Harrison River

Harrison River

Harrison River is a short 18km waterway connecting Harrison Lake to the Fraser River. Unlike the Fraser River and other big rivers in BC the Harrison isn't as subjected to blowouts due to the fact that its origins are the Lillooet River which flows into the northern part of Harrison Lake so debris has time to settle into the lake before continuing its journey through the Harrison then ultimately the Fraser. The river is fairly shallow for the most part but there is a deep skinny section following the original river bed running the length of the river. It can be difficult to find especially when the river is very high during run-off. This river has some amazing fishing for such a short length. Fish found in here include White Sturgeon, all five Pacific Salmon, Steelhead and a very good sea run Cutthroat fishery. White Sturgeon fishing is good here all year with some popular places being at the mouth of Harrison Lake, and the stretch between Kilby and the Fraser River. Of course there are other secret little holes and deep sections out there, you just have to find them. Lamprey and Dew Worms are good "searcher" baits which work all year but when the Salmon are in the river between July and September, Roe and Salmon parts work amazing. A good rule of thumb is to match what's in the river at that moment because these fish are like vaccums on the bottom of the river eating whatever is there. The famous Harrison Chinnok salmon, averaging 20 pounds, are the first to enter this river as early as June. They are then followed by Sockeye salmon which hang out in the river between July and September before they are ready to spawn. Following the Sockeye are the Coho, Chum, and every odd-numbered year Pink salmon. Spinners and spoons off of a boat are popular methods of fishing for them and if the current is strong enough you can just leave your lure in the water and let it swim. The Cutthroat fishing in the Harrison is amazing in the spring and fall and any bait or lures immitating salmon fry or eggs work amazing. The sea-run version of Cutthroat can grow up to an astonishing 10 pounds! Some places to look for them are around the mouths of feeder creeks and rivers, or look for them rising in the water and work the rises. If you see fish rising but then stop its most likely they have moved on so you should start looking for the next school of risers to fish. When you are fishing for Cutthroat also note that there are a lot of Pikeminnow in this river system. They offer anglers an alternative to trout fishing as they do put up a fun fight on light gear. They can grow up to 4 pounds although rare, these fish are generally much smaller and more in the 20-30cm range. Steelhead fishing is best in January through April with the fish being between 7-15 pounds.

How to get there

Harrison River is located between Harrison Lake and the Fraser River. There are a couple ways of getting here and many boat launchs located along the river as well as a couple of campgrounds. The easiest way to get here if your coming from the GVRD is to make your way to Lougheed Highway and follow it east until you see the river, you can't miss it, Lougheed even crosses over the river with a drawbridge. If you are coming from Chilliwack, or anywhere east of that from highway 1 take exit 9 heading north. Follow the Agassiz-Rosedale Highway to the city of Agassiz and follow the signs leading you to Harrison Lake. You will then come to a 4 way stop, make a left onto Lougheed and follow it until you come to the Harrison River. There are a number of launches here but they are mostly private. The two popular ones are Kilby, which now costs $10 to launch and is easy to find just follow the signs, and a private launch just west of the drawbridge which costs $5. There are other boat launchs on the river in random places off of logging roads off the west side of the river but can be difficult to find and may require alot more driving on gravel roads.

June 12, 2013

Today my cousin Trevor and I headed out to the Harrison River to do some Sturgeon and Cutthroat fishing. We started fishing around 8:00am, fishing the north of the bridge. We started with casting a 1/16th Gibbs Croc green/silver spoon at rising fish as we worked our way up the river and to our surprise landed a 26cm Pikeminnow in the first 10 minutes. We decided to go hunting for a Sturgeon hole so we countinued north. We Sturgeon fished for a few hours using Lamprey and had a few hits, with one on the line for a while before it decided to spit out the hook. We headed for the shallows again to try our luck with the cuttys and of course landed two more little Pikeminnows this time measuring in at 20cm, but this timefly-fishing with a #10 Elk Hair Caddis. The weather was decent with no rain but the wind picked up around 5:00pm and the water got really choppy. The river was a beautiful green colour and stayed at 9° all day.

Elk Hair Caddis
#10 Elk Hair Caddis caught 2 fish
Gibbs Croc
1/16th Gibbs Croc, except the one I used was a green band not blue (but I lost it) caught 1 fish

September 21, 2013

Fished the Harrison River targeting Sturgeon. I found a nice hole around the CPR bridge and fished it for 3 hours. While I was anchoured I saw a couple Sturgeons rise and lots of Pinks jumping around. Having no luck with the Sturgeons I decided to head to the mouth where it meets the dirty Fraser and fished here for an hour before heading home. There were lots of Pinks around and I ended up catching a three pounder with a few more bites. The river has very good clarity right now and is fishing well but is very busy so be careful.

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Bob Hazard | Reply 26.10.2017 08.16

Going to try it today

Justin | Reply 14.08.2014 11.59

Is it possible to troll the harrison river or is it too shallow?

With the gibbs croc did you put bait on your hook?

newbie looking to fish from a zodiac!

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Latest comments

22.09 | 10:54

I was wondering if anyone could tell me what time of year these lakes usually freeze up?

12.08 | 08:30

Thanks for this info. And idea if this Lake has swimmers itch? We’re going with the kids and want to be prepared!

07.06 | 08:31

Is the nickel open?

06.06 | 13:34

give it a shot, caught a 1.5 pounder last summer. i used a frog and attacked thick cover

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