Boating in the Flooded Fraser River

June 27th, 2022 | in Fishing Trips
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I just drove down from the Yukon to Vancouver.  Throughout the southern Yukon and BC the rivers were either overflowing or close to overflowing their banks.  Houses were flooded, on the verge of being overrun with water, or being surrounded with sandbags.  Fields had become large ponds and streams were now rivers. As we were driving the highway along various rivers, the power and danger of water was evident.  It’s impressive however that on the Fraser River guides are fishing during all water heights and conditions.  Please remember though that these are professionals and it is not recommended for recreational boaters to be out during this high water conditions unless you have extensive experience during these times.  
Fast flowing & flooded rivers are no joke.  They can be dangerous for those who don’t know the river.  Yves Bisson Sturgeon Co has been on the river now for over 20 years and has seen some high water and flooding over the years and still produces excellent results for sturgeon fishing.  We recommend staying away from large and unpredictable waters unless you are with an experienced guide.
The Fraser River, outside of Vancouver BC is a very fast flowing river at times.  The Fraser averages about 3900 cubic metres (3 swimming pools) of water per second.  It is the largest River by volume flowing into the Pacific and the fifth largest river in Canada.  While on the lower Fraser, it doesn’t appear to turbulent, there are some very dangerous aspects to be cautious about. 


The Fraser River carries countless branches, trees, and other large floating objects. All these hazards can be a danger to your boat hull if you are not experienced.  In addition, there are “Deadheads”, which are partially submerged logs / trees that may linger 90 or 100% just under the surface.  What may look like a small log may be an entire tree.  The amount of debris is compounded after a big rain storm or ice melt, when the river level rises causing the beached material to be submerged again.

Shallow Spots & Changing River Shape

The Fraser River carries an incredible amount of silt. The silt deposits in slower moving water.  The areas where the silt is left constantly changes, causing the river to constantly change.  This also means the river is brown.  You can’t see 1 ft under the surface.  It’s extremely difficult to navigate the river at high speeds without knowing what you are doing.  Prop motors are especially vulnerable to becoming beached in shallow waters.

Anchoring in Fast Moving Water

Do NOT anchor in a river or an area subjected to tides unless you know what you are doing.  Rivers with fast-running water such as the Fraser are especially dangerous. If you do not anchor properly, you could end up capsizing your boat – with catastrophic consequences. Learn how to properly anchor your boat before any boating trip.


Boating in the Fraser River (or any fast flowing river) must be done with respect.  While water sustains life, it is a powerful force.  
Bottom line is that if you are looking to do a family boating trip without a professional boat or fishing guide, go to a lake, not in the river.     
Yves Bisson is an experienced sturgeon fishing guide in the Fraser River. Safety is of top priority.  If you are looking to fish for the largest fresh water sport fish in the world, no matter the water conditions contact Yves Bisson Sturgeon Co.

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