Fishing on the Fraser and the Chilliwack Fair

Fishing Fraser River BC

We’re not fishermen. We own rods, but haven’t mastered them yet. So, we decided to leave fishing to an expert and booked a small-boat charter in Chilliwack, a picturesque small town about 80 min. outside of Vancouver, along the Fraser River. The Fraser is famous among anglers for salmon, trout and sturgeon.

Our guide was a 28-year-old local who made for easy company during the four-hour excursion. He told us he was up at 6 a.m. to scope out potential good fishing spots, and he chose a spot on the other side of the river, driving his boat only a few minutes away from the dock and anchoring at the water’s edge.

I’ve always had an idea that fishing is about patience; waiting for a moment that you can’t predict, but pouncing to make good on the opportunity. It’s a combination of luck and skill, I take it, but, unfortunately, we didn’t have any luck that day. Our guide was anticipating a school of salmon would swim by, which would up our chances of catching some. Alas, the opportunity did not come.

However, it was still an enjoyable day. How could you not enjoy the pleasure of being out on a private boat in the sun, surrounded by mountains and a shimmering river? It forces you to look at what’s around you, pay attention to nature and appreciate its beauty.

Our guide recommended going to the Chilliwack Fair, which is a major two-day event for the town. The displays of local handiwork were endearing and really showed a sense of community that I’m not used to, being a city-dweller. I bought an elegant pair of earrings from a very creative artisan who makes jewelry from old silverware. We wandered through the animal showcase, and stopped to look at a massive mama pig turning over her trough, impatient for food while her piglets scurried around.

Gourmet Bannock food truck

There was an area with food trucks, and we were very impressed with the barbecue salmon sandwiches we ordered from Gourmet Bannock (bannock is a First Nations type of fried bread), which we followed up with a plate of tasty pierogis from another truck. We caught part of the rodeo, too. I’ve never been before, and it was fun to see the riders trying to stay on bucking horses and wrangle cattle. We walked out of the fair, tired and satisfyingly full, with the sun lingering long enough to light our drive home.