Opportunities for the Upcoming Fishing Season
If you are looking for a region that provides opportunities for anglers of all abilities and interests, the Fraser Valley region is perfect. Below is a description that will help you decide which month you wish to fish and visit the area; the report is written on a month by month basis.
January to March
During these first three months of the year, we can experience cold and even freezing temperatures. These are most pronounced in January and February. You can find snow and ice, but you can also experience some temperate and pleasant climates. The fish that you should be looking to catch in these months is the ocean-going rainbow trout, known as the Steelhead.
Steelheads are incredible fish; at times, they are aggressive, but they are also eager to bite. They can, for this reason, be challenging to catch at times. The most effective way to find them is with imitated baits and natural float fishing techniques. It is gratifying if you can catch them on the fly; it can be difficult. If you want to try and find a fish that will get your hands trembling, then the Steelhead has got to be your choice. Even the most experienced angler can get the shakes when trying to tackle the Steelhead.
You may also like to try your hand at sturgeon fishing at this time of year; however, this will depend on what the weather is like. Chilly weather should be no object for sturgeon fishing, but you can also encounter ice floes on the river Fraser as well as high winds.
In the valley, spring starts in April. The water temperatures rise, and the steelheads that are still about are noticeably more aggressive.
By April, the river Fraser has coloured up. It is also rising fast due to snowmelt. April is, therefore, one of the best months for sturgeon fishing as the weather is a lot more pleasant and kinder than in the winter months.
At this time of year, salmon fry is also hatching in the valley; these means that the cutthroat trout real get moving. These trout may only be small, but they are incredibly aggressive, feeding on old eggs and the newly emerging fry. They feed on the chip as they start to hatch from their gravel beds. If you want to fish for cutthroat trout, flies and small spoons are excellent choices.
May to June
During these months, both the water level and the temperatures are higher. The highest standards of the Fraser are usually recorded in the second half of June. However, it does depend on the weather patterns; peaking water flow from snowmelt can occur in May too. These two months are excellent for sturgeon fishing, albeit that the water conditions may be variable, and you may find a lot of debris.
In May and June, you may still like to try your hand at cutthroat trout fishing; this is still being available in the Harrison river system and the clearer of the backwaters that lead to the Fraser.
By this month, it’s most definitely summer, and the river waters of the Fraser are stable. July may experience a start in the drop of water, but the conditions are consistent enough for good sturgeon fishing.
In August the sun is shining, and you can be out on just flip-flops, a tee-shirt, and shorts. The month of August is perfect for wading and the most enjoyable sturgeon fishing. For me, August is my favourite month.
Depending on the abundance of salmon, you may also find opportunities in August for angling sockeye. This year we see the return of the Adams River sockeye run. We don’t know yet however, how many will return; not even the experts know. However, based on previous cycles, there a good chance that you, as an angler, will be able to dish up some sockeye for dinner this August; use the bottom bouncing method to ensure your success.
Chinook salmon also opens with the sockeye fishery. Chinook is Pacific beasts of delicate beauty. They are super healthy, bright, and delicious too. Ledger or bar fishing from shore or an anchored boat is the best way to catch this type of salmon. You may also find that you pick some Chinooks by chance when bottom bouncing for sockeye.
The transitional month of September is beautiful. The mornings are lovely and fresh, yet the afternoons still long and warm. You can fish for Chinooks, sockeye, and go sturgeon fishing at this time of year. In odd years such as 2019 and 2021, you will also find plenty of pink salmon. This will provide you with a high chance of catching a salmon, with pink salmon having a mild flavour and delicate textures that almost everyone loves.
October to November
In these months, it’s natural to experience more rainfall; it is necessary for Mother Nature. At this time of year, many salmon will migrate to river tributaries of the Fraser, such as the Chehalis and the Chilliwack. At this time of year, the rivers’ levels are still quite low due to the dry spells of July and August. The most-welcomed rain freshens up the river and starts to bring up the water levels. You will see the appearance of chum, coho, and Chinooks. Coho is beautiful, eager to eat with a spinner, spoon, or twisted jig. The coho are feisty; it’s best to try and catch these with a reel or rod. Chums grow up to 20lbs and are the water buffaloes of the river. In their spawning phase, they start to change colour, showing purple bars in the early stages of migration. Some people are off-put by the size and colour of the chum, but I am not one of them. I love them, whether they are bright orange or cream, catching them with flies and jigs. Due to their size and weight, they can be quite tricky on the fishing tackle.
Once December arrives, it feels like winter again. You won’t find many salmon, the odd steelheads still being around locally. This is not to say that you can’t have a good day on the water; you need to plan a bit for your sturgeon trips.
Whichever month takes your fancy, or whichever type of fish you are hoping to catch, we hope to find you soon out on the waters of the Fraser with us!
All the best from us here; we hope your fishing adventures are fun!
Fraser River Sturgeon Fishing