Fish of the Harrison River

The Harrison River is just 18 km long but its size says nothing about its biodiversity and importance as a fish habitat. Geographically the Lillooet River feeds Harrison lake from the north, while the Harrison River drains the lake from the south and dumps into the Fraser.  

The Harrison is a shallow river with the exception of a deep channel that follows the original river bed for the entire length of the Harrison River. The river is an important migration route for all 5 species of Pacific Salmon as well as Steelhead and that naturally brings Sturgeon into the river to feed off the spawning salmon. The Harrison River is also home to sea-run Cutthroat trout who survive on a diet of Salmon fry as they emerge from the gravel and begin their life cycle.

For anglers, there are a couple of hot spots with one of the best being where the crystal clear water of the Harrison mixes with the dirty water of the Fraser River, at certain times of the year this confluence is literally alive with fish of all species.

The Salmon season starts as early as mid-June, with all five species of salmon making their way up the river. Given its rich salmon habitat, the Harrison was designated Canada’s first Salmon stronghold. With the large number of salmon spawning in the fall, the Harrison also boasts one of the largest congregations of Bald Eagles in North America with up to 10,000 being counted. The season starts with the Chinook entering the system in June. The Sockeye follow the Spring Salmon and hang in the river between July and September before moving into the lake to spawn. The runs of fish continue to flood into the river, next is the coho followed by the Chum and on odd years the pinks. for such a short river it gets a truly incredible amount of fish passing through.

The biodiversity of the river also brings the great dinosaur of the river the White Sturgeon. The long-lived white sturgeon is the largest freshwater fish in North America. These monster fish grow to over one thousand pounds, 11 or 12 long and can live up to 200 years. They are considered to be one of the most spectacular freshwater sports fish, having the reputation for their size, strength, and impressive jumps. 

The winter months can also see an abundance of Cutthroat Trout who fee on the small salmon fry. Steelhead arrive early in the new year and peak in mid-April.

Angling in the Harrison River Valley

useful links and information on fishing our region.

To see what you can catch and when follow this link to DFO.

To learn where and how to fish check out the website

For some tips on Salmon fishing on the Harrison River check out Fishing with Rod.

You can head out on your own or take advantage of the incredible experience of our local guides.

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