The Chilliwack and Vedder Rivers are among the elite rivers in North America when it comes to salmon fishing! Easily accessible to urban dwellers, the rivers are not only conveniently situated but additionally boast numerous great angling attributes. Anglers can fish throughout most months of the calendar year, with runs of various types of fish all occurring in the Chilliwack Vedder River. At different points in the year, anglers may catch: salmon - Chinook, Coho, sockeye, pink and steelhead; rainbow and cutthroat trout; Dolly Varden; Char; and Rocky Mountain Whitefish. In total, hundreds of thousands of these types of fish make their way upstream some years, though it is important to note that pink salmon runs only occur every other year. These typically consist of approximately 170,000 fish.
The Ministry of Environment reports that in a good year, Chilliwack River and Vedder River anglers may catch as many as 14,000 Steelhead. The Chum salmon run can yield 20,000 in just one season. Anglers who go fishing for Coho can expect to compete for some of the 10,000 plus caught annually. Combined with the fall Chinook run, there are often more than 35,000 fish caught in a calendar year. However, pinks, chums and sockeyes are not considered sport fish and cannot be kept.
In January and February it's the start of a new year and the start of the steelhead season! Now, because of a unique and healthy hatchery program Chilliwack Vedder River steelhead are unusually big and strong. And because BC river anglers favor steelhead, the river is always crowded. If you plan on fishing the best runs, you best plan on arriving before dawn. When March and April roll around, steelhead season is at its peak. During the month of March you can expect a mix of hatchery and wild fish but by April most of the steelhead hooked are wild. May and June are fairly quiet months for fishing on the Chilliwack Vedder River. The only real angling opportunities are for fly-fishing, working river downstream from the Vedder Bridge. All other types of fishing are banned in May and the only opportunities available are late returning steelhead and other downriver spawners. In June the entire river is closed to fishing. Then, by the first week in July, red Chinook, or Springs, and Sockeye start to flood the Chilliwack Vedder River. Reds from the river average around 18 to 20 pounds and they are considered one of the finest eating Chinook. By September and October, the river fills up with a variety of fish, starting with pinks in the odd numbered years, then Coho, jack Chinook and adult white Chinook. Also mixed in are 200,000 big chums. By the end of the year in November and December, a variety of fish are available in the Chilliwack Vedder River. Early November sees white Chinook, Chums and Coho and as December approaches, Chinook disappear, the Coho turn dark and chums become ordained with flanks and the beginnings of a fur coat. But, as the salmon start to disappear for another year, the early run Steelhead start to arrive.
The development of the trail and surrounding amenities came about as a result of the contributions of many, including the Canadian soldiers once stationed at the former Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack. Soldiers previously practiced erecting bridges at the reserve pond that previously known as the wet bridging area. If you head south on the trail beyond the 5 kilometer mark you'll find sturdy pedestrian bridges crossing small streams. Two of the bridges that you will cross were erected by soldiers from the former nearby military base. If you're a little more adventuresome than the average trail user, keep going. You'll see a wonderful Red Cedar Grove at about the 6½ kilometer mark. Many say this little bit of paradise is the prettiest part of the trail.