FOC opened the Fraser river to recreational fishermen from The August long weekend until the end of Labour Day weekend this year. Just a bit over 1 month of available sockeye fishing. The weather was great. Almost every day was hot and sunny, and for the most part the fish were there when I fished. The commercial boats had two openings and the natives had various openings all throughout. You could definitely feel the effects of the commercial nets (they are like a wall across the river). The native nets had some effects as well, but because they were pretty constant, it just lowered the overall flow of fish ALL the time. Many fish came with net marks and/or seal bites. Once the fish hit a net, it often gives a seal the opportunity to go for a quick bite. These fish some times get free and we (the rec fishermen) get to catch a half eaten fish – yeach, although for the most part, when the commercial nets weren’t having an effect, many bright chrome fish came in.
Fraser sockeye fishing isn’t “traditional” fishing. These fish are harvested by running a long leader with hook through the fish’s mouth, and hooking it “in the mouth”. These fish don’t get a chance to actively attack your “presentation”. They are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time (as far as the fish is concerned). Your goal as the fisherman is to find the channel in the river in which the fish are swimming, and make sure your hook is there. The number of people that come out for this fishery make it more of a social event than a fishing event. Sometimes you get guys that aren’t good at the social aspect, so you get small verbal fights break out over lines crossing etc. It’s quite humorous at times 🙂 All in all, the people I have fished near have been polite, clean and well mannered. We’ve had a good time, and enjoyed each other’s company. You’ve just got to have the right attitude going in!
One thing that concerns me though, is to see this time of “fishing” being applied to rivers that are quite clear, where the fish will attack a well presented bait or wool. This “harvest” mentality is spilling over into the Coho fishery of the Vedder and Chehalis rivers, as well as their Steelhead fisheries. If you are taking a friend sockeye fishing, or you are a tackle shop, it really is your moral obligation to explain to your friend what type of fishing this is, and to explain how to do some “real” fishing on the other rivers, with the various associated reasons.
I’ve had a fun summer, and have landed 17 sockeye and 1 spring (c.a. 15lbs), and it really makes you appreciate what we have here in BC. (Thanks, God, for the bountiful fish this year!) Now it’s time to change my set up, and get ready for float fishing the Vedder for those beautiful chrome bullet Cohos.
Here’s a small photo gallery from the past month on the Fraser. Enjoy: