Studying Time: 10 minutes
In case you’re a passionate freshwater angler searching for your subsequent nice feat, you may’t do any higher than the mighty Sturgeon. These prehistoric behemoths are your final problem, offering an journey that you simply’ll keep in mind so long as you reside.
There are only some locations in North America the place you may goal these beasts, and British Columbia, Canada is on the prime of the record. However what makes Sturgeon fishing in BC so distinctive?
Effectively, let’s begin with the truth that you don’t have to trudge deep into the wild to seek out your fish. Fraser River is the place to be! And never solely are Sturgeon right here considerable, however they’re additionally enormous – typically larger than anglers concentrating on them. Lastly, there are many professionals on the river guiding Sturgeon-oriented fishing journeys, which is at all times a plus.
Check out what you may anticipate if you guide a Sturgeon fishing journey in British Columbia.
Sturgeon Species You Can Goal
Going after the biggest freshwater fish on the continent is a type of wonderful moments you’ll speak to your grandkids about. Sturgeon fishing in BC is an intense expertise that requires a large amount of power, and the joys of the battle is intoxicating.
In British Columbia, Sturgeon are revered and guarded, so all of the fishing is strictly catch and launch. Each White Sturgeon and Inexperienced Sturgeon reside within the province’s waters, however you’ll fish solely for White Sturgeon. Inexperienced Sturgeon are thought of endangered, so in the event that they’re caught as bycatch, they should be launched instantly.
Sturgeon are identified for his or her eggs, which make for the world’s greatest caviar. What makes it much more coveted is the truth that it’s uncommon – Sturgeon spawn solely as soon as each decade. That’s why many subspecies of this fish have been pushed to extinction, and why Sturgeon at the moment are protected by legislation.
The White Sturgeon is the star of the present in British Columbia. Whenever you hit the water, it’s this fish you’ll be chasing. A novel look that hasn’t modified for tens of millions of years, in addition to its dimension, is what units this fish other than the rest you’ve ever caught.
They are often anyplace from 4–10 ft lengthy, with the burden within the 50–250-pound ballpark. There are additionally monsters within the Fraser River that may be as large as 1,000 kilos. Simply think about having one thing that large pulling on the road, and it’ll get your blood pumping!
There’s no manner you’ll mistake White Sturgeon (or any Sturgeon, actually) for different fish. As a substitute of scales, they’re armored with bony plates (scutes) that protrude from the higher a part of their our bodies. They reside alongside the murky and silty river backside, utilizing the 4 barbels round their mouths to scent for meals.
After they find their prey, they’re capable of lengthen their mouths and suck it in. That is why smelly bait works so nicely for Sturgeon – they will scent it from very distant.
If the Sturgeon’s dimension and power aren’t sufficient to tempt you, then their acrobatic mastery absolutely will. These giants of the deep are identified for his or her aerial shows and can wow you with their hand-jerking headshakes. You’ll acknowledge White Sturgeon by their stark white decrease our bodies. This units them other than their cousins.
This historical species can reside as much as 100 years, which is a really lengthy life span for a fish. They will transfer backwards and forwards from freshwater to saltwater, although BC Sturgeon often keep within the rivers. That is why you may goal all of them yr spherical.
Totally different components of the river have completely different seasons, so it’s greatest to speak to your information earlier than your journey. That manner, you’re certain to come back through the excessive season and have a blast.
As we talked about, in British Columbia, Inexperienced Sturgeon are below authorities safety, they usually’re by no means straight focused. The 2 species are fairly comparable, but when you realize the place to look, you may simply spot the variations.
Whereas White Sturgeon at all times have fully white undersides, Inexperienced Sturgeon have a visual olive-colored stripe down their bellies. Whereas Greens have scutes round dorsal fin, Whites don’t have any, which is one other certain signal of what fish you’re dealing with. Lastly, Inexperienced Sturgeon have extra scutes on their sides (as much as 48), whereas Whites have fewer (as much as 30).
In case you hook a Inexperienced Sturgeon accidentally, you shouldn’t take it out of the water below any circumstances, not even to snap pictures. Inexperienced Sturgeon have official endangered standing, so for their very own good, it is best to launch them instantly and as gently as attainable. In case you’re within the temper to take pictures along with your prey, you might have White Sturgeon to do exactly that.
High Spots for Sturgeon Fishing in BC
There are a number of rivers in British Columbia the place Sturgeon reside – the Kootenay, Nechako, Columbia, and Fraser Rivers. Nonetheless, you may solely goal this fish on the Fraser River.
The primary purpose why fishing is closed on different rivers is that the White Sturgeon inhabitants has been overfished prior to now. Additionally, the dams that sprung up everywhere in the rivers have made it troublesome for Sturgeon to maneuver and survive.
Due to the rules and a spotlight of native guides, Fraser River’s Sturgeon stay sturdy and thriving. This enables for wonderful leisure fishing all yr for the unbelievable fish that roam the river’s waters.
The Decrease and Center sections of the Fraser River are open for Sturgeon fishing in BC, and that is additionally the stretch the place theaction is at its greatest. Right here, sustainable leisure fishing has been flourishing for over 25 years and there’s no signal of it slowing down.
The Decrease Fraser space is split into tidal and non-tidal parts of the river. You will discover Whites within the center part all the best way as much as Prince George. This offers anglers lots of of miles of river to discover, and each a part of it requires a unique method.
The Decrease Fraser River
The decrease part of the Fraser stretches from the Strait of Georgia in Vancouver to Hope, and that is the “extra civilized” a part of the river.
You’ll be able to solid your line within the tidal space, nestled between the ocean estuaries and Mission. Right here, the fishing grounds could possibly be a brief stroll from one of many space’s sights. One essential factor to recollect is that it is best to fish both throughout an incoming or outgoing tide. That is vital since you want shifting water to hold the scent of your bait that’ll tickle the Sturgeon’s fancy.
The non-tidal Fraser River flows from Mission all the best way to Hope, giving aspiring anglers over 55 miles of water to prowl. Chilliwack is without doubt one of the hottest locations the place fishermen like to collect, discover their guides, and begin their Sturgeon hunt.
There are spots the place you may fish from land, however the river is generally inaccessible due to the steep shores. If you wish to have a productive journey right here, going fishing with a constitution captain is virtually a should.
The Center Fraser River
The center a part of the river hides a number of the richest fishing spots, however it’s additionally probably the most unpredictable half. The mid-section is over 100 miles lengthy, with Hope and Lillooet as its finish markers.
Right here, you may anticipate quick operating waters, treacherous terrain, and lots of hungry and big Sturgeon. Fishing on the center part isn’t for the faint of coronary heart, as a result of the river will take you for an thrilling – if typically terrifying – trip. Slicing its manner by the wilderness, the Fraser is surrounded by canyons and unstable shores. Whereas this implies it’s troublesome to achieve the water, it makes for unbelievable fishing, as a result of the strain is off.
Nonetheless, attending to the most effective grounds often requires whitewater boating and maneuvering your manner round rapids. This makes the center Fraser good for adrenaline junkies, however it’s a far cry from a quiet day of fishing. Nonetheless, the surroundings is awe-inspiring and the fish are voracious, so when you crave the adrenaline rush, you’re going to like it right here.
Top-of-the-line fishing spots on the entire river is the Fraser River Canyon, with its turbulent present and steep gorges. As a result of fishing right here may be difficult, there aren’t as many guides that run journeys within the space. Ensure you discover an skilled skilled that may maintain you protected and put you in your subsequent nice catch.
Exploring the Holes of the Fraser River
This would possibly look like an odd title, however allow us to elaborate! White Sturgeon are largely backside dwellers, so the deeper and darker the water, the higher. That is why the various holes alongside the underside of the Fraser River function Sturgeon habitats.
That’s to not say that these dwelling fossils don’t change their environment. Quite the opposite, Sturgeon transfer round, and you will discover them on all ranges of the water column. Nonetheless, they like a murky area for spawning and congregating. That’s why there are some holes alongside the river’s backside which are value mentioning – additionally they make for the most effective fishing grounds.
You will discover a superb variety of holes round Mission, each within the tidal and non-tidal components. Solid your traces round Fort Langley gap and Stave River confluence – the chunk won’t disappoint.
Head east out of Mission, and also you received’t journey lengthy earlier than you hit Catermoles, Mossy Rocks, and MacDonald’s touchdown, amongst many others. You will discover Sturgeon in a few of these holes year-round, so everytime you go, chances are high you’re going to have enjoyable.
Hatzic Gap might be the most effective identified Sturgeon hangout spot, and it additionally occurs to be one of many deepest holes within the river. In case you resolve to fish right here, you could possibly land a lunker or a juvenile specimen, relying in your luck.
A number of Whites spend their winters right here, away from the chilly. Throughout the remainder of the yr, you will discover as many anglers on the water as there are Sturgeon within the water!
Forms of Fishing
Like we talked about earlier than, the Fraser River has a calmer, tamer facet, in addition to an unpredictable temperamental facet. Anglers trying to expertise Sturgeon fishing in BC for the primary time ought to get knowledgeable and select their playground properly earlier than the massive day.
Fishing on Your Personal
Whenever you’re going after a mammoth that’s Sturgeon, fishing by yourself could be a bit difficult. Not simply because it’ll be more durable to discover a good angling spot, but in addition as a result of dealing with a 6′ White is critical enterprise. It’s extremely really useful that you’ve got in depth expertise in Sturgeon fishing when you’re coming to the Fraser by yourself.
Your greatest guess is to go to the decrease part of the river. The nearer you might be to the ocean, the extra entry you’ll must the river, and the much less you’ll must journey to get there. The river’s estuary in Vancouver boasts some wonderful fishing alternatives, each for Sturgeon and different species. Chilliwack, Mission, and even Agassiz additional upstream all provide rod-bending motion.
Fishing with a Constitution
Whenever you resolve to go Sturgeon fishing in BC, one factor’s for certain – you’ll have loads of charters to select from. The Fraser River is a well-liked angling vacation spot, so there’s lots of provide on your demand.
We recommend searching for Sturgeon-oriented guides and journeys to be able to totally focus in your prey of alternative, and have a extremely skilled knowledgeable to information you. There’s often a big selection of choices in relation to journeys, however full day and multi-day journeys assure lots of success. Captains typically recommend reserving a number of days, so that you’ve got loads of time to discover completely different fishing spots.
Some packages are all-inclusive, so that you don’t have to fret about lodging or meals, whereas others aren’t. It’s vital to speak along with your information beforehand to set the fitting expectations and are available ready.
One of the best locations to seek out a superb constitution are Lillooet, Hope, Chilliwack, Mission, and Abbotsford.
Suggestions About Gear
In case you’re a solo angler and also you’ve already determined that Fraser River is your subsequent vacation spot, listed below are some suggestions that can enable you put together. One of many first issues to pack is robust, heavy deal with that can be capable of ship your prey to you with out breaking.
Locals often use 50–80 lb take a look at rods, typically even stronger. Braided line is a should, in addition to very giant hooks that may stand up to the power of a Sturgeon.
As a result of scutes may be very sharp, you’ll need to have thick gloves with you to deal with the fish with out hurting it or your self. Additionally take into account investing in waders, since you’ll have to leap into the water if you wish to take pictures along with your catch.
Now we come to a very powerful half, bait. Sturgeon like to eat however to have the most effective end result, it is best to select your bait properly. Seasoned native anglers love to speak about “matching the hatch,” AKA utilizing seasonal bait to draw Sturgeon’s consideration. It’s essential to know what these fish eat each season of the yr, to be able to tempt them with that.
For instance, in early spring, eulachon (also called candlefish) are on the prime of the Sturgeon’s menu. Hotter climate declares the arrival of Salmon, and Salmon roe is by far Sturgeon’s favourite meals.
Typically, Chinook and Chum eggs are the most efficient. It’s best to take note of which species is within the river if you go fishing and select eggs accordingly. Watch out when shopping for Salmon eggs – you need them to be contemporary. Sturgeon have a refined sense of scent, and they won’t be impressed or enticed by spoiled eggs. In late autumn, change to smelly Salmon flesh and it’ll repay large time.
Fishing Licences and Laws
Sturgeon fishing in BC could be very nicely regulated to be able to protect and defend the wholesome inhabitants of Whites. You’re not allowed to fish for Sturgeon anyplace else other than the Fraser River.
Earlier than the journey, you’re obligated to get a freshwater fishing licence, in addition to a White Sturgeon Conservation Licence. Licences often aren’t included within the worth of the fishing journey, so ensure you purchase one earlier than the expedition.
Some guides are members of the Fraser River’s Sturgeon Conservation Society. They take part in tagging after which monitoring the motion of Sturgeon across the river to higher perceive and defend them. In case you decide one of many conservationist captains, you’ll have the possibility to be part of the method as nicely, which is a memorable expertise in itself.
Sturgeon: A Drive to Be Reckoned With
British Columbia is dwelling to a number of the most prized fish on the continent, and White Sturgeon is within the prime 5 of that record. Leisure fishermen who’re prepared for his or her last dash to greatness will in the end discover themselves on the Fraser River. Battling and touchdown this dwelling dinosaur is a badge of honor amongst avid fishers, and Sturgeon fishing in BC is your ticket to anglers’ stardom.