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Calgary, Sooke + Haida Gwaii named 3 of the best fishing destinations in Canada

The three Western Canadian locations on FishingBooker.com’s list of Canada’s best fishing destinations reveal the diversity that awaits anglers plying West Coast waters.
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Lower Kananaskis Lake, about two hours from Calgary. With the Rockies on its doorstep, with their numerous rivers, lakes and streams, “fly fishing is off the hook here, and trout are the main target,” FishingBooker.com says about the Calgary region, its top fishing destination in Canada for 2023.

The three Western Canadian locations on FishingBooker.com’s list of Canada’s best fishing destinations reveal the diversity that awaits anglers plying West Coast waters.

With the 2023 fishing season on its way (apologies to those die-hard ice fishers), those planning the coming year’s angling adventures might want to start in Calgary, which garnered top spot on the list.

With the Rockies on its doorstep, along with their accompanying rivers, lakes and streams, “fly fishing is off the hook here, and trout are the main target,” the site shares.

In particular, it’s the region’s bull trout that are a unique attraction: “These ferocious fighters can grow to be very big, and having them on the fly is an experience. They’re highly protected, and as such, can’t be kept even when you win the fight. That’s why you have your brown and rainbow trout – equally feisty, good to eat, and open for fishing,” the site says. “Then there’s cutthroat trout, which are Alberta natives, always ravenous, and ready to attack your fly with wild abandon.

For saltwater fans, two West Coast regions making the list are undoubtedly on more than a few bucket lists.

Sooke is a fishing hotspot for five species of salmon and halibut. Fishing-Booker photo
Sooke is a fishing hotspot for five species of salmon and halibut. Fishing-Booker photo

No. 2 on the Fishing Booker list is Sooke, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, where the “stunning piece of coastline is a great place to take a breather from your busy everyday life,” they note.

“Vancouver Island needs no introduction when it comes to its phenomenal fishing scene, and Sooke is no different. All five species of Pacific salmon pass through these rich waters, each with its own unique seasonality,” FishingBooker said in a news release. “If you don’t feel like timing your fishing trip, no worries – the halibut bite is always on.”

Three fishermen show off a halibut while on a guided fishing trip with CMF Charters, based out of Prince Rupert. Fishing-Booker photo
Three fishermen show off a halibut while on a guided fishing trip with CMF Charters, based out of Prince Rupert. Fishing-Booker photo

For a diversity of species on offer, including salmon, trout, lingcod, halibut and maybe some tuna, you can’t beat Haida Gwaii, landing in fifth spot on the list.

“The fishing season starts in the spring, usually around March, and lasts until November. During that time, you can go after a wide variety of fish all on the same trip,” Fishing Booker told The Haida Gwaii Observer.

They recommend visiting the archipelago between March and November for anyone who plans to cast a rod, with the opportunity to reel in a Chinook starting around mid-May. Other salmon including coho, pink, sockeye and chum arrive later but stick around until December.

Anglers not interested in salmon will find great bottom fishing for halibut, rockfish or lingcod in the waters surrounding Haida Gwaii.

For those wanting to cast their line farther afield, also hooking a spot among prime fishing regions were St. Lawrence River, Que., Avalon Peninsula, N.L., Lac Seul, Ont., St. Peters Bay, P.E.I., Dauphin Lake, Man.

FishingBooker is the largest platform in the world for connecting anglers and fishing guides, with over 34,000 fishing trips available in more than 1,900 destinations worldwide.

– With files from Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative, from the Haida Gwaii Observer, and Kevin Laird from the Sooke News Mirror

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