Brown Trout Fishing In BC: When, Where, and How?

 A big brown trout from a BC river. Brown Trout Fishing In BC can be good

Believe it or not, brown trout fishing is available in BC. Brown trout in BC are rare simply because brown trout are not native and very little stocking of browns was ever done. However, my first experience fishing for brown trout proved that if you look hard enough, there is actually some very good BC brown trout fishing to be had.

Brown trout were introduced into some rivers and lakes in BC as far back as the 1930’s. Although it’s not clear if the stocking of brown trout continues, it is clear that in some of these stocking areas, the brown trout have survived in good numbers, making for some good fishing.

How To Catch BC Brown Trout

Brown trout is likely my favorite trout to fish for, especially the big ones. The reason is that they are a challenge for me when compared to other trout species, which I often find too easy to catch.

In my area, I could land 30 steelhead over 4 pounds in a day, but landing one brown trout over 20 inches in most areas is a real challenge.

To catch brown trout in BC, you need a few things, and not necessarily in any specific order:

  • Know Where To Fish BC Brown Trout: You will need to know where to target the elusive BC brown trout, which I will discuss below.
  • Know When To Fish BC Brown Trout: Brown trout fishing is often best when water temperatures are in their preferred range, which is 12 to 17 or 55 to 64f.
  • Know How To Catch BC Brown Trout: Most methods used to catch rainbows will also work on brown trout. However, brown trout are weary, cautious, or smart, so they are harder to catch. Therefore, part of knowing how to catch brown trout also included learning how to sneak up on them and how to stay stealthy.

Best Places To Fish Brown Trout In BC

There are not many good places to fish for brown trout in BC, but if you focus on these rivers and lakes, your chances of catching a brown trout are good.

Cowichan River Brown Trout Fishing

The Cowichan River is arguably the best brown trout river in BC. It has the required habitat and food for brown trout to survive and thrive.

My first experience fishing for BC brown trout took place on the Cowichan River on Vancouver Island.

We arrived at our cabin on the river, and our host from River Guide Charters informed us the river was four feet higher than usual. After exploring, we found out that the edge of the river was over 50 feet into the forest in some areas which made it nearly impossible to fish.

However, that did not stop us from fishing some softer water off to the side of bigger water in select areas, and I quickly landed a nice 26-inch brown trout near Shultz Falls.

Four days later, we were on a drift boat being guided down the river, where we saw pools with 5 to 10 brown trout sitting on the bottom. Some of these brown trout looked to be around 8 to 10 pounds. Reports show that brown trout over 11 pounds are caught in the Cowichan River.

My observations were that there was a very good population of larger 2 to 5-pound brown trout. There was also cutthroat and steelhead in the river at this time since it was mid-April.

Anglers will find brown trout from the Weir at the base of Cowichan Lake all the way to the ocean.

We used traditional brown trout nymphing methods with a weighted fly, some indicator fishing, and some high-stick nymphing.

Check the special regulations for the area.

Little Qualicum River Brown Trout Fishing In BC

The Little Qualicum River is another river that offers anglers some good brown trout fishing in BC. This river has many regulations, with some sections closed for half the year and other sections open year-round.

Angler reports are that many of the brown trout are smaller however, there are some huge browns scattered throughout the river below the falls and especially in the lower river. You may also find other species like cutthroat, salmon, and steelhead.

If you are going to fish the area, stop in at Nile Creek Fly Shop for more up-to-date information.

Cameron Lake BC Brown Trout

Cameron Lake on the Kettle River also has brown trout, which are often caught using spinning gear and lures.

Brown trout here are usually 3 to 5 pounds but are not easy to catch. Some anglers report that the best brown trout fishing at night, just before dark, or early in the morning.

Kettle River

The lesser-known Kettle River also has some brown trout, however, check the river conditions prior to making the trip. The river also has some nig rainbow trout.

The Adam and Eve Rivers

Through the development of a resident trout fishery, the Adam and Eve River system also has brown trout, however, the numbers are apparently lower in these rivers, but there are brown trout and salmon mixed in.

McLure Lake and Lois Lake

Other landlocked lakes on the south end of Vancouver Island, such as McClure Lake, Lois Lake, and a few other ponds.

Reports of Brown trout of around 18 pounds caught in McLure Lake.

iGuideBC Fishing Co claims Lois Lake has plenty of brown trout over 20 inches.

Tight Lines


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