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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: April 20th, 2014

The fishing season in the Lower Mainland is shifting from rivers to lakes in the next little while. Winter steelhead fishing is winding down as many streams will go into their seasonal fishing closure to protect both adult spawners and juvenile migratory fish. Check the regulations to see if the stream you want to fish is closed or not. Chilliwack River's steelhead fishery has been pretty consistently productive for a little while this month but lately it has been slower. Cutthroat trout fishing is still available at some tributaries of the Lower Fraser River. All urban lakes have been stocked with catchable rainbow trout. Lakes in Squamish, Whistler and Harrison Regions are all ice free and some are producing well. Sturgeon fishermen are reporting good results as eulachon migration is now underway. Freshet is also beginning so water clarity of the Fraser River is expected to be poor in the next few months.

Last week, we visited Ucluelet and fished with Big Bear Salmon Charters for early season chinook salmon in Barkley Sound. Check out the photographs and story of day one of our trip!

Please make sure you go to our Facebook page and click on "like". I am constantly adding updates such as latest fishing reports, new videos, articles and contests on it.

Upcoming Events and Promotional News

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

  • Hatch Match'r Fly and Tackle is hiring a part time staff. Applicant must not be a student, fly tying experience is required. Please phone (604)-467-7118 for more information.
  • Our recent trip out with Bon Chovy Fishing Charters was a productive seafood safari.
  • Check out the new wheel chair access fishing ramp at Derby Reach Regional Park.

Capilano River

Capilano River is low and clear. Fishing is slow as expected. Beside the odd winter steelhead which you may encounter, you can't expect much from this system right now. 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. This system has an early run of coho salmon which usually appears in the river in late April but peak season is usually around mid to late June.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River winter steelhead

Chilliwack River winter steelhead fishery has been good throughout April. River condition has also remained consistently good throughout the month. If you are unfamiliar with the winter steelhead fishery, please read this article.

This time of the year, winter steelhead have a tendency to prey on salmon fry. Try using a small spoon under a float to imitate this feed. Check out this video from a couple of years ago for more information. Pink worm has also been producing well lately.

If catching big steelhead does not fancy you, then perhaps you want to try targeting mountain whitefish with a light setup. Small stonefly presentations are these whitefish's favourites. Have the fly drifting close to the bottom will yield good results. The upper section of the river above Tamahi Bridge is best for this style of fishing.

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. Be sure to sign up for their annual winter steelhead fishing derby.

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 during this time of the year. The river can be alive with fish now that salmon fry are found throughout the system. Mountain whitefish are more abundant than cutthroat trout. Beside using minnow patterns while fly fishing, be sure to use a variety of dry flies and nymphs as these fish can be feeding on those. 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.

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's anadromous cutthroat trout fishery is what you can look forward to in the next couple of months. Salmon fry are throughout the system now so it is worth trying out a salmon fry or minnow pattern if you are fly fishing. Casting and retrieving a tiny spoon such as a 1/8oz Croc with a light spinning setup is also effective.

Nicomen Slough

Nicomen Slough is quiet. You can also target cutthroat trout, which are now hunting for salmon fry. Foot access is readily available for the upper portion of the slough, while a small inflatable can be advantageous for the lower portion of the slough.

Squamish River

Squamish River bull trout

Squamish River condition is good. Your chance of catching a winter steelhead in this system during this time of the year is best compared to other months. Bull trout, cutthroat trout and rainbow trout are also aggressively feeding on salmon fry. Please remember that a bait ban is in effect for the entire Squamish River system and all fish have to be released with care.

Tidal Fraser River

Water clarity of the Tidal Fraser River is degrading due to freshet. This is usually the time of the year when bull trout begins to improve. As more salmon fry start making their way into this large system, you should be able to spot some risers in the shallow water close to shore. These fish will chase spinners, spoons and flies as long as the water clarity is good. Outgoing tide just after the tide peaks is usually quite productive. If water clarity is poor, then try bottom fishing with roe. Please note this is a catch and release fishery.

Pacific herring can be caught in Steveston right now. Two locations are popular among local herring anglers - Imperial Landing and Garry Point Park. These can be caught by using herring jigs. Best time appears to be the outgoing tide just after the tide peaks. This fishery is tapering off as it always does when freshet begins.

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 following stores in Richmond.

Non-tidal Fraser River

Freshet will make fishing for cutthroat trout impossible in the next few months, but this type of fishing is still available in smaller tributaries.

Guides have been reporting some good sturgeon fishing. Lamprey and eulachon are the best bait for this time of the year. Book your guided white sturgeon fishing trip for this summer now. 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.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Fall rainbow trout at urban lakes

The Region 2's trout stocking database is usually updated once rainbow trout are stocked by the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. This year's spring stockings have been happening for three weeks now and most lakes have been stocked at least once. Urban lakes that are worth trying include Lafarge, Rice, Como, Green Timbers, Mill, Deer, Buntzen, Sasamat Lakes.

Deer Lake in Burnaby does not only produce rainbow trout, but also largemouth bass and common carp.

Squamish and Whistler lakes are ice-free. Browning, Alice, Edith Lakes are all producing well. Whistler area lakes are still pretty cold so fishing is a bit slower, another two weeks should heat things up.

Kawkawa Lake in Hope reopened for kokanee fishing on March 1st, fishing has been on and off.

Cultus Lake can in fact be quite productive for cutthroat trout which are preying on salmon fry.

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