The 5 Best Fishing Spots In BC

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If you’re an angler who likes going after a variety of species while surrounded by beautiful landscapes and ocean waters, then consider British Columbia the ultimate fishing paradise. This westernmost province of Canada has everything you could ever want and more, whether it’s ice fishing, deep sea fishing, casting a fly, trophy fish, eater-sized fish, rivers, lakes, coastline – the list goes on. While there are many species anglers can target in BC, the five below are what makes the province truly special.

Sturgeon – Fraser River

By Matthew Collingwood/shutterstock

There’s really only one place to go if you want to fish for monster white sturgeon – the Fraser River. While long gone are the days of catching sturgeon reaching 20 feet long, you can still reel in fish exceeding 12 feet in BC. These prehistoric fish take a big team to bring in, so be sure to rig up your boat accordingly and bring help along if you can. It’s ok if you don’t own the right boat or equipment, there are plenty of lodges and charters that’ll take you out. All you’ll need is the arm strength to fight a behemoth for over 90 minutes if need be. Sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River, it’s about as close as you can get to hunting actual dinosaurs. Just remember that due to dwindling populations, white sturgeon are a catch-and-release fishery only.

Halibut – Vancouver Island

By iacomino FRiMAGES/shutterstock

You don’t have to brave the cold weather in Alaska to catch big halibut. Instead, just take a charter out on the west coast of Vancouver Island and you’ll catch fish averaging over 20 pounds – you may even get one over 100 [pounds if you’re lucky. These fish are a favorite for saltwater anglers, not only because they’re a prized gamefish, but also for their tremendous fighting spirit, especially when they get close to the surface. May is the best time to go as that’s when large numbers of halibut move into shallower waters, but deep sea fishing for halibut remains strong throughout much of the year. There are professional guides for hire out of the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet.

Chinook Salmon – Haida Gwaii

By Kevin Cass/shutterstock

There are five species of Pacific salmon anglers can target in BC: chum, coho, chinook, pink, sockeye. Of these it’s the chinook salmon that’s largely considered the crown jewel of the five as they grow up to be the biggest of the bunch, by far. You can find chinooks in freshwater rivers and streams throughout much of BC, but hitting the open ocean offers you the chance for more monsters on any given trip. Haida Gwaii, home of WFN’s The Lodge, is one of the best places for salmon fishing in the world. The big draw is going out during their migrating runs when they return from offshore waters in the Bering Sea. 20-40 pounders are common, and fish over 50 pounds are not all that rare. As a bonus, the halibut and coho salmon fishery is top notch as well.

Steelhead – Skeena River Watershed

By J Edwards Photography/shutterstock

In BC, no fish is as revered or pursued with as much passion as steelhead. While there’s great steelhead to be had throughout much of the province, the Skeena River watershed deserves praise for being just as legendary for its beautiful locales as its world class fishery. The watershed is a dream come true for fly fishing enthusiasts: loads of trophy fish, in areas you can have all to yourself if you so desire. For those who like having some company out in the wilds, towns like Terrace on the Kitsumkalum River or Smithers on the Bulkley River provide great starting points for your adventure. Every year, anglers catch steelhead well over 20 pounds, with 30-pounders a common occurrence.

Kokanee Salmon – Williston Lake

By topseller/shutterstock

Landlocked sockeye salmon – or kokanee salmon, as they are more commonly known – are dubbed by the BC Fish and Wildlife Department as the most popular gamefish in the province after rainbow trout. Why are they such a favorite gamefish? Probably because they are found all over the province, make great tablefare, are relatively challenging to catch, and can be caught a variety of ways. Williston Lake is the largest lake in the province, covering an area of about 155 miles. This man-made reservoir is ideal for anglers who truly like to get away as there are only two nearby towns: Mackenzie and Hudson’s Hope. While it may not be near any major city centers, you can’t argue with the fishing results as there are plenty of kokanee salmon to go after. Camping grounds and lodges are available if you’re looking to stay awhile.


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Jack Bollinger
Born in Massachusetts, Jack is an avid fisherman most of his life. He is currently a fishing guide in the bay of California. He has been fishing for more than 40 years and fly-fishing for more than 30. His favorite fish to catch is the rainbow trout and small-mouth bass. He has earned many top places in different lake fishing competitions.

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