches by swinging them across a big tailout. In a few weeks from now, you should also see some winter steelhead showing up in this system but the bulk of the run generally do not appear until March or April.
Please note that bait ban is in effect year round and retention of fish is limited to just one hatchery marked coho salmon in certain area, so please read the regulations. Dress properly as it can be very cold in this river valley.
The attention is now shifting to cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish in the Stave River, which will be feeding on salmon eggs in the next couple of months. If you enjoy float fishing, try using a small float and fish with bait such as single eggs, dew worm or krill close to the bottom for whitefish. In a few weeks from now, some salmon fry will start emerging from redds and cutthroat trout will start actively feeding on them. Fly fishing with minnow patterns or casting small spoons like a 1/16oz Gibbs Croc will be effective.
Please note that BC Hydro is currently upgrading the dam so the day use area is closed and parking is limited in the area.
Tidal Fraser River
You can target winter bull trout throughout the Tidal Fraser River in the next several months. Casting and retrieving spoons and spinners is quite effective and can be very exciting on an ultralight setup. Please remember that all wild trout and char have to be released with care. Fishing for them is generally slow throughout January but if the weather suddenly warms up, it can be excellent in February and March. Check out this blog post from a few years ago in late February.
Sturgeon fishing is slower and fishing pressure is very low as most boats off the water during the winter months.
To fish the Tidal Fraser River (downstream from the railway bridge in Mission), you are required to have a valid saltwater fishing licence.
For more information on this fishery and the latest updates on saltwater fishing around Steveston and the Tidal Fraser River, stop by the Berry's Bait & Tackle in Richmond.
Non-tidal Fraser River
Sturgeon fishing is slowing down as expected in the winter months. Some guides are still reporting catches up to 8 feet long. Chum salmon roe has been working well for most guides. Soon eulachon will be working well. We recommend the following guiding companies for your sturgeon fishing trips.
Lower Mainland Lakes
The Region 2's trout stocking database is usually updated once rainbow trout are stocked by the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. 2015 stockings will begin in late March. While lakes are not stocked in the winter months, you certainly can still catch fish. Water is now quite cold in most lakes so fish are less active. Some patience is needed as bites are not as frequent.
Please note that the daily quota of trout has been changed since 2013 for most Fishing in the City lakes, please check the regulations to see if it has changed for the lake where you plan to visit.
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 single hook is allowed on your rod. Please note that 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).
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.
Before heading out, please read the freshwater regulations in Region 2 first. For more regular updates, make sure you follow our Facebook page.
Good luck and please conserve your catches!
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