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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: July 10th, 2017

Last week we were filming a halibut fishing episode in Pedder Bay on Vancouver Island. The filming went smoothly and was completely by 11am so we decided to do a couple of hours of salmon fishing. Our co-host Kitty's sister Kelly was on board and she had never caught a salmon before so the goal was to get her into one. After working through some huge schools of baitfish and a whole bunch of whoppers on the sounder, one fish finally committed on the final pass. I was behind the camera and captured all the actions. You can watch the entire fight in the above video!

July's weather has been beautiful! It hasn't been too hot while the sun shines. This is good news as the rivers are not warming up too fast. Chilliwack River is open for chinook salmon fishing and the odd fish have been caught since opening day. Fishing should pick up in the next two weeks. Capilano River has also seen the odd coho salmon but river level has dropped due to a lack of rain. Squamish River is slow, but in a few weeks from now we should see some pink salmon arriving in the system. Other systems that are worth trying out right now include Chehalis River, Skagit River for some summer run steelhead fishing, rainbow and bull trout fishing. Lake fishing is still productive. Late evenings are best when it is cooler. Carp are active in sloughs and lakes. Fraser River also offers good fishing for a variety of coarse fish species, which are great fun for kids.

Upcoming Events and Promotional News

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

Ruddocks Ranch/Onion Lake

Onion Lake rainbow trout

Back in early June we visited Ruddocks Ranch and fished Onion Lake. This little lake produces rainbow trout up to 10lb! While we did not encounter any huge specimen, we did catch a good number of fish that measured between 18 and 22 inches long. All fish were caught in less than 10 feet of water by stripping a leech pattern. These wild trout are incredible fighters so if you are interested in checking it out, please go to and contact Gord Di Castri.

Capilano River

Capilano River has seen coho salmon moving through in the past few weeks when we were getting fair amount of rain. River level is low again due to the lack of rain, but you should still find fish in the system. These fish are spooked easily, so early morning or late evening are the best times for catching these fish. The peak of the run usually happens around mid July. Float fishing with roe, casting and retrieving a small lure or fly fishing with a small streamer can all catch fish. Please remember that ALL steelhead (both hatchery and wild fish) have to be released with care.

Stave River

Stave River produces mostly northern pikeminnow and peamouth chub during this time of the year. This can be a great place to bring the family to as the kids can catch these fish by float fishing with worms. Some cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish can also be caught at times. River condition is good. It can be a bit high as Fraser River's backing up into it due to freshet.

Squamish River

Squamish River is still experiencing freshet right now. The river is still quite high and water clarity is not ideal.

Pink salmon fishing opportunities have been announced. Please see the following fishery notice for more information.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River is open for chinook salmon fishing and retention. Please check the regulations for size limits and daily quota. ALL sockeye salmon must be released when caught. Fishing for chinook salmon has been spotty but that's not unusual for early July. The fishing should pick up in the next couple of weeks. Early morning is the best time for catching these fish. Float fishing with roe is the best way to go. For sockeye salmon, they can be caught by using krill or deli shrimp under a float.

All wild trout and char must be released, retention of hatchery marked rainbow trout at any size under 50cm is allowed, the daily quota is four per day. The river level is not too high, not too low, so that should bring in enough fish up the river if they are around. Water clarity is also in prime shape.

For hands-on information, be sure to visit Fred's Custom Tackle where you can also pick up a map of the Chilliwack/Vedder River. Fred has reopened a NEW Chilliwack location at 45150 Luckakuck Way.

Upper Pitt River

Bull trout fishing in the Upper Pitt River has really picked up in the past week. These fish are anadromous bull trout that are moving back into the system from the Fraser River estuary so they can spawn. A good sized fish is between 6 and 10lb for this system. Check out the above video which we recently produced for Gibbs Delta Tackle and Pitt River Lodge.

Tidal Fraser River

Tidal Fraser River is very dirty due to freshet. This means fishing with lures or flies is almost impossible as there's no visibility for it. You should still be able to encounter some bull trout right now. Also, there are species such as northern pikeminnow and peamouth chub which are very kid-friendly as they are easy to catch. Outgoing tide just after peak is usually the best time for fishing.

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 very poor and it is very high due to freshet. Sturgeon fishing has been good and will only improve in the next several weeks. The presence of eulachon, as well as rising water temperature, will make these sturgeon more active. Fish up to 8 or 9 feet are being caught, but the norm is between 3 and 5 feet long. Eulachon, lamprey are popular bait that are being used right now. When anchoring on the Fraser, please look for large debris drifting downstream, it can be very dangerous.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Zoey with a nice cutthroat trout

Fishing is good in all Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley lakes. All urban lakes were stocked just before the Father's Day weekend so trout fishing should be good right now. With the warm weather ahead of us, try early in the morning or late in the afternoon when temperature is a bit lower.

These articles may assist you:

Kawkawa Lake kokanee

Hicks Lake and Deer Lake at Sasquatch Provincial Park are producing well. Both have been stocked. Hicks is producing a variety of species including rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and kokanee. Deer has plenty of cutthroat trout but they are all small, as well as newly stocked rainbow trout. Both lakes are excellent for kids.

Kawkawa Lake kokanee fishing has been moody. Most anglers are not finding consistent bites right now. Bait fishing with krill or deli shrimp, or jigging a mini spoon are the best methods. A boat is required for this lake.

Squamish's Alice Lake, Browning Lake, Brohm Lake are all excellent options if you are travelling up the Sea-to-Sky Corridor. These lakes have been stocked.

Alta Lake in Whistler is excellent for cutthroat trout and rainbow trout fishing. Catch and release only.

Cultus Lake can be excellent for cutthroat trout fishing. You will also encounter the odd bull trout and kokanee. Some northern pikeminnow and other minnow species are starting to emerge in shallower parts of the lake as the water gets warmer.

Chilliwack Lake is very productive for bull trout fishing right now but you will need a motored boat to target these fish. Most fish are in 100ft+ of water where they can either be caught by trolling spoons or bottom fishing with bait.

Deer Lake in Burnaby is producing some nice bass.

Mill Lake has been stocked with rainbow trout so trout fishing has been consistent, while the odd bass can be caught. Please remember that only electric motors can be used if you are taking your boat there.

Whonnock Lake is now warm enough for crappie fishing, there are also some rainbow trout in the lake.

Jones Lake between Chilliwack and Hope can be good for both rainbow trout and cutthroat trout fishing. The lake level is very low. Road access to the lake can be rough so a good 4X4 is required. Some shore access is available but it is best to be in a boat.

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