Swinging to the left you enter the Vedder River and under the railway bridge. The dead heads lurk under the clearing water of the Vedder and the channel was at least 2.0 meters (7 feet) deep as the boat planes past the mountain and under the railway. At the intersection of the Vedder and the Fraser the water changes from blue to the brown of the mighty Fraser.
As soon as you enter the Fraser you can sense the energy and urgency of the world famous sockeye salmon run. Boats are slicing V's in the water everywhere and the thundering jet boats send rooster tails into the air as everyone is racing for their favorite spot on the river. In this part of the river you can cross a 50 foot deep hole with sturgeon lurking on the bottom onto a gravel shelf that changes to 5 feet and then to 4 inches in the blink of an eye. Snags, log booms and first nation fishing nets are ready to grab the props of the unwary.
Manny had just bought a brand new bait casting rod and reel and was very eager to try his hand at bottom bouncing for sockeye and maybe a feisty Chinook. So we put a team together and headed out on the water. First some casting practice which went pretty well. He quickly learned how to find the snags and lose some gear. Baptism by fire. You wanna catch the fish, you gotta pay your dues. Then the first fish was on the line!
You can get pretty tired casting and fighting these fish so by the end of the day, the sunshine, fresh air and scenery can make a guy hungry and sleepy. As I write this, the incredible red meat fillets are simmering on the barbecue, the potatoes are almost roasted and fresh tomatoes have been picked from the garden vine to be mixed with garden salad, fresh mini carrots and some raspberry vinaigrette dressing. This is summer living in British Columbia! Nothing is finer, except maybe the apple cider to wash it all down.
Today the commercial and first nation commercial fisheries get underway in a big way. So far about 1,200,000 sockeye have made it past the Mission counting station but the counters now indicate that sockeye numbers dropped dramatically with the opening of the commercial fisheries. These openings will be on going and it gets tricky to do the river fishing as when all the nets are out as it may take up to two days afterwards to re-stock the river. On Monday, August 11th, there will be a three hour commercial opening in the Fraser. While this won't sterilize the river it will be during the rising tide when most fish will be entering the river. There after, if you are fishing the gravel bars near Chilliwack on Tuesday and Wednesday, it could be pretty slim pickins on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon when the currents slow due to the tidal surge and the few fish that escaped the nets try to swim my the bottom bouncers.....some days it can be tough to be a salmon.
Never-the-less, there's great weather and great fishing to be had and the sturgeon are really getting excited with all the salmon in the river and can be found sucking up all the parts the fisherman are throwing into the water as they clean their catches.