A lake sturgeon
A beautiful lake sturgeon being caught

Why Should You Go Sturgeon Fishing in the Fraser River?

BC’s Fraser River and Harrison River systems in Chilliwack are home to one of the world’s largest populations of sturgeon. We are the #1 destination for your sport fishing tours that’s grown imperative in such a short space of time, and anglers come from all around the world for these fishing tours, and for the thrill of pursuing monster sized sturgeon, salmon, sockeye, and steelhead as they leap their way along the Fraser River.

Meet the Fish with the Fraser River Sturgeon Experts

It’s Canada’s largest freshwater fish. In a full lifespan of over 100 years, it grows by a couple of inches each year, to more than 14 feet long and over 1000 pounds making it more difficult to catch when fishing for them. The sturgeon has a distinctively different look – some say ugly, others think it’s unique. Its skin is not scaly but more like a shark’s skin, with rows of armored scutes, which are small, sharp bony plates. They feed by using their barrel to find food on the bottom of the river, and so their mouths are toothless suckers and the eyes are tiny and not much use to them which you can take advantage of on your fishing trips.

They may live and feed along the river bottom, but once hooked, it will certainly make themselves known at and above the surface. Even larger sturgeon fish, commonly around 6 feet, will jump and put on a real show, even more so in warmer waters at the Fraser River when fishing.

Atlantic sturgeon being caught
Atlantic sturgeon fish smiling for the camera

Where To Find Them?

While the Fraser River and Harrison systems are the prime areas for sturgeon locally, they are also found in the smaller tributaries for Fraser River fishing trips. The lower river, from Hells Gate (between Hope and Boston Bar) down to the mouth of the river, is home to a good supply of the white breed.

They tend to be concentrated around seams, holes, and drop-offs in the bottom of the river. They are also plentiful in the quieter backwaters of the Fraser River, gathering where more food is available for them so you know exactly where to find them all when fishing.

The flats either side of the dark spots can also pay as a place to drop your fishing bait. 20 to 40 feet of water is the most productive depth, but fish can also be caught at depths of 10 or 65 feet.

Take care navigating through the Fraser River waters during the fishing tours. As the depth figures above suggest, the currents can be unpredictable, much more than you might think, and winds can be strong.

When Is The Best Time To Go Fraser River Fishing?

There’s a long window of opportunity for fishing on the Fraser River. March to November are the best months for activity and fish of all sizes, up to the largest examples. The Fraser Valley is open to fish all year round, but the winter months tend to yield smaller, more lethargic fish. Better to leave the fish to feed on the limited supplies of food available in winter and replenish their energy ready for the fishing season ahead.

MONTH:JanFedMarchAprMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
SturgeonA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that month
SteelheadA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that month
Pink SalmonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in season
Coho SalmonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that month
Chum SalmonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that month
Chinook SalmonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in seasonA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthA green check mark signalling if the fish are in season that monthX signalling the fish are not in seasonX signalling the fish are not in season

Catching Them

Fishing on the Fraser River fishing guides can be a slow process that requires patience. If the barometric pressure is falling, progress will be considerably slower. Even so, if they are not willing in a location after 30 minutes, they’re not coming at all, so move on and try another spot.

Don’t turn your drag all the way in, or you will lose your gear. The fish should be able to run with your bait, and they can take long runs, so give other boats plenty of space when fishing for sturgeon.

A sturgeon laying on the Fraser River fishing sands
A large sturgeon fish enjoying some time out in the sun

Taking a sturgeon can be a subtle process when fishing for sturgeons. Most times the fish will make a few smaller pulls before it decides to take your offering and run with the bait. This inspection in the Sturgeon hunting process may take up to 10 minutes, and setting your hook too early is a common mistake when fishing. Once you feel a steady pull, take up your rod and point it towards the water. Pick up any slack line and firmly set the hook.

You’ll want to keep your boat as stable as possible when fishing for sturgeon. Holding still in the water and not moving around is bound to bring more success in your fishing adventures. Winds and currents can make a boat unstable, but one inexpensive tip to help the situation just requires a standard size bucket with a hole cut in the center. Then just tie it to the back of the boat, and it will help stabilize the boat.

Do remember that our fishing guides only set up at fisheries that are catch and release areas. Good luck fishing and chasing the sturgeon.