Hunting in British Columbia – what you need to know

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British Columbia is home to a wide variety of large and small game, and this makes it a hunter’s paradise. Whether you are going after deer, elk or simply hunting game birds there are a few things you should know before you start packing for the trip. This applies to residents and non residents of British Columbia. If you’re a Canadian resident but don’t live in B.C. you are still considered a non resident. Here are a few of the things that I was glad I knew before I went on my first hunting trip.

 

 

Licenses

 

If you don’t have the right license then you won’t be allowed to hunt anything in British Columbia. Residents can easily apply for a Fish & Wildlife ID that will take them through the season or purchase a hunting license. While the temporary ID is free and you can apply for a new one every season, the hunting license does come with a small fee. In some cases you might need a “species license” and this will also come with a bag limit.

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Non residents are not allowed to apply for an ID or hunting license. If you are coming to the area specially for the hunting season you must be accompanied by a registered guide outfitter. Your guide must hold a valid Accompany to Hunt Permit and then you can apply for a non resident hunting license. It should be mentioned that the license does come with a fee that must be paid in full with your application. However, if you are only planning on hunting small game then you will only need a temporary license.

 

 

Firearms

 

Even if you’re a resident of British Columbia you will need to have a valid federal arms license, and this actually applies to all Canadians that want to own a gun. If you don’t own a firearm but still want to go hunting, it is legal to do so with a friend as long as they have a valid license. You can legally aim, fire and take down large and small game, as long as the licensed gun owner is standing nearby. Anyone under the age of 18 can also hunt with a firearm as long as they are closely supervised by an adult that holds valid hunting and firearm licenses.

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If you are a non resident and are planning on bringing a firearm into Canada for the purpose of hunting large or small game you must be 18 years of age or older. The firearm must also be declared at customs and approved in writing by a Canadian customs official. If you do not declare your weapon before entering the county, chances are you will spend the hunting season sitting in jail.

 

 

These are the two most important things everyone needs to know before they consider hunting in British Columbia. I’ve also found that the Fish & Wildlife Department is more than willing to help residents and non-residents fill out the required paperwork and answering any questions that you might have.

Catching sturgeon in British Columbia

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The white sturgeon is one of the largest freshwater fish on the surface of the Earth, and it can be found at six locations in British Columbia. Probably the most popular of these places is the Fraser River, which is why there’re many people going on trips in the Upper, Middle, and Lower areas of this river. Three other rivers where this fish can be found are Nechako, Columbia, and Kootenay. Due to the fact that white sturgeon populations all over the world have become scarce over the years, it is now considered an endangered species. Only the Lower and Mid-Fraser River locations are available for fishing, but both of these apply the catch and release policy. The sturgeon that you’ll come across if you visit the Fraser River is usually two to six feet long depending on the age. Any cases where the sturgeon measures 10 feet are very rare.

 

What kind of equipment do you need?

fa2One thing’s for sure. White sturgeon is an enormous and heavy fish, so you’ll need the services of a sturdy rod and reel, rated for 40 to 80 lb test. Braided fishing lines are to be preferred, and you should try to use an 8 to 16oz weight in order to anchor your bait at the bottom of the river. Keep in mind that a white sturgeon can be a very energetic fish and it has scutes on the side which can pierce through your skin unless you use a pair of good-quality thick gloves. If you have no intention to fish with the help of a guide and on a boat and instead plan to catch some big fish by the river bank, it might be a good idea to use some waders, as well as the equipment we’ve mentioned already.

 

Fraser River fishing areas

fa1The tidal area of the river is between Steveston and Mission and here is where you can do some fishing if there’s any current that’s capable of carrying the scent of the bait you’ll be using. You’ll be able to fish either on the boat or the shore if you stick to the tidal area, and some are lucky enough to target catches in piers where deep water can be found, as well.

The non-tidal area of the river is between Mission and Hope. It is practically impossible to fish from the shore in this area, considering that there isn’t any access from the shore to speak of. As such, you’ll have to use a boat. If you don’t have your own, you’ll require the services of a fishing guide, but be advised that he or she might be booked since fishing for sturgeon is very popular.

The mid-section of the river is between Hope and Lillooet. Although shore fishing is possible in certain areas, it’s recommended strictly to people who are well-acquainted with the area as it can be very dangerous due to canyons. Because of the steep terrain, you’ll notice that there are just a few companies that are willing to take the risk of offering fishing guiding services in the mid-section of the Fraser river.

 

Bait

In spring, sturgeons like a bit of oily baitfish such as eulachon. During the summer, it feeds on small-sized fish until salmon spawning, when they start feeding on roe and later on, rotten salmon flesh. From August to November, you’ll have more chance of catching sturgeon if you use a piece of a salmon carcass as bait.

A few things you might not know about Alaska

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Contrary to what most people know, Alaska is one of the states of the USA. In fact, it is the largest US state. However, although Alaska is part of the continent, there are more presumptions than known facts about this American state. Apart from the fact that the North Pole Alaska post office receives thousand of letters addressed to Santa Claus or Saint Nick every December, there are other things you may not know about this awesome state.

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Alaska as an American state

 

Less than 50 miles from Russia, Alaska produces 25 percent of all the oil in the United States. Most of the state, about 75 percent, can’t be reached by car and this includes the state capital Juneau, which can only be accessed via plane or boat. Alaska is the only state that doesn’t impose state sales taxes. Neither does it levy an individual income tax. However, some Alaskan cities do have sales taxes. The state also has more coastline than all the other American states combined. It is the only state that has coastlines on three different seas namely, the Bering Sea, The Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The willow ptarmigan is the state bird. The Alaskan flag was designed by Bennie Benson at age 13 in 1926. Upon the adoption of the state into the Union in 1959, the flag became the official state flag. In 1741, Alaska was first discovered by outsiders when Vitus Jonassen Bering, a Danish explorer, sighted it on a voyage from Siberia

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Alaska is a rich paradise for the outdoor adventurer

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Alaska’s largest private industry employer is the fishing and seafood industries. It was at the Kenai River where the largest salmon ever caught was recorded at a whopping 97.5 pounds. Most of the country’s halibut, crab, salmon and herring are sourced from Alaska. The state’s largest lake, Lake Iliamna, is approximately the size of Connecticut. It is only one of the 3 million lakes and 3,000 rivers in the state. Dog mushing is the state sport. It once served as the primary mode of transportation used in most of Alaska. The largest sporting event in the state is the Iditarod dog sledding race. The largest seal colony, which comprises more than one million seals, is Pribilof Island in Alaska. Alaskan Polar and Kodiak bears can grow huge to 1400 pounds and up to 11 feet tall. Growing to 1350 pounds, moose in Alaska can also grow antlers up to 6 feet wide. Whispering in a moose hunter’s ear while they are on the hunt is illegal in Alaska. While poison oak and poison ivy are found in the rest of the US states, Alaska has none of them. The Chugach in the Southcentral and the Tongass in the Southeast are the two largest forests in the country, and both are located in Alaska.

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Alaska is home to many natural wonders

 

The Aurora Borealis or northern lights can be seen in Fairbanks an average of 243 days a year. It is prohibited to wake a sleeping bear just to take a photograph, although shooting bears is legal in Alaska. 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the nation are in Alaska. This includes Denali, the highest North American peak. More than 100 volcanoes and volcanic fields are in Alaska and they have been active within the last 2 million years. Alaska is home to more than half of the glaciers in the world, with around 5 percent of the state covered by 1000 plus glaciers.

The appropriate salmon fishing gear

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Experienced anglers know that no matter how good your gear is, you can always improve your chances at catching fish by finding the perfect gear combinations and choosing the right time and place to tackle a certain species. Salmon is one of the favorite fish for many anglers. However, there are many varieties of salmon, so there are plenty of options from which you can choose. As a species, salmon reproduces in freshwater, but migrates towards the ocean at maturity. This species has been introduced by humans in many non-native environments, so it can be found in many rivers, but also lakes. As such, your gear must be adapted to the place and the sought after type of salmon.

Man fly fishing in Salmon River near the town of Main Brook, Viking Trail, Northern Peninsula, Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland. Model Released.

One of your main concerns when fishing for salmon should be the type of water in which you are fishing and your placement. If you fish from the shore, you will be in need of different equipment than the one you would be using if fishing from a boat. As for the water, given the large spread of this species, you can find yourself fishing on lakes, in rivers or in the ocean. Each of these circumstances will require slightly different gear. However, what you must especially keep in mind is the difference between freshwater and saltwater fishing. Saltwater can be particularly damaging for your fishing gear, eroding your rod or causing damage to your boat’s engine. Therefore, make sure before acquiring a rod and reel combo that they are built and finished with materials that can withstand the damaging effects of water in time such as aluminum, steel or graphite – which are all commonly used materials in the making of fishing gear, so it shouldn’t be a problem for you to find one.

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As for the line and the bait, these can vary depending on a great number of circumstances, thus you don’t have a single option. Although some fishermen use live bait to tackle salmon, this is not a necessity. When it comes to catching one, you must only remember that your bait should be mainly composed from smaller species of fish. If you own a bunch of insect-like lures, these may not be of help as they are not generally attractive for most species, even for the smaller varieties. The type of line you choose depends entirely on you, but don’t forget to adapt it to the fish you are targeting as well. For the Chinook salmon, for example, you must use 25-30 pound line, as opposed to the one used for the pink salmon, the smallest of the species, which you can tackle using a 10 pound line.

Surely, if you have a specific weight on it, your rod must be sturdy enough to withstand its pressure and secure accurate casts. For salmon, rods longer than 7 feet are what you should be looking for and, depending on the fishing spot, they can go up to 10 feet. Though a 7 foot long rod can be used to tackle the smaller species as well, you may want to make sure your rod is at least in the medium heavy power category, so that it doesn’t break at a heavier pressure.

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Certainly, all the best gear in the world won’t help you catch anything if you don’t use the appropriate fishing technique and have a lot of patience and cold blood. Salmon is well-known for its strength, as it has to swim against the current to go back to freshwater for reproducing, hence he can put up a fight when you try to reel it in and won’t give in easily.

Interested in fly fishing?

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Fly fishing is a fishing style in which an artificial fly is used to catch fish. As such, this angling method requires specialized gear and different techniques. It can be done in saltwater and freshwater altogether. The species you can target are numerous and include trout, pickerel, panfish, bass, tarpon, bonefish and many others. If you’re interested in fly fishing, here are a couple of things you may want to know.

 

The flies

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The type of flies you’ll be using depends on the species of fish that you are targeting and on the season. It is generally their design that gives you an approximate idea on what species and in which seasons you can use a specific type. You can use floating or sinking flies, depending on the fish you want to catch. If you’re looking for some good baits for your kit, you must definitely try nymph flies first, that are particularly attractive to trout. Another advantageous option are versatile flies such as dry flies that can float on the water’s surface and look like insects that fish would eat. They are colorful too, which makes them appealing to many species. All in all, you should consider them as well if you want to increase your chances at landing some trout. The streamer is another type of bait used in fly fishing that imitates underwater fish food that you should have in your tackle box, if you go fishing during the cold season.

 

Where to find the fish

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Knowing where to find fish is as important as the bait you use. If your target doesn’t spot the fly you are casting, well, then all your efforts are in vain. So, where can you find fish? Mostly, fish will prefer weedy portions in the water or structures near the shoreline invaded by vegetation, as they can find food in these areas better than anywhere else. Also, fallen trees and logs are places where food is easily found, as they are populated by small insects, so there are great chances that fish will stay near them. Weed Beds, rocks, banks and reefs – all of them are favorite spots for them.

 

What rod and reel combo should you use?

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As with bait, the reel and the rod must be especially designed for this type of fishing. Option can, of course, vary. If you want to buy some gear fitted for fly fishing beginners at a decent price, you can buy the Crystal River fly kit for fly fishing. Included in the package you will find: a slow action 3 piece rod of 8 feet, a plastic reel that fits into an aluminum reel seat, fly line and two flies. As you will see when you receive the package, the kit includes a beginner’s guide for this fishing style that can be of great help. It works perfectly for those who want to learn proper casting and how to handle their rod with precision and gain some experience. Just don’t forget to take other baits with you as well, as the two provided in the kit won’t be enough to cover all possible fishing situations.

Things to do in British Columbia in the summer

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If you’ve decided to explore British Columbia this summer, you may want to know what the areas and places you should make time to visit before anything else are. Even if the region is mostly known for its scenery, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other wonderful experiences to enjoy here.

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Anyway, let’s start with the obvious. If you want to enjoy wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, you should visit the Wild Pacific Trail. It is perfectly adapted to all types of tourists, even to those that don’t have a habit of walking a lot. Even so, don’t expect the 9 km to be easy. There are several entrances to the trail and there is a guide that can offer you explanations if you are curious in finding out some interesting things besides just seeing landscapes. Just make sure you wake up in the morning, guided tours start at 10:00 AM.

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If you’re more into cultural manifestations, interested in knowing people from all the corners of the world, why don’t you take part in one of the festivals that take place during summer? The one that is highly recommended is called, how else, Summerfest and it is located in North Vancouver. It starts on the 1st of July and lasts until the 4th of September. There are many activities you can participate in: outdoor movies, concert series, dance classes and shows, even fitness classes to ensure you stay fit even if you are on a holiday. In the same period, you can enjoy another event called Pianos on the street if you are in love with classical music and the sound of this instrument.

fair3If you’re interested in history and indigenous population, make time to visit the BC Royal Museum, as it holds a large number of exhibits regarding extinct species like mammoths, native languages and populations, but also activities for kids and adults altogether that will make you feel transported back in time. This makes it a great place to spend a couple of hours with family, to have fun, but also to learn valuable things about the past and what it means for us today.

Most definitely, if you are visiting the Royal Museum, you shouldn’t miss a tour through the capital city of the region, Victoria. There are many things that the city offers and many green areas, such as the Beacon Hill Park where you can admire the lovely gardens and spend some time in nature or near a lake, to relax.

Victoria's inner harbor with marina and Empress hotel in distance with chain railing and promenade
Victoria’s inner harbor with marina and Empress hotel in distance with chain railing and promenade

Nevertheless, if there’s something you should not miss while in Victoria, that is the Inner Harbor, where you can admire wonderful architecture and one of the most spectacular lights in the city. Many people say that the Harbor should be visited by night, because it looks wonderful and it offers plenty of terraces, restaurants and bars to eat and enjoy a drink. If you still have the time, take a boat (or a car) outside the city and visit the Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on Canada’s west coast and an important  historic site.

 

Fish dishes you have to try in Canada

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Canadians know their way around food, and nobody can deny it. If you intend to travel to Canada sometime in the future, you may want to get well-acquainted with some of the most popular dishes you’re likely to come across in diners and restaurants scattered all throughout the country. One thing’s for sure, though – Canadian cuisine can vary significantly from one region to the next, which is why we recommend you to avoid taking things for granted and believing that poutine is the only thing you’ll find everywhere in Canada.

 

First things first. The country is filled with rivers that overflow with trout and salmon, so you’re likely to have the chance to taste one of these fish when going out with friends or acquaintances. Some of the most common specialties you’ll find in most restaurants that serve fish are Backyard Hot Smoked Salmon, Baked Tilapia, Salmon Tartare, and even Salmon Tikka. Mackerel isn’t out of the ordinary, so you may be able to taste some crispy one, whether it’s grilled, roasted, or fried. Fancy a bit of healthy foods on your table? In that case, don’t be afraid to try out some halibut with cherry tomatoes and an arugula salad. Even pan-fried halibut can be healthy when combined with vegetables and an innocent sauce concocted out of steamed asparagus.

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Another popular fish dish you’ll be able to taste if you visit Newfoundland, for example, is fish and brewis, of which the recipe might vary depending on the restaurant or home. In most cases, this specialty is served with scrunchions, which also seem to be typical for some Canadian regions. bc3Scrunchions is a pork fat that has been salted. Some cooks mix the cod in the fisherman’s brewis along with the scrunchions and the hard bread while they’re all hot. Others prefer the dish cold, particularly when they use salt fish. What’s the explanation this dish is so popular in both Labrador and Newfoundland? First of all, these two regions have more than enough cod to serve on their tables. Secondly, sailors invented the dish because it was composed out of ingredients they had at hand.

 

 

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Sea pie is another unique dish you might find if, for instance, you decide to visit Quebec. Quebecois call this cipaille or cipâtes. The history of this specialty is a lot older when compared to others, simply because it used to be served to British sailors in the 18th century. The shape of the pie is round and the ingredients are layered inside it. The same dish can be prepared using meat, although cubes of potatoes and minced fish are also popular among cipaille aficionados.

Fish curry is yet another food you might find in certain restaurants, where the Indian cuisine seems to have left its mark. Other critically acclaimed dishes include fish cakes, baked trout amandine, and roast lake trout.

Rods and reels for fishing in British Columbia

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Canada can offer a varied fishing experience. To talk about places you can go fishing in Canada would take days, just close your eyes and put your finger on the map, a fishing spot should be placed nearby, no matter where you happen to put it. However, great diversity requires adequately chosen equipment. Especially if you want to travel to more than one place for a diversified experience, you need to have with you the appropriate rod and reel combo. To find the best functioning gear that will provide you with outstanding fishing performances, you must take into consideration the fishing settings and the species of fish you are interested in.

Penn Pursuit II 8000-2 Piece Spinning Combo

Penn Pursuit II 8000-2 Piece Spinning ComboIf you need a convenient product for surf fishing, this one is going to work like a charm. The main characteristic that recommends this product for the activity of fishing on the shores of the ocean is its 10-feet long rod that will enable you to cast great distances with ease, increasing your chances to catch big fish. Built with the highest quality material available nowadays – graphite, the rod will resist shocks and heavy weights. However, if you’re a beginner, you might find this rod a bit heavy at first, until you get used to operating it. The reel is built with anti-corrosion materials and it is especially designed to provide you with a smooth retrieve. The reel seat is also made out of graphite, so it will keep your reel protected even if you tend to be a bit harsh on it in the beginning.

Rhino Fishing ZR33 Spincast Combo

Rhino Fishing ZR33 Spincast ComboThis is a great product for small and medium fish species. However, as it is fitted with a 6-foot long rod, it is not recommended for heavy species. Integrated in the medium action category, you can use this rod for species of fish such as bass. It is fabricated with fiberglass that will enhance its durability. The reel is especially designed with four ball bearings to ensure a smooth and easy retrieval, and it comes pre-spooled with 100 yards of 10 lb Cajun Line. Additionally, this two-piece rod can be easily collapsed in two, so that you are able to deposit it in small spaces, which makes it a great option for travelling.

Zebco 808 Saltwater Fishing Reel with MH Fishing Rod

Zebco 808 Saltwater Fishing Reel with MH Fishing RodIf you’re looking for a product for fishing in Canada’s salt waters, you can definitely rely on this one. The product is fitted with a 7-feet long rod, which is a great length if you need it for saltwater boat fishing, but not so much for surf fishing, as its length doesn’t allow you to cast long enough distances. The reel ensures a smooth, but also fast retrieval, so there are not many chances for that fish to find its way back into the water. Additionally, it comes pre-spooled with 150 yards of 20 lb test line, which means you are able to order the product and wait for it at the fishing spot, as it comes already prepared for the job. As it is a medium-heavy action rod, this product can be used for smaller and larger species of fish altogether

How to Plan a Fishing Trip to Canada

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We know that many people come to Canada to fish and we think that’s really great! Especially since there is so much fish to find here and people are having a lot of fun vacationing in British Columbia, where our home base is, we think that a good blog post to publish here should be one on how to properly prepare for a fishing trip to Canada.

Be aware of cold weather!

 

This is not something to take lightly. Especially if you are planning to spend a lot of time in water, you need to be properly equipped. This is something that we really think it is necessary to remember to all our friends who are asking us what to pack in order to have a successful fishing trip in our beautiful British Columbia. We know that we do not have to tell you to bring your rods and reels, although there are plenty of places from where you can get all you need right here, but we think that it does not hurt to remind you about the climate here in Canada.

 

First of all, we suggest getting a good pair of fishing waders. Think about the type that goes chest high and also comes with boots. These ones are the best, in our opinion, because they will protect your entire body. Get warm clothes underneath, and purchase a pair of waders that is a bit larger, so you can move freely in them, even if you have thick clothes on you. The materials the waders are made of should be some kind of water resistant materials. Thicker is best, since the waders may also provide you with some protection against the cold, besides keeping water out. Last, but not least, get a pair that is very comfortable. This way, you will surely enjoy your fishing trip at its best.

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Do not forget to bring gloves with you. When in contact with water for a long time, your hands can suffer a lot, not to mention (again!) the cold. If your fingers become frozen, you will have a hard time trying to pull the fish out of the water, and you will also catch a cold. For seniors, this could trigger a bad case of arthritis, too, so our advice is to get all the equipment you need prior to leave home. I recommend the best waterproof fishing jackets and other warm clothes should be on your list, too. We really hope our advice will help you enjoy a wonderful fishing trip to Canada!

About Us

Published / by James / Leave a Comment

Hi all, we want to offer you a warm welcome to our website. As a group of passionate anglers located in British Columbia, Canada, we want to make you acquainted with all the great fishing spots one can find here. This wonderful area of Canada is worth exploring and we want to be your guides, even if only in the virtual space.

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You may have heard a lot of tales about how British Columbia is a salmon capital of the world. And this is the honest truth! But salmon is not the only fish you can catch when you come to British Columbia. You can also catch halibut, trout and steelhead, among many various species. We can tell you, hand on heart, that once you know more about British Columbia, you will feel hard pressed to find a better place for being an angler, in the entire world.

 

In our adventures, we will take you all over British Columbia and its most popular fishing spots. We will take you to see what areas are worth exploring and where you can plan the most amazing adventures. Although we have a focus on fishing, we will tell you more about the natural beauty of this region and how to make the best out of your trips here.

 

Now, since you most probably are a passionate angler who wants to learn a few things about fishing spots in British Columbia, here is a small showdown and a preview to what we will be writing about in our blog:

fraser river

Fraser River – is the best place for sturgeon. In case you are capable of rallying up some friends, get ready to catch a sturgeon that is up to 9 feet long. We all know that large fish, up to 20 feet long, are extremely rare, but you can still get one that will make your friends envious.

vancouverisland

Vancouver Island – this is the place for halibut. Enjoy the natural fighting spirit of halibut, without heading for Alaska, for a fishing trip. Saltwater anglers prefer it, but make sure you pack enough fishing supplies.

Haida-Gwaii

Haida Gwaii – Chinook salmon is one of the natural inhabitants of this region, so you will have something to look forward to, when you are heading for British Columbia for a trip.

Williston lake

Williston Lake – this is the home of Kokanee salmon. True to the title of the salmon capital of the world, British Columbia offers many fishing spots for salmon.