Vancouver Island British Columbia is famous for freshwater and saltwater fishing. Sport fishing the lakes and rivers for Pacific salmon, steelhead and trout is only surpassed by saltwater flyfishing and bottom fishing for halibut from the west coast of Vancouver Island. The luxury sportfishing resorts and and fishing lodges on Vancouver Island, the BC coast, and the many islands in the province draw anglers from around the world.

Cutthroat Trout caught on a Flyfishing Lure, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Cutthroat Trout caught on a Flyfishing Lure, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Fishing Guides on and around Vancouver Island

Fishing Resorts & Lodges on and around Vancouver Island

Other Fishing Services on Vancouver Island

Fishing Information by Region of Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands

General Fishing Information

BC Sport Fishing Guide and Canadian Tide Tables

The BC Sport Fishing Guide by Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides all the information required for fishing in the province, fishing regulations, getting a fishing licence, licence fees and regulations, in-season fishing decisions, unlawful practices, packaging of fish for transport, and reporting of fishing violations. For fishing updates by phone, call the 24-hour phone line to get red tide and sanitary closure updates, fishery openings and closures, and other info for your area: 1-866-431-3474 or 604-666-2828. Canadian Tide Tables are also available from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Freshwater Fishing

There are so many fishable lakes in British Columbia that even if you managed to try a different one each day of the year, you would have to start young and have a very long life (and maybe a floatplane) to visit them all. Hundreds of pleasant lakes are easily reached and fished with just a vehicle with good ground clearance, a car-top or inflatable boat or float tube, and the right fishing tackle.

Catch-and-release with a single barbless hook has become the official operative byword for those anglers fishing ocean-bound streams and rivers in BC. Attitude means a lot in fishing. Remember that the essence of sport angling is to try to hook a fish on the most sporting terms you can handle, from light tackle with artificial lures, barbless hooks, and delicate leaders to a belief that a trout is much more valuable as a living challenge to your skill than as part of a meal.

Saltwater Fishing

Salmon are the sportfish of choice in BC’s marine waters. Depending on the time of year, you’ll find chinook (also called king or spring salmon, or tyee if over 30 pounds/13.5 kg), coho (also called silver, blueback, or northern salmon), sockeye, or pink (also called humpy salmon). Coho aren’t the biggest salmon, but they are the most sought after, as they jump and fight like trout. Sockeye are the tastiest salmon of all, while Pinks are similar in size but not as tasty.

It’s a mystery, but fish – oceangoing and freshwater alike – are hungriest just as a slack tide is beginning to fall, and for an hour thereafter. Another well-considered tip is that the best time to fish in ocean waters is an hour before and after both high and low tides. That’s just some of the fishing lore that you’ll encounter when tossing a line in BC waters.