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Vancouver BC Fishing Report

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod | Last updated: May 1st, 2019

Our latest episode is a trip to the Fishing Highway 24 in the Cariboo Region in June 2018. I targeted kokanee at Deka and Hathaway Lake with Mark Roseboom from Lone Butte Sporting Goods. Both lakes can be very productive for kokanee, Deka is known for its exceptionally bigger average sized fish, up to 4lb. Enjoy the episode!

If you plan to visit the area, be sure to check out Moosehaven Resort by Hathaway Lake. The resort offers six cabins for rent, as well as RV site rentals. There is a boat launch and floating docks to accommodate your boats. Kokanee fishing is readily available just minutes from the resort.

The weather has been dry overall. Now that we are in May, it is the best time for lake fishing! Keep in mind that many rivers in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley are closed to fishing. These measures are taken to protect spawning steelhead and juvenile salmon that are rearing in the streams. Fraser River is steadily on the rise due to freshet, sturgeon fishing is happening and has been quite productive of course. As it warms up, coarse fish are becoming more active in shallow waters too. These are great species to catch for kids.

Coastal Springs Float Lodge is hosting a catch and release derby for their guests during the stays between July 1st and 14th. Limited seats are left! More information...

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Capilano River

Capilano River will start seeing the odd coho salmon in the system especially if we get some rain. Once the river rises when the dam releases water, then some fish should hopefully move in. Early season Capilano coho salmon are typically small, in the 1 to 4lb range. Float fishing with roe can be very effective at first light for these fish. Generally, the early coho salmon run peaks around late June.

You might also encounter the odd winter steelhead during this time of the year. ALL steelhead (hatchery and wild) have to be released with care. Please report individuals who choose to do otherwise.

Stave River

Stave River can be very fun during this time of the year! Two target species are available, they are cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish. Coastal cutthroat trout are feeding on salmon fry as well as insect hatches at the moment. Fly fishing for them with minnow and nymph patterns can be very effective. You can also cast and retrieve small spoons for them. Mountain whitefish are primarily bottom feeders so nymphing, or float fishing with bait are your best options. As the weather warms up, you'll also find northern pikeminnow and peamouth chub in the system. These are fantastic species for kids to catch.

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. Trout and char fishing is happening. The odd winter steelhead might be encountered but overall it is slow as expected. Cheakamus River is also a tributary that you may want to try if you are going after winter steelhead. Catch and release applies to all species, and there is a bait ban in effect.

Chilliwack River

Chilliwack River winter steelhead

Chilliwack Rive is now closed to fishing upstream from the Vedder Crossing until June 30th. It remains open for fly fishing downstream from the Crossing until the end of May. River conditions remain good, it is still pretty low and clear. Water level is unlikely to rise due to our low snowpack this past winter. Winter steelhead are still available, while there are other species like whitefish, rainbow trout in the system too.

Sumas River

Sumas River, or more like a slough, runs from Abbotsford to Chilliwack, can be a lot of fun. The system has a good abundance of carp which are active right now. They can be caught by float fishing, or bottom fishing. As long as your bait is kept on the bottom, you should be able to find some bites. Bait like corn, dough balls, bread can all work pretty well. There are many other species in this system as well, including northern pikeminnow, peamouth chub, sunfish, largemouth bass, cutthroat trout and even a sturgeon or two.

Tidal Fraser River

Tidal Fraser River is dirty. There isn't a whole lot going on beside bull trout, which can be caught by bottom fishing with roe during peak tide. Bull trout have to be released so please handle these fish with care. Coarse fish like northern pikeminnow and peamouth chub are now becoming active due to warmer water temperature. These can be caught by fishing with dough balls, or dew worm.

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

We are not expecting any salmon openings in 2019 for the Tidal Fraser River. The only possible opening is the pink salmon opening in late August and early September for about two weeks, but that will be decided based on the estimated run size as we get closer to the season.

Salmon fishing is not expected to open this fall due to the run timing of endangered Interior Fraser steelhead.

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 white sturgeon fishing

White sturgeon fishing can be very good this time of the year. Eulachons are making their way into the system to spawn so these fish are feeding on them. Salmon roe in sacs can also work very well. Fish in the 3 to 6 feet are common, but there is also a good chance to get into fish in the 8 feet range. If you have never tried this fishery before, your best bet is to hire a guide. We recommend the following guides.

  • Great River Fishing Adventures
  • Lang's Fishing Adventures
  • Fred's Custom Tackle

Cutthroat trout fishing can still be good right now but you have to focus in the creeks, sloughs, tributaries of the Fraser River where water is much clearer. Fish are feeding on salmon fry, sticklebacks, and insect hatches. Fly fishing with these patterns can produce well, or you can spin cast with a small spoon or spinner.

All salmon fishing remains closed until August 23rd. There is a small possibility of openings for chinook and pink salmon between late August and early September. Salmon fishing is not expected to open in the fall due to the run timing of endangered Interior Fraser steelhead.

Lower Mainland Lakes

Winter rainbow trout fishing in lakes

Lake fishing is peaking in the next several weeks so be sure to take advantage of it. All urban lakes have been stocked with catchable rainbow trout by the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery. These fish can be caught by a variety of fishing techniques. Float fishing with bait such as deli shrimp, single eggs, dew worms is my favourite method. Fish can be caught throughout the day but the best time is definitely late in the afternoon when lakes are shaded. Lafarge Lake, Como Lake, Green Timbers Lake, Rice Lake are all fantastic lakes to try if you would like to take a kid fishing.

Kawkawa Lake is slow, kokanee fishing is not expected to improve until late May again.

Hicks Lake and Deer Lake at Sasquatch Provincial Park are excellent due to the high abundance of fish. Hicks Lake produces rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and kokanee. They can be caught by float fishing in the shallow parts of the lake with bait such as single eggs, deli shrimp and dew worm. Deer Lake produces plenty of fish but they are mostly small, especially cutthroat trout found in this lake.

Jones Lake is now productive. You can encounter both rainbow trout and cutthroat trout by trolling or fishing near creek mouths. The road to the lake is not in the best shape so 4X4 is a must, and you have to be prepared for breakdowns.

Alta Lake in Whistler is an excellent catch and release lake for both rainbow trout and cutthroat trout. This lake is usually productive throughout May.

Cultus Lake is starting to see more life as water gets warmer. Largescale sucker and northern pikeminnow are now found in the shallows. Smallmouth bass, which were discovered in the lake last year, will become active in the next few weeks. Cutthroat trout can be seen feeding on the surface from time to time. This is a diverse, multi-species lake fishery which can be enjoyed from both a boat or shore.

Browning Lake, Alice Lake, Edith Lake and Brohm Lake around Squamish can all be good for trout fishing too. While the fish are not too big, the scenic setting around these lakes makes up for it.

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