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Fraser River Fishing Lodge
August 26-29, 2003

By Patrick Nolan

In late August, I had the priviledge of spending three days at Fraser River Lodge, accompanying my good friend and fishing partner, Steve Bradley, on a 3 day fishing adventure. The entire trip had been arranged by Steve in consultation with the lodge owner Frank Stager, who founded the operation in 1997, on the shore east shore of the historic Fraser River, in the beautiful city of Chilliwack.

Arriving at the Abbotsford airport, we were greeted by Steve, an affable and gregarious young man employed by the lodge in the capacity of a support worker. Steve picks up and drops off guests, takes care of various needs of the lodge and handles the fish processing.We watched him do just that one night, and were impressed with his deft preparation of some large King Salmon. During the entire duration of our stay, Steve was always friendly, outgoing and happy to help with any needs we had. His attitude is a reflection of that of the entire staff of Fraser River Lodge- pleasant, friendly and demonstrating unparalleled professionalism in customer service.

Having arrived too late in the day to do any fishing, Steve and I spent the day relaxing in the Lodge and taking in the natural splendour we were immersed in. The view from the deck is spectacular, with a beautiful vista of the Fraser as it snakes towards the Pacific, and the surrounding mountainous terrain. This is truly one of the most awe inspiring landscapes one could have the good fortune of visiting.


The Comfortable Lodge

As the afternoon progressed, guests began returning to the Lodge, and soon Frank also popped in to greet us and to ensure all of our needs were taken care of. This was a common theme during our stay- the staff was always ensuring that we had everything that we needed, all the while managing to allow enough "space" so that we didn't feel hovered over or pressured. Fraser River Lodge manages to be interactive, yet private at the same time.

Day 1 of fishing, we were paired up with a couple from Germany, Peter and Lisa. The decision having been made to fish for salmon, we headed upriver with Gord, our guide for the day. It did not take long for everyone to begin hooking Sockeyes, and it made for a really fun day with no shortage of laughter and priceless moments- the stuff that makes a trip like this so memorable. Peter did manage to put hooks into one King, but after a very brief, very intense drag-screaming run into the middle of the river, the fish was gone. Despite this disappointment, Peter still managed a smile and we all had a good laugh. After a full day of salmon fishing, it was time to head back to the lodge.
A nice Sockeye
Day 2 saw the day begin with a beautiful sunrise and the promise of some warm, sunny weather. Our guide, John Waring, picked us up at the lodge and we were off and running. After some consultation with Peter and Lisa, it was decided that Sturgeon would be our target species for the day. After a quick stop to catch a few Squawfish, which was the baitfish the Sturgeon were feeding on, we were on our way.
We anchored in three spots without any action, and it was evident that John was getting anxious over the absence of fish. Shortly after 10:00, and on the fourth anchor, one of the baits was struck. John set the hook and handed off to Steve, and we were elated by what came next- a very, very large Sturgeon cleared the water completely, upon realization that she was hooked. What followed was the most spectacular battle between angler and fish that I have ever witnessed. Four consequent jumps where the fish cleared the water, several runs taking at least 100 feet of super line off the spool; Steve was truly tested on this fish, as was the equipment, which functioned perfectly ( more on that later ) After a heated 45 minute battle, the fish was beached for measurements, photos and tagging. This incredible creature measured 219 cms, with a girth of 101 cms- John estimated the weight to be approximately 230-250 pounds. Release of the fish was expertly handled by John, and she swam off quietly into the Fraser.
The afternoon saw numerous other fish to 80 pounds caught and released by the group, under warm, sunny skies in the comfort of John's Alumaweld jet-driven boat. Just prior to calling it a day, our guide moved to a spot where he had previously seen several large fish jump- a common occurrence with Sturgeon. It wasn't more than a few minutes before one of the baits was hit , and I set the hook into what felt like a Volkswagen. This particular fish jumped once upon being hooked, and fought down for the next 35 minutes, before being being beached for the process of photos, measurements and tagging. This specimen stretched the tape to 209 cm, with a girth of 97 cms. I, personally, have never been tested in such a way, and could only lay in the shallow waters of the Fraser for a few moments after to regain my strength and reflect on the experience I had just had.
Awesome is the only way to describe it!


8 Foot Torpedo


A Beautiful 8 Foot Sturgeon


Rodbend!


300 Pound Tailwalk!


Salmon!

 


Beautiful Lodge View

Day 3 began as did the previous, clear skies and the promise of another beautiful day. The weather during our stay was spectacular- sunny and hot, with daytime highs around 28 degrees. It felt like fishing in Mexico!
This day, our last, was going to be a split between Salmon and Sturgeon fishing. After a few hours of Salmon fishing, we chose to head out for more Sturgeon fishing, and the hours that followed, numerous fish between 35 and 80 pounds were caught and released.The fish were really active on this day, we just didn't get hooks into another giant. This was, however, not totally relevant to our enjoying the day to the max. We met some really fine people in Lisa, Peter, and our guide John. The weather was fantastic, and we just soaked up the entire experience. To be able to be part of such a vacation, in such surroundings, at a place like Fraser River Lodge, sometimes the fishing almost seems secondary in light of the people and the experience. It truly is an incomparable place.


The staff at Fraser River Lodge are incredible. Our guide, John Waring, is a true proffesional. He worked tirelessly to put us on fish, and was always pleasant and personable, even when we missed a hookset or forgot to follow his gentle directions. He clearly knows what he's doing out there, and the results show. His equipment functioned flawlessly under strain; all his rigging held up beautfully, and the drags were smooth and set just right. Any experienced angler knows that failures usually occur when bg fish are on- not so with John's gear. All hooked fish came to boat- a 100 % success rate and a figure I am impressed with, considering the raw power of the largest fish we caught and released.
The boat we fished from was exceptional- roomy, fast and configured for fishing with a top to take cover from the elements if necessary. Having experienced guided fishing, and having provided it myself to clients, I can confidently say John ranks with the best.

Every meal we had at the Lodge was a culinary experience. From salmon dishes to Chinese, we were fed like royalty, and there was enormous quantities to satisfy even the largest appetites. I have one myself, and always went away from the table replete and satisfied.One of the highlights of dinner is the view, an incredible panorama of the valley below with an expansive survey of the Fraser. Again, dinner is interactive, where you are able to visit with the other guests, and the clientelle has a noticeably international character.

Every single member of the team of Fraser River lodge merits individual accolades for their winning attitudes and committment to excellence in whatever part of the package they are charged with delivering. Each and every one of these people made a lasting impression, and their efforts, collectively, ensure an unforgettable visit. Frank Stager has assembled a group of great people, and he does an incredible job in overseeing an operation that delivers an experience that is unparalelled in quality and value. I can honestly say, without reservation, that Fraser River Lodge, and it's people, stand head and shoulders above the rest.

 

SPECIALS! for November/December for salmon, trout and Sturgeon and from January on the Steelhead, Trout and Sturgeon as well as Wilderness Trips until May. Best months for Steelhead are Feb-May. The rates are up to 50% off, depending on group size

If you would like to know more about Fishing on the Fraser River Contact us at / (204)797-7362

Or

Contact Fraser River Fishing Lodge Directly:

604 796-1210

Email : Webpage: www.fraserriverlodge.com

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