Summer Chinook River Fishing Tips - Updated 2021
The Fraser Valley is home to special returning run of summer Chinook, which are not found in most of BC’s southwestern streams.
This particular run of Chinook, or otherwise known as “Spring” Salmon, are a red fleshed Chinook are present June to August. Make sure you check the freshwater fishing regulations to ensure the river you are fishing is indeed open to angling. Another run that enters as early as late August are the Fall Chinook, which are a white fleshed Chinook.
This summer run of Chinook generally average a smaller size, ranging from 6-15lbs, although fish close to 30lbs do get caught. Even though they are on the smaller side, they are one of the hardest pulling fish around.
There are a lot of variants for the timing for summer Chinook, although there are certain guidelines and specifics one should follow in order to be successful.
This fishery can sometimes be compared to steelheading as at times they can be difficult fish to find and figure out, but with time on the water, and persistence, you can be an accomplished angler for these fish.
Opening day is usually pretty spotty fishing so approach the early season of this fishery with limited expectations. Without a doubt, there are definitely fish in the system, but not in huge numbers. One day can be the deciding factor for these fish, where they may not be there one day, and the next day a bunch have pushed in. The run is quite small, yet they seem to show up in large numbers within a short period of time, making the fishing a bit easier.
Factors and Variants
- Water Levels
- Water Clarity / visibility
- Proper holding / moving spots
There is not really a premium water height when fishing for springs. One can catch fish during very high water, and low water, as you just have to adjust to the proper spots. For the month of July, the rivers are usually running on a high to medium water level.
Water Clarity and Visibility
Prime water clarity for this fishery is 1.5ft of visibility or better.
The bulk of the run shows up between July to mid August. Some fish still continue to enter the river in late August and early September.
Proper Holding and Moving Spots
Each Salmon species have their own preferences for holding and moving water. Chinook are one of the strongest and largest of the 5 species, so try to picture where the biggest and meanest fish could be sitting.
Like any river fishing, you will want to assess and study the water you are about to fish. The thing with springs is that they could be laying or moving in any part of the run.
A good general standard to go by is a walking speed pace of water flow. When fishing a run, start at the head, and work your way to the tail out. Make sure to cover close to shore at your feet, to the heavier chop or water flow.
Similar to steelhead fishing, you will want to fish everything, although you may want to make a few extra casts as these fish may not be as willing to bite right off the bat. Targeting deep cut off slots, big deep pools, and long heavy to tailing flat runs are your best bet.
There is no rule of thumb for time of year, as you can find just as many fish up river as you could down low at any given time in the year.
Fishing Methods and Gear
Fishing a bait or artificial presentation suspended under a float is one of the most effective methods to use for this fishery. Heavier floats and weights are a must in order to get down to them.
One of the top choices of bait is either Pautzke's cured salmon roe or Pro-Cured roe in either red or pink. Dyed prawns or shrimp also work very well.
Some of our favourite artificial presentations are jigs, colorado blades, trout beads, soft beads and yarn.
Spinner and Spoon Fishing – Casting and retrieving spinners and spoons can be an excellent way of targeting Chinook as the majority of anglers will be using roe, beads or yarn. The key is finding the right type of water. If you do decide to try this method, please be mindful of anyone float fishing around you as you can easily get tangled.
Spinners - Prime Lures spinners and Blue Fox Vibrax spinners in sizes #4-#6.
Spoons - Gibbs Kit-A-Mat and Gibbs Koho's in size 55 and Prime Lures in 5/8.
Beads - BnR Tackle soft beads, Cleardrift soft beads in sizes 12mm to 20mm and Trout Beads in sizes 12mm-14mm.
Floats - DNE, Cleardrift, Compleat Angler and Top Shelf all in 25-35gr depending on the type of water you are fishing.
Fly Fishing – Casting a fly can be a very effective way to fish for Chinook salmon in the right type water.
Flies – Black/Blue Prom Dress, Blue/Chartreuse Pick yer Pocket, (Black/Blue, Pink/Purple, Red/Orange) Popsicles.
Recommended Products for Summer Chinook Fishing
Wet Wading Socks
Men's Wading Boots
Women's Wading Boots
Fishing Vests, Sling Bags and Hip Packs
Bait Casting Rods
Bait Casting Reels
Soft Beads and Egg Clusters
Pro-Cure and Pauztke Bait Cures
Lead Egg Sinker, Pencil Lead or Split Shot
For up to date salmon fishing information please give us a call at 604-931-5044.
Interested in doing some trout fishing? See our Skagit River Trout Fishing blog post.
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