Get to know the Best freshwater fishing times for 2023 in the fraser river valley, vancouver, British Columbia.
Welcome to our 2023 fishing season! Southwest British Columbia offers some of the world’s best and unique river fishing! Anglers can pursue the hard fighting massive legendary White Sturgeon, swing fly’s for Salmon or Trout, cast lures or float fish for Salmon. In the Autumn you will see plenty of Bald Eagles and spawning salmon everywhere! There’s always something to pursue and hook up with plus the fun times just hanging out on our covered jet boats!
SCROLL DOWN FOR DETAILS ON THE BEST TIMES FOR STURGEON, SALMON AND TROUT
Our Tour Locations:
Since 1996 our freshwater guided fishing tours cover an area that includes Vancouver, the Fraser River Valley(Chilliwack, Mission, Maple Ridge) and finally Squamish.
Other key articles in our Blog:
>> 2021 Great Photos <<
2023 Fraser River White Sturgeon Forecast
Location: Fraser River BC from Chilliwack downstream to Mission-Maple Ridge
Timing: Year round but with several peak times throughout the season
2023 Fraser River Sturgeon Fishing Outlook
2023 Sturgeon Fishing season will be another good one as usual. A highlight is the Pink salmon run from late August to later September plus all the usual Autumn salmon runs plus the Spring smelt run, get ready for some great fishing!
LATE SEASON BONUS: MOST PEOPLE CONSIDER THE SEASON OVER BY NOVEMBER 1 BUT FISHING IS SPECTACULAR RIGHT UP TO NOV 30!
WHY IT’S SO GOOD: White Sturgeon fishing became 100% catch and release back in 1994 in an effort to protect the species. As fish are NOT allowed to be harvested from the Fraser River they just keep growing. This bodes very well for our clients who experience a success rate of 99% on single day charters and 100% on multi day packages. Hooking several fish per outing is typical.
SOME PEAK STURGEON TIMES TO CONSIDER FOR 2023:
Our Sturgeon season runs from March to late November but here’s some key times:
MARCH 1 – MAY 1: Eulachons aka smelts are in the Fraser River and Sturgeon are in a frenzy to gobble down these oily snacks. Lots of 4 – 7 footers around with chances at 8 footers, perhaps bigger.
JULY: Very large Sturgeon, many are in the 8 to 10 foot class but there will be a few 12 footers around. These fish are coming from the ocean, entering the Fraser river for the remainder of the year. They need to eat and they dish out some pain!
AUGUST – SEPTEMBER: Chinook, Sockeye and Pink Salmon are returning to the Fraser River, and heading into the tributaries to spawn. Very big fish and aggressive feeding equals very sore arms for our guests!
OCTOBER – NOVEMBER: It’s full on Sturgeon and Salmon season. This brings in even more big ocean Sturgeon looking for a feast. Expect great Sturgeon fishing right up to mid November!
Looking for that 10 foot plus river monster? Think July 10 to Nov 15
If you are travelling by plane from outside Canada then you will need to arrive at Vancouver International Airport(YVR). That’s only 1 hour or so to Mission, BC. For those flying inside of Canada there’s the option to land in Abbotsford(YXX) which is under 30 minutes from Mission.
Get hooked on Sturgeon!
LOOKING TO BOOK A FULLY GUIDED STURGEON CHARTER OR MULTI DAY PACKAGE WITH LODGING?
You will be Sturgeon fishing in the BEST and most PRODUCTIVE section of the Fraser. The Mission – Chilliwack area.
Our Fraser River Sturgeon charters include the finest tackle on the market plus our gov’t certified and insured guides. And our covered and heated 21 – 22 ft aluminum jet boats powered with 5.7 litre engines.
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2023 Trout Fishing forecast for Vancouver BC area
1. Squamish River
1. Upper Pitt River River
Species: Sea Run Dolly Varden, Bull Trout, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout
Trout Fly Fishing for 2023 around Vancouver BC
our 2023 trout fly fishing will connect you with some of the finest scenery available in the vancouver bc region
SEA RUN DOLLY VARDEN AND BULL TROUT ON THE UPPER PITT RIVER:
2023 opportunities and success rates here will be subject to how big or small the snow pack will be by April. A good snow pack in the alpine combined with suitable snow melt should provide good river flows and colour.
Upper Pitt River fly fishing for those aggressive and numerous sea-run Dolly Varden or resident Bull Trout is best from May 15 to July 3.
For the bigger sea run Dollies(5-12 lbs) anytime from mid May to mid June is best when the river has good conditions as described above.
Most of the Bull Trout here are in the 2-4 lb range.
We use our custom jet boats to access the remote Upper Pitt River. Yet it’s only about 50 km from the big city as the crow flies. It’s tougher access is due to the surrounding steep mountain terrain which prevents road access. So it’s jet boat or helicopter to access this paradise.
Bull trout on the Squamish River system for 2023
Available November and then March to early May with peak timing late March to April 30.
The Squamish River system is located 50 minutes north of Vancouver via the scenic ‘Sea to Sky’ highway which winds along the coast and is the only way to Whistler’s ski resorts.
Good numbers of spawning Chum Salmon in 2022 should equal good Trout fishing for Spring 2023!
Good numbers of Bull Trout will be encountered any time during the above mentioned time frame provided the river is slightly coloured with adequate flow. This makes the fish come out of their hiding places and feel secure as they feed on salmon fry and sculpins. Most of the trout here are in the 2-4 lb range.
Fly fishing is how we target the Trout here. The river is well suited for it with long flat runs ideal for easily swinging our proven custom tied trout patterns. Our fave flies here are mostly intruder sculpin patterns or salmon fry for the Spring time. In the Fall/Winter it’s single egg stuff or flesh flies.
stillwater rainbow trout fly fishing for 2023 in the bc interior
We no longer provide these trips, but it’s still very good in May and June
Also known as the Thompson – Nicola region, this area is stuffed with high country lakes full of Rainbow Trout. Most lakes are within 3.5 hrs East of Vancouver but if you want to go further there’s plenty more options. There is in fact more than 20,000 lakes in BC!
The terrain is mostly Pine tree laden with an abundance of wildlife. Most access is by dirt or gravel forestry roads so a 4 x 4 is highly recommended. Lake elevations range from 800 to 5500 feet but the majority of productive lakes are in the 3500 to 4500 foot range.
Lake chemistry is in favour of Rainbow Trout and Insect life. PH levels are ideal for an abundance of aquatic insects and invertebrates. Chironomids, Dragon flies, Damsels, Leeches, shrimp and more provide the mainstay of their diet. Therefore these Rainbow Trout can grow rather quickly and reach weights of up to 10 lbs in just 3-4 years.
What methods and equipment do we use?
Fly fishing only for us. Fly rods in the 4 to 6 weight class are perfect. Fishing from shore is not a good option here so we use float tubes or small Jon boats.
Chironomids aka midges are the mainstay and are available year round but Rainbows feed heavily on them in the Spring to early Summer. After that it’s May fly’s, Damsels, Dragons for the Summer months. For the Fall it’s Water Boatmen, Shrimp and Leeches although the later 2 items can produce at any time during open water season.
2023 Fraser River Valley & Vancouver Freshwater Salmon Forecast
1. Mainstem Fraser River and it’s tributaries
2. Squamish River
Species: Chinook(King), Coho, Chum, Pinks
2023 salmon outlook
2023 Pink Salmon
Early to later September
FRASER RIVER PINK SALMON:
2023 is another cycle year for Fraser River Pink Salmon. How many fish will show up? Nobody really knows. However there are concerns that the run will be low due to the extreme flooding we experienced in November 2021. Let’s hope for the best.
BONUS: During the Fraser River Pink Salmon run you can expect insanely good Sturgeon fishing!
Fraser River Pink Salmon fishing requires the use of our 21 – 22 ft jet boats.
How we catch Fraser River Pinks
Casting lures, twitching jigs or fly fishing are the top 3 methods.
>> Multi day packages with lodging are very popular for our Fraser River Salmon or Sturgeon fishing.
Coho Salmon Forecast for 2023
Peak Time: September 21 to November 7
FRASER RIVER VALLEY COHO:
Coho Salmon returns have been rather solid for some years now and the return in 2022 was amazing, so the 2023 return looks very promising.
Fraser Valley Coho salmon start showing up in good numbers by the 3rd week of September and start dwindling in numbers around mid November. However they have been taken as late as January. Peak times for Fraser Valley Coho are September 21 to November 7th.
Coho are suckers for spinners and spoons. However they are also rather easy to catch when fly fishing or twitching jigs. Having experience with a fly rod is pretty much essential. We suggest that first timers or rookie fly fishers stick to the lures if you want any success.
Retention: There’s good numbers of hatchery fin clipped Coho in the Fraser Valley so retention is allowed(2 or 4 per day depending on location).
We use our custom jet boats to access the best Coho spots in the Fraser Valley. However fishing is not restricted to the boat. Shore fishing is an option at times.
Locations: Harrison River, Vedder River, Nicomen Slough, Stave River, Fraser River.
SQUAMISH RIVER COHO:
A absolutely gorgeous river to fish on.
Peak time for Squamish River Coho is October 1 to November 30. Run sizes have been fairly good over the past decade so we don’t expect much change here for 2023.
Method: Fly fishing is the preferred method on the Squamish but you are welcome to cast lures or twitch jigs if the fly rod isn’t your thing. Fishing is done by ‘walk n wade’ or float the river by raft.
Retention: Squamish River Coho are mostly wild and thus opportunities for harvesting hatchery or fin clipped fish is limited.
2023 Chum salmon
Peak Time: October 7 to November 28
FRASER RIVER VALLEY CHUM:
What to expect for 2023 Chum Salmon returns:
It’s always difficult to predict Chum salmon returns. However there’s always plenty to provide good action, even if it’s catch & release.
Fraser River Valley Chum Salmon are popular for many of our guests because they are easy to catch and put up a great fight!
Chum Salmon are usually open for harvesting but once in a while a non retention regulation comes into play if numbers are low. If this happens it usually takes place around October 20th, give or take a few days. Catch & release is still allowed. If you are keen on Sturgeon fishing and know that salmon makes good bait don’t worry. We always have a supply.
Numbers of Chum in the tributaries of the Fraser(Stave River for example) can be quite high. Fish will be jumping all around you. It’s possible at times to hook one on almost every cast!
We get Chums rather easily drifting a jig under a float. Chums cannot resist our own hand tied jigs.
SQUAMISH RIVER CHUM:
Run sizes vary a lot here from year to year but there’s always enough to make it worthwhile hitting this absolutely gorgeous river.
Squamish River Chum Salmon are later returning than Fraser Valley Chums. Usually they start arriving around mid October and will be available right up to the last days of November.
The preferred method here is fly fishing but drifting a jig under a float will cause some serious damage. Catch & release is typical here but if there’s a strong return there may be a 1 fish retention.
Chum Salmon Action!
2023 Chinook Salmon
Peak Time: September 1 to October 7
FRASER RIVER VALLEY CHINOOK BEST TIMES FOR 2023:
Fall Chinook returns to the Fraser River Valley have been excellent for years so we expect 2023 fishing to be great. The return in 2022 was epic!
Chinook Salmon are also known as Kings. These are the ‘Fall run’ of Chinooks and tend to show up in big numbers in a short period of time. Numbers of Fall Chinooks are usually quite good every year. We are hoping for the best due to healthy numbers of them in the nearby ocean.
They are best caught using big spinners and spoons at some key tributary mouths like the Vedder-Chilliwack River or Harrison River.
Chinook are the biggest of all the Pacific salmon. We catch ’em up to 40 – 50 lbs but 10 – 20 is normal.
SQUAMISH RIVER CHINOOKS:
Available July – August
This is not a big run of Chinooks but for those looking for a real beautiful setting and hardly anyone around then this can be a good option.
Fly fishing is the preferred method here. Better have a 9 or 10 wt fly rod. We certainly do if you want one of our expert Squamish River fly fishing guides. These fish are tough to get, even for experts. It’s more about the surroundings here.
How To Protect Fraser River Sockeye
We remember when Fraser River Sockeye Salmon returned every year in massive numbers(10 – 20 million) back in the 90’s. Fishing was epic and too easy! Catching 100 in a half day was not out of the question.
What happened to the Fraser River Sockeye runs?
For this answer we need to turn to science and biology. Not government shills and cons that work in Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans(DFO). Well it is somewhat helpful to recognize that government betrayal of wild salmon has played the main role. But science tells us the biological reason behind these iconic salmon’s decline.
And the number 1 reason for the drastic decline in most Fraser River Sockeye Salmon is…. drum roll please…
Open net salmon farms along the British Columbia coast.
Yes the ones that are located in the ocean and hold millions of disease ridden Atlantic Salmon, a foreign and harmful species for Pacific Salmon. These unnatural factory farms are super breeding grounds for lethal viruses(IHN, PRV etc) and parasites(Sea Lice) that infect wild salmon of all ages as they pass by(closely or not so closely).
Read this Story from CTV News.
What Can You do to help protect BC’s Sockeye Salmon and other wild salmon from this horrible industry?
DO NOT BUY ATLANTIC SALMON. ALSO KNOWN AS: SCOTTISH SALMON, NORWEGIAN SALMON, SKUNA BAY SALMON, ORGANIC SALMON(yes this is farmed salmon fed shit food, toxic chemicals and drugs).
Where is Atlantic Salmon SOLD?
Costco, Walmart etc