For Elusive Cutthroat Trout, the Fraser River is Special

For Elusive Cutthroat Trout, the Fraser River is Special

One of the great things about living in Vancouver is the close proximity of gorgeous outdoor settings and solitude. A short drive can put you into picture postcard scenery, world-class fishing and as much elbow room you want – all within a region teeming with over 2.75 million people.

On a recent sunny afternoon in March, with my work done for the day (okay, I bailed) I loaded up some fly-fishing gear and the dog and headed east to the Fraser River in search of cutthroat trout.

The trout remained elusive, but the scenery was there for the taking. Basking in this setting, I didn’t particularly care whether I found a fish or not. I don’t think Rosie gave a hoot, either.

fraser river flyfishing for cutthroat trout

Rosie didn’t care whether we caught a fish, either.

You get into land like this, and you feel the city stress fall away. You breathe easier. You walk more slowly, and you look at things. Sometimes you hook a fish. Sometimes you don’t. But you’re always glad you made the effort to get there.

This part of the Fraser lies within 90 minutes of downtown Vancouver. If the salmon were running, we would not have found the solitude you see here. However, the Fraser is a big river. There would still be plenty of elbow room on a weekday. On a weekend, especially during a hot salmon run, your elbows might be rubbing up against fellow anglers along the more productive stretches of river.

Fraser valley british columbia

This part of the Fraser Valley resembles scenes from the Alps.

Compared with salmon anglers, relatively few fish the Fraser for cutthroat trout. Yet the trout are here, especially in the sloughs where they chase salmon fry and other minnows. Stoneflies can work, too. Areas to fish are backwaters, side channels and slow-moving shallow riffles at the tops of gravel bars. Sometimes they hold in the tailouts of long, quicker sections of water, too.

BTW…Need a regular nature fix? I’d love to have you subscribe! I post photos and a short article every week or so, just to inspire you to get outside and enjoy the natural world–if only for a few minutes. Or maybe for a few years…