Winter Fraser River Sturgeon Fishing
Winter Sturgeon fishing. That's not a phrase too many people can relate to, including die-hard sturgeon chasers. But I'd like to tell you about one of the most incredible days I have ever experienced in my 15 plus years of guiding.
I Started the day off like any other... heading to my regular launching spot only to find there was way too much ice buildup to launch the boat (see pic below... it looks like the Alaskan Iceberg Cruise!!).
I quickly changed plans and decided to launch at a different spot which proved successful, sort of. After getting the boat off of the trailer, I realized the river was so low I wouldn't be able to drive out to the deep part of the main river. As this fact dawned on me, my boat got stuck in the sand and mud. Now what?
There was no other spot to launch the boat and no way I was going to cancel a trip last minute so I figured I'll just push it out to where it's deep enough, right!? Haha... not so easy. If you've never tried to push an uncooperative 23-foot boat with a 496 Chevy inboard jet 60 feet across the sand in sub-zero temperatures, I can tell you it's a grunt! I thought I might need an EMT team! And I found out that sweat freezes in about 5 minutes!
After close to an hour using my now jelly-like legs, winch, and kicker motor to assist me I finally made it out to the main river. Good thing I left early to get the boat ready, bait tied, and gear organized. I parked my truck and walked back to the boat which was 100 feet away from the boat ramp.
Shortly after my epic struggle, my clients arrived none the wiser.
Now for the fishing…
Normally when it's this cold fishing is tough, especially with very limited fishable water. That said, we started fishing. After getting the lines in the water I quickly realized it was going to be a challenge all day long, as ice chunks the size of pick-up trucks were bobbing past my boat and fouling our fishing lines constantly.
As a guide, I take pride in always being able to figure out ways to catch fish to make the day successful, but mother nature had different ideas. Nothing was easy about this day. After trying a few spots with no success we were able to find a small area with very little ice, allowing the lines out with little interference. This in itself felt like a win, but still no fish.
After patiently waiting for a couple hours we finally hooked our first fish. It was an incredible fight and we were able to land Sturgeon numero uno!!! We all stood in amazement at just how fortunate we were to catch this fish in crazy winter conditions. Even our photos turned out great and made things look easy in retrospect... oh how deceptive! lol
From that point until the end of the day we were able to land several very large healthy fish, all over 5 feet long. The experience was somehow surreal with how amazing the fishing turned out to be.
It truly was a day we'll not soon forget. And just hours earlier I thought to myself "there's no way I'll get this boat out of here and even if I do the fishing is gonna suck!". But, it show's... perseverance pays off! I was ready to quit, but I pushed through and had one of the most incredible days ever! Lesson learned!
I am reminded why I love being a fishing guide so much. And after thousands of days spent on the water I still learn something new each day I venture out, and not just about the fishing, but about myself too.
Summer, Fall, and Spring are great times to come out on the Fraser River with Yves Bisson Sturgeon Co. And I guess I'm letting the 'cat out of the bag', but Winter too!