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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: July 28th, 2014

Chilliwack River sockeye salmon

We are back to a long streak of hot and dry weather this week. Salmon fishing in the tributaries of the Lower Fraser River such as Chilliwack and Chehalis River is now slowing down. Fraser River is seeing some excellent chinook salmon fishing right now and anglers are awaiting for the sockeye salmon opening announcement in the coming week. Capilano River's coho salmon fishing is slowing down, although fish are present in the system. Trout and char fishing in rivers is picking up as system like the Skagit River drops steadily. Lake fishing remains slow due to the hot weather.

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Capilano River

Capilano River is low and clear. Although there are coho salmon in the system, current water condition makes it tough to catch them. Your best bet is to fish early in the morning or late in the evening. Most of these fish have been in the system for some time now so they are hard to entice. Float fishing with roe, casting lures and fly fishing with small streamers can all work. Please note that bait ban comes in effect on August 1st.

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.

When the river remains low, coho salmon have a tendency to hold at the river mouth and nearby Ambleside Beach. Beach fishing can be quite effective at low tide if this is the case. This article on beach fishing for Pacific salmon can be helpful if you'd like to learn more about it. Fishing has been fairly good both from shore and a boat. This beach fishery should peak in the next few weeks.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River salmon fishing in a summer evening

Chilliwack River is dropping steadily and water clarity remains excellent. Anglers have the opportunity to target chinook salmon in July and August. Fishing has been slow. Lower river remains pretty quiet while some fish are still being caught in the mid and upper river. This fishery generally peaks in mid to late July, and you will start finding mostly coloured fish as we approach August. Float fishing with freshly cured roe at first and last light is usually key. Upper river can also be excellent for catching and releasing rainbow trout and bull trout. You will also encounter some sockeye salmon, which need to be released with care.

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.

If you need accommodation or guide suggestions around Chilliwack, please take a look at the listing on Tourism Chilliwack's website.

Stave River

Stave River produces anadromous cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish, as well as northern pikeminnow now that the weather is warming up. This time of the year northern pikeminnow are quite aggressive and can be an excellent target species for kids. The river is pretty high now as water is backing up from the Fraser River due to freshet, so access it with extreme care.

Please note that shore access by foot is still very difficult due to limited parking in the area during the dam upgrade. This construction upgrade is expected to take place for another six years. Your best option to access this river is by a boat from the Fraser River. As the Fraser River rises due to freshet, water level of the Stave River will also rise especially during incoming tides, so be careful when exploring islands and remote shorelines.

You also still have the opportunity to catch a steelhead during this time of the year.

For information on salmon and trout fishing in the Stave River and tributaries on the north side of the Fraser River (Kanaka Creek, Nicomen Slough, Norrish Creek, Harrison River), visit Hatch Match'r Fly and Tackle in Maple Ridge. Owner Randy Morgan is also an eager flyfishing instructor so don't hesitate to ask him questions.

Harrison River

Harrison River produces trout and northern pikeminnow. The river is fairly high as water from the Fraser River is backing up into the system. It is more like a lake than a stream this time of the year.

Chehalis River

Fishing at Chehalis River

Chinook salmon can be found in the Chehalis River right now. Water is extremely clear, making it quite challenging to entice fish. Summer steelhead can also be found in this system. Please remember all wild steelhead are required to be released.

Skagit River

Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River

Skagit River offers a productive catch and release fishery for rainbow trout and bull trout. The river is still slightly higher than usual, but it will be steadily dropping with the upcoming dry weather.

Squamish River

Squamish River is still experiencing freshet. Upper Cheakamus River offers some fly fishing opportunities for rainbow trout. This is a catch and release fishery.

Tidal Fraser River

Water clarity of the Tidal Fraser River is still very poor due to freshet, but it is improving. River is dropping steadily. Chinook salmon fishing is now open but generally this is a very challenging fishery due to poor water condition. You can try bottom fishing with roe but the abundance of small resident fish can steal your bait very easily.

Sturgeon fishing has been good. Lamprey and eulachon are the two bait of choice to go with. This time of the year, eulachon are migrating into the river to spawn while lamprey are also found in the system. Whole eulachon baited on the hook or a small piece of lamprey can do the job. Fishing from a boat is more advantageous but shore fishing is also possible. Please remember this is a catch and release fishery.

Coarse fish such as peamouth chub and northern pikeminnow can now be caught throughout the system. These two species, as well as sculpin and a few other bottom species, are perfect target fish for kids who want to learn how to fish. If you are unfamiliar with this fishery, please check out these articles.

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

The river is dropping steadily, there's a bit of clarity which has been enough to produce some really good fishing! Chinook salmon fishing is now open. Bar fishermen have reported some excellent catches since the opening. Multiple hook-ups during each outing have not been uncommon. If you are unfamiliar with bar fishing, please read this article.

Sockeye salmon fishing remains closed so please release all sockeye salmon with care. Updates will be available on our Facebook page when they become available.

Sturgeon fishing remains good as expected. Lamprey and eulachon are the best bait for this time of the year, but some are also reporting good results by using salmon roe. If you are out fishing on a boat, then you should be aware of debris that are coming downstream. Book your guided white sturgeon fishing trip for this summer now. The best fishing months are August and September. We recommend the following companies in the Fraser Valley.

For more detailed reports on sturgeon fishing in the Fraser Valley, check out either Vic Carrao's report or Dean Werk's report.

Sturgeon Slough

Carp fishing is good at Sturgeon Slough but the fish are not too big. A light spinning setup is adequate for these underrated fish. Carp found in Sturgeon Slough range between 0.5lb and 4lb. Fish on the bottom with corn or dough works well. If you are float fishing, try having the float depth adjusted so your bait is laying on the bottom.

Sumas River

Sumas River, which drains into the Chilliwack River, is a slough where carp fishing opportunities are available. The best access point is MacDonald Park at the north end of No. 3 Road in Abbotsford. Best fishing is in early mornings and late evenings. Further downstream at the Barrow Town Pump Station, you can catch northern pikeminnow and other related species.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Kokanee fishing in the Lower Mainland

The Region 2's trout stocking database is usually updated once rainbow trout are stocked by the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. Spring stocks have been completed and fall stockings will begin in late September. Trout fishing is slowing down due to the hot weather, but you should still be able to find fish in the evenings when they become active on the surface.

Deer Lake in Burnaby does not only produce rainbow trout, but also largemouth bass and common carp. The bass can be up to 0.5lb, while the carp in the lake are as big as 10lb.

Mill Lake is another multi-species lake. You can catch rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, pumpkinseed and carp from it.

Kawkawa Lake in Hope is still producing kokanee. Fish are being caught in 35 to 40 feet of water. The best method is having your bait such as krill and deli shrimp suspended a couple of feet off the bottom. The bites are not very obvious so you must pay close attention to the rod tip. Vertical jigging a small spoon such as a 1/16oz Gibbs Croc spoon also works well. Fishing is good for a couple more weeks.

Allouette Lake is also producing kokanee. Best method is by trolling in this large lake.

Cultus Lake can in fact be quite productive. This fishery produces a variety of species including cutthroat trout, northern pikeminnow, largescale sucker, peamouth chub and northern pikeminnow. You can fish from the public docks or beaches. Casting retrieving a small spoon/spinner, or float fishing with bait work well.

Hicks Lake at Sasquatch Provincial Park can be excellent for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and kokanee. The weather has not been too hot so fishing should remain productive into the school summer holiday.

Weaver Lake is extremely productive for rainbow trout, but the gravel road to the park can be worn out after the winter. A boat is best for this lake, some shore access is available.

Please note that the daily quota of trout has been changed this year 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!

Rodney Hsu
Webmaster, Fishing with Rod Production