Capilano River - Fishing Locations
The Capilano River is a beautiful North Vancouver river that has great kayaking, fishing and hiking opportunities. The river winds its way through steep canyons on the north shore which makes for limited river access (and fishing) points. Even when the fishing is tough, being on this river is always rejuvenating and a great choice for me.
Map Instructions: Click the Red Pins for information and photos on the fishing location. Click the + and – buttons to zoom in/out on the map. If Google map doesn’t load up or provides an error try to refresh the page. If it still doesn’t work, please let me know on the Contact page and will get you the info directly. Tight Lines! Jesse
Capilano River Hatchery
You can’t fish here but the Capilano River Hatchery is a great place to see what Salmon species are running up the river at various times of the year. There is a great viewing area of windows showing the water ladder that can be full of fish!
The Capilano River is primarily known for its summer run of Coho and Fall Chinook. There are a few Spring/Summer Steelhead as well but these are catch/release only as the numbers are very low. See table below for species and run time.
|chinook adults||October to November|
|coho adults||June to November|
|steelhead adults||March to April|
|coho juveniles||all year|
|chinook juveniles||March to May|
Photos of the Fish Ladder within the hatchery.
The Cable Pools are located next to the fishing boundary (which is the bridge just above the pools and below the Hatchery). The Cable Pools are deep and provide a holding place for the Salmon before they make their way into the hatchery. See the YouTube video on this Tip for more visuals.
Below the Cable Pools the river does a hard right hand turn (west) this is called the “Dog Leg” pool/area. There are number of big rocks to fish off and usually this spot can support 3-5 fishermen. Although on busier times I’m sure there have been many more.
This location is accessible by following the Coho loop on the west side of the river down river of the cable pools. You’ll have to walk off the Coho loop path for a few minutes to access the river. When walking downriver on the Coho Loop if you’ve hit the high bridge that crosses back to the east side of the river you’ve gone too far.
This photo is a pool immediately below Dog Leg run. It’s on the east side of the river.
First and foremost, be very careful if you choose to hike into this area. It’s steep and dangerous in many sections and in order to get to the river you’ll have to hike down some pretty gnarly areas. The Canyons offers little pockets of water and/or pools when you get to the bottom. The canyons area is quite large and should be accessed from the West side of the river, east side has bigger drops and less access points.
This photo is from my favorite canyon area pool.
Under HWY #1 Bridge
BCR Train Bridge (Tidal begins)
This is right next to the mouth of the Capilano river as it enters the Pacific Ocean. Between BCR bridge and Marine Dr. bridge there is NO fishing as this is private First Nations land.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Below BCR Bridge is now TIDAL water, so you will need a Tidal fishing license. Above the CPR bridge is Non-Tidal.
Capilano River Mouth - Spot #1
Capilano River Mouth - Spot #2
Capilano River Mouth - Spot #3
Capilano River Level and Flow Monitoring
To keep track of the water levels and flow before heading out fishing, I’d recommend you check out the Metrovancouver page that tracks this information in real-time. The levels are outlined in a helpful line graph. To review the Capilano River Levels see this page.
Winter and Summer Steelhead Runs
Between January and April you have a chance of running into a Winter Steelhead on the Capilano river. The majority of the Winter fish will be in the system by mid/end of March. Between July and September you have a chance at a Summer run Steelhead.
Bot of the Capilano River Steelhead returns are very small. This river use to produce a large number of fish but because of the development of the Cleveland Dam the fish have lost three quarters of their spawning and rearing habitat. That said, sadly the winter/summer runs are in recovery mode so you cannot retain any Steelhead whether wild or hatchery fish at any time of the year.
Capilano River Fishing Trip Journals
This was a quick 1 hour fishing to the Cap. It’s end of March and the Winter Steelhead year is ramping down. I lost a fish and watched a hatchery employee catch one. There’s a video included as well of this quick trip. You can see this trip journal here.
Capilano River Hatchery