One of the most popular types of sport fishing in BC is fishing for White Sturgeon on the Fraser River. These beauties can reach well over 11 feet long and can live up to 150 years old! Sturgeon offer a fantastic fight for an angler that is looking to go toe to toe with a monster of a fish!
The BC FISHN team set out to find the best guiding company in the Fraser Valley, and we’re sure we found them by choosing STS Guiding in Mission. STS Guiding in owned by Vic Carrao and he has been operating STS for close to 20 years. We had the privilege of having Vic as our guide for the day. Vic has an extreme amount of fishing experience and knowledge of the Fraser Valley. He is very involved in the BC Sport Fishing community. Vic and his team have even been featured on TV shows such as Fish’n Canada.
We commenced our day by meeting Vic at the Harbour in Mission BC at 8:00am. The weather was not the best, presenting cloudy skies, cold winds and rain. But the team was in high spirits and excited to hook into our first Sturgeon. Vic set us up in STS’s custom made 28 foot Jet boat made by Hells Canyon Marine, an unreal vessel to say the least!
Our trip started out by Vic completing a thorough safety run down of the boat for any emergencies that we may run into. We felt very safe in his care.
The tidal waters of the Fraser River start at the Mission bridge so we had to ensure that we had our Tidal Water licenses along with our Sturgeon tags.
The river levels were very high due the week’s heavy rain that ignited the spring run off. Due to these high waters the water clarity was minimal; there was a lot of debris coming down river which made the fishing conditions very difficult. Our plan was to cover numerous spots on the river so we could drop our lines in front of as many fish as possible. The bait of choice for the day was Hooligans (small anadromous ocean fish, also known as Candlefish, Eulachon, Ooligan). The Hooligans were spawning in the river system and providing a good food source for the Sturgeon. The Sturgeon were aggressively feeding on these fish which causes them to be very plentiful in form. Due to these bait fish being very oily it makes the Sturgeon to take on a distinct bright white colour when feeding on them.
We started fishing in the tidal waters south of Mission near the log booms. Using the Humminbird down & side imagining sonar, Vic was able to zone in on some big whites very quickly. We picked up our first 2 Sturgeon within the first couple of hours. They were on the smaller side, 3 to 4 feet but perfect to get the smell of ‘skunk’ out of the boat. It was great to watch Ben reel in his first fish in many years. He looked like a pro!
After the first 2 fish in the boat the fishing started to slow down as the poor weather moved in. We lifted the lines and headed up river. One of the great benefits of the 28 foot Jet Boat equipped with two 6 liter engines is that it takes minimal time to shoot up river a few kms to find new fishing spots.
The weather started to improve in the late afternoon. We anchored down near a set of rail road tracks. A couple of hours went by and finally…BOOM! We hooked into a decent Sturgeon. Greg took the rod and set the hook, it was his first Sturgeon fight and he was smiling like a 10 year old on Christmas morning. After about 10 minutes of a decent fight Greg brought it to the boat for some great photo opportunities. We released the fish back into the water for another day.
The sun finally started to come out and about 30 minutes after the big fight Ryan hook into another! This one was much bigger! Ryan had a good fight on his hands! The fish jumped out of the water a couple of times putting quite the show. Ryan’s arms were in full burning mode as he reeled in the fish. The morale on the boat was at it’s highest with all of us high fiving to celebrate the big catch! The fish was just at 5 feet long, another inch and we would’ve had to bring it to shore. We all held the fish for a great picture then put it back into the water.
With only 30 minutes left to the day, BAM! Another Sturgeon hit one of the lines. I set the hook and let it take a run. I fought it for a bit and then passed the rod over to Ben so he could help me bring it to the boat. The fish was about the same size as the third one that we hooked so we released it at the boat still in the water.
We finished off the day of fishing and headed back to the Mission Harbour. A few of the other STS guides were back at the harbour to welcome us in. The day was full of great hospitality with friends and our fantastic guide, Vic. Catching Sturgeon was only half of our adventure of going out with STS guiding. Between spending time with great friends while riding in a top of the line Jet Boat and learning fishing tips from one of the most experienced Anglers in BC made this day an unforgettable one!
If you would like to experience a day of fishing like we did the BC FISHN Team highly recommend contacting Vic and his team at STS Guiding. The peak season for Sturgeon fishing is in the fall but can be offered many through out the year. STS Guiding offers a broad range of tours for any angler.