Fishing the Valley

Vic Carrao

The Fraser Valley offers many unique fishing opportunities, river fishing for Salmon and Sturgeon, Carp fishing in our local sloughs and fly fishing for Trout and Whitefish in lakes and rivers. All these fisheries provide excellent opportunities for those willing to put in the time to learn, how, when, where to fish them. The angling opportunities the Fraser Valley offers are world class. I spend most of my time guiding anglers from around the world. I have never yet heard someone say where they live the fishing is better or the scenery more beautiful. You soon realize what we have is very special, even on a slow day; our quality of angling is much higher than most places in the world. Could you image spending 5 days fishing to catch 2 fish and then say that’s was great fishing? I can’t, but many places in this world it is considered normal and even above average.

Over the next few months I will be writing a series of fishery forecasts with a few tips on where, when and how to catch your favorite fish. Please feel free to email us at or browse through our website.

There are several fisheries in August that provide good to excellent fishing opportunities for salmon; the two most notable are Sockeye & Chinook salmon. The Fraser and Vedder River’s are two most productive salmon rivers in SE British Columbia. The Fraser is now loaded with Sockeye with good chances at catching a trophy Chinook. The preferred methods to catch these feisty fish are bottom bouncing, bar fishing and fly-fishing. The area between Chilliwack and Hope is one of the most productive salmon grounds on the Fraser. There are many access points to these productive fishing grounds for those with a boat, with limited access for shore anglers. Hope and Agassiz provide the best shore access points with Gill rd, Peg leg, Haig bar and Jones Creek being the most popular. Recently a book call Fishing Fever was published which shows most of the popular angling areas and access points for the Fraser River. Fishing Fever is available at most of the local tackle stores located throughout the lower mainland.

One fishery that is overlooked by most anglers is the Jack fishery on the Fraser. A Jack is an immature salmon usually less than 5 lbs. The Fraser has excellent fishing for Chinook Jacks by mid-August with very few anglers targeting them. The most productive method to catch Jacks is bar fishing but don’t overlook hooking them with a fly as well. For bar fishing, the set up is the same as used for large Chinook but on a smaller scale, Rod, reel and bar rig with a spin n glo. The key to catching Jacks is to scale down your spin n glo to a # 4 or 6 and add some cured salmon roe. Jacks travel close to shore so use less weight and keep your casts short. This is a great fishery for kids as they can reel them in without help from Mom or Dad. My kids use 6 ft ugly sticks that can handle even the larger Chinook if one happens to grab the bait and lure.

Another fishery that is overlooked by many local anglers is the early run of Coho that migrates up the Vedder River. As early as the first week in August Coho start to arrive into this river. The Vedder canal is a great place to target early Coho as well as the confluence of the Vedder. Fishing the deeper pools is a good place to start, there’s always a chance at hooking a larger Chinook as well. Casting spinners and float fishing with cured salmon roe are the two most productive methods for the canal. The confluence is best fished by trolling with Gibbs Kit-A-Mat or Tee Spoon. By late August the Coho fishing can be very good especially at the confluence of the Sumas canal. Watch for the boundary signs located at the entrance to the Fraser River, as there is no fishing for Coho in the Fraser so you must fish above the boundary in the Sumas.

Angling Forecast for August 1 to Sept 15

By all indications we should be fishing for Sockeye and Chinook on the Fraser. This is the best fishery in the Valley for catching quantity of salmon. On a good day it’s not that difficult to hook 10 or more Sockeye per person with a good chance at a larger Chinook salmon. The Fraser also offers fair to great fishing for Sturgeon through August with peak fishing beginning late August through to November. The Chehalis River has reasonable fishing for summer run Steelhead and Chinook. The key to success on this river totally dependent on water levels. The Chehalis river fishes best just after a heavy rain. The Vedder River has fair to good fishing for Chinook with the Coho beginning to enter by mid-August. By late August or early September, good numbers of Coho are in the river system with late run Chinook and early chum not far behind. The Harrison river begins to fish well for Sockeye by early August with the best fishing late August early September. The Harrison also offers fair to good fishing for Cutthroat Trout throughout the summer and fall. The Stave River begins to see an early run of Coho in mid August but peak fishing is late September early October.

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