Native Fish Species of British Columbia
Below is a list of species that we target on our fishing adventures:
To say the Sturgeon is a unique fish is an understatement. These fish are modern day dinosaurs, relics from the past having been around for at least 100 million years. As the largest fresh water fish in North and South America the mighty Sturgeon is unparalleled in its fighting abilities, making British Columbia, Canada’s Fraser River recognized internationally as one of the top sport fishing destinations in the world.
Sturgeon can grow to over 1000lbs and 10ft long, living over 100 years. The Sturgeon is easily identified by its long pointed snout and bony plates running the complete length of its sides down to its forked tail. The Fraser River and its many tributaries have one of the largest and most stable population of Sturgeon and this can be attributed to the year-round abundance of food and conservation efforts by offering a catch and release fishery.
During peak periods of the main season the Sturgeon gorge themselves on the abundance of food present in the system and it is not uncommon to hook into 10 to 20 Sturgeon a day.
TIMING: Mid-March to Mid-December
Salmon Fishing in British Columbia, Canada’s Fraser River and its many tributaries are renowned worldwide as one of the top salmon fishing destinations. This part of British Columbia offers many healthy rivers and lakes and these estuaries allow for one of the world’s largest salmon runs to flourish.
Throughout the year all 5 species of Pacific salmon enter our river systems. These highly sought after sport fish migrate in 10s of millions up the local rivers to the spawning grounds. With such a spectacular fishery it provides our guests the opportunity of catching 30+ salmon a day. The millions of salmon begin their annual migration in early March and continue through until late November with the best salmon fishing occurring between mid-May and mid-November. It is common to fish for 2 or more species of salmon in one day and in late October it is possible to fish for and catch all 5 species of salmon.
The Chinook is the king of them all, and they don’t call them kings for nothing. They’re big, they’re strong, and they’ll bust your tackle if you’re under-equipped. They never fail to provide the angler with an exhilarating and challenging battle, big runs, high leaps and heart-stopping pulling power.
These fish are one of the most sought after species by many serious anglers worldwide. Most fish average 15 lbs – 30lbs, but certain strains can reach weights up to 80lbs! These fish are famous for their long runs and great power fights.
Timing: June to September (Spring Run) and September to November (Fall Run).
The Chum salmon fishery has become very popular with fly fishers from around the world as this species reach 20lbs to 30lbs in size. If you hook into one of these fish get ready for a fight unparalleled to any you have experienced. Their colorful markings, large size, hard fighting abilities and sheer determination will have you wanting more. With the expectation of catching 20 to 30 fish per day during peak season makes this fishery suitable for anglers of any skill level.
Timing: Mid-September to Mid-December
Coho salmon is a favorite amongst river anglers for its aggressive behavior and intense fights. They enter the rivers fresh from the ocean, silver in colour, and in prime fighting and eating condition. Fly fishing this acrobatic species on single hand rods seems to be the ultimate experience, keeping any angler coming back for more. Coho salmon size varies from river to river, however it is not uncommon to catch fish in the 10lbs to 20lbs range.
Timing: September to Mid-December
This species is one of the most abundant of the Pacific Salmon and during peak times they will return to the river in the millions. Many anglers prize the Sockeye as the best fighting fish due to their unpredictable movements, super-fast line-peeling runs and acrobatic displays. Sockeye salmon are also highly prized for their mouth watering, delicious and bright reddish-orange flesh. They can get over 10lbs+ and it is common to hook into 15 to 25 fish per day.
Timing: Mid-July to Mid-September
Their average size of 3lbs to 5lbs doesn’t mean that they won’t give the experienced angler a challenge. Although the Pink salmon is famous for their ability to shake, roll and spit the hook, the sheer numbers will ensure you are into the next fish only as long as it takes you to get your line back into the water. During peak times hooking 30 to 50 salmon per person is normal. Guests who have booked during the overlapping Sockeye run have reported catching 200+ fish during their trip.
Timing: Mid-August to Mid- October
Steelhead are very large sea run Trout and is considered to be the most elusive of the species, challenging even the most experienced anglers abilities, knowledge and experience. An outstanding fighting fish with long runs and awesome acrobatics it “lures” avid steelheaders from around the world. Steelhead can weigh 20lbs+ and can be caught using both natural and artificial baits. There are both summer and winter runs into the Fraser River and its tributaries. Steelhead in the rivers is protected by the catch and release fishing regulations, which ensures healthy runs for future generations.
Timing: December to May (Winter Run) and June to October (Summer Run).
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The Rainbow Trout gets its name from the rainbow hue down its sides. The Harrison and Chilliwack are prime locations to catch these exquisite fish due to the higher elevation and low air pressure. This species can reach sizes up to 16lbs.
Timing: May to July (Summer Season) and September to Mid-November (Fall Season)
Cutthroat are another sea run Trout, named because of the red slashes on its’ throat. All of the local rivers hold populations of these beautiful fish. They can grow 5 to 6lbs and can reach over 20 inches. They continually migrate throughout the system and are very nomadic. You will usually find a school of them chasing down fry or other insects like falling bee’s from the trees in the early Spring – the term “here one day and gone the next” is often used to describe these fish.
Timing: May to July
Dolly Varden are actually a member of the salmon family. They are an excellent sport fish and the pink flesh is excellent to eat. The Dolly Varden is known to be a very aggressive fish and likes to stay in the colder stretches of our local watersheds. They are identified by the dark blue to olive-green sides. You can catch sea run Dolly on the Pitt River in June and July on both single and double handed Spey rods and in Chilliwack Lake from May to October. With fish reaching upwards of 20lbs in this Glacier Lake – trolling or bottom fishing yield the best results.
Timing: January to October