Fishing Reports:  Fresh water and salt water - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada - UPDATED March 30, 2016.

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salmon, trout, halibut, steelhead, bass fishing report

Vancouver Island Fishing Reports: For SPRING 2016From: Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney, Langford, Elk Lake, Prospect Lake, Sooke, Pedder Bay, Becher Bay, Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew, Nitinat Lake, Nitinat River, Harris Creek, Cowichan Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Duncan, Chemainus Lake, Salt Spring Island, St. Mary Lake, Cusheon Lake, Nanaimo, Quennell Lake (Cedar), French Creek, Parksville,Qualicum Beach, Spider Lake, Cameron Lake, Nile Creek, Courtenay / Comox, Oyster River, Campbell River, Gold River, Oyster River, Salmon River, Port Alberni,  Bamfield, Ucluelet, Tofino, Barkley Sound, Nootka Sound, Moutcha Bay, Port Hardy.

Calling salmon artists
The Pacific Salmon Foundation is calling for artists to enter work in the 2016/2017 Salmon Conservation Stamp Art Competition. This is the 28th anniversary of the Salmon Conservation Stamp Art Competition and the winning image will be
selected to produce the 2016/2017 stamp. Fisheries and Oceans Canada issues the Salmon Conservation Stamp, which is purchased and affixed to the license of each tidal water angler who wishes to retain salmon.
See more at

Report suspicious fishing activities
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) asks the public to report suspicious fishing activities by contacting your nearest DFO office, or by anonymously calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477),, or by texting TIP190 and your message to 274637 (crimes).

Snag hazards in Saanich Inlet
Be aware of hook and line, downrigger and trap gear entanglement risks in the vicinity of the UVIC Venus project in Pat Bay, Saanich Inlet. Project VENUS is part of the Ocean Networks Canada. VENUS is a cabled ocean observatory located
in the Salish Sea. For more information, visit:


Saltwater - Salmon fishing has been good when it wasn’t too windy. Most salmon are still on the small size, and there weren’t many large ones, like last week. Halibut fishing was good.

Regulations - Salmon - Chinook - Areas 19 and 20: in effect to June 17: Subareas 19-1 to 19-4 and Subarea 20-5 (those waters near Victoria between Cadboro Pt. to Sheringham Pt.). Management measure: You may retain two (2) chinook salmon per day. These chinooks may be either

- Wild or hatchery marked between 45 cm and 67 cm; or

- Hatchery marked greater than 67 cm in length.

- The minimum size limit in these waters is 45 cm in length.

Management actions after June 17 will be announced in a second fishery notice.

For the latest fishery openings and closures call 1-866-431-FISH or 604-666-2828 (24-hour phone line); or visit; or on Twitter

BECHER BAY – Anglers were catching springs as large as 10 lb. in the bay. It was best between Lamb Island and Fraser Island. There have also been springs caught by the Trap Shack and in Whirl Bay, but those were smaller fish. Anglers have been successful with all types of gear: anchovies in glow teaser heads; spoons, such as the G-Force and Skinny G, in Cop Car, Bon Chovy or Irish Cream colours were effective. For flashers, the Madi, Lemon-Lime and Purple Onion have been good. Some halibut up to 50 lb. were also brought back.

PEDDER BAY – There were lots of springs at the entrance to the bay. Anglers are fishing close to the bottom and often bouncing the downrigger balls, in 120-150 feet of water. There is still a lot of bait inside the bay. Small spoons, such as the G-Force, Coyote and Gypsy, in the glow and/or any bright colours were effective. Hootchies and squirts also produced. Popular flashers include glow green, Lemon-Lime and Purple Onion. And you can’t go wrong fishing anchovies in a Bloody Nose teaser.

HALIBUT – Best areas were Race Rocks, William Head, 27 Fathom reef and Constance Bank. Anglers were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work. You can also use large jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

VICTORIA – Salmon were plentiful at Constance Bank and near Albert Head (on the pinnacles). Most of the salmon are still not very large, mostly "charter specials". The inside of the harbour has also produced some better springs and Brotchie Ledge to Ross Bay has also produced some fish. Spoons and squirts were successful in getting hook-ups. Bloody Nose and Purple Haze have been popular colours for teaser heads. Good choices in plastic baits are the Electric Chair, Purple Haze and white glow. Coho Killers, AP Needlefish, G Force and Coyote spoons in Green Splatterback, Moon Glow and Cop Car have been good. Purple Onion, Lemon-Lime and Madi have been effective.

HALIBUT – The best areas have been Constance Bank and Albert Head. Anglers that were fishing were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work very well. You can also use Mudraker, Lucky or other large Jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

OAK BAY – The Flats have been holding some nice fish for those trolling close to the bottom. It’s been best in 100-140 depths. Good lures have been Green Splatterback Coho Killers, Skinny G spoons and APT Needlefish spoons.

HALIBUT – Anglers were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait.

SIDNEY - Moresby Island was the hot spot for salmon with a couple of 12 lb. springs taken there. The majority of the salmon caught have been short of the minimum size for retention and most areas have some fish. Most anglers are using anchovies in Bloody Nose and UV green teaser heads. Coho Killer spoons have also been working, especially in double glow and Gold Nugget.

Freshwater - Fishing is picking up in most lakes for both trout and bass. Steelheading has been good in most Island rivers.

Trout fishing is picking up on most area lakes. Shore anglers at are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms while fishing close to the bottom. Orange Garlic and Pink Garlic have been good choices recently for Powerbait.

Fly anglers are fishing Pumpkinheads, Wooly Buggers, leeches and micro leech patterns on full sink fly lines.

Trollers are catching trout with Gang Trolls and Wedding Bands. Other good trolling lures are the Apex Trout Killers in rainbow, green or black and white patterns. Flatfish and/or Kwikfish have been effective in sizes 5 to 7 in Frog, Black with Silver Flake or Rainbow Pattern.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has started their spring releases of catchable rainbow trout from the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery. February 29, Prospect Lake received 2,000 trout, Thetis received 1,000 and Glen, 500 with an average size of 222 grams. March 3 Elk Lake received 2,000 catchable rainbows and Shawnigan received 1,950, averaging 232 grams.

Bass fishing starts to pick up in the spring. Soft plastics rigged "Carolina Style "are a good choice when fishing the bottom, drop-offs and reefs, and have been most productive in 4" Smoke or Pumpkinseed Yum baits. Langford Lake, Shawnigan, Prospect, Elk and Beaver lakes are the best local bass lakes. St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island is another great bass lake.

Island Outfitters, 3319 Douglas St.,

Victoria, ph: 475-4969



It is halibut time. It is time to dust off the halibut rods and head out to the local hot spots. Jordan River, Muir Creek, and Race Rocks all have been productive.

So far the majority of the halibut have weighed in between 20 to 40 lb. Herring, salmon bellies, squid and octopus have been working good. Berkley Gulp and Power Bait has been working also.

On the salmon side of things it has been a little slow lately but it should pick up pretty good in April and May. You will find the fish will still be down deep, like around a 100 to 150 feet on the riggers. Anchovies and herring trolled in various glow teaser heads have been working good. Coho Killers are also working good; try the glow Cop Car, glow purple and white, and green glow Speckleback. For hootchies try Purple Haze, glow white and Cloverleaf.

Our annual Sooke Halibut Derby will be held on May 28 and 29. Tickets will be coming on sale in April at Eagle Eye Wilderness, Crab Shack and Wise Buys Fishing Supplies.

Until next time happy faces and tight lines.

Al Kennedy,

Reel Excitement Salmon Charters





Saltwater - Nanaimo to Sooke has been excellent for winter chinook fishing. Try trolling just off the bottom with glow flasher, glow anchovie head and and anchovie. Bold Bluff out of Cowichan Bay has also been excellent with fish ranging from 8 to 12 lb.

Freshwater - Cowichan Lake fishing is going strong. Troll creek mouths and paralleling the shoreline staying within 30 feet. Keep your line back from the boat by at least 150 ft. Lures of choice are 3" Tomic, best colours are the new iridescent inserts. We have over 400 - 3" plugs in stock with over 80 different patterns.

Also working well are the ever popular Gang Troll and Flatfish.

Starting April 16 until November 14, bait, barbs and trebles are allowed in the lake. Fishing the creek mouths with bait (single eggs, roe, paste) and a Corky rig can produce large numbers of fish including the odd lunker.

Kissinger and Lizard lakes to the west, good rainbow trout fishing, try Corky and single egg rig off docks and beaches. Troll with small Spratleys leeches, Wooley Buggers, Flatfish and small spoons.

Fuller Lake, Chemainus, Dougan’s, Quamichan and Somenos lakes also producing well. All of these lakes have been recently stocked.

Cowichan River trout Fishing - Mid-river resident rainbow and brown trout on single egg copies/stoneflies and Mudler Minnows.

From Skutz Falls to Greendale Trestle excellent for browns and rainbows. Single egg copies and Minnow or Rolled Mudler flies. The largest browns in the river are found in this section. Flies of choice: single egg patterns, Rolled Mudlers, Prince Nymphs, Hair’s Ear Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs. Stick to the bead heads and weighted flies.

Over 30,000 flies in stock at the store!

Also remember that all cutthroat trout in streams and rivers must be released from October 1 to May 31 to protect brood stock All wild trout must be released all year.

Steelhead Fishing - Cowichan River - April and the start of May, steelheading still excellent on the Cowichan mainly for mended kelts. These fish have to feed aggressively after spawning, making them the easiest steelhead to target. A great month to catch your first steelhead! Lures of choice: blades, single egg copies or small pink worms.

Flies of choice: large and black or the ever popular egg fly.


Nitinat, San Juan, Harris Creek - All excellent rivers for early summer runs and winter steelhead. Best fished when coming off of high water.

May your rod bend to the butt and your smile go from ear to ear.

Gord March, Gord’s Fly Box,

170C Cowichan Lake Rd, Lake, Cowichan, BC




Saltwater - Fishing for winter springs has been slow in March, but the herring are just coming in now and it will pick up with the arrival of the bait.

At the Fingers and the other hot spots, Entrance Island, Thrasher Rock, and Ballenas troll at 150-180 feet with small anchovies (to replicate the herring), in green haze or Army Truck teaserheads.

Crabbing has been good for those fishing off the pier downtown and dropping traps while salmon fishing.

Freshwater - Fishing in the lakes has been good and getting better with the warmer weather. The trout are becoming more active and feeding to fatten up after the winter. Through the spring you’ll do well with bobber and worm or with Powerbait, bottom bouncing with free floating bait. Trolling slowly with a small Wedding Band and a worm or with the Lucky Bug is another winning method.

Fly fishers are catching fish on sinking flies like the Pumpkinhead Wooly Bugger - orange with a beadhead to sink down to where the fish are.

Nanaimo lakes, Westwood, and Long lakes are reliable fisheries. Fuller Lake has been producing some good catches of trout lately.

Gone Fishin’, 600-2980 North Island Hwy., Nanaimo, ph: 250-758-7726



If you haven't been down to French Creek Harbour lately they replaced the boat launch docks with new ones that are 8" wider and have the pilings fitted inside the new docks. This will make it user friendly on both sides, and make the ramp more effective.

2016 outlook - This year has shown good promise for chinook salmon in local waters. On outings in January I witnessed massive schools of krill, with lots of bird and sea lion activity. The ocean was alive, this will keep the salmon interested in sticking around.

The winter chinook fishing has produced some nice fish, with a couple in the 25 lb. range! Many fisherman are releasing a lot of undersized chinooks and coho, these fish will grow rapidly and be the fish for tomorrow. The local herring spawn plays a key role in our salmon fishery. Last year we had abundant herring, it set the stage for a productive salmon season. Let's hope 2016 follows suit.

Winter chinook salmon will hold in our area providing there's bait (usually herring) for their hearty appetites, I have caught these salmon from December into and past April. Out front of French Creek Harbour on the humps and Ballenas Islands are good areas for early season salmon.

In May and June we can have great fishing as migratory chinooks pass through heading for their native rivers, like the great Columbia River chinook run. Sangster Island and Young Point can be productive areas for migrating salmon.

July can be a transition time, however last year we had a lot of pink salmon in our area. Hopefully we'll see more coho salmon in our area through the summer. Last year's late-season coho salmon rule change to a 1 hatchery (adipose fin missing), 1 wild (adipose fin attached) was well received. No word yet on wild coho retention for 2016 in Area 14. It's always a good idea to check with Department Of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on retention limits for the area you'll be fishing prior to heading out.

In August our resident chinooks start to make their way home for some final feeding in preparation to head up both the Little Qualicum and Big Qualicum rivers. When these chinooks start to stack up near the end of the month it's quite a spectacular fishery for trollers and jiggers alike.

We have our local "French Creek Salmon Derby" slated for August 19-21. This is a fun event for all ages with lots of great prizes. All the proceeds from the derby go to the Marion Baker Fish Hatchery (coho enhancement) on French Creek.

You round out September with some great late season chinook fishing, the coho also start to stack up along the beach as well. Not to be over looked is the steady bottom fishing for lingcod, and rockcod open from May 1-September 30. Crabbing and prawning is also productive in our area.

Hope you have a fun and safe fishing season in 2016.

Darrell Jobb, Western Star Charters,

(250) 951-5927

& French Creek Harbour Store, 5 - 1025 Lee Rd., Parksville, 250-248-8912,



Spring is on its way, although it doesn’t quite feel like that as I write this report. It’s wet and windy!

A few avid anglers have been out chasing the elusive winter steelhead, and some very big fish have come from the Cowichan River. A brown trout of 32" was caught on gear about a month ago and two steelhead 20 lb.+ were also landed. The Englishman and little Qualicum rivers have been high and largely unfishable although some steelhead have been taken in the lower river.

Make sure you are familiar with regulations on these local rivers as the upper parts of both are closed to fishing until June 1. Please also be aware that it is mandatory to release all wild trout and steelhead caught on any Vancouver Island river or stream. A wild fish is determined by the presence of the adipose fin, a small fatty fin located between the dorsal fin and the tail. There is very little trout enhancement on Island rivers, the notable exceptions are the Oyster and Quinsam. So anywhere else catch and release is the norm. Make sure you handle fish the bare minimum and always with wet hands. I therefore encourage anglers who want to kill trout to fish lakes, which through the stocking policy, makes it completely sustainable.

The emergence of the salmon fry in late March/early April brings sea-run cutthroats into the lower parts of rivers to intercept pink and chum salmon fry that are heading downstream to start their lives at sea. These two species are unique in that they spend very little time in freshwater after they have hatched. The young migrate downstream shortly after they leave the gravel to start feeding in the estuary and then onward to a life in the ocean, typically two years for pinks, and two to three years for chum.

Any pattern that imitates baitfish will tempt the trout, but the ubiquitous Rolled Muddler in its many forms is a pattern that has never failed me in the past. Our store keeps this pattern in many colours and sizes. When you fish rivers at this time of year it is important to get your fly down deep to where the fish are. In that respect a sink tip line or the addition of a polyleader to a floating line is essential. Call the store for advice as to how this works.

On the lakes, as the water warms up, trout become more active. Lots of fish will be caught trolling with full sink lines using Wooly Buggers or leeches.

Out in saltwater trolling for feeder chinook has been good. Fish deep at 200+ depths out of French Creek. The herring have started to show up so we have lots of rigs in stock to catch these early fish !

The time to check your equipment for the new season is now !

Whatever your passion we have all the right tackle and advice to help you, fly, gear or saltwater.

Tight Lines Keith Hyett,

Coast Sportfish, 202 - 891 Island Hwy. West, Parksville, 250-586-6622,



Saltwater - The Sproat Lake Loggers Derby early in March is always a good prediction of the coming season. This year’s winter chinook derby was great. Tons of bait should indicate a good salmon year. The winning fish, caught by Jason Dupuis was 24 lb. Most of the 400+ participants caught lots of fish; up to 47 shakers a day.

The hot new lures from Peetz Outdoors of Victoria are proving themselves on the winter salmon: Sandlance Spoons in needlefish, anchovy and herring sizes come in a huge range of colours.

Prawning has been closed in most areas.

Sockeye season is just around the corner. If returning numbers are anywhere near last year’s 2 million we’ll be in for a good sockeye fishery.

Freshwater - In the river steelhead fishing has been a little off; the high water has stirred things up too much, but it should pick up with some better weather.

In the big lakes the trout season has kicked off early and with great results. Some huge cutthroat trout are being caught in Great Central and Sproat Lake.

New Trout Beads resemble a single drifting salmon egg. They’re finished with a realistic blood spot, and they have been catching steelhead and now trout in the lakes.

Lake anglers always do well with worms, Powerbait.

Good luck. Gone Fishin’

4985 Johnston, Port Alberni,

ph: 250-723-1172



Saltwater - Winter spring fishing around Denman Island and Shelter Point has been great. Later in the spring the fish will likely move to Kitty Coleman then to Lambert Channel and the south end of Denman and Hornby islands. 602 Tomic Plugs, herring/anchovies, U.V. hootchies and the new Gibbs G-Force spoons are what's hot. jigging with Point Wilson Darts is always productive for all species of fish.

Dropping traps 300'-400' (go deep), along a ledge, should produce some nice prawns. Make sure that your bait cups are full to the brim as they will release food as the pellets expand. Always add a can of Carlyle Cat Tuna for immediate results. Make sure your traps are weighted so that the currents don’t shift them.

The shorelines, near river mouths, should soon have sea-run cutthroats hanging around them. Fry patterns are a must for spring shore fishing.

The Oyster River can have some great steelhead and trout fishing in the late spring. Spring fly patterns include; Intruders, pink worms and Rolled Muddlers.

The local lakes have been good all winter. Black leach flies, Crocs, and Panther Martins work well as do smaller Tomic plugs. Black ant hatches usually happens when it gets warm in May, so be ready with ant patterns or black lures.

Don't forget that spring is maintenance time. Drop off your rods, reels or downriggers for servicing to either one of our locations.

Kerry Amos, Tyee Marine (Peter’s Sport Shop), 870 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay, 334-2942


Courtenay Fish and Game 24th Annual Outdoor Show

June 4-5 (Saturday and Sunday) the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association presents the 24th Annual Outdoor Recreation Show at the clubhouse on the shores of Comox Lake, 3780 Colake Rd (Comox Logging Rd.) in Courtenay. Come out for kids’ trout fishing, target shooting, archery, paint ball, cowboy action, indoor and outdoor exhibits, entertainment and prizes.

Exhibitor space is still available. Call 250-338-2544 or visit, or email:



Saltwater - Halibut opened on February 1 and so far the fishing has been great, but make sure to check for changes in halibut regulations as of March 31. The Campbell River Hump has been a hot spot. Herring with a spreader bar, Mudrakers, and Powerbait with a jig head are all working well.

Campbell River had some fantastic winter fishing for both salmon and bottomfish. The plentiful quantities of herring are making a well stocked feeding ground for winter springs. The Hump and Shelter Point have been very productive but the fish are sitting very deep (250 feet). Smaller herring, Gibbs G-Force Spoons and green hootchies are all productive.

Prawning has been very good. Make sure the traps are down deep, very deep, with a good mixture of pellets and Carlyle Cat Tuna. A 50/50 mixture is always good as the Carlyle entices prawns to feed as soon as the traps are down and the pellets are for a longer lasting feed.

As the lakes start to warm up the trout will start to feed. Try casting or trolling in our local lakes with Roostertails or Blue fox. For trolling, use Leo’s Wedding Bands or small Tomic plugs.

Bring your rods, reels, and downriggers in for spring maintenance.

Tyee Marine, 880 Island Hwy.,

Campbell River, 250-287-2641



Chinook salmon numbers have been better than normal during the winter and into the spring around the southern half of Vancouver Island including the west coast. Ucluelet is a central launching point into Barkley Sound and the banks a few miles off the coast. Chinook fishing has already been good inside Barkley Sound during March and we are expecting see to this continue all summer. The returns to the Columbia River are again supposed to be above one million returning chinook, way above the past 50 year average.

Early Season Fishing - Top early season spots should include Swale Rock, Effingham Island, Sail Rock, Great Bear and Beg Island. Halibut fishing usually starts in May though you have a chance of getting them in March and April as well. The halibut fishing in close to shore was not as good in 2015. A contributing factor could have been a ruling by the Supreme Court. The Ucluelet First Nations were given license to catch and sell all of the band’s food fish halibut quota in 2015. Since most of it went unused in the past, it has added to the catch amount for the area. They mostly target the areas in close to shore with long lines and fish all year round decreasing the number of sport caught halibut here.

Offshore fishing - Big Bank becomes a favorite spot for many fisherman later in the summer. Ucluelet sits in the best location to reach Big Bank as the start of the bank is about 18 miles offshore and most days when it blows northwest you ride along the way making a much nicer ride. The chinook salmon average a little smaller here but you can also pick up your coho salmon and halibut. During 2015 the Rats Nose was the hot spot for chinook salmon.

Fall Returns - Southern BC rivers are expected to have about the same average returns as 2015. A few areas including Clayoquot Sound have very low numbers forecasted. Barkley Sound should have its best year in a while of returning four-year-old chinook. Last year from August 1 to early September no chinook over 77cm could be retained. We expect this year starting August 1 it will be one over and one under.

Sam Vandervalk, Salmon Eye Fishing Charters,




2016 Outlook - Salt Water - Both the Canadian DFO and US predictions are similar to 2015. Our local rivers received an above average percentage of jack and three-year-old chinooks. We are told that this is a strong indicator that there should be a return of larger than average mature fish.

Hatchery release statistics: chinook fry released in 2015: Columbia River = 10,000,000; Puget Sound = 86,000,000; Lower Fraser River = 15,000,000; Nitinat River = 3,500,000; Robertson Creek = 6,000,000; Conuma River = 3,500,000. Total chinook fry released = 124,000,000

Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet are ideally located in the centre of the major Canadian and US salmon migration routes affording the Pacific coast's most consistent angling.

Starting in early May the focus is on fish working down our coast and aggressively feeding on schools of herring, needlefish, and squid.

As the season progresses these fish continue to show up in large numbers. Rolled bait as well as a variety of hootchies and spoons all work well. As with the rest of our season, the strategy is simple, locate the bait and you'll find the fish. This time of year, due to colder inshore water temperatures, you don't have to venture far to find both. By late June we start to regularly encounter decent sized coho for consistent action.

Prime time shellfish opportunities are also best at the beginning of our season with outstanding prawning starting as early as April 1. Oysters and crabs are also the best eating from spring into early summer while water temperatures remain cold and we have yet to experience any plankton blooms to raise safety concerns; however, please check local regulations and DFO postings for shellfish before harvesting and consuming.

Into July and August we begin to see an increase in offshore Columbia chinook. Mature fish heading for the Conuma, Burman and Gold rivers begin to enter interior waters. They stop feeding as soon as they leave the open ocean and we induce them to bite by annoying them with lures, taking advantage of their latent feeding instinct.

Later in August the coho become ferocious feeders and are increasing in size as they put on the necessary weight for the staging process, waiting to journey up rivers to their spawning grounds. This behavior continues until the final months of summer and early fall.

The bottom fishing in our area is outstanding from the first day we open on May long weekend until the day we close in late September. Halibut, lingcod, yelloweye and all the other rockfish are readily available for the finest bottom fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Through our salmon derbies and other fund drives we raise money for salmon enhancement on the Conuma River and work closely with the Nootka Sound Watershed Society. Our current goal is to increase the coho fry released from 70,000 this year to 250,000 next year.

Nootka Marine Adventures also targets the large schools of albacore tuna that migrate through our offshore waters. This short but action packed opportunity commences in early August until mid-September. School locations are dependent upon offshore temperature conditions; food supply and of course weather. If you haven't tried this fishery yet, you have no idea what you're missing!

Tight Lines, Good Luck, and Safe Fishing

Gibran White & James Fisher, Nootka Marine Adventures




The season begins with good projections of chinook and coho returns from the Department of Fisheries (DFO) for Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet (Area 25). Spring salmon numbers will be similar to last year which was great but, it is also projected to be a year of Tyee (30+ lb) chinook migrating past and into our area.

Last year the catching of winter springs was at an all-time high especially in Esperanza Inlet. Why? The many inlets like Zeballos, Tahsis, Espinosa, inner Esperanza and Hecate Channel all proved to be excellent inside calm water fishing. That means on those windy late winter and early spring days you can always find hot spots which are holding fish. Again why? At the mouths of all these inlets and around the inside points and channels there is lots of bait. The combination of calm water and lots of bait makes for excellent early season chinook fishing. These salmon are gorging on needle fish and shiners. Fish deep near bottom along edges that drop from 100 ft. to 120-150 ft.

Baits to use: Glow Coho Killers, 4" Live Coyote Image spoons, green glow hootchies or your favourite lure behind a flasher all work. But what are all these lures simulating? BAIT - Yes the real thing 5-5.5" anchovies hands-down out fishes all the hardware and software when fished properly in this early season. Put an anchovy in a glow or glow/green Rhys Davies or a Kripple head rigged with two hooks one mid-body the second a stinger at the tail. Make sure it is rolling properly before sending it down. Then hold on. You will out-fish your buddy on the other side of the boat using hardware especially in this early spring fishery. Good things come to those who BAIT!

As the days get longer and weather improves just offshore is the salmon super highway where you will find those one million Columbia River and other west coast migrating chinook plus abundant halibut and lingcod.

Come join the fun in Esperanza Inlet and Nootka Sound with Westview Marina and Lodge. Bring your own boat or have a customized guided fishing package. Book now to get prime season dates they are going fast.

Fish On, John & Cathy Falavolito

Owner Operators Westview Marina & Lodge, Tahsis, 250 934 7672

Serving the cruising and fishing public for 23 years



Salmon fishing will get better over the spring until, in May, the first run of Colombia chinooks pass right by Port Hardy. These are nice big springs with fish into the 30s, even the 40s. A higher number of halibut has been forecast by federal fisheries for this year. Up here the halibut grounds are close, 10 - 12 miles from town. Chartreuse and white or purple and black jig tails and Berkley Powerbait in glow and white on spreader bars has been taking them. We expect to see more bigger halibut as the season progresses.

Trout fishing began early this year. Alice and Victoria lakes have already produced good catches for trollers and bait fishers and the first insect hatches will bump up the fly fishing.

Jim’s Castle Point Charters & The Bait Shack, 250-949-9294, cell 250-949-1982




In the spring when it’s time to buy your fishing licenses there will be some changes. Non-tidal licenses will remain available from your fishing tackle store as well as the BC government website. Tidal licenses however will no longer be for sale at any store, they will only be available on-line for 2014.

As an attempt to go green by using less paper the federal government will no longer print blank licenses. Anglers, however, will have to print the on-line license and carry it with them when fishing.

The federal government will also stop offering vendors any incentive to sell  licenses. Previously tackle shop owners earned one dollar for each license sold. Not exactly a high profit margin, but a bit of compensation for their time. So the federal government will save money by not printing licenses and also by not sharing proceeds with stores. Also going into extinction are printed tidal waters regulations booklets. The government is banking on anglers carrying smart phones to check regulations wherever they are fishing.

Many tourists will be caught unprepared, and possibly find themselves paying fines for fishing without a license and without a clear idea of fishing regulations.

To buy your tidal waters fishing license on-line click here.


Be bear aware

A biological drive to put on weight for a long winter has B.C.’s bears on the move, seeking out the calories they need before heading to their dens.

In their desperation to get enough food, bears can get aggressive, especially in areas close to human habitat. That’s when most bear-human conflicts occur. If you’re fishing Island rivers there’s a chance you may encounter bears drawn to the same shores.

Bears have an incredible sense of smell. They can zero in on food from miles away and can be single-minded to get at that food. For a bear, food comes in many forms, including garbage and over-ripe fruit in residential areas.

Every bear encounter is unique so there are no steadfast rules.

If you meet a bear in the wild try to remain calm. Never approach or chase a bear; face the bear without making eye contact, back away slowly. Take the same route out that you came in. Try to keep track of the bear, but again, don't challenge the bear with eye contact.

If the bear makes blowing or snorting noises and then charges and veers off at the last second this is likely defensive behavior so continue to back away.Extend your arms above your head appearing as large as you can, talk in a gruff voice, look for a weapon such as a rock or stick. Drop your pack to distract the bear; only do this if absolutely necessary because the bear could learn to pursue people for their packs.

Climb a tree as a last resort.

If a bear is persistent or aggressive, call the Report Poachers and Polluters hotline 1- 877-952-7277, or surf to

For more information about bears and bear-human conflicts, visit:



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