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September Angling News

September is here, and with it, the arrival of several species of salmon in B.C. rivers. 2021 is a pink year in southern B.C., and while the returns to some systems have been lower than other years, many opportunities for recreational angling are open for a limited time around the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Pink salmon are easy to catch on light tackle, and are a great species to target for families or those new to salmon fishing. Read our primer on salmon-fishing techniques, and get ready to hit the river! Remember that you need the appropriate salmon stamp along with your regular freshwater licence when retaining salmon in non-tidal waters.
Salmon Updates: Freshwater

Southern Mainland
Salmon season is well underway in the Lower Mainland. The Stave, Chehalis, Chilliwack/Vedder, and Harrison rivers are open for retention of hatchery-marked coho. Opportunities to retain chinook also exist in the Capilano, Chehalis, and Chilliwack/ Vedder rivers right now. Anglers can retain two pink salmon in the Chilliwack/Vedder, Stave, and Harrison rivers until September 30th, and in the non-tidal Fraser River until September 21st. Catch-and-release angling for pinks is available on the Squamish River.

Good news for anglers in the Kamloops area! The South Thompson River and Kamloops Lake are open for the retention of chinook until September 22nd.

Vancouver Island
As of August 25th, the Stamp and Somass rivers are open for the retention of chinook and coho, with anglers able to keep two per day of each species. The Courtenay, Nitinat, Puntledge, and Qualicum rivers are also open for anglers to harvest chinook, and anglers have opportunities to retain pink salmon on the Campbell, Qualicum, and Quinsam rivers. 

Until September 15th, Babine Lake and sections of the Skeena River are open for the retention of two sockeye per day. See the regional overview for further possibilities in Region 6.

Before heading out, check thsalmon regulations (managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) for size limits, quotas, and allowable fishing methods.
Lake Fishing
As water and air temperatures begin to drop, and fish become more active after a lethargic summer, it’s great to be fishing at a lake in September. For fly anglers, now is a good time to try patterns like water boatmen, shrimps, leeches, and daphnia (blobs).

You won’t have long to wait for the fall stockings of lakes – the first ones will begin in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island in late September.

The annual Go Fish BC Photo Contest is now open!
It’s on again! Enter your B.C. freshwater fishing photos for a chance to win cash prizes and a weekly prize pack.
1.   Luck on the Lake – for photos of anglers in action on lakes in B.C. 
2.   Fishing Buddies – for photos of your fishing buddy in action, whether it be a family member, friend, or pet.
3.   First Catch – for photos of a first catch (this can be first fish ever caught, first of a particular species caught, or first fish of the season). 
For each category, the following cash prizes will be awarded:
1st Prize: $300
2nd Prize: $150
3rd Prize: $75
In addition, a weekly prize-pack winner will be randomly selected from entries received the week prior for the duration of the contest.
Complete the online form, upload your images, and click SUBMIT. It's that easy!
Entries close October 31st, 2021 at 11:59 P.M. PDT. Contest is open to legal residents of Canada, except residents of Quebec.
Regional Fish and Wildlife Updates

from the Fish and Wildlife Branch of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Region 6 - Skeena

Current Status of Skeena River Summer Steelhead and other Information
The 2021 summer steelhead return to the Skeena Watershed has been concerningly low. As of September 7th, the escapement estimate for Skeena summer run steelhead is 5,280, with a 65-year average to the same date of 25,150 (Figure 1). This run is projected to be the lowest ever recorded, and to total less than 10% of the Skeena Watershed’s carrying capacity (estimated to be 80,000 adult steelhead). Therefore, based on the Provincial Framework for Steelhead Management in British Columbia, this year’s return is within the Extreme Conservation Concern Management Zone. Directions for management under that classification are as follows:

Minimize all significant sources of mortality including that associated with various fisheries. Fishing closures may be necessary where uncertainty is high, or absolute numbers are very low and even very low exploitation rates cannot be tolerated.
Reasons for this recent decline are not fully understood; however, declines in steelhead returns have been observed elsewhere in the Province and Pacific coast in the last number of years.

Considering this historically low return, management actions are being taken to support steelhead conservation:

  1. Effective September 7th, 2021, there will be a bait ban in all streams in the Skeena and Nass river watersheds.
  2. The 2021 Skeena summer steelhead fishery may be closed in mid-October; the final date is yet to be determined.
If anglers are still planning to participate in the summer steelhead fishery, the Skeena Resource Management Division would like to request that anglers:

  1. Abide by a voluntary catch limit of one or two steelhead a day.
  2. Follow the “keep fish wet” best practices for fish handling. 
Please put fish first! For more information, visit the following websites:

Graph: Estimated Summer Steelhead abundance at the Tyee Test Fishery.
Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC Scholarship Recipients Announced

Every year, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC awards as many as four scholarships, each with a value of up to $1500. These scholarships are awarded to students enrolled in fisheries management or fish culture programs at recognized institutions within B.C. This year's winners are all very accomplished; here they are in their own words.
B.C. angler resources