Summer fun fishing at local piers in Vancouver
By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Published in June 2001
Yes! The month that you have all been waiting for, June has finally arrived. The beginning of summer, the sun is shining, the water is warming up, time to head down to Jericho Beach and tan your skin. What about fishing? What can I do to keep the kids entertained during a hot summer day? Are there any fishing opportunities in June since the salmon has not arrived yet? These are some of the questions fellow anglers often ask themselves during mid summer. The answers to these questions are simple, and you can find them on local piers along the coast of BC. Pier fishing may not seem as exciting as hooking a 30lb tyee on a boat in Campbell River, but it can still be great fun for both kids and adults. Fishing on piers can be very social, yet you have a large chance of encountering a fish species that you have never seen before. It can also be productive, on good days you will also be able to catch some edible fish. Overall, it is an inexpensive way to kill some time without spending thousands of dollars on a fishing trip.
Sole and Flounder
Both sole and flounder are flatfish that reside on sandy bottoms and can be found in relatively shallow waters. This makes them an easy target for shore anglers. Like their gigantic cousin the halibut, soles and flounders are both predators that love to ambush on the sea floor and wait for their preys to swim by. Some of their favorite diet including small needlefish, shiner perch, sandworms, shrimps and juvenile salmon. Catching them is simple, all you need is a stiff rod and a large reel filled with 10 to 12 pound line. For terminal tackle, try using weights between 1 ounce to 4 ounces, depending on how strong the current is in the waters you are fishing in. Tie a leader with a long shank hook just above the weight, and bait it with fish meat, squid, or shrimps. Cast your bait out, and slowly troll along the sandy bottom. You can also try jigging with some artificial worms, which can sometimes be very productive. The average size of flatfish that you may encounter is around 30 to 40cm long, but it is often that you will catch a 50 to 60cm long fish. There are always many smaller flounders or soles stealing your bait, be sure to release these fish if they are hooked.
On the west coast of North America, there are several perch species that anglers are able to catch during the summer months. These include shiners, striped perch, pile perch, and surf perch. Perch's average weight rarely exceeds a pound, but they are incredibly strong fighters. These fish love to hang around rock piles, pylons, piers or any underwater structures that provide shadings and protection. Bait that you can try out include worms, shrimps, ghost shrimps, clams, mussels and crabs. Jig close to structures with a light rod fitted with 4 pound line. Perch are sensitive biters, therefore one has to concentrate when fishing for them. Once hooked, these fish will make you scream, as they dodge under rocks or pylons, pulling out every single trick to get off the hook. One important note that perch anglers should be aware of is that they are summer spawners that give birth to live youngs. It is best to fish for them during late summer or early fall to avoid catching the pregnant females. If you hook a pregnant female, please do release her with care to ensure future stock recruitment.
Another type of bottom fish that both boat and shore anglers enjoy to catch is the rockfish. These colourful fish can be found in kelp beds or waters that have rocky structures. They can be caught in both deep and shallow waters, however most large ones are caught in deep water when fishing on a boat. Fishing techniques for rockfish can be either baitfishing or jigging.
One thing to note about rockfish is whether the fishery is open or not. Due to past overfishing, rockfish populations have been on the decline in recent years. This has resulted in seasonal closures with limited openings in the summer. Please always check the regulations before heading out to your fishing trip.
Popular Fishing Locations
For residents in Vancouver, there are many places where you can enjoy this style of fishing. The table below lists some of the popular pier fishing spots in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast.
|Fishing spot/Location||Fish species that you can catch|
|Jericho Yacht Club Jetty, North of UBC||Shiner perch, soles, pacific tomcod, dogfish, skates, crabs.|
|North Vancouver piers||Perch (shiners, striped), flounders, rockfish, greenling.|
|Port Moody Pier||Soles, crabs, perch.|
|Sechelt Pier||Pile perch, shiners, soles, dogfish.|
|No. 3 Road Pier in Richmond||Peamouth chub, northern squawfish, sculpins, dogfish, salmon, trout, char, pacific tomcod, shiners (autumn) and flounders.|
|London's Landing (end of No. 2 Road, Richmond)||Peamouth chub, northern squawfish, shiners (autumn), the odd pacific tomcod.|
Because pier fishermen do not have the luxury of changing fishing spots like a boat fisherman, timing is crucial. Fishing is generally much better during high tide, and dawn or dusk. Please consider other anglers on the piers too, always cast straight to avoid tangles. Always pick up one's own garbage so no trace is left behind. Release any small fish for future stocks. Check your fishing regulation before head out, all of these fish have daily guotas. Finally, always observe others' techniques, local knowledge is always the ingredient for success. Tight line!