Sturgeon Rising.

You set out for a sturgeon fishing session with high expectation. 

 The rods are powerful, the reels large and the line tends to be about 130 lb breaking strain.  On your first trip you have little idea of what to expect. You’ve seen the pictures and have read the articles by the lucky few that have been on the trip. You sit and soak up the scenery hoping that your rod tip will bend towards the surface of the water as a sturgeon takes hold and runs with the bait.  Often the rod tip bounces delicately and then moves steadily for a short distance.  This is the time to strike!  As the fish powers away you start to get a feel of the size of the thing which is attached to your line.  Pumping and pulling eventually brings to the surface a creature of prehistory in all it’s glory.

Sturgeon

It’s an amazing sight and at that moment all tiredness disappears from your body as you are now faced with the problem of how this fish is going to fit in your arms for a photo shoot.

A good guide should be there to help and advise. Take a look at Steve Kaye’s site.

http://www.sturgeonhunter.com/

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Getting Ready.

The Fraser River, BC, Canada.

Leaving early one morning, I pulled off the lane, down to the edge of the shingle. I was amazed at the sight of about 200 trucks and campers all positioned so that they could fish off the beach for the salmon.

This is salmon fishing on the Fraser at the height of the season.

Bar Fishing On The Fraser River

 It’s busy, you hope for a good run of fish and that you don’t get caught in another fisherman’s line.  Most of the time the anglers on the bank were using beach style techniques with the odd person spinning. In the distance you can see one of the many boats used by the guides, or the regulars, who seek to avoid the crush of close quarters fishing.

Luckily Steve, the guide, and I were heading further upstream for a morning session fishing for salmon.  The rest of the day was to be spent pursuing sturgeon. For those seeking a little more peace it is always possible to find another spot away from the crowd.

Take a look at Steve’s web site and see some of the fish which the Fraser can produce when you are in the company of someone who has a good feel for the water and has the relevent tackle and techniques.

http://www.sturgeonhunter.com/

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Bar Fishing For Chinook

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Bar Fishing For Chinook.

The mighty Fraser river in British Columbia is an extraordinary place to follow a style of fishing which the UK angler would see as beach fishing.

You use a boat to get to most of the marks and those shingle bars, as a result of deposits from the river and the level dropping for the summer, are usually out in mid stream. Obviously there are spots that can be reached from the road, but there is something special about a boat trip to your own little fishing island. The tackle I have seen being used tends to be long rods 11′ to 12′ with level wind reels holding 50 lb braid. The paternoster style lead attachment holds leads which go from 8 oz to 20 oz plus. It’s like throwing a brick out into the water. The leader may be 25 lb fluorocarbon with a large "spin-glow" lure attached.

Bar Fishing For Chinook

Once you have cast out and the splash subsides, you can watch the ripples drift on the current and the rod is placed in the beach rod rest. Now you can sit back and watch the world hurry about it’s business, snooze, have a cup of tea, but always keep an eye on the rod top or listen for the little bell.

There will be the constant passage of guide boats up or down the river, helicopters and small planes. Across the river from this spot there is a log launch with a little boat keeping order, a sight to see. All these  things are part of BC life and a must see experience. However, we all fish for as much as we can get out of the day, so we must not forget the rich wildlfe. There will be ospreys, bald eagles, sometimes a bear or even an inquisitive seal that always seems to surface near your lure.

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Kamloops Rainbows

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler

Kamloops Rainbows.

I had been contemplating a fishing trip to Kamloops for some time. Throughout the season, visiting the Fraser for Sturgeon and Kokanee in the Okanagan, flyfishing had been neglected. With this in mind I spoke with a friend, who lives in Kamloops, and arranged to meet him on a lake after he left work on the Friday. He starts and finishes work early so we can always get a short trip in.

The drive from home was about 2 hours and there had been a warning of snow on route. This meant I had to get the winter tyres fitted before I left. When I set out at around 9 am the weather looked good, but mountain travel should always be taken with caution. At about 6,000′ there was fog with some snow in the air. It was not a pleasent journey, although the radio said there was sun at Kamloops. As I drove the last 50 km and dropped down to about 2,000′ there was the sun and the scenery looked great. I had made the right choice in coming this way.

Arriving at the lake there wasn’t  a cloud over head, but the distant mountains showed what could be possible if the wind blew my way. Undaunted I set up the Sage SP 5 wt and paddled out in the V-Boat. The water was about 11C and I was glad I had warm clothing under my waders.

I always use a floating line and a range of nymphs that the great Frank Sawyer would recognise. Pretty old fashioned, but the approach has worked around the world so why change?

Out from the boat launch I paddled and after about 10 casts had my first fish. A beautiful, hard fighting rainbow of some 15”. ( I should work in metric, but somehow for fishing, the old system sounds better ). The colours on the fish impressed me greatly , particularly the green on the back.

Kamlopps Rainbow In The Net

The fish was gently returned after another picture.

Kamloops Rainbow

On starting out my flippers had ‘kicked up’ a number of geen shrimps.  The first fish came to a green shrimp pattern.

A furter 3 fish followed, up to 17". By now the weather was starting to change and a breeze was beginning to blow. Up above, the clouds were moving towards the lake and snow seemed a possibilty. Perhaps 2 hours of fishing time remained, if I didn’t want to fish in the snow.

I put away the V-Boat and searched the shore for a good spot to cast. The rewards justified the decision and I caught 2 more trout, with one of 18" and the second at 23". Time to stop and and think of the journey home.

Crossing the mountain was slow and, in places, perilous. There was some snow in the air, but the damp ground was very slippery as 2 trucks, which passed me, were to discover.  After approximately 10K we passed them, in the ditch !

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Salmon And Sturgeon Fishing.

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Salmon And Sturgeon Fishing.

In this post I’m going to indulge myself.

I have a passion for angling in all forms and last year I took the plunge to explore the Fraser Valley, BC, Canada, for sturgeon and salmon. It’s not an easy task as you stand on the shore of a river which must be flowing at about 4 mph.

The first problem seems to be access. How do you get to the water? Certainly you can see the river from the highway, but it’s down a steep ( 300ft ) bank or across the rugged valley floor. When you get to the shore the edges are covered in shingle and appear to be shallow. Yet wading would not be advisable for the unwary. The depth can drop suddenly to 35 ft. In other areas the banks are tree lined and the water drops to maybe 6ft. It’s a river of great contrasts. That said, there are people who beach fish in the English style ( except you might be using 20 ozs of lead ). If you spend some time talking with the beach anglers you quickly realise that skill levels are not perfect amongst most. However the enjoyment and camping pleasure seems high and why not?

I studied articles and went into the library, but I’m not sure I gained as much information as I would have expected. So the most sensible plan had to be – find a guide. Again this wasn’t easy when you have no experience of choosing a guide. Many suggestions and several phone calls were made. The level of service and help varied greatly, but most did not feel right for the approach of a dedicated English angler. I wanted to learn and catch good sized fish.

I came across Steve Kaye and I include his websites:-

http://www.salmonhunter.com

http://www.sturgeonhunter.com/

He was a mine of information and the styles he discussed were very reminiscent of legering or trotting on the Wye or Hampshire Avon in England. I booked a day and waited in anticipation. We managed to get a day at the beginning of September and an early start had been suggested ( well, early for me ). Steve said 6am. I thought he had to be joking, but everyone starts early in Canada. We met in the hotel foyer.

Those early mornings often see a mist rising from damp ground and this was indeed the sight which greeted us and followed us to the boat launch. Loaded and ready to go, we climbed aboard and were off into what seemed to be a cloud, which had dropped off the mountain. For those who have never been aboard a 21 ft jet boat, here’s a picture as we left the channel and headed into the main body of the Fraser river.

Jet Boat

The scenery was stunning, even if it appeared clouded in mist. There were spots of clear air as we raced along the river surface and saw the tops of mountains risng above the mist. Once  anchored and tackles etc were cast, we had time to settle and have a cup of tea. The mist began to rise and the surroundings became apparent.

This was the upstream view.

Upstream

And downstream.

Downstream

Waiting for a bite.

Waiting For A Bite

It took some time, but eventually the right hand rod tip slammed down to the water and the first Chinook salmon was on. A great fight ensued while Steve hurried to remove tackle we didn’t need and make ready for the netting.

Getting Ready

In fact, the intensity of the fight meant that Steve had to start the engine and follow the fish. Constant strain needs to be applied and no slack line must be given or the barbless hook will allow an escape. In the UK, when in the pub, you know what your right arm is for. With this fish all that right arm practice was certainly needed. I wound the reel handle as fast as possible just to keep pace with the high speed lunch on the end of the line. Bear in mind the fish will be swimming against a 4 mph current and all the strain the rod can apply. It can still win the battle.

Time and pressure eventually won and the fish was netted. A bright 19 lb Chinook. At first I had been reluctant to see the death of the fish, but English coarse angling sentiments gave way when you realise the number of fish that pass along the Fraser and that strict controls mean that one fish for the table becomes a legitimate reward.

Another fish came along, but it put on a tremendous spurt of power before the boat could accomodate the change and the loose line meant the fish could shake it’s head and it was gone.

As the sun rose above the mountains and the air temperature climbed the mist cleared and the late summer heat began to take it’s toll. Inactivity became the order of the day. Everything was still and the rod sat quietly in the rest with the tip bouncing gently to the rhythm of the water.

Lonely Rod

It was time to go after the sturgeon. We made  an upstream run which gave us a welcome breeze until we stopped at the junction of two arms of the Fraser as it separated around an island.

Away Again

Tackle for the sturgeon was considerably stronger. Slightly shorter rods with 130 lb braided mainline and big hooks. Bait was a recently deceased coarse fish of about 1/2 lb. Three  rods were used,and the bite came almost immediately om one of them. The tip vibrated as the fish picked up the bait and then it slammed to the water as the sturgeon took off for Vancouver. The fun had begun. Steve wound in the spare rods, stowed any loose gear and provided the rod belt. Arms were now starting to ache as you felt you might be attached to some primaeval monster over which you have no control. The fish was in charge. Now that everything had been made safe Steve started the engine, unhooked the anchor rope from the indicator buoy and we were off in pursuit.

The strain was incrediable as the fish made a series of very long runs. You gain line, the fish takes it back. Twenty minutes later and it seemed stalemate was going to be the deal. It’s hard to get serious when your energy levels are getting low and every time you pull up the fish it then has it’s turn and so takes back your gains plus a bit more.

After about 40 minutes the battle felt as if it was drawing to a close. The sturgeon started to rise, but it was pulling the back end of the boat round in the current. Surely this wasn’t sensible. “Ok”, says Steve, “I think you might be winning, hold it steady and I will try to get to the bank”. “Why? was my obvious question. “Simple” came the reply, “That fish is about 140 lbs, over 6 ft  and we can’t get it in the boat. So here’s the drill. Oh and by the way when we get the fish watch out for the tail”. The excitement was tremendous.

If you would like to see pictures I’ll direct you again to Steve’s web site where you can see a gallery of great fish.

I  suggest to anyone who wants to experience great salmon or sturgeon fishing, give Steve a call.

PS The sturgeon was carefully returned and lives to fight another day, as I am sure it will.

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