Visitors to the Greater Vancouver area are often surprised to learn that there is excellent saltwater fishing immediately offshore, in urban settings within sight of Vancouver.
Salmon fishing is the main draw for fishermen in the Lower Mainland area, both freshwater and saltwater. There is good lake fishing close to the urban centres, with an abundance of small trout that attract anglers of all ages. As the coastal lakes in the region are more acidic, with waters that are not as nutrient rich as the interior lakes, the trout grow more slowly and remain smaller in size.
Fishing remains good on the lower elevation lakes during winter, with the lakes seldom icing over. Winter fishing for feisty feeder chinook salmon provides steady action, with hot spots from Point Atkinson to Bowen Island and, on occasion, as near as the shore of famous Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver.
Freshwater steelhead and cutthroat trout fishing is available in North Vancouver, directly across the Lions Gate Bridge in the Capilano River, and across the Second Narrows Bridge in the Seymour River.
Anglers and crabbers use the dock at Belcarra Regional Park and the pier at Jericho Beach as an excuse to spend some time in the outdoors. Water quality at both locations is often suspect, especially for its effect on bottom feeders, but this doesn’t keep fishermen from enjoying their catch. Smelt fishers cast their filigree nets from the waters of Jericho Beach and Kitsilano Beach.
The seawall at Stanley Park is another popular angling location, particularly around the kilometre 6 marker at Siwash Rock. The water is sufficiently deep here to allow the possibility of landing a salmon, especially when a run of pinks returns to Burrard Inlet at the end of summer.
You’ll need a saltwater fishing licence before you toss a line into the waters around Greater Vancouver. Licences are available at most sportfishing stores.
The North Shore
Salmon fishing is superb along the North Shore of North Vancouver and West Vancouver – within sight of your downtown hotel. Coho bound for the Capilano River in Capilano River Regional Park make for brisk shore fishing action. Cast a lure or fly for the coho at the mouth of the Capilano River or fish the hatchery just below the dam on the Capilano River.
As there are few places to shore-cast on the North Shore, other than the lower reaches of the Capilano River, anglers would do well to head to the boat-launch ramp at Cates Park in North Vancouver, Seycove Marina at the north end of Panorama in Deep Cove, or Mosquito Creek Marine Basin, at the south foot of Forbes, also in North Vancouver. Ambleside Pier and Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver extend into Burrard Inlet and provide good spots from which to fish.
There’s a public boat launch at Horseshoe Bay beside the BC Ferries Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. Sewell’s Marina at Horseshoe Bay is one of the premier moorage locations in Greater Vancouver, offering self-drive boat rentals and guided salmon fishing charters in Howe Sound, the Fraser River, Capilano River, and the Southern Gulf Islands.