If I had to choose only one month to fish in B.C., without a doubt it would be the beautiful month of September. While great fishing opportunities exist throughout every month of the year in British Columbia, the sheer number of amazing fishing options in September is astounding.
For the Salmon angler, September sees the return of Pink Salmon every odd year, Fall Chinook Salmon, and the first returns of Coho Salmon…and then there is also the arrival of late running Summer Chinook Salmon in more interior rivers. Many times, while guiding on the Fraser and Harrison Rivers in late September I have caught Pink Salmon, huge Fall White Chinooks, and giant early returning Coho- all in one day!
British Columbia is well known for its magical Summer/Fall run of Steelhead. In years past, each late September I would travel to the Skeena Rivers to do battle with their amazing, extra-large Steelhead. Since becoming a fishing guide in 2004, my month of September is so busy with guided fishing trips here in Chilliwack, that I have not had the availability to make this journey… but boy do I have the memories! Fighting trophy sized Steelhead in pristine rivers, surrounded by the rich, warm Fall hues of the trees as they shift into the cooler season. This is a trip I wish for every angler to experience. Once you’ve been yourself, I am quite certain you’ll agree that it’s a trip well worth repeating!
Another fishery that brings back some fantastic memories, is the majestic Thompson River. This beautiful mass of river rolls alongside tumbleweeds in a desert of British Columbia. Picture an old cowboy movie terrain, and you are looking at the Thompson River Valley. In years past, I would travel to this awe-inspiring destination in pursuit of Chinook Salmon, Rainbow Trout, and on occasion, an early returning Thompson River Steelhead, the true king of all Steelhead.
Throughout the lakes and rivers of B.C., September is just a great time to get out and do some fishing. This month’s weather is often perfectly accommodating (not too hot, not too cold), with the breathtaking scenery of a postcard.
The rivers that host returns of Sockeye Salmon will now entertain the voracious Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout, gorging on the Salmon eggs. This egg feast can create fishing opportunities that are truly the stuff of legend. Huge Rainbow Trout will drop out of big lakes and congregate where the Sockeye spawn. Any egg pattern will get smashed at this time. You can fly-fish with an egg pattern or use a light action float road and float soft beads for lights out fishing!
In more interior parts of the province, huge Bull Trout will be found in rivers, feeding on eggs and spawning fish like Kokanee. I say with confidence, that your chance at a trophy Bull Trout is by far the most likely during the month of September. This is also when Bull Trout spawn, so often these fish are adorned with a beautiful coloration due to their physical transitioning to spawning.
With Winter not far off, the fish are packing on the feed bag to fatten up in preparation. This can be witnessed in the Fraser River with the Great White Sturgeon. These prehistoric beasts go absolutely crazy for the feed on returning Pink Salmon, and during peak cycle years, the Adams River Sockeye.
September Sturgeon fishing can be so fast and furious, that often my clients ask if we can catch something other than Sturgeon for a few hours, just so their arms can get a rest!
The Rainbows in the lakes of B.C. also prepare for Winter, by gorging on any insects they can find. I have enjoyed tremendous fishing on small lakes in September, using leech patterns, water boatmen, and shrimp flies. Once you find the feeding depth of these fish, choosing a fly does not need to be too particular. You can leave the tiny chironomids and indicators at home. These are BIG fish with BIG appetites.
If Bass fishing is your chosen angling avenue, September can be an ideal time to catch that trophy Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass. As with other fish, Fall marks the time for Bass to fill that belly for Winter. BIG baits, BIG bites, and BIG Bass will be on the table!
Discussion of September fishing could easily fill a book, it’s just that abundant and enjoyable. Sometimes, if just for a moment, I feel envious of those who can take time off in September to explore and fish. The Fall months keep me incredibly busy with my guiding and tackle business, and while I really do love my office on the river, I would be very happy to spend the month of September traveling B.C.
This one magical month feels like so little time, with such an abundance of awesome fishing!
If you are reading my story, please take a minute to
check out our YouTube channel, ‘Bent Rods Fishing’.
Who knows… If we can get enough subscribers, maybe that will create the opportunity to take off the month of guiding, to instead, video-journal a B.C. wide September fishing adventure!
My own fish-dreams aside, I strongly encourage you anglers to not get caught up in only one B.C. fishery during September. Get out to some new waters and really experience the magic of September in Beautiful British Columbia.
Tight Lines & Bent Rods!