Sturgeon Fishing On The Fraser River In BC

Last Updated on April 24, 2021

First Of All, What Is A Sturgeon Fish?

Sturgeon is a large and powerful freshwater sporting fish. It is the common name for the 27 species of fishes of the family Acipenseridae.  They can grow up to an average of 18 feet long.

Where To Fish For Sturgeon

Sturgeon are found swimming along the rivers, lakes, and coasts of Eurasia and North America.

Sturgeon Fishing In British Columbia Is World Famous

The Fraser River is the largest river in British Columbia. It is also the last river in the world with a freely migrating population of Sturgeon. The Sturgeon are free to access the ocean and the river without being obstructed. Also, Fraser River Sturgeon are all wild origin fish, with natural reproduction occurring within the Fraser River.

Sturgeon Fishing On The Fraser River

Landing a fish that is bigger and stronger than you is what Sturgeon Fishing is all about. Little did we know, that reeling in one of those big boys would be harder work than we anticipated. Darcy has been fishing a handful of times, but never Sturgeon river fishing, and I had yet to try fishing at all. Even then, I think Darcy got more than he expected, too. Fraser River fishing was a great experience.

Swiftwater Guiding

The main section of the river that Swiftwater Guiding covers is from the Fraser Canyon to the mouth near Steveston.

Our guide was Hans from Swiftwater Guiding and he was an incredible guide. So knowledgeable about the fishing world, great conversation and he did lead us to our trophy Sturgeon. He knew every nook and cranny of the river. Fishing, like anything in nature, is unpredictable. Hans said that sometimes you’ll catch a few per trip, and other days the fish are more selective and stubborn. Darcy, my sister Diana and I had taken my Dad and it was an incredible bonding experience to learn how to catch a sturgeon. There’s nothing better than sharing experiences with those you love. 

It was a beautiful hot summer July day, and with the great warm weather, we were also treated to gorgeous scenery. It really was a perfect day out on the water.

When Is Sturgeon Season?

The optimal season for Fraser River Sturgeon fishing is nice and long, lasting between March and November.  May can be an especially good time along the Fraser River, with the Eulachon Migration.




We did a four-hour fishing trip on the Fraser River in Mission, British Columbia. We had a lot of nibbles, but by the time the four hours were coming to an end, we were losing hope of catching one of the river giants. We had hooked one and lost it, so we had experienced some of the thrills of reeling in a Sturgeon, and did we ever want more. We kept seeing the giants jump out of the water, so we knew they were there, but this day they were being very stubborn. They would suck the bait, leaving only the leather for us to pull up.

When Is The Best Time Of Day To Catch Sturgeon? 

When fishing for Sturgeon, the best time of day will often be in the morning. Try to get out on the water before there is a lot of fishing pressure on the river. Catching abilities will taper off from late morning to early afternoon.

And we wait…
Just nibbles, so onto the next spot to try.

Fish The Monsters In The River

Either Sturgeon Fishing has increased in popularity, or the advertising is becoming more in-your-face, but when we saw that we could fish the monsters in the river, we were intrigued. I had never considered before that there would be sturgeon fishing near me!

There really are massive monsters in the river. Bottom feeders that are so powerful you’re sure to hear about epic battles that are measured in hours to bring the catch in. Anglers have to continually rotate on the rod to be able to conquer one of the monsters as it is no easy feat. It took us near an hour to reel in a Sturgeon that was 8’4″ and an estimated 300 lbs, with us rotating on the rod. The adrenaline of reeling in such a big fish will make you want to try to stay on the rod, but it is such an intense power struggle that you will want to give your arms a break, mark my words on that one. It is no exaggeration.  Luckily, Sturgeon do not have teeth, so you need not be worried about gripping it by the mouth. Catching Sturgeon is legit hard work!

sturgeon pictures
How massive is our catch? 8’4″ – A beast!
sturgeon pictures
Taking measurements for estimation.
Soaked after the Sturgeon getting the last laugh and swatting us all into the Fraser River.

It Took All Of Us To Hold The Sturgeon!

When we were finally able to bring the boat towards the beach, the fish was unhooked and we all jumped in the water to get the money shot. We all held the fish in the water, and even that was no easy feat as it would suddenly squirm and knock you right into the water. It jumped so fast as we were taking a photo that it flung us all into the water. We thought we had won the battle, but really, the Sturgeon got the last laugh. It can take three or four people to hold a Fraser River sturgeon, and by the Sturgeon pictures here, I’m sure you can see why.

The water divide you see here is where the Fraser River meets the Chilliwack River.
Gorgeous scenery all around.
Can’t beat those mountain views.
Beach views!
The boat ride was very scenic.

Know Before You Go – Sturgeon Fishing Tips:

  • Sturgeon Fishing is “catch and release”. Sturgeons are an ancient, endangered species. We did not keep the fish.
  • You must have a fishing license. They cost us just under $20 each. It was cheaper for my Dad since he is a senior and his license is valid for an entire year. We had to get Freshwater fishing licenses.
  • The province of British Columbia requires all anglers over the age of 16 to have an angling license.  Children under 16 can fish without a license if someone else has a license.
  • We met at a boat launch in Mission, BC (33328 Harbour Avenue). There was plenty of parking and we didn’t have to pay for parking.
  • It will take you at least an hour in good traffic to drive from the core of Vancouver to the boat launch in Mission, BC. Make sure you leave extra time for traffic.
  • Our trip was four hours long. We ate right before our adventure and brought some drinks on board. If you’re on an eight-hour adventure, make sure you bring extra drinks, food, and snacks.
  • If you have a good tour guide, always tip your guide.
  • Even though sturgeon fishing season is year-round, some areas temporarily close to sturgeon fishing for various reasons.
Gotta reel that sucker in!
I’m not smiling – I’m gritting my teeth as I fight the river monster.
It was so exhausting we had to work together at times.
Love these great moments with my Dad.

Hook Your Trophy Fish!

This is a fishing experience that you need to have at least once in your lifetime.  It isn’t an exaggerated fisherman’s tale.  You really can hook your trophy fish of a lifetime.


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Updated April 2021