Fishing in British Columbia|
Watsonville, Ca.- If you are in search of a
little slice of Paradise this summer, may we suggest
If you are a fly fisherman, well, BC represents a little
bit of heaven here on earth. Pristine waters, stunning
scenery, and salmon runs that can induce a trance-like
splendor in even the most seasoned anglers.
Rick Baerg runs the BC Fly Fisher Guide Service, which
amounts to a once in a lifetime experience for fishermen.
Located in the scenic Fraser Valley about 60 minutes and a
world away from downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, the
BC Fly Fisher Guide Service has several rivers and streams
that they fish, which includes five species of salmon,
steelhead and trout.
At 31, Baerg has been fishing BC waters since he can first
remember. Baerg was born in Salmon Arm, which is a small
town in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. Baerg's
family moved to Terrace, on the north coast of BC, when he
was six. The Skeena River was very close to where he was
raised, so fishing was a daily activity for the youngster.
When he was fourteen, his family moved to Williams Lake,
in the Chilcotin area of interior BC. Rick spent a great
deal of his time over the next few years on the area's
rivers and trophy trout lakes fishing for Rainbow and
Brook trout. He has lived in the Fraser Valley area for
almost ten years now, and spent countless hours on the
rivers in the surrounding areas of southwestern British
It was Rick's Uncle Jim, who is actually a close family
friend, who first taught the boy how to tie flies when he
was around twelve. His parents bought him a fly rod for a
birthday present and Baerg's love for the art of fly
fishing has never wavered. He remains as ardent about the
sport and tying flies as when he was 12. The hobby became
a passion, the passion became a business, and as always,
the business remains magic.
JG: What is your fondest childhood memory of
RB: My fondest memory of fishing comes from an
activity I repeated many times: Getting up at three in the
morning with my dad and brother to go fishing. We'd head
out to get our favorite spot while it was still dark, rain
or shine, and stay out all day.
JG: How long have you been running this business
and what do you offer people who use your services?
RB: Being a fishing guide has been a life long
dream of mine. I started out part time in 1998 and went
full time the following year. As I became more
experienced, I realized that fly fishing is my specialty,
so I changed my business name from Reel Fishing BC to BC
Fly Fisher Guide Service to reflect that. Focusing
solely on fly fishing allows me to provide my clients with
expertly guided trips for all five species of salmon,
steelhead and trout throughout southwestern BC. We offer a
variety of fly fishing trips, ranging from day trips with
local accommodations if needed, to remote wilderness
packages. All clients are outfitted with high quality fly
fishing gear and hand tied flies.
JG: Where in BC are you located and what waters do
you fish? How difficult is it to find your establishment?
RB: BC Fly Fisher Guide Service is located in
Chilliwack, which is in the Fraser Valley and just sixty
minutes east of Vancouver. Chilliwack is right on the
Trans Canada Highway, which runs through to Vancouver, so
we are very accessible and easy to find. Our primary
rivers include Fraser, Harrison, Pitt, Chehalis and Vedder,
all of which are in the Lower Mainland area.
JG: Tell me about the different species of salmon
that people will be fishing for if they visit you in
RB: There are five species of salmon in BC: Coho,
Chinook, Chum, Pink and Sockeye.
Coho Salmon, also known as
silvers, are one of the favorites here in the Fraser
Valley, and are a great sport fish. There is nothing like
the take of a Coho, you can sometimes see them follow it
in, grab it and explode on the surface. They hit hard, rip
line and jump and roll all over the place. This is a fall
fishery and goes from the middle of September to the
middle of November. Coho salmon average in size from six
to ten pounds but records from the last couple of years
indicate that the size is increasing due to the decrease
in commercial fishing.
There are two runs of Chinook in the Fraser Valley. The
summer run starts in the middle of July and goes through
to the end of August. The fall run is from September to
November. The summer run of Chinook is available to fly
anglers from July until the second week of August. Chinook
salmon, also known as King, Tyee and Spring and are the
largest of the salmon family. They average 15-25 lbs., but
it's not uncommon to see 40 to 50 pounders swim by.
Chum salmon are the second largest of the salmon family,
reaching up to twenty pounds. They are so plentiful that
they are sometimes hard to avoid, and multiple fish days
are the norm. Chum salmon are becoming one of the more
preferred sport fish by fly anglers, with their sheer
power and acrobatic jumps. They are terrific fighters that
will take you into your backing every time. Peak time for
the dog salmon is from October to the middle of November.
Pink salmon migrate on odd years (2001, 2003 etc.). They
start their journey up the Fraser River to find their
spawning grounds in the middle of August and continue
through to the end of September. These fish are very
aggressive biters and can be taken readily. As a result,
20 fish days are very common. They are probably the
easiest of the salmon family to catch, with millions of
pink salmon returning up the Fraser River every odd year.
Pinks can make a trip very exciting and memorable.
The Fraser River has some of the largest runs of Sockeye
salmon in the world. On a good year, there are upwards of
10-20 million Sockeye migrating up the Fraser River,
making for some exciting fly fishing action. These fish
are super fighters, line pullers and flashy dancers. Our
Sockeye are very silver, and have only been out of the
ocean two to five days before they are caught by anglers.
Peak time for this fishery is August 1 to the second week
of September, depending on a variety of conditions. Great
JG: How is the steelhead and trout fishing in your
Steelhead and trout fishing in our location is fantastic.
Wild and hatchery steelhead, averaging ten to twelve
pounds, are available from December until May. Cutthroat
trout are available year round, with prime time in the
winter and spring months. Dolly Varden, averaging seven to
eight pounds, are also available year round.
RB: If guests are novice fishermen, what should
they bring with them?
Anglers of all levels are provided with high quality fly
fishing gear, flies and a shore lunch. If clients feel
more comfortable using their own gear, they are more than
welcome. Rain gear, extra layers and socks are good ideas
for all clients, especially during our mild winter months.
JG: Do you offer any lessons for folks who are new
to the sport?
RB: Our goal at BC Fly Fisher is to provide the
best fly fishing experience possible, so instruction is an
integral part of our trips if it is needed.
JG: I am sure that you have a number of guests who
are experienced anglers, what type of gear do you suggest
they bring with them?
RB: As with novice anglers, we recommend that our
experienced clients bring rain gear and extra clothing.
Fishing gear and flies are provided unless clients are
more comfortable with their own gear. If a client
indicates that he or she would like to use their own gear,
specifics, depending on the type of fishing and time of
year, can be provided.
JG: What can you tell me about the salmon runs on
the Fraser River, Harrison River, Pitt River, Vedder
River, Chilliwack River, and the Chehalis River?
RB: The Fraser River is the largest salmon
producing river in the world. All of the rivers you listed
flow into the Fraser, so they are all part of the same
JG: How is the fishing right now and what's the
best time of year to head to BC for fly fishing?
RB: We are approaching our busiest fly fishing
season as the Sockeye and Chinook have started to run.
Right now, Chinook and Sockeye salmon are both accessible
on the fly. The best thing about southwestern BC is that
the fly fishing is good year round. Peak season is August
JG: What are the three biggest tips you could pass
on to aspiring fly fishermen?
RB: The number one tip I can give to aspiring fly
anglers for fly fishing in BC, is to practice their fly
casting to achieve greater distance. The second tip is to
learn to tie their own flies. There's nothing like being
the only one on a river catching any fish because you've
tied the only fly that works. The third tip? Get out on
the water as much as possible.
|JG: What are the three most common mistakes that
fly fisher's make?
RB: The three most common mistakes are wading too
far out into the river, losing patience too quickly, and
not knowing how to release a fish properly.
JG: Ever since Robert Redford's movie "A River
Runs Through It" came out, there has been a new
emphasis placed on fly fishing. Has that helped or hurt
RB: I haven't noticed an increase in fly anglers in
my area, but many of my clients do bring the movie to my
attention when we're out on the water. I'm not sure why it
comes up. Maybe our scenic mountains and clean rivers
trigger memories of the movie. I think anything that draws
positive attention to the sport is good, especially if
respect for the fish and their environment is
In the mean time keeping working on your presentation,
your catch and release, and it goes without saying,
practice tying your Ausable Caddis, Ally Shrimp Orange
Sparkle, and possibly your Silver Stoats Tail.
If you're interested in contacting Rick or the great folks at BC Fly Fisher Guide Services you can write them at 46192 Brooks Ave,
Chilliwack, B.C V2P 1C2
Or Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 604-835-3451 | Fax: 604-795-3347
interested in contacting Rick or the great folks at BC Fly
Fisher Guide Services you can write them at 46192 Brooks
Ave, Chilliwack, B.C V2P 1C2
Or Email at: email@example.com | Tel: 604-835-3451 | Fax:
Stay comfortable and organized
while fishing, check out West Marine's selection of
lightweight shirts including the keep cool
Columbia Bonehead Fishing Shirt. Take a look at some of
fishing accessories West Marine offers for inland river
and lake fishing as well as