Salmon Charters a great way to learn the “secrets” of salmon fishing
Campbell River is close to some of the largest runs of passing salmon to be found anywhere on B.C.’s
coast. Set on a protected inlet on the east side of Vancouver Island, the area is prime for many
different kinds of salmon fishing at all times of the year.
The tremendous variety of fishing opportunities has earned Campbell River the nickname of “salmon
capital of the world.” Those who want to try their hand and learn how to catch B.C.’s salmon are well
advised to start here, especially since the town is also home to many experienced salmon charter
and guide services.
There is real value in fishing with a guide, even if you are experienced in other areas. Guides offer
local knowledge and are aware of changing conditions. A good guide can find fish more quickly, and
gear anglers up properly. Every area has its tricks and tips, and the wealth of experience to be found
in the Campbell River fishing community makes this destination one of the best for those looking to
fast track their fishing success.
With origins high in the southern Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, the Bull River is a classic mountain stream with a healthy, thriving population of wild westlope cutthroat trout, as well as the odd bull trout in the river’s low reaches.
There is a dam several kilometres above the confluence with the Kootenay River, which divides the Bull River into two different sections. Downstream of the dam, the river can be floated and is guided by Fernie Wilderness Adventures. The long upper reaches do have a couple sections that can be rafted, but this section of the river is more easily explored on foot. Walking and wading is a popular efficient way to fish here.
All in all, there are at least 100 kilometres of wild river to explore.
Port Hardy’s Angling Adventures Also a Gateway to Region’s History
For A Whale Of A Time Fish Northern Vancouver Island
Port Hardy, at the northern end of Vancouver Island, perches on the edge of Queen Charlotte Strait. The strait squeezes waters from the open Pacific Ocean into a relatively narrow funnel between northern Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland. All five species of salmon – especially much sought-after, mature trophy chinook and coho returning to eastern Vancouver Island and mainland rivers – lurk in channels between innumerable islands and islets to ambush immense schools of bait pushed by powerful tidal currents. With so many fish passing through, it’s also a prime location to view resident populations of orcas, whose main diet is salmon. Learn about the history and culture of Port Hardy’s Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, the town’s early beginnings, European settlement, and resource industries at the Port Hardy Museum and Archives.
Bamfield, at the mouth of spectacular Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is ideally located to take advantage of the region’s excellent salmon and bottom fishing. Early in the season, and again when mature chinook salmon are returning to the Robertson Creek Hatchery in mid-summer, anglers can find salmon right around the entrance to Bamfield Harbour or among the many islands within the Broken Group. The big fish-holding offshore banks are a bit farther to go, but offer consistently good fishing for mature salmon returning to Robertson Creek and many other rivers. Trolling lures just off the bottom can result in hot action for bottomfish as well as salmon. With its many protected waterways, and pretty islets with sandy beaches, Barkley Sound is a wonderful place explore in a kayak. Established in 1972, the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (housed in the original Pacific Cable Board Station) is well worth a visit.
Fish The West Coast of Vancouver Island Out of Tofino
Fishing The Open Pacific – It May Be Rock & Roll But You’ll Love it!
Consistent fishing for salmon and bottomfish that you can “bank” on awaits you out of Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The continental shelf extends far into the Pacific Ocean, with relatively shallow sandbanks whose depressions and structure hold baitfish like sand lance and herring, and provide a nursery for immature salmon. The offshore banks are also a major feeding stop for mature, migrating salmon returning to the streams and rivers of Vancouver Island, B.C.’s Lower Mainland, and the American west coast. It might feel a bit unnerving to corkscrew in huge ocean rollers at the offshore banks, but that’s where the fishing action is hottest. Later in the summer, there’s also heart-stopping fly-fishing for aerobatic topwater coho as they lurk in nooks and crannies along the surf line. Be sure to stroll along aptly named Long Beach – maybe even join a surfboarding class – and enjoy exploring Tofino’s restaurants, galleries, and funky shops.
Fabulous Fishing Amid The Splendour Of The Great Bear Rainforest
In the great Central Coast archipelago, myriad channels and passages branch from steep-sided, glacially carved fjords. Rocky indentations carved into the shoreline of wind- and wave-eroded islands and islets afford respite and a rich environment for vast schools of bait to thrive. Here you’ll find mature salmon – especially the huge trophy chinook and coho returning to the Bella Coola, Rivers Inlet, and other southern river systems – along with scores of bottomfish. Choose to fish the way you want: inside protected waterways, or on the edges of exposed, ocean-facing outer islands. Be sure to discover the culturally rich Heiltsuk First Nation’s heritage in the village of Bella Bella, on Campbell Island. Look for ancient petroglyphs painted in red ochre on the sheer walls of mainland fjords. You might even spot an elusive white “Spirit Bear” during a wildlife tour.
Drift boat fishing for cutthroat trout a classic experience
Some fishing trips are all about the fish while others are about the richness of the experience. Fly-fishing the St. Mary River defines the latter. It’s a freestone river filled with wild cutthroat trout that rise readily to dry flies. But it’s the trip through narrow canyons and twisting braided river channels that will truly impress and burn into memory. This is awe-inspiring wild country unlike anything else in B.C.
Guided fishing for Fraser River sturgeon connects anglers with ancient fish in a contest like no other
He’s lived in the swirling water of the Fraser River for nearly 100 years, more than 13 feet and 1,500 pounds of ancient fish Dinosaur comes to mind when first seeing white sturgeon. Especially fish of the kind that work the bottom currents of the Fraser, one of B.C.’s most powerful rivers. These are the behemoths that write fishing legends. They test an angler’s endurance and their determination to hold the rod. Encounters with these sturgeon — one of the last wild populations of its kind in the world — are measured in hours. This is not stream fishing for little leaping trout.
Brooks Peninsula offers first access to B.C.’s “salmon highway”
Tuna fishing is also close enough to lure the adventurous angler
Brooks Peninsula sits near the top of the western side of Vancouver Island. It is remote and isolated and takes time to get here but those who do will be rewarded by fishing unlike most other places in B.C. This region is close to ocean migration pathways known as “the salmon highway” that channels fish to southern destinations. Every year salmon bound for southern spawning rivers travel en masse by the peninsula, and anglers here get first access to it.. The fish are silver, strong and fresh, and school in big numbers. As well, there are ample populations of halibut, cod and other bottom fish. And for those with a taste for offshore ocean adventure, there are tuna opportunities nearby, although it might take a trip beyond sight of land to find them. The community of Zeballos makes a great base for this adventure, and a good place to find a guide.
Haida Gwaii fishing a unique B.C. experience in a far-flung archipelago
Expect isolation — you might not see another fisherman for days
Isolation. Beautiful scenery. Access to diverse runs of ocean fish, including coho and chinook salmon, at the start of their passage down the West Coast. These are the defining characteristic of a fishing experience on Haida Gwaii, one of B.C.’s most interesting coastal destinations. The small islands of the Haida Gwaii are ecologically distinct from the mainland of British Columbia, having evolved separately over millennia. There is more wildlife than people, and more natural fishing opportunities than almost anywhere else. This is a unique part of the province well worth the trip. Guiding services can be readily found in Queen Charlotte City and Masset.
Fall trophy Stillwater Fly Fishing on Fishing Highway 24’s Sheridan Lake
Sheridan Lake the autumn jewel in Fishing Highway 24’s crown
The lakes of the famous “Fisihng Highway 24” combine to make a trout fisher’s mecca. There are more quality stillwaters here than many could hope to fish through an entire season. There are large lakes that grow big trout and small secluded ones where the only company might be a loon, or an osprey. Sheridan Lake is one of big lakes, and a prime destinations in this chai. Fall is the one of the best times to visit here. The summer crowds have dwindled and the resorts almost always have room. As the days shorten and the water cools, Sheridan fish ramp up a last-ditch feeding effort before their world is sealed away by ice. This is Interior fishing at its best, for big fish in a truly beautiful location.
Catch the trout of a lifetime on small, secluded lakes with no cell phones to interrupt your experience
Nestled amongst the benchlands above the Columbia River, with views of the Rocky and Spillimacheen mountains, lie numerous quality-managed stillwater trout fisheries. Double-digit rainbows can be found in lakes reached via a network of gravel roads and short trails to the lakeshore. Clear, shallow water and consistent aquatic insect hatches are there for the adventurous angler. The best time for chasing these dream fish is from May through the end of October.
Bucktails and really big fish are a combination few anglers will forget
The Gerard strain of rainbow trout are the stillwater heavyweights of B.C.’s fishing world. They co-exist in a unique relationship with the lake’s resident population of kokanee, which are landlocked sockeye salmon. Feeding on the annual outpouring of kokanee smolts from small creeks and streams allows Gerards to gain monstrous size, often more than 20 pounds. They are predators, pure and through, and anglers who strip bucktails or trail streamers in the right place at the right time can bank on arm-jarring runs that many would associate with fast river steelhead. This is a big lake, and experience counts — anglers are well advised to find the services of a good guide to help them in this unique fishing quest.
Spring fishing one of the best times to visit the grasslands
The low-altitude lakes of the Nicola Valley near Merritt are often the first in B.C.s Interior to be free of winter’s grip every spring. They offer the keen angler a chance at early season trout most others will need to wait weeks more to see. Many of the lakes are set in rolling grasslands or sparsely treed stands of pine and fir. They are shallow, productive and teeming with trout. It can be tough fishing, as early season weather is unpredictable, but for those who have a hardy spirit and a sense of adventure, there are trophy days to be found. And of course, there are many resorts, guides and outfitters in the area who can cater day-long or multi-day trips to each angler’s needs and experience.
These rainbows wrote the definition for hard fighting
The Blackwater River is home to a unique strain of rainbow trout so spectacular that their genetics are incorporated into B.C.’s provincial fish stocking program. These trout are ready feeders that take flies (especially dry flies) with abandon, then challenge anglers with spectacular leaping battles in the Blackwater’s hard current. And of course, the country the river weaves through is spectacular too. Floating the Blackwater River is an experience not soon forgot.
Guided fishing in Fernie’s rivers can produce unique experience
Bull trout are big, aggressive fish that attack streamers with a ferocity that will shock many fishermen. They are unique and increasingly rare predators that thrive in pristine environments. Fernie’s rivers offer spectacular opportunity to find and catch these once-in-a-lifetime fish, all of it set against the classic backdrop of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.