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Only fifty kilometers north of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the Squamish River System. The Squamish River stream is fed by large glaciers and is home to late running winter steelhead and other salmon such as Chinook, Coho, Chum, and Pinks. There is also a strong population of Dolly Varden’s, Cutthroat Trout and Rainbow Trout.
Drifting the river in a raft is a great way to enjoy the full beauty of the Squamish River. This river is a rugged and beautiful place. Spectacular panoramic views, created by a glacier millions of years ago, take you on a memorable journey of what is a lush rain forest lined with rugged glaciated mountain peaks today. On one boating adventure you will experience plenty of wildlife, breathtaking waterfalls, and snowcapped mountains.
The Squamish River is fed by four main tributaries; the Elaho, Mamquam, Ashlu and Cheakamus. The main fishing in the Squamish River is Chum Salmon who start appearing in mid October and peak by mid to late November. There is also a decent Coho fishery in October and early November.
Popular spots to target these fish are at the mouths of the main tributaries. Expect crowds – on a weekend in November expect 50-100 anglers below the mouth of the Mamquam!
The Squamish River was once a great winter steelhead river; habitat degradation due to logging operations has affected rearing habitat. Furthermore, run of the river projects that are in the works today will further impact sea-run fish populations. There is still a viable steelhead population and those anglers that put in the effort may be rewarded with large, wild steelhead in the Spring months.
The Harrison River
The Harrison River is breathtaking. There is no shortage of hidden coves, plentiful beach areas and rugged rocky cliffs, picturesque waterfalls, plush forests, and cascading mountains that reveal a surreal tip of snow. There are unlimited fishing opportunities for the angler. If you are located in Vancouver, British Columbia you can make it to Harrison River in about an hour and a half by car.
Chinook, Coho, chum, pink and sockeye salmon, fresh from the ocean, spawn annually in the mainstem of the Harrison River, in it’s tributaries including the Chehalis River, and up through the lake in the tribs that dump into the top of Harrison Lake. From mid-August to December the main channel of the Harrison River is stuffed with spawning sockeye, chum and white fleshed chinook salmon. The only other thing that is as plentiful as the assortment of fresh fish is the number of bald eagles that frequent this region during the same time.
It is about June when the salmon begin to enter the Harrison River. The first fish in the river are Chinook salmon that use the Harrison River as a pathway to get to Lillooet River. The Lillooet River is also home to a remarkable world-class, year-round trout fishery.
Every second year sockeye salmon fill the Harrison River as the summer progresses as they advance on their journey to Morris Creek and the Weaver Creek Spawning channel. The spawning channels are only six miles long so the swim is not very long.
The fall brings a large run of chum salmon. Chum are plentiful in the river in November but there are also early October and mid December runs of fresh fish for those in the know. During the fall Coho can also be found but their numbers the last few years have been spotty and success rates have been low.
In odd years, a huge run of pink salmon enter the river in early fall. Anglers come out in droves to target these willing biters and the area around Kilby and the mouth turns into a boat show. There is also a strong population of white sturgeon. In the fall the deeper pools will hold sturgeon up to ten feet that are feeding on salmon carcasses.
The Harrison River is best accessed by jet boat and there is a large number of Harrison River fishing guides to take you out on a trip. For a recommendation, feel free to drop me an email.
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