In 2011, Michael and his father Ingolf came to experience the great sturgeon fishing this river has to offer, and they weren’t disappointed. Over a span of 8 days, they landed in excess of 140 sturgeon, including many in the 6 and 7 ft range.! Going back home, they spread the word of this amazing fishery. Loads of shots with giant fish enticed a few more friends to join them on their 2012 Fraser River Sturgeon Fishing Holiday. Would they have similar results this year?
They came in the second half of September for an 11 day trip, a period that typically produces very good to excellent results on a daily basis, even on low sockeye years like we had this year. However, this year things seemed different. Every day seemed like a struggle to get fish to bite, and when they did cooperate, we couldn’t find anything of decent size. With 3 boats for the group, our guides covered in excess of 160km of river in hopes of finding more or bigger fish, but the results seemed to be the same no matter what part of the river we fished or what we threw at them.
Every morning started with an “Ok boys, today’s another day, we’ll get ‘em”, but after a few hours of slow action, we had a good idea of what the rest of the day was going to be like. Sometimes you can blame the tides, the water temps, the wind, the bait, the pressure changes, but the lack of bites was an every day occurrence and we were starting to run out of excuses ;). They just didn’t want to cooperate and that was it.
Although we did manage to produce some double-digit days, we just couldn’t crack the 6ft mark. On our most productive day, we landed almost 50 fish between the 3 boats and not 1 fish was bigger than 6ft…..what are the chances????? ….is that even possible???? On other days, it almost seemed like the river was void of any life, but every now and then a sturgeon would roll here and there, just to let you know that they were around indeed.
The fall chum salmon were now starting to enter the river in bigger numbers on a daily basis….would this food source finally trigger their noses and appetite? ….is this what we needed to change our fortunes? We started seeing a feeding transition on the last couple of days of the trip, but unfortunately it was too little, too late.
Within a 4-5 day period after the group’s departure, the sturgeon fishing went from terrible to absolutely incredible….just like that! As soon as the chums showed up in big numbers, the bite was on. It’s hard to believe what can happen over a period of 4-5 days, but it just goes to show you that these fish and their noses know what is happening in the river at all times. There is a reason why they’ve been able to survive on this planet for 200 million years….and that’s a long time to evolve and adapt to their surroundings.
In the end, this goes down as one of the most frustrating and challenging sturgeon trips I’ve ever been a part of. However, the days couldn’t have been spent with a more fun, easy going, and laid back group of guys that enjoyed and appreciated each day on the water, regardless if the rods were moving or not. For this group, this wasn’t just a fishing trip, it was also a holiday. Great shore lunches, festive evenings at the Fraser River’s Edge B&B, great company, and relaxing times on the boats.
Many thanks to Ingolf, Michael, Sasha, Harold and the rest of the crew for a fun filled 2 weeks on (and off) the water. One of our most memorable trips of the year by far! Hope to see you guys again in 2013!
Ps- a special congratulations to Harold for landing his first ever King Salmon, something he’s wanted to do for nearly 20 years. Well done Harold! WUNDERBAR!