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What to Expect Fishing the Sea to Sky

banner fishing sea to sky

The Sea to Sky corridor is an ideal year-round fishing destination in British Columbia. From freshwater fishing in the many lakes to Whistler ice fishing experiences, you will have plenty to catch. With a variety of fish and fishing locations (including rivers and lakes) around the Sea to Sky corridor, you will not be disappointed.

This guide will let you know what to expect when fishing in the Sea to Sky Corridor and offer handy tips on where and when to go fishing.

What to Expect Season by Season

Late Winter to Spring

Heading out of winter from March to May you will be able to fish for trout in the lakes. In larger lakes, you will find Bull Trout, and in smaller lakes like Browning Lake at Murrin Park, and Alice Lake north of Squamish you will find Rainbow Trout. 

This is also the time of year Salmon Fry start to emerge from the spawning grounds. From late February to April you should also find good Steelhead fishing in the rivers in the Squamish region.

Expect temperatures of around 4°C early in the Spring to 15°C later on for Squamish. Whistler and Pemberton will be cooler with temperatures averaging from 2°C in March rising to 12°C in May.

Summer into Fall

When June hits it will be Chinook Salmon season, and later on, in August you will start to see Sockeye Salmon appearing. If you are in Squamish head along the Mamquam to where it meets the Squamish river, you should get great access to the salmon run from August to October. River fishing for trout is also great at this time of year. 

British Columbia generally has milder temperatures than the rest of Canada, however, be prepared for highs of over 18°C midsummer, with the possibility for rain and storms throughout the season too.

Fall into Winter

Sockeye season continues from August through to October and heading further into fall, expect to be fishing for Coho Salmon from the banks of the Cheakamus River, or just watch them run. Fall is probably the best time of year for fly fishing in British Columbia, be prepared for a work out as the Coho Salmon in Squamish and Chum Salmon in Pemberton can pull! 

By October temperatures will have dropped to an average of 9°CF in Squamish, 6°C  in Whistler and about 7°C in Pemberton. By late November lakes may start to freeze over, and river levels will be dropping.

Winter Fishing (Ice Fishing)

The lakes will most likely have frozen over, and it would seem that fishing season may have come to a temporary end. However, in late Winter, heading to the end of February you will begin to get the chance to get back into river fishing with Steelhead Salmon in the Cheakamus, Mamquam and Squamish rivers. For deep winter this your opportunity to try out Whistler Ice Fishing. 

With average temperatures of -5°F and possible lows of around -8°C in January, you will want to wrap up warm to head out to the ice. 

What is on Your Fishing Bucket List?

With 365 days of fishing, you could create quite a long bucket list for the Sea to Sky Corridor. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

  • Salt Water Fishing in Howesound

Not only will you have fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, from July Chinook should begin appearing in Howe Sound. You could head out in a boat, or visit Furry Creek to find great spots for fishing along the shoreline.

  • Fresh Water Fishing in Browning Lake

    Browning Lake in Squamish, a man fly fishing

    Easy access from Highway 99, check out the catches at Browning Lake.

Locate in Murrin park right beside Highway 99, Browning Lake offers great trout fishing in the Spring and a natural supply of Cutthroat Trout too.

  • River Fishing in the Squamish Region

There are four perfect rivers for Salmon Fishing around Squamish. For the best views of the Salmon run, you will want to head to where the Mamquam River meets to Cheakamus River, and for Bull Head Trout fishing head to the Squamish or Elaho River. All four rivers offer great fishing for four types of Pacific Salmon too.

  • Ice Fishing in Whistler

In winter fish for Rainbow Trout, Kokanee and Pink Minnows through holes in a frozen lake. You will be able to fish from within an ice fishing shelter, however dress warmly as it can still be cold out there on the ice.

  • Whistler Fly Fishing

From Spring to Fall you can dress in waders and head out into one of Whistlers lakes to fish for Salmon, Bull Trout, and Whitefish. You could even choose to fly fish in rivers or at creek mouths too.

Where to Find Fish

The Sea to Sky corridor offers a fantastic variety of fish and fishing locations. For Salmon and to view Salmon runs the Squamish Region will be the best option, and Bull Trout and Rainbow Trout the lakes of both Squamish and Whistler will have plenty to offer you.

An underwater view of a group of wild salmon

This region is known for the Salmon runs, but our lakes are also stocked with Trout!

To ensure you can find the best spots with the highest chance of catching fish you can hire a guide. Trips are available from three hours to full days out.  

Over winter guided tours are recommended for ice fishing in Whistler to ensure you head to the perfect spot and make the most of your fishing trip. Your guide will have fantastic local knowledge of the area for the highest chance of catching fish.

  • In the Squamish Region, you can find fish at Browning Lake, Brohm Lake, and Alice Lake. And for river fishing head to the Cheakamus, Squamish, Mamquam or Elaho Rivers.
  • For Whistler, you have Lost Lake and Nita lakes for Fly Fishing. The Cheakumus river also runs from just south of Whistler towards Squamish from Cheakamus Lake.
  • Heading further north towards Pemberton you will be able to fish for Dolly Varden Char, Rainbow Trout and Steelhead Salmon in one the beautiful crystal clear lakes. Enjoy Fly Fishing in Joffre Lakes, or any of the alpine lakes in the area.

What Do You Need?

The number one item to get for your fishing trip will be a fishing license. This is required for fishing in British Columbia for anyone over the age of 16. You will be able to get a license online through the British Columbia Government website, or from a vendor that can offer licenses in person. Try The Hardware Store next to Nesters in Whistler Village, or Canadian Tire in Squamish. 

For saltwater fishing licenses can be purchased through the Fisheries and Ocean Canada website.

Remember to check the weather before heading out fishing and wear appropriate clothing. Summer temperatures can be high along the Sea to Sky corridor so always remember sunscreen, and mosquito spray will definitely make your day out more pleasant. The weather can be changeable for warm clothing and waterproofs are always recommended.

If you book on to a guided fishing tour waders and boots will be provided, however, if you head out alone or with a group of friends, rentals are available from Spud Valley Rentals in both Whistler and Pemberton. You should also be able to purchase fishing equipment from Whistler Fly Fishing, located in Whistler Village, or Canadian Tire in Squamish.

Basic gear you would need for a fly fishing trip to Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor would be a rod and reels, waders and boots, and sunglasses. Sunglasses are fantastic for those bright days out in the sunshine, however, they also offer protection when casting off. Other items to bring would be a fly line and fly box.

Fishing in the Sea to Sky surrounded by the spectacular Coast Mountains, it is an experience not to be missed. You could plan trips just around freshwater fishing in lakes, or head to Whistler in wintertime for some thrilling ice fishing. Whatever your plan, fishing the Sea to Sky should be your next big trip.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or first-time fisherman, the local species is ready to bite.