Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service

Canadian sturgeon fishing on the Harrison and Fraser rivers

Andy (you should have been here yesterday) Cowley and I had an urge to fish for sturgeon in British Columbia. Alan Thomas used to fish for them there and used to tell me of their great fighting qualities. So at the beginning of the year we booked a 6 day guided session through BC Sports Fishing Group that had been recommended to us. We were stay in the Harrison Hot Springs Resort Hotel on the banks of the Harrison lake.

Harrison Hot Springs resort

We arrived from the UK into Vancouver airport and a 2hr drive had us following the Fraser river up into the hills to the beautiful hotel and venue. Our arrival was at about 6pm. We were sharing a room to keep the costs down to a reasonable amount. 2 double beds in a room with views out to the lake.

Room view

Ross a friend of our’s back in the UK recommended the resort and the guiding service of BC Sports Fishing Group. They have an office in the hotel so someone is on hand to offer assistance if required. The first thing was to have a beer and then pop out for a look around the resort. There appeared to be plenty of restaurants from pizza to German, Greek, Indian, Japan, and some smaller diners. Plus the hotel of course.

We had a pizza and coke then back for another beer and it was knocking on towards 9pm which was 6am next day time for us. Andy had a rotten nights sleep where as I slept well until 5.30am. This was very much the pattern for the entire week for me and Andy.

The morning was normally breakfast at 7am when the restaurant opened. Boy oh boy a full English style breakfast each morning was more than enough to keep us going.

Great view at breakfast the jetty is in the back ground

We would meet our guide ” Merr ” whose name was Tony but it was a nickname that had stuck from school days we were later to learn.

We would walk out from the hotel and in a few steps you would be on the jetty. First Morning Merr was there to greet us. First thing was to get the safety instructions about the boat told to us both. Merr was to be our guide for the entire 6 days. The weather had said it was going to pour with rain all day and we were both impressed with the size of the canopy on the boat. It covered an area large enough for 6 people so with just Andy and myself we had more than enough space. We had bought sufficient wet weather clothes to keep us dry. Plus Merr had chest waders and boots we could use for when we beached the boat for photographing sturgeon.

Great sized canopy on the boat

We were to be using 3 rods because that was the number of rods we could use with the rod licences. The reels were multipliers that I’ve not used for 40 years plus so a bit of a steep learning curve for me. Andy on the other hand uses them when sea fishing. Reel line was about 150lb braid and a strong Dacron hooklink the rating I’m unsure of but should be assumed to be around the equivalent to the main line. Think Merr said 180lbs

Merr would take us to the different spots on both the Harrison and Fraser rivers. To get to the Fraser river ( via the Harrison river) from our hotel was about 20 minutes so not too long. The salmon fishing was closed on the Fraser river whilst we were there so we could only fish the Harrison river. We did this by fishing the confluence of the Harrison into the Fraser. The colour of each river was significantly different. The Fraser was up and rising for the entire time we were there and very coloured. The Harrison though was a beautiful clear blue hue of a colour. This made for great camera video footage as you could see the sturgeon fighting in the clear water.

Biggest fish for Andy 205 lbs on the clear Harrison river

The baits we used were pike minnow parts, fresh pink salmon, sections of lamprey and fresh salmon eggs. The rods had different baits on each rather than just select one bait. The hooks were barbless and the leads 16oz or 1lb. These were set on a running lead system about 2 ft from the hook. Braided reel line and hooklink material were used.

Merr said that salmon baits and pike minnow baits could be left before taking a “swing” (striking). Just let the rod load up and then swing. The salmon eggs and lamprey bait bites would be much more of a tentative nature and you need to swing at these immediately. The rods were numbered from the left being number 1, middle number 2, and right rod number 3. The salmon eggs and lamprey rod would always be the middle or number 2 rod. So this was the only rod where baits changed. A great system and easy for us old chaps to use. He said there should be no hesitation when lifting the rods from the holders to the swing. The holders were amazing contraptions and so suited to the job.

Andy and I would take it in turns to swing the rods. Fish landed would be the handing over of the swing. Andy and I tossed a coin at breakfast of the first morning and he won. So he was first on the rods.

We saw some Bald headed Eagles also Vultures King fishers plus many other birds

Bald Headed Eagle were reasonably common

Lunch was provide with 2 huge sandwiches, pasta, some fruit a desert and plenty of bottled water. Oh and the most important “bite buyer” the biscuits. Sometimes with the huge breakfast and then a sandwich there was a large roll to take back to the hotel which would supply us with dinner back in the room.

Andy by the fireplace

We were back at the hotel at approximately 4pm everyday. Tea and cake were served. Very traditional.

Andy and I would buy beers from the “liqore” store as they were far cheaper than in the bars etc. We used to visit a great bar called The Old Settlers pub. They provided some great food and beer.

It was here where we met Tony and his wife Sarah for a few beers one evening. He is the owner of BC Sports Fishing Group. We had a wonderful night. Tony kept apologising for the weather as normally it’s great this time of year, however we had our fair share of rain. We did comment and said that if he could control the weather then he wouldn’t be owner of the Fishing group and would be somewhat richer.

Low cloud and rain but some blue sky

There were other UK anglers staying in the hotel. Most of them were there to salmon fish. It was just disappointing that the Fraser river was closed to salmon fishing. Although it was interesting that the local native Indians could net the river for salmon while it being closed for anglers. They only wanted the female salmon for their eggs the flesh and male fish were discarded. They would line up on the various gravel islands midstream and would take the nets out in the boats and then retrieve them back onto the island. Seems unfair to me as the numbers the anglers catch would be a microscopic number in relation to numbers caught by the Indians.

Female Pink salmon we needed them for eggs and flesh or Sturgeon bait

Fishing the Harrison for salmon was jig fishing for us. It was about 5ft deep and you could see the pink salmon in small groups go by the boat. If you cast at them then you were in with a chance. Often they would follow the lure back to the boat and you could jig the lure and see the salmon take the bait. Very exciting. They were difficult to land for us. Plenty were hooked but with their hard mouths the hook often popped out. Great fun for an hour or so then it gets a little laborious as they are not huge fish. However we had to catch them for sturgeon bait, both the flesh and eggs. The males were always returned.

Andy with a male Pink salmon

It would take an age to write each days action so I’ve produced a video of each day and catches. Andy would record the days catches (great work Andy) so I’ve been able to reproduce them. Without Andy’s notes it would have been so difficult. I may not have got everything in chronological order but it at least records the events. I’m going to put these up on my YouTube channel and include copies here.

Need to say a huge thanks to Andy and Ross

Also to Merr, Tony, and Tom of British Columbia Sports Fishing Group for being so well organised and professional.

Merr our guide needs a special mention as his knowledge, skill and being patient with the 2 of us was well appreciated. We had some highs and lows but we all kept a great humour on the boat. Laughing and joking which makes for a very happy experience.

Big sturgeon for Kenny

Comments are closed.