Top Spots To Fish This Fall

By October 5, 2014Travel BC

From Fresh Water Fisheries Society of BC.
Summer has come and gone … but that means that fishing is heating up! If you’re looking for your next great fishing adventure, or simply want to try fishing a new spot, our Society Ambassadors – Brian Chan, Nick Basok, and Rod Hsu – have some options for you.

Campbell Lake – Rainbow Trout

Bordered on the south by Douglas fir forest and with rolling grasslands to the north, scenic Campbell Lake lies approximately 30 kilometres southeast of Kamloops. The lake is accessed via the Scuitto Lake Forest Service Road which, though gravel, is suitable for campers and travel-trailers. A provincial recreation site on the southern shoreline provides designated campsites and a launch for trailered boats. The lake literally teems with willing-to-strike 25- to 40-centimetre (10- to 16-inch) rainbow trout. This is the perfect lake to introduce someone to fishing, whether it be trolling lures, or their first fly-fishing trip.

Dragon Lake – Rainbow Trout

With abundant aquatic food sources and an ideal habitat for growing big, well-conditioned rainbows, Dragon Lake provides one of B.C.’s premier fisheries. As you approach the city of Quesnel from the south, the lake – only five kilometres from downtown – lies almost alongside Highway 97, with much of the northern half of the lake lined with houses and an RV Park. Despite its near-urban setting, Dragon offers excellent fishing in the late fall months, and anglers can expect to catch fish in excess of 2.25 kilograms (five pounds), with an excellent chance at hooking one over 3.6 kilograms (eight pounds). Just over six kilometres in length, the lake holds many good areas to catch that trophy fish of a lifetime.

Harrison River – Coho and Chum Salmon

Six kilometres west of Agassiz off Highway 7, the Harrison River runs 13 kilometres between Harrison Lake and the Fraser River. The river’s fall fishery for coho and chum starts around mid-September, peaks around mid-October, and tapers off by about mid-November. While there are a few areas to walk-and-wade, anglers with boats will have the most success because the river, although slow-moving, is quite wide. The best access points for boaters are from Island #22 on the Fraser near Chilliwack, or from Kilby Park near Harrison Mills on the Harrison.

To target coho, short-float with cured roe bait. You can also fly-fish with brightly coloured fly patterns, or spin-cast using spinners, spoons, or leadhead jigs.

For chum, float-fish with pink- or purple-coloured leadhead jigs; cast small spinners or spoons; or fly-fish with flies in various shades of pink or purple.

You may retain four salmon per day, no more than two of which can be chum, with up to four hatchery coho. You cannot retain wild coho.

Fraser River – Searun Cutthroat Trout

The prime area for fishing for searun (or harvest) cutthroat trout on the Fraser is the section along the river’s main stem between Hope and Mission. This stretch of the river has several access points, but you will have to search for them, since this fishery does require footwork. While the area is vast, there are plenty of fish once you find them. Your best bet is to find areas where chum salmon are spawning or have spawned; it’s almost guaranteed that searun cutthroat won’t be far away. Concentrate your efforts around shallow riffles and slow-moving backwaters.

This fishery starts by mid-October and actually lasts all winter, but you’ll find that you will catch the biggest harvest cutthroat before Christmas.

You can use several methods to fish for cutthroat. Spin-cast with small minnow-type lures; fly-fish with egg or stonefly patterns; drift-fish with natural baits (like single salmon eggs or small pieces of salmon roe); or just plunk a reliable old dew worm right onto the bottom.

You may retain two hatchery cutthroat, 30 centimetres long or greater, per day. All wild cutthroat trout must be released.

Lower Squamish River – Chum Salmon

The lower Squamish River offers a unique fishery for chum salmon during October and November. While chum are readily available in most Lower Mainland rivers, Lower Squamish chum are often fresh, silver, and strong! They can be caught by either float-fishing with leadhead jigs, or fly-fishing with small streamers. This is a tide-dependent fishery, with high tides often bringing schools of fresh fish into the river.

Please note the specific regulations for this fishery. There is a year-round bait ban in effect, and no retention of chum salmon unless a seasonal opening is announced.

Lower Harrison River – Sturgeon

Although most fishing for white sturgeon takes place in the Fraser River, the abundance of spawning salmon in the Harrison River system can make October a productive month there as well. Compared to the Fraser, the lower Harrison has very little current: only a few ounces of weight will keep your bait on the bottom. Salmon roe, tied in mesh bags, is an excellent bait for Harrison River sturgeon.

And there is a bonus to this great fishery – you can enjoy a half-day of salmon fishing before spending the other half chasing sturgeon. A boat is needed for this fishery. While charters are available, be sure to book your sturgeon adventure early, since demand is usually high.

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