Vancouver Beach Fishing for Salmon

Vancouver Beach Fishing for Salmon

Are you interested in beach fishing for salmon but aren’t sure where to go or how to do it? In this short blog post we are going to cover some of the basics to help you get started.

Where to Fish?

A short 10 minute car ride from Downtown Vancouver to West Vancouver will put you on the doorstep of the Capilano River estuary and Ambleside Beach up to Cypress Creek Mouth. This publicly accessible beach offers some of the best local shore fishing for Coho salmon from July to September.

What Kind of Gear Do I Need?

You can target these fish by casting and retrieving lures or with a fly rod. Both methods can be effective.

1. Casting rod and reel for lure fishing setup – St. Croix Wild River 9’6 Medium/Lite power with Penn Battle 4000

2. Fly Fishing Setup – Sage Approach 890-4 with Hardy Ultralite 6000DD

A typical setup for lure fishing consists of a 7′ to 10’ spinning type rod, while baitcasting or levelwind rods do work they do not cast the lighter lures as easily as a spinning rod will. Rods should be light and sensitive so you can feel your lure “working”, detect the slightest bite or your lure ticking off the bottom. Your reel should be matched to balance the rod so it is comfortable in the hand and not too big and clunky feeling. If beach fishing quite a bit a saltwater capable reel maybe worth investing in as saltwater can be extremely hard on equipment, even if your gear is saltwater specific it’s always recommended to wash after each usage with freshwater.

Main Line and Leader Selection

For mainline having the “right” kind of line can be very critical. If using a monofilament we want to make sure that it is not too stiff, because the line is being wound onto such a small tight spool a stiff line will retain too much memory and tangle when casting. We use either Berkley Trilene XL or Stren in the 10-14lb range. We like to use the clear/blue versions of the line, when outdoors in natural daylight this line glows a purple/blue colour making it easy see were your gear is in the water, allowing you to fish more effectively. Braided fishing line is another great option since there is no stretch to this line you have superior bite detection and hook sets compared to mono lines. Braid also allows us to use a heavier line but not increasing the diameter compared to mono, for example 14lb Berkley Fireline is the same diameter as 6lb mono. There are many options as far as manufacturers of braided line Berkley Fireline, Stealth braid, and Ultracast just to name a few, Power Pro is another very good manufacturer of braided lines. One new type of braided line worth highlighting is the Berkley Nanofil this line was specifically designed for increasing distance casting with spinning reels…and it works very well! Using a leader of some kind is recommend, when using mono your leader should be a lighter breaking strength than your main line this way your lure becomes snagged your leader will break not your mainline. When using braided line you are always in a situation where your’ mainline is not clear so adding a leader is always a must for a more stealthy approach. As far as leader line brands we recommend, Maxima ultragreen for standard monofilament and Seaguar in fluorocarbon (a line that disappears in the water).


A typical fly fishing setup for Coho beach fishing consists of a 9′ to 11′ 6 to 9 weight fly rod, a saltwater disc drag fly reel loaded with a clear slow sinking line, the slow sink allows us to retrieve the fly without snagging on bottom. While the standard WF lines do still work well the newer RIO Outbound or Airflo Forty plus shooting head style lines are gaining favour on the beaches. These newer lines load up very easy without very much false casting needed. The lines being clear is a huge advantage for anglers this much stealthier approach gets us more bites from salmon as finicky fish cannot see the otherwise very obvious fly line. Our leaders really should be fluorocarbon while fly fishing off the beach, when using a lure the bites are often a more aggressive response and leader size is not as critical as it is with a retrieved fly and having your leader not visible when beach fishing is a must.

Beach Fishing Lures

There are plenty of lures out there but here are a few of our personal favorites. Make sure that if using the spinners listed below that you do use a leader with a swivel to reduce line twisting. Spoons on the other hand can be fished directly to the main line (if mono) without worrying about line twists.

  • Blue Fox Vibrax mid depth ¼ oz spinners size #3 and #4 colours: silver/fl. red, silver/chartreuse, silver/blue.
  • Blue Fox Deep ¼ oz size #3 glow/green, glow/blue, glow pink, silver/red/black,chartreuse/blu/red and copper.
  • Trophy Tackle Spinners 1/4oz size #4 chartreuse bodied and orange bodied ones.

  • Zzingers ½ oz fire orange, chrome, pink pearl, yellowtail and hot pink.
  • Buzz Bomb 2” hot pink, green pearl, pink pearl, green holo, chrome, army issue and fire orange.
  • Flatfish F6 Fl. red, silver, metallic silver blue, gold and fire tiger.
  • Gibbs Koho #45 brass, copper, silver, cerise scale, green scale, blue illusion.

  • R&B spoon 3/8oz, 2/5oz lots of colours too many to list.
  • Gibbs croc spoons 3/8oz and ½ oz fire orange black wing, chartreuse fire wing, ham brass metallic perch, brass fire wing, brass fire stripe, nickel fire stripe, blue hex, green hex, silver hex, ham chrome blue stripe.

Flies, Fly Line and Leader Coho Beach Fishing

Here are a few fly patterns that consistently produce results for us:

Left to right in photo

1. Kelly’s Coho Bugger #6 Silver
2. Kelly’s Coho Bugger #6 Copper
3. KCK orange/ red butt #6
4. KCK chart/red butt #6
5. Gold epoxy minnow #8
6. Gummy Minnow #8
7. Rolled Muddler Green Flash #8
8. Rolled Muddler Chartreuse #8
9. California Neil # 8 blue or green

When to Fish?

The best time to fish this spot is 1 hour before and after a high or low tide. But lets be honest, any time is a good time to be fishing! Don’t be afraid to try different retrieval speeds. Have fun, experiment a little and you may be happily rewarded.

Don’t forget it’s your responsibility to check the regulations for any closures or restrictions. If you’re in need of a fishing license come down to the shop and we’ll be glad to help you out as we are one of the few vendors offering them or they can be done online visit our website for a quick link to the DFO licensing site. As always, if you have questions give us a call at 604-931-5044.

That’s all. Hopefully you found the information covered in this blog post useful. We want to hear about your success so send us an email at Now get out there and have some fun…

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P.S. Check out our Pink Salmon Top 5 – An Introduction to Fishing for Pink Salmon


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