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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: March 23rd, 2019

Last October, I had the pleasure spending a couple of days with Phil Rowley at Douglas Lake Ranch's Stoney Lake Lodge. We filmed an episode on late fall rainbow trout fishing and Phil shared how he usually tackles this fishery and produces results. You can now watch the entire show below!

Rivers in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley remain very low as we have experienced almost no rain for a couple of months, and dry weather remains in the forecast. Not only is this producing poor steelhead fishing results, it is going to be critical this summer. The Chilliwack River's level is currently the same as what we would see in late summer. Hopefully we will get some rain this spring, otherwise the summer heat is going to pose a real threat to our fish. Lake fishing is just starting to fire up right now. Kawkawa Lake is finally ice free and kokanee fishing should remain good for awhile. Urban lake rainbow trout stockings have begin and as more lakes become ice free, they will be stocked in the next several weeks. Lower Fraser River's water clarity remains excellet. Cutthroat trout fishing has been good between Chilliwack and Hope. Tidal Fraser River bull trout fishing has been very good downstream from Queensborough. Sturgeon fishing is also happening now!

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Upcoming Events and Promotional News

Here are some of the latest news and upcoming events in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley!

Capilano River

Capilano River is quiet during this time of the year. The odd winter steelhead might be encountered but overall there really isn't a winter fishery for this system. The river has been very low. Typically we see the odd coho salmon making their appearance in the river around April, but with the river being so low chances are pretty slim.

Please remember that you might encounter the odd steelhead in the system. ALL steelhead (hatchery and wild) have to be released with care. Please report individuals who choose to do otherwise.

Stave River

Stave River's quiet during this time of the year, so it can be quite pleasant to spend a day wandering around it. The cutthroat trout fishing can be quite good right now, as chum salmon fry emerge from redds. These trout are feeding on juvenile salmon near the surface so a minnow pattern fly being tossed by a 4 or 5 wt fly setup can be very effective.

There are also mountain whitefish in the river. These are more commonly found near the river bed so a small stonefly being fished closer to the bottom works best. If you are float fishing, you can still use a small nymph pattern, or bait such as dew worm, single eggs, shrimp to catch them.

Winter steelhead usually start showing up around this time of the year.

Hatch Match'r Fly and Tackle in Maple Ridge is your best one-stop shop on the North side of Fraser Valley. New owner Nick and his staff are always happy to help you, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned angler. They are open seven days a week. Upcoming seminars:

Squamish River

Squamish River conditions remains good. Salmon fry are not abundant this year but they are around. Bull trout and rainbow trout are feeding on them so if you are fly fishing, a minnow pattern can produce. This time of the year, you also might encounter a winter steelhead. Cheakamus River is also the main tributary which is worth trying. Catch and release applies to all species, and there is a bait ban in effect.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River winter steelhead

Chilliwack Rive is very low. Water clarity however has been fluctuating due to snow melt. Fishing can be quite challenging right now because of the tough conditions. Upper river has a good abundance of fish as expected for this time of the year, but be aware of spawning fish which anglers should avoid. Mid and lower river have fish but you have to put in the foot work to find these fish in skinny waters. As the weather gets warmer, there are also other fish species actively feeding in the system. These include mountain whitefish and resident rainbow trout.

Wally Hall Junior Memorial Fishing Derby is happening right now. Entry fee is $20 and can be purchased at Fred's Custom Tackle. The weigh-in station is at Fred's Chilliwack store at 6336C Vedder Road. All proceeds go toward salmonid habitat enhancement on this river system. Stay updated on the derby results. This derby ends on March 15th.

Tidal Fraser River

Tidal Fraser River is mostly quiet during this time of the year. Herring can be caught in Steveston between now and March as they enter the estuaries to spawn around eel grass patches. Imperial Landing's pier and Garry Point Park are both good places to do it. Incoming tide and the beginning of outgoing can be good for it.

Bull trout fishing has been very good as expected. water clarity is excellent so casting a lure or fly can have good results. Timing is key, you want to fish from two hours before high tide until two hours after. Fish are feeding close to shore so focus on these areas first. Catch and release applies to this fishery.

If you need more information on this fishery, please see the following articles:

Please note that in spring 2016, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has issued a night time fishing closure for all finfish species in the Tidal Fraser River. To fish the Tidal Fraser River (downstream from the railway bridge in Mission), you are required to have a valid saltwater fishing licence.

If you would like more information on fishing in the Tidal Fraser River, please stop by Berry's Bait and Tackle in Richmond. Mike, Len and Michele have a team of knowledgable staff who regularly fish this area and they can help you out.

Non-tidal Fraser River

Fraser River winter cutthroat trout fishing

Cutthroat trout fishing has been very productive lately. Salmon fry are out so the feeding frenzies are on. Look for fish in back channels. Surface activities are always good indications that fish are feeding. Water clarity remains good and shall be this way until mid April when freshet begins. Fly fishing with minnow patterns work well. A small nymph pattern also produces. If you are spincasting, float fishing with bait like single eggs and dew worm works very well, or you can cast and retrieve a small spoon. Most of the fish are between 10 and 16 inches long.

Sturgeon fishing is starting to pick up again. Water in the main channel is still pretty cold so fish are not super active. As the weather warms up, it should improve fishing. Eulachon and minnow are the go to bait right now. Please don't forget to purchase your conservation surcharge if you want to take part in this fishery.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Winter rainbow trout fishing in lakes

Lake fishing is finally happening! Some urban lakes have been stocked by the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. These "catchable" rainbow trout are around 1/2lb each, which are great for kids who want to get into fishing. Float fishing with bait can work really well for these fish. Productive baits include single eggs, shrimp, dew worm, dough bait. Stockings will continue and expand to other lakes as conditions improve. Lafarge, Como, Green Timbers, Rice and Mill Lakes are worth trying.

Kawkawa Lake is finally ice free. Fishing has been good. Kokanee, coho and cutthroat trout can all be caught. The abundance of coho salmon has increased in recent years and it can be hard to weed through these fish, which cannot be retained, to get some kokanee. Average size of these coho and kokanee is between 14 and 16 inches long. Fish are feeding in 40 feet of water just above the bottom. A boat is necessary and a sounder is key to success.

Cultus Lake is cold, but the warm weather last week has induced some surface activities. Cutthroat trout fishing can in fact be quite good at this lake in the spring, as these fish feed on salmon fry. Northern pikeminnow are still found in 100 feet of water due to the cold water temperature. Bull trout can be caught near creek mouths.

Jones Lake is frozen and ice fishing can be done, but the road up to the lake is difficult unless you have chains and 4X4.

These articles may assist you:

Please remember that for lake fishing, if you are fishing from shore, you are only allowed to use ONE rod. If you are fishing alone in a boat, then you are permited to use two rods. Only one hook is allowed on your rod. Please note that single barbless hooks are required to be used at some lakes. You should note the daily quota of trout for the lake where you are fishing. Catch and release is required in some lakes, please check regulations.

Before heading out, please read the freshwater regulations in Region 2 first. For more regular updates, make sure you follow our Facebook page. If you witness violations, please contact the nearest conservation office or phone 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Conservation officers can not attend all calls, but they do their best to catch those who do not choose to play by the rules.

Good luck and please conserve your catches!

Rodney Hsu
Webmaster, Fishing with Rod Production