Fair Heaven

Blog

Catching sturgeon in British Columbia

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.

The appropriate salmon fishing gear

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.

bc3

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.

bc4

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?

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

fair5

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

fair6

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?

fair7

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.

Rods and reels for fishing in British Columbia

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

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.

BC jacket BC gloves BC waders

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!