From our office staff… Leanne, Alyssa, Dean and Rick… and the rest of the Great River Fishing Team… We truly wish you a Safe, Healthy and Happy Holiday Season and a Prosperous New Year!
This time of year finds us winding down from another fish filled season and what a strange year it was. With Covid keeping the world fairly shutdown it was nice to see some of the restrictions lifted in the fall and we were finally able to see some of our out of country guests. With that being said, the weather was the true story for 2021 with drought like conditions in the summer months to unprecedented flooding in the late fall, it was a roller coaster of a ride. We are happy to let you know that all the GRFA staff and guides came through these events unscathed.
SPECIAL NOTE ON THE FLOODS: As most of you know southern BC experienced devastating flooding starting the middle of November and the atmospheric rivers continued to wreak havoc right up until the first week of December. With so many people loosing there homes and lively hoods, coupled with all transportation routes to the interior being completely cut off due to landslides and bridge wash outs, this flooding is considered by most to be the greatest natural disaster to ever strike Canada.
It is with great pride that we witnessed the angling community come together and essentially were one of the first groups to take action in the face of such horrific destruction. Lead by the Fraser Valley Angling Guide Association (FVAGA); private anglers and guides alike immediately jumped into action and offered water transportation, in the form of jet boats, to help evacuate Hope and other communities where thousands of stranded travelers were trapped. Next households goods, flood recovery packages and tools were brought to these communities cut off from the outside world. Then as the days turned into weeks the FVAGA, as well as many other non-members, helped with hospital/medical transportations, animal rescues, feeding cut off livestock, sandbagging homes, house checks, dyke worker transportation, essential package delivery, a massive river clean up effort… and the list just goes on…
Thousands of unpaid hours and dollars were given by the angling community in the wake of the flooding and never have we seen a group come together and help their neighbors with such vigor, all the while expecting nothing in return. It was truly amazing to be a part off and our hats go off to all those that jumped at the chance to show compassion and caring to those that were, and still are, in need. We can honestly say that the angling community in the Fraser Valley has never been tighter as so many put aside their differences, and shoulder to shoulder, worked hard to show the greater good that humanity can deliver. Kudo’s to all and Thank You from all the team at GRFA.
MOVING FORWARD: With the flooding many fish, including sturgeon, were displaced and are now finding themselves in peril as the water subsides and farm fields start to form again. FVAGA has acquired the required permits, and along with biologists, are moving these fish back to water ways where they came from. It is with this in mind that we ask you to report any fish seen in the flood zone where they might be trapped. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Dean directly at 604-991-3474. Time is of essence and we need to react quickly to help these precious creatures recover.
YEAR END IN REVIEW
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 2022.
Winter found our neck of the woods seeing a little more water than normal. This was partly due to local rains but mostly a much easier winter in the interior of the province which kept the waters up. This made for some outstanding winter sturgeon fishing as the big fish really didn’t go into their typical dormant state. Couple that with the typical array of smaller fish the action was fast and furious.
As we moved into spring the water levels remained slightly above average which in turn kept the water temperatures slightly above average as well. With the lack of fisherman on the river due to the pandemic, the sturgeon remained fairly uneducated and often the bites were stunning as many fish simply devoured our offerings. This seemed to go on and on as we really didn’t experience many, if any, true lulls in the action.
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.
Late June and early July brought some of the hottest weather we had experienced in quite a few years. However the Frasers water remained cool in comparison and the fishing was excellent. The Fraser Canyon portion of the river was particularly good as the levels remained at ideal state for almost the entire duration of the summer. Those luckily enough to get out on this special piece of water made some serious memories as the fishing was epic. Big numbers and bigger fish were the norm most everyday. If you haven’t fished this area its truly a bucket list experience and we encourage you to drop us a line and find out more about one of the best secrets on the river.
Fall rains came early and the rivers rose as the salmon started their annual spawning migration which always signifies a bonanza of food for the sturgeon. This year was a pink salmon year (they only run every other year i.e. 2019, 2021, 2023 etc…) and the numbers were higher than expected. As we moved into October the rivers stayed abnormally high as the Chum Salmon showed up on mass and with them many a bent sturgeon rod. In particular the Harrison River absolutely went off and both numbers and size were realized on almost every outing. This action held on for an extended time and we are just now starting to switch over to our post salmon baits once again… drop us a line, it’s still fishing strong
SALMONID YEAR IN REVIEW:
We started the season out on steelhead fishing by rafting the Vedder River and plying its water with both, the tried and true float fishing method as well as fly and spey fishing. Water levels fluctuated a lot this season as the river received more than its usual share of rain. Having said that, the Vedder is very stable system and would not stay high for more than a day or two. This Yo-Yo effect on the water really pushed in a lot of fish and after each surge and we had some fantastic action on fresh fish whenever the river was on the drop.
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 professional steelhead bums is best opportunity. Contact Rick for more info email@example.com
May rolled around and we started our annual Pitt River Bull Trout fishery. This system typically needs higher water not only to bring the fish in but also allows for us to run the jet boats further upstream, accessing more fish lies. The early summer saw the big trout roll in and even with the higher water they continued to push in and move around the river right up until mid-July. This is when we saw the first salmon, which was earlier than anticipated, and they held on until late August.
With September came the much anticipated Fraser Basin salmon fishery. As noted earlier, this was a pink year and the numbers came in mech better than anticipated with close to 8 million entering the system! Obviously these little scrappers were great fun on light tackle and DFO even gave us an opening on teh Fraser for a limited time.
Coho came in on time, about mid September, and the fishing was exceptional even with the higher water right through October. This was due to the much higher than anticipated numbers. Sprinkled in with the Coho were Chinook salmon in decent numbers but not as prevalent as expected, this may bode well for 2022 as many chinook will hold over in the salt for an extra year making them bigger and bolstering numbers.
Chum were a surprise as numbers were slightly lower than anticipated, and they did not really show up on mass until about the 2nd week of October. With the lower numbers the kill fishery was curtailed which left the rivers fairly devoid of anglers. High water levels played havoc with beach space to get out of the boat and fish, however, those that were willing to fish from the boat had some spectacular action.
NEW for 2021/22 Season!! We are proud to announce that we have opened Fraser Canyon Riverside Domes! These 2 Geodesic Domes are the ultimate headquarters to your Fraser Canyon sturgeon fishing adventure! Nestled onto an amazing piece of property right on the banks of the mighty Fraser River near Yale BC, it is ideally situated for the outdoor enthusiast, angler and nature lover looking to get away and enjoy what the Fraser Canyon has to offer. Boasting over a thousand feet of riverfront your guide will pick and drop you off via jet boat for an amazing day up the highly scenic Fraser Canyon chasing some of the largest sturgeon in the world.
These state of the art geodesic domes represent the new standard for all things “glamping”. Handsomely appointed and offering all the luxuries of home these structures and surrounding property will leave you breathless. Stargaze from inside your dome and enjoy 550 square feet of living space heated with a propane fireplace, as well as air conditioned to achieve your maximum comfort level. Enjoy the wood burning cedar hot tub next to the river and take full advantage of the massive deck with a unique fire table and BBQ to enjoy your favorite cuisine. Then end your day next to a cozy fire in the beautifully created pit with wood provided (not in fire season). For more info or to find out availability please reach out to Alyssa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again Thanks’ every one for making the 2021 fishing season such a success and we look forward to seeing you all in 2022… hopefully with a bent rod in hand. Have a splendid holiday season