Till Your Arms Hurt- Fall Fishing the Fraser Valley

Till Your Arms Hurt- Fall Fishing the Fraser Valley

Fall time in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia is one of the great wonders of the world.

Here, on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Vancouver, is a gathering of life seldom seen in our modern world. As summer turns to fall the Pacific Salmon make their massive return to once again seed the rivers from which they were born. It is a gathering for many species. The majestic Bald Eagle arrives by the thousands, seals; fat and full of life are also in good numbers. For the angler though, it is the Salmon and the Sturgeon they have come for.

Many anglers from around the globe are now fully aware of the fantastic fishing, and most return year after year to partake in it. There are five species of Pacific Salmon found in the Fraser Valley. Four of these return every season, with the Pink Salmon only returning in odd numbered years.

The Pink Salmon are the smallest of the Pacific Salmon and make up for this with astounding numbers of returning fish. Sections of the Fraser literally boil with these small silvery fish and there are as many ways to catch them as there are places to. Anglers use shiny lures, pink colored jigs and flies of all sorts to entice Pink Salmon to bite, and catching them is almost too simple at times. Pink fishing is best during September and can last well into October.

One of the other sport fish of the Fraser Valley, the Sturgeon, is well aware of the Pink Salmon’s arrival. These behemoth fish seem to flock to the Fraser Valley at this time to gorge themselves on this bounty of fish. Some truly huge specimens are caught every fall- and pink years seem to bring out some of the biggest and fattest Sturgeon swimming our waters.

Angling for Sturgeon is best described as rugged and awesome. Sturgeon flat out fight! Long runs, magnificent jumps and fierce tug of wars almost always result in a tired angler, with shaking arms and a wide smile. Sturgeon fishing can be great most of the year, but the fall is often the best fishing, and a busy time for most guide companies.

Also lurking beneath the Fraser’s surface in the fall is the Chinook Salmon; also known as Kings. These large bodied, sharp toothed Salmon are ferocious fighters and some of the greatest sport in our rivers. Due to their aggressive nature, Chinook are caught with many different lures and the bites can be violent, nearly tearing the rod from its holder. It is very common to witness anglers floating down the Fraser River chasing a huge Chinook Salmon, often floating a mile or more before the net is used. One of the largest of Fraser Valley tributaries, the Harrison River, receives a run of fall Chinooks that grow to massive proportions. These white fleshed Chinook can weigh upwards of 70 pounds- and 50 pound Chinook are caught quite frequently. Super aggressive and hard fighting, best describe Harrison White Chinook, and many anglers come back year after year to try and catch a larger one.

As if that is not enough, the Fraser Valley also witnesses the return of millions of Chum Salmon, hundreds of thousands of Sockeye Salmon and many thousand Coho Salmon. All of the Salmon are great sport for gear and fly anglers and their timing is usually very predictable year to year. All anglers should plan on visiting the Fraser Valley of British Columbia in the fall; it is truly a one of a kind experience.

Great fishing in majestic surroundings and fighting fish till your arms hurt!

Rod Toth,
Head Guide