Fishing Tips

Fishing our Lakes, Streams & Rivers
Fishing Time Line Chart - displays the runs in a calendar format
Fishing Techniques / Fly-Fishing

Preparing you Gear 
Respecting your surroundings
Proper Fish Handling
Winter Fishing in Chilliwack

Coho Salmon - Drift Fishing
Coho Salmon - Fly-fishing on the Chilliwack River
Cutthroats - (Fraser River)
Steelhead Tips
White Sturgeon fishing in BC

Learn to Fish Program

Fishing Articles written by Peter Macpherson and Fred Helmer.  Do you have a fishing article or story to tell?  If you would like to share them with us, please email your stories and photos. 



Four rivers and a variety of lakes offer salmon, sturgeon, steelhead and trout fishing over the calender year. Anglers enjoy a balance of wild and hatchery fish in the rivers with a variety of well managed catch and release or retention fisheries.

Small Lakes 

Here, the dominant species are rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout so if you are looking for more fish rather than bigger fish then these are a better bet as there is less of an area for you to cover.  Often the most productive catches are around structures like logs, weeds, shoals, at the edge of a drop-off or at any inflow or outflow streams.

As Summer approaches and the lakes begin to warm up, head to the higher elevation sites and then from fall, when the water starts to cool down, begin moving down to lower elevations again.  The very nature of higher elevation lakes mean that the fishing season is short, lasting from June-October, however fly-fishing is usually productive during this time.  The success of your catch can also vary depending on your timing.  The more daylight reaches the water, the more active the fish.  Stay clear of murky water as you will rarely get fish to bite. 

Bigger Lakes

Bigger lakes mean more choices for you to make, so tools like depth finders can be particularly helpful, especially when that map just doesn't give you enough information!  Trolling for rainbow on larger lakes, particularly around creeks and river mouths, is often productive.

Rivers and Streams

Fishing streams and rivers offer different challenges and additional opportunities.  Hot spots in rivers at the bottom of small waterfalls, or where there is slack water adjacent to fast water, can be easy to spot but if you have a boat then you will have much better access to these areas.  A boat also enables you to access more remote areas which cannot be accessed by anglers fishing from the shore.  Check out our fishing locations section for details of the numerous bars in the mighty Fraser River many of which are only accessible by boat. 

A set of waders and river shoes is your best bet when fishing in a stream.  To be most effective you will need to be diligent when approaching holes or the trout will know you are coming!  Be thorough in working every pocket, pool or seam as fish will hide in the most unlikely of places! 

Fraser Valley Angling Guides Association:
You will be pleased to know that with all the excellent fishing in the area, you can hire a fishing guide or charter company with the satisfaction of getting top quality professional service. The FVAGA ensures that all registered guides are fully licenced, insured and qualified to give you a safe and enjoyable fishing experience



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Bait Fishing (a.k.a. Still Fishing)

A popular way to introduce novices to sport fishing.  Still fishing can be done from the shore or a boat and involves the angler casting out and waiting for a bite.  Floats (bobbers) can be attached to the line to enable the baited hook to stay suspended in the water.  For smaller lakes, a 3-5 ft leader with a size 8-12 hook is recommended without the use of weights, which tend to scare off this fish.  Baits used include worms, a single egg/roe, maggots or artificial bait.


Probably the most popular or talked about method of fishing in British Columbia but also one of the most challenging of techniques to master.  The length and weight of rods used will depend on size of angler as well as species of fish being sought.  Longer rods are useful for casting and then precise positioning of flies on rivers and streams.  It is therefore not uncommon to see anglers with a few different weight rods. 

When choosing flies, there are entire books dedicated to the subject, however, the general rule is to use a fly which matches the insect or baitfish on which the sport-fish are currently feeding.  For fishing in this area, here is what a good fly box should contain: 

(April to October)
(Year Round)
(Year Round) 
(June to August) 
(May to August) 
(July to August) 

Ice Fishing

Technological advances have lead to an increase in the popularity of ice fishing.  With our milder climate in British Columbia, you will have to head to higher elevations from late December through March in order to ice fish.  Ice must be at least 6 inches thick for safety.  1-3ft rods are most often used and simple reel holds the line.  Tips-ups are also often used so when there is contact between the fish and your gear, it releases a lever which in turn raises a flag or rings a bell to alert you to start reeling.  Since live bait is not permitted in BC, jigging a small spoon or other attractant lure up and down is a popular ice fishing method. 


A popular and sometimes challenging method where the angler creates the action to entice the fish.  Cast out and allow your jig hook to sink to the bottom.  Use your rod tip to raise the bait about half a foot off the bottom and then let it sink again.  Anglers can jig up and down, side to side or both and there are a variety of sizes of jigs available. 


A popular method for all types of water and great for beginners.  Anglers cast a 6-10pound test line from a rod (usually 7ft) with a spinning wheel.  Both light and heavy lures can be used without tangling or breaking the line.  The key is to find the right balance between having the line light enough to cast yet tough enough to withstand fighting and landing some sizeable fish.  Open faced reels with removable spools offer the most versatility as you can have one spool with a light line (6pound test or lighter) for small lakes and another with a heavier line (8pounds+) for rivers and trolling. 


Often done on a small electric motor boat which moves quietly through the water so the fish are not spooked.  It can also be done by walking along the shore or a structure such as a bridge or pier.  The speed of the boat determines the depth of your bait which will in turn vary according to the type of fish being targeted.  A spinning reel or bait caster is recommended.  Check the FISHING REGULATIONS when deciding where to fish to see if motorized trolling is allowed.  On larger lakes, trolling for rainbow trout is often effective.


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Please play a part in looking after our valuable resources by looking after the river and respecting the fish and your fellow anglers:

  • Make sure you have the required licences;
  • Read the regulations so you can learn to identify your catch;
  • Be aware of quotas and stay within them;
  • Record your catch accurately;
  • Pinch your barbs on all hooks (single only);
  • Use a maximum of 36" leaders on the Chilliwack/Vedder River to reduce Sockeye interception;
  • Release all foul hooked fish;
  • Respect the fish and handle them properly;
  • Show consideration to fellow anglers;
  • Clean up your mess and encourage others to do so;
  • Obey all laws and report violations to the Observe Report & Record line - Tel: 1-800-465-433 or 1-877-952-7277 or Cell #7277



Whether you plan to keep (harvest) your fish or return it to the water, make sure you know how to handle it properly.

Catching and Releasing

If you're planning to catch and release, it's vital that you don't injure the fish by mishandling it. Careful handling and release will ensure the fish survives. When planning to release a fish follow these six points:
1. Play and land the fish as quickly as possible. Keep the fish in water while you remove the hook, if you can't, return the fish to the water as fast as possible.
2. If you use a landing net, use a rubber or tightly woven nylon or cotton-it's less damaging to the fish.
3. If you have to handle the fish, gently use wet hands, trying not to squeeze.
4. Use barbless hooks and be prepared to cut your leader if the hook is swallowed deeply, the hook will dissolve over time.
5. Revive exhausted fish by holding them upright in the water until they swim away-never throw a fish back into the water.

Harvesting Your Catch

Remember that fish are living creatures and should always be treated humanely. Also remember that responsible anglers never harvest more fish than they need, keeping within specified catch quotas.


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