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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: August 21st, 2017

On August 24th we will be releasing another episode, this time featuring fly fishing in the Canadian Rockies. Above is a sneak preview of the episode!

Fishing in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley has been on the slow side this summer. We are lacking fishing opportunities due to closures, and several salmon fisheries have been slow so far this season. With that said, we do have fisheries that people can look forward to. In about two weeks from now, pink salmon should arrive in the Fraser River in full force. Sturgeon fishing will only get better as more salmon arrive. Chilliwack/Vedder River will also be productive throughout September. In the meantime, trout fishing in the Skagit is available. Squamish River has some pink salmon fishing opportunities but it is winding down. Bass and carp fishing is excellent in some lakes and sloughs due to the warm weather.

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 is quite low and clear due to the lack of rain. There are some coho salmon in the system but overall fishing is pretty slow. These coho salmon are pretty shy as they have already been in the system for quite awhile. The best time to target them is really early in the morning when lighting is still low. Please note that the seasonal bait ban comes in effect starting on August 1st until October 31st. This is done to protect the small summer steelhead run. ALL steelhead, including hatchery marked fish, have to be released with care. If the river fishing is slow, you should also check out the river mouth and nearby Ambleside Beach where both coho and pink salmon might be holding and feeding.

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.

Squamish River

Squamish River is still murky overall. Here is the latest fishery notice for this pink salmon fishery, please pay attention to which areas are open for fishing. Bait ban is in effect. Fishing has been spotty and the run is winding down. Some are still being caught but overall success rate has been quite low considering how many people are fishing.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River is low and clear, and very quiet as we are in between salmon runs. Some pink salmon have slowly moved their way into the lower river, so it is worth heading out and spending a bit of time targeting them. This is also a good time of the year for checking out the runs before the fall salmon season arrives in a few weeks from now. Pink salmon retention is closed right now until further notice. There is no fishing for sockeye salmon. Please check the regulations for the daily quotas of chinook and coho salmon.

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.

Skagit River

Skagit River is a fantastic system for rainbow and bull trout fishing. The river is dropping steadily so more spots can now be accessed. Rainbow trout fishing has been good while bull trout fishing appears to be slower than past years. Size of rainbow trout has been big as well, while bull trout are mostly skinny. We seem to be seeing a balance shifting which is a good sign as bull trout have been the dominant species in the past few years. Fly fishing and spincasting with light tackle both work well for these species. Mosquitoes are not very forgiving in the Lower Skagit River Valley so be prepared. Check out the above video tutorial, featuring Pacific Angler's Matt Sharpe, tying up an advanced nymphing rig.

Tidal Fraser River

Tidal Fraser River is reasonably clear for this time of the year and it is shaping up nicely for the upcoming pink salmon season. Lure fishing for northern pikeminnow should be very good and it is a good practice for the upcoming pink salmon fishing season. Currently, salmon fishing is closed so you cannot target them. Pink salmon opening will hopefully be announced soon.

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 has been improving. Salmon fishing remains closed until further notice. 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.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Zoey with a nice cutthroat trout

Lake fishing for trout has been slow due to the warm weather.

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. Best to fish the deep parts of these lakes right now as surface water is pretty warm.

Kawkawa Lake kokanee fishing has been spotty, there are definitely less fish this year but the average size of fish being caught has been very good. Anglers have most of the success by trolling in the 20 to 30 feet depth range.

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

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 60ft+ of water where they can either be caught by trolling spoons or bottom fishing with bait.

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