As we draw ever closer to the busy Holiday Season and a New Year we would like to look back on the season that was and reflect back on all the memories and good times that we were once again blessed to be a part of. Getting to share our passion with likeminded people is the greatest perk to our job. Seeing someone light up when they see a sturgeon tug the line or watching someone fight their first salmon is something that will never get old. Many good times and first were had this year but before we dive into that we would like to wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Fished filled New Year!! Here’s to the good times had and looking forward to making more in 2020.
2019 was another magical year for all things sturgeon. Once again our earliest 10 foot plus sturgeon was landed and released towards the end of April. Also another first, two 10+ footers on the same day! One was landed in the Canyon and the other came out of the Chilliwack mid-June. In fact the average size this year was very impressive with a plethora of 7 to 9 footers coming to hand on a daily basis.
Late winter, prior to freshet, the Fishing in the lower reaches of the Fraser was phenomenal. Double digit numbers were the norm instead of the exception and it was not uncommon to see multiple double headers on the same day!! In fact triple headers were commonplace!! As the waters warmed through late March the big boy’s started biting as the fish left there wintering holes and started searching out nutrients.
Freshet was very easy this year and we did not experience the typical late May through June floods that make for tougher fishing conditions. The waters rose slowly and crested early in June peaking at just over 7 meters and then quickly subside. This made for some fantastic early summer fishing conditions as the water dropped much earlier than normal and river debris was at a minimal. The fish were ultra-active and put up spectacular aerial fights.
The summer was a warm and pleasant one with slightly cooler temperature and the forest fires that “smoked” us out in years past were non-existent. This was due to the interior of BC getting an above average amount of rain which also cooled the Frasers waters and kept the fish feeding hard all summer. Fishing remained good and then got very good as the much heralded pink salmon came in to the system through late August. Sturgeon flipped the switch at the end of August and started actively seeking out these delicious salmon.
The fishing stayed excellent right through the fall as all the salmon “flavours” made their traditional spawning runs and kept the sturgeon on the feed right through. Currently the fish have packed up in their wintering holes and the fishing remains very good. There is still an abundance of feed in the form of spawned out salmon carcasses and sturgeon are really trying to stack up the weight as winter threatens. The river fairly devoid of anglers and the fish are really on the bite… drop us a line, it’s not too late to catch a few more sturgeon…
THE FRASER CANYON:
The Canyon portion of the Fraser River fished exceptionally well in 2019. This special piece of water arguably produces more large sturgeon specimens than anywhere else in the world and it definitely lived up to it’s reputation this year. The consistency that 7 foot plus fish were being landed was unprecedented. It seemed that for very long stretches all of our boats that run the canyon were landing fish of this magnitude, or bigger, on a daily basis!
The Canyon also fished well right from April through October. Typically numbers drop off sometime in late September as the fish start to drop down river for salmon bonanza but once again, for reasons unknown, Numbers were above average right to the middle of October.
THE UPPER PITT RIVER:
The Pitt River started out normal this year with the river going in to freshet and becoming jet boat-able at the end of May. Trophy sized Sea Run Bull Trout came in decent numbers early and continued through June. July saw a size blip as the average size of the fish came down, and then the salmon came towards the end of the month. This was definitely a decent year for both sockeye and chinook fresh from the ocean and eager to chase a swung fly. True trophy fishing at it’s finest.
The river stayed quite navigable this year as it did not split up as much and log jams were at a minimal having said that we seemed to be a little more dependent on rains to bring up the water. The slightly cooler summer did not melt the glaciers quite as much as typical which made for quite the differences in levels on a day to day basis. Fishing remained good until Mid August and then dropped off as the glaciers started to freeze up overnight.
FRASER BASIN SALMON:
The fall run of salmon were a little late this season and early high water plagued us as late summer rains held the rivers much higher than average. This made many of the salmon shoot through the lower reaches of the river much quicker than typical and made for some hit and miss fishing. As the waters dropped in Mid-October the fishing heated up and we had one of the best late seasons we’ve seen in years.
Chinook numbers were some of the highest that we’ve seen in over a decade however the Fraser itself remained closed and we were restricted to fishing the Harrison for them… which did received a bumper crop. Pink salmon numbers were way down from traditional seasons, however these numbers were actually much higher than forecasted by DFO and bodes very well for the return run in 2021. Chums were late in coming but when they did they showed up in numbers and the fishing was spectacular right through to about the 3rd week of November. Coho numbers were way up as predicted, however with the higher waters they tended to shoot straight through and did not stage as they typically do in the lower rivers, this made for hit and miss fishing.
Looking forward to next season we are expecting good numbers of salmon in general. Let’s hope that Mother Nature comes through for us and we see some normal early water conditions. It could be one of the best ever…
2019 was a phenomenal steelhead season for us. Almost every one of our river raft adventures managed to put at least one of these west coast silver trophies to the beach. This was our 2nd year with the raft on the Vedder and it only promises to get better.
Steelhead numbers were up and water conditions were “mint” most of the season. Other fishing pressure seemed to be on the low side however that may have been primarily due to being able to access waters with the raft that others could not, or had to hike to get to. Fished were caught on both swung flies and traditional float gear.
This season is quickly approaching as we start our steelhead trips sometime in February. Fish will be in the system at the end of the month and will really start to run hard sometime late January. If you’ve ever wanted to knock the steelhead out of your bucket list floating the river with our profesional steelhead bums is best opportunity. Contact Rick for more info firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again Thanks’ every one for making the 2019 fishing season such a success and we look forward to seeing you all in 2019! Have a splendid holiday season and here’s wishing everyone a prosperous and fish filled New Year! Cheers!