The white sturgeon is one of the largest freshwater fish on the surface of the Earth, and it can be found at six locations in British Columbia. Probably the most popular of these places is the Fraser River, which is why there’re many people going on trips in the Upper, Middle, and Lower areas of this river. Three other rivers where this fish can be found are Nechako, Columbia, and Kootenay. Due to the fact that white sturgeon populations all over the world have become scarce over the years, it is now considered an endangered species. Only the Lower and Mid-Fraser River locations are available for fishing, but both of these apply the catch and release policy. The sturgeon that you’ll come across if you visit the Fraser River is usually two to six feet long depending on the age. Any cases where the sturgeon measures 10 feet are very rare.
What kind of equipment do you need?
One thing’s for sure. White sturgeon is an enormous and heavy fish, so you’ll need the services of a sturdy rod and reel, rated for 40 to 80 lb test. Braided fishing lines are to be preferred, and you should try to use an 8 to 16oz weight in order to anchor your bait at the bottom of the river. Keep in mind that a white sturgeon can be a very energetic fish and it has scutes on the side which can pierce through your skin unless you use a pair of good-quality thick gloves. If you have no intention to fish with the help of a guide and on a boat and instead plan to catch some big fish by the river bank, it might be a good idea to use some waders, as well as the equipment we’ve mentioned already.
Fraser River fishing areas
The tidal area of the river is between Steveston and Mission and here is where you can do some fishing if there’s any current that’s capable of carrying the scent of the bait you’ll be using. You’ll be able to fish either on the boat or the shore if you stick to the tidal area, and some are lucky enough to target catches in piers where deep water can be found, as well.
The non-tidal area of the river is between Mission and Hope. It is practically impossible to fish from the shore in this area, considering that there isn’t any access from the shore to speak of. As such, you’ll have to use a boat. If you don’t have your own, you’ll require the services of a fishing guide, but be advised that he or she might be booked since fishing for sturgeon is very popular.
The mid-section of the river is between Hope and Lillooet. Although shore fishing is possible in certain areas, it’s recommended strictly to people who are well-acquainted with the area as it can be very dangerous due to canyons. Because of the steep terrain, you’ll notice that there are just a few companies that are willing to take the risk of offering fishing guiding services in the mid-section of the Fraser river.
In spring, sturgeons like a bit of oily baitfish such as eulachon. During the summer, it feeds on small-sized fish until salmon spawning, when they start feeding on roe and later on, rotten salmon flesh. From August to November, you’ll have more chance of catching sturgeon if you use a piece of a salmon carcass as bait.