Canada’s waterways are teeming with an incredible array of fish species, including trout, northern pike, bass, walleye, salmon, halibut, and many more. From coast to coast, let’s take a look at the top fishing rivers that any avid angler needs to cast their line into at least once.
1. Campbell River, British Columbia
Flowing off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, the Campbell River is often referred to as the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Just 4 km long, it serves as a migratory pathway for all five species of Pacific salmon: Chinook, chum, coho, pink, and sockeye. Fly fishing is permitted all along the river, with some zones exclusively reserved for it.
2. Fraser River, British Columbia
The Fraser River is British Columbia’s longest river system, spanning three-quarters of the province. It is one of the top spots in the entire world for salmon fishing, with an annual salmon run of up to 50 million. The waters of the Fraser River are also home to one of the world’s largest white sturgeon populations.
3. Bow River, Alberta
Originating in glacial Bow Lake along the continental divide, the Bow River is known for its unparalleled trout fishing opportunities. It flows through Banff, Canmore, and Calgary before heading out to the prairies. The fast-moving waters are brimming with brown and rainbow trout that measure up to 25 inches. Fly fishing is very popular on the Bow.
4. Red River, Manitoba
The Red River is the premier waterway in all of North America for trophy channel catfish. Its muddy waters hide the massive specimens, though you’ll know when you’ve snagged one as they can weigh up to 40 pounds! Reeling them in is a challenge, but the fish are so abundant that you can catch multiple giants in just one day.
5. Miramichi River, New Brunswick
The Miramichi is a fabled river for Atlantic salmon fishing. It is often referred to as the “mother of all salmon streams” and touted as having a larger Atlantic salmon run than any other river in the world. The river also boasts an abundance of large striped bass and brook trout, offering plenty of variety to test your skills.
6. Exploits River, Newfoundland and Labrador
Another world-class Atlantic salmon fishery, the Exploits River is the longest river in Newfoundland at 246 km. It is one of the world’s most prolific Atlantic salmon producers due to successful conservation efforts like fish passages and a stocking program. Today, the river sees an annual migration of up to 40,000 fish and offers many opportunities for fly fishing and day trips.
7. Tree River, Nunavut
There is no better place to go fishing for Arctic char than Nunavut’s Tree River. Not only are the fish abundant, but they come in at almost twice the weight that you’ll find them anywhere else. The remote river is surrounded by pristine scenery and empties into the Arctic Ocean. It isn’t the easiest spot to get to, but it should definitely be on your list.
Thanks to the country’s massive land expanse and ecological diversity, no two rivers in Canada offer the same fishing experience. What they do all offer, however, is the opportunity to have an unforgettable time.