Fish for Trout, Salmon, Bass and More

Darkis Lake(56805)Credit: Javrsmith

Many visitors come to British Columbia each year in order to enjoy the exciting fishing adventures that can be found throughout the province. There are countless fishing spots located on streams and lakes that contain many species of game fish. Anglers use various types of gear to fish for trout, salmon, steelhead, bass and even more. There is a fishing opportunity for nearly every kind of gear.

Europeans particularly enjoy the fishing opportunities in British Columbia. While many waters in that continent have suitable populations of sports fish, there are often very restrictive regulations controlling who is allowed to fish. Indeed, many people living on the banks of rivers or lakes in countries such as Great Britain, are not allowed to fish the water that borders their property. Instead, the fishing is reserved for members of various angling clubs. Even those who can enjoy the sport may have peculiar regulations to uphold. Often there are restrictions on gear or retention to be observed. These may related to conservation but often seem to have no basis in practicality.

British Columbia fishing waters have no peculiarities. While there are regulations and restrictions to be observed, they apply to everyone equally. There are far more waters that are open to anglers than those that are not. The closed areas are generally set for the conservation of spawning fish. Some waters may also be closed based on age or other factors but such closures are plain to understand. There are many regulations, however, but it is very possible to take advantage of many different kinds of fishing opportunities in the province.

Salt and Fresh Water Angling
The ocean environment is administered by the federal government of Canada. Angling in the British Columbia section of the Pacific Ocean requires the purchase of a salt water fishing license. The fee for all Canadian residents is the same but higher fees are applicable to foreign visitors. All fresh water fishing in BC is administered by the provincial government. Regulations are established by the different government agencies in order to protect the fish stocks and to increase spawning and survival rates. Published booklets list these regulations but local guides and outdoor stores can often help inform visiting fishermen.

Fishing in Parks
British Columbia has various parks established throughout the province. These may be administered by federal, provincial or local government agencies. There are different regulations in place covering fishing in these parks. A standard BC license is required for anglers in provincial or local parks but a separate license is required by those wishing to fish in Canadian national parks. There are different regulations pertaining to national parks as well. There is an area in Northern BC, near the Nass River, which is administered by the autonomous Nisga'a First Nation People. Contact the Nisga'a for specific fishing regulations in that area.

Fresh Water Fish Species In British Columbia
The major sports fish in the province include trout, steelhead and salmon. There are also populations of bass and char which may be fished. Most of the salmon are caught in fresh water when they return to their streams of origin to spawn. There are various opportunities to catch resident sockeye salmon, called Kokanee, in some provincial lakes. Salmon species include Chum, sockeye, pink, coho and Chinook, (or Spring). Trout species include rainbow, cutthroat, brown, lake, brook, bull and brown. Steelhead are rainbow trout that ordinarily live in the ocean but which return to fresh water to spawn. They are among the most popular fish to catch. Various lakes also contain large and small mouth bass. Northern waters can contain char species. Other fish include catfish, squaw, sculpins and others which are generally not considered sports fish.

Salt Water Fish Species in British Columbia
In addition to the salmon and steelhead found in fresh water, the ocean supports fishing for various species of cod, tuna, skate and others. In addition to angling, many people enjoy harvesting crabs, shellfish and octopus in British Columbia salt water. There are many opportunities to obtain seafood on the BC coast, subject to regulations, of course.

Fishing Methods
Many anglers use different types of fishing gear in British Columbia. The major fishing methods include fly, cast, mooching and center pin. There are incredible fly fishing adventures to be had in the province. Many anglers have success catching trophy sized Chinook salmon on artificial flies. These fish are often 20 - 30 pounds and even top 50 - 60 pounds occasionally. Casting lures or bait is another popular method. Mooching involves stationary drift fishing or trawling while boating. Center pin fishing is a direct drive method of reel construction. It gives great fishing action to anglers playing their catch. RST Fishing makes various rods and reels in their Skeena Series for each of these fishing methods. They make the best fly rod available based on the ability of anglers to use it to cast incredibly far, use it for precision roll casting and for the fishing action. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, as does all RST Fishing gear.

Trophy Fishing opportunities
There are many places in British Columbia which contain fish of trophy size. The largest Chinook salmon ever caught with sports gear was taken on the Skeena River in the province. This fish was over 90 pounds. Other giant Chinook top 60, 70, 80 or more pounds regularly. Chum salmon weighing 30 or more pounds are often caught. Steelhead are common in 10 - 15 pound sizes while they sometimes top 20 or 25 pounds. Coho salmon are often 15 to 20 pounds or more. In the ocean, giant halibut have been taken by sports fishermen. These have topped 150 pounds at times. Fishing for these giants is best done with the assistance of a qualified guide.

Some anglers are not interested so much in trophy sized fish but rather in the quantity of fish they can catch. It is possible to catch many fish in a single day in BC. Some of the mountain lakes are populated by very nice trout. These fish are eager to feed so they can be caught easily. Many fishermen catch and release many such trout, keeping only the best specimens. A great fishing trip can be made when all members of the party catch their limit of trout from these lakes.

Whatever your desired fishing adventure, you will likely find the opportunity in British Columbia. The fishing experiences in the province are often the stuff of legend.