Deans Dino Blog

2023 Season Wrap Up

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2023 Season Wrap Up

As we move into winter we find ourselves winding down from another fish filled season and we would like to take a moment and reflect on the memories and stories of the 2023 fishing season. It is these stories that drives our passion and makes our job so rewarding. We feel privileged and blessed to be able to be a part of them and share in the inevitable excitement that they foster.

The greatest perk to our labor is getting to sharing our passion with likeminded people. That chance to see someone’s goals fulfilled first hand is almost as addicting as fishing itself. Hearing everyone in the boat gasp as they watch a giant sturgeon launch out of the water for the first time… Seeing that wide eyed expression as the line goes taught for the first time on a salmon… basking and sharing in the glory of the capture… and sometimes the escape, all the while surrounded by the majesty of mother nature is an incredible reward. This is something that will never get old… and again we would like to Thank You for visiting in 2023 and hope that you spread the word and come see us again!

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Many firsts and incredible memories were had this year but before we dive into that we would like to wish you and yours a Fished filled New Year!! From our office staff… Leanne, Alyssa, Dean and Rick… and the rest of the Great River Fishing Team… We truly hope you have a Safe, Healthy and Happy New Year! Here’s to the good times had and looking forward to making more in 2024.

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The winter of 2023 started off with the lowest water conditions we had ever experienced, in fact this was the lowest water conditions ever recorded on the Fraser River. This trend would hold on for the entire season, what a far cry from the last few years were the levels were some of the highest. These conditions led to some fantastic numbers of fish coming from traditional wintering holes as fish were very concentrated.


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 searching out nutrients and we started seeing some true giants.

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Once again our earliest 10 foot plus sturgeon was landed and released towards the end of April in the Fraser Canyon. 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.

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With the low water conditions freshet was very easy 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. 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.

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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. The Fraser Canyon really lit up this fall and we had some incredible late season fishing through this stunningly scenic piece of water. Giant fish became the norm and the largest landed fish came to hand in late September and pushed an incredible 10 foot 8 inches in length. Also, for only the second time in memory, two fish over 10 feet were caught on the same day! This is truly a grand feet as most guides are considered lucky just to be able to hook one or two behemoths a season, never mind landing one.


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…

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The Pitt River started out slightly early this year with the river going in to freshet and becoming jet boat-able about mid May. Trophy sized Sea Run Bull Trout came in decent numbers early and continued through mid 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.

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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.


The fall run of salmon were a little late this season due to the lower water conditions. Having said that they stagged for a much longer period of time and the fishing was some of the best we’ve seen in decades.


Pink salmon numbers were way up and the Fraser River itself realized a September opening. The fishing was fast and furious! With the low water, as you can imagine, it also was incredibly clear and making it easy for the fish to find and attack well presented flies and lures.



These higher numbers have been directly correlated with the removal of certain fish farms on the west coast. Since Pinks are a 2 year cycle fish they are the first indicator of what these removals may mean for all salmon. Truly exciting times!

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Coho numbers were way up as predicted, and with the low water conditions, they staged on mass in the Harrison River for quite some time. This made for some incredible mornings as you often could watch the fish in hale your lure! Doesn’t get too much exciting than that!


Chums numbers where down, however most days it did not feel like it on the Harrison River. This made non-retention for them mandatory on the entire Fraser River watershed.


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.

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…

We are truly grateful for the opportunity to share in the moment and understand that this is your moment. We strive hard to never take far granted the trust you have put in us to make your adventure a once in a lifetime experience, every time.

That’s it for now. Conserve our waters and here’s to great fishing, forever…




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