Fishing Reports: Fresh water and salt water - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada - UPDATED MARCH 24, 2014.
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Vancouver Island Fishing Reports:
For Spring 2014
From: Victoria, Oak Bay, Sidney, Langford, Elk Lake, Prospect Lake, Sooke, Pedder Bay, Lake Cowichan Area, Port Renfrew, Nitinat Lake, Nitinat River, Harris Creek, Cowichan Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Duncan, Chemainus Lake, Salt Spring Island, St. Mary Lake, Cusheon Lake, Nanaimo, French Creek, Parksville,Qualicum, 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, Port Hardy.
2014 HALIBUT LIMITS - Halibut fishing opened for most of the coast on February 1, 2014. Effective April 1, 2014 until further notice:
The maximum length is 133 cm; The daily limit is one; The possession limit is two, only one of which may be greater than 90 cm in length; Annual limit is six halibut per licence holder.
All halibut retained by the licence holder shall be immediately recorded in ink on the 2014-2015 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence. The area from which each halibut is caught and its length shall immediately be recorded on licence.
Areas 121, 23 and 123 Closed: Effective until December 31, 2014, no person shall fish for or retain halibut, rock fish and ling cod in Area 121 outside the 12 nautical mile limit seaward of a line that begins at 48°34.00’N and 125°17.386’W and continues south easterly at a bearing of 116° True to a point at 48°28.327’N and 125°01.687’W.
ROCKFISH CONSERVATION AREAS are closed to all fin fishing. Descriptions of these closures, and other recreational fishing information, can be found on the Internet at: www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish
SHELLFISH SANITARY CLOSURES - Over the summer shellfish sanitary closures are common in Island waters due to warmer temperatures leading to blooms of dangerous micobal life. Detailed bivalve shellfish closure information and maps are available at: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/psp
Contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans For fishing regulations, to report violations, or just give your opinion: Website: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish/Tidal/coastalmap_e.htm Phone: Port Hardy 250-949-6422, Campbell River 250-850-5701, Comox 250-339-2031, Port Alberni 250-720-4440, Tofino 250- 725-3500, Nanaimo 250-754-0230 , Duncan 250-746-6221, Victoria 250-363-3252. \
CURRENT RIVER CONDITIONS
Find out river conditions, water levels, volume, temperatures, etc, before you leave home.
SOUTH ISLAND FISHING REPORT
SALT WATER – Salmon and halibut fishing remain good for mostly smaller fish. Guides are doing much better than the average angler.
Effective to June 13 in Subareas 19-1 to 19-4 and Subarea 20-5 (Cadboro Point to Sheringham Point) the daily limit is two chinook salmon, wild or hatchery marked between 45 cm and 67 cm or hatchery marked greater than 67 cm in length. The minimum length in these areas is 45 cm.
BECHER BAY– Anglers were getting springs inside the bay, and near Whirl Bay, Church Rook and Lamb Island. Try 100’+ depths, fish close to the bottom. Hootchies were effective in Jay-79, Cloverleaf and Purple Haze patterns. Coho Killers, and G-Force spoons have been working also. Many anglers are having success fishing anchovies in green/glow and Bloody Nose teaser heads. A few halibut were also brought in. Surprisingly, many were caught inside the bay, even inside of Fraser Island.
PEDDER BAY – Salmon fishing was good at the entrance to the bay and near Church Rock and Whirl Bay. The best results have been trolling back and forth from the Deep Hole to the Yellow Can bouncing the lure close to the bottom. Most springs were 6 to 8 lb., but some bigger ones as well. Most action was coming on spoons trolled close to the bottom. Coho Killers and G-force spoons with glow or green have been working. Anchovies were productive in green/glow, Bloody Nose and Purple Haze teaser heads. Squirts are working too in UV patterns like Jellyfish, Purple Haze and Electric Chair. The best flashers have been Purple Onion, Clear jelly UV and Purple Haze.
Halibut – Quite a few halibut were caught and as usual, the guides were doing very well. Anglers were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work. Try a large spoon off a spreader bar, Mudraker or large jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.
VICTORIA – Fishing for springs was good at Constance Bank with limits of smaller fish, under 8 lb., and a few into the low teens. Closer in, salmon were running deeper, around 175 feet. Most anglers are using artificial lures, Coho Killer (chrome or green/glow). G-Force spoons in Outfitters or No Bananas patterns have been killers. Good plastic baits are Electric Chair, Purple Haze and Glo Blow. Coho Killer, Kingfisher and Coyote spoons in all colours have been effective. Good flashers have been Purple Onion, Clear Jelly UV or Green Jellyfish. Seals remain a problem for anglers after salmon.
Halibut – Constance Bank was good, as well as closer in towards the shore. Most of the halibut have been in deeper water, usually around 300-310 feet. Lance Foreman picked up a 35˝ lb halibut off the waterfront. Anglers were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work.
OAK BAY – Salmon fishing was fair out on the Flats for fish under 10 lb. The most popular method is trolling near the bottom in 75 to 130 feet of water with squirts or spoons, Baitrix tiny strip, or small anchovy, and Coho Killer spoons in glow/green, 3" to 4" G-Force and Gypsy spoons. Good squirts were the Electric Chair, Pickle Green, J-79 and Jellyfish. Good flashers have been the Purple Onion, Clear Jelly UV or Green Jellyfish.
SIDNEY - Coal Island was the hot spot with most boats getting salmon. Most were keepers. There has also been activity near the Red Can buoy in the Sidney Channel, but mostly sub-legal size springs. Anglers were using anchovies in Bloody Nose, Purple Haze and UV Green teaser heads. Squirts have out-produced hootchies and hot patterns are Purple Haze, Glow Below and Electric Chair. Coho Killers have been working in double glow and 50/50 colours.
FRESH WATER – Fishing was slow due to the cold, wind and the low water temperatures. Trout action will heat up soon.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has started their spring releases of catchable rainbow trout from the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery. Prospect Lake received 1,725 trout, Thetis Lake 1,000 trout and Spectacle 500 trout, Elk Lake 1,800 catchable rainbows averaging 226 grams and Langford Lake 1,900 trout. On March 6 stocking of two-year-old brood stock rainbows averaging 619 grams occurred with Durrance Lake getting 225 fish, and Chemainus and Fuller lakes each receiving 133. Shawnigan Lake received 1,800 trout, Fuller Lake 1,200 trout, and Chemainus Lake 600 catchable rainbow trout. These trout averaged 232 grams. The total trout release this spring is 11,716 Fraser Valley strain rainbow trout.
Bank anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms right on the bottom. Yellow and Bubblegum have been good colours for Powerbait. Fly anglers are using Pumpkinheads, Wooly Buggers, Leeches and Micro Leech patterns on full sink fly lines. Trollers have been doing well with Rhys Davis Baitrix Trout lures. UV Mini Strip Teasers work well for larger fish. Flatfish and/or Kwikfish have been effective. Larger Willow Leaf Lake Trolls with a size 6 hook tipped with a piece of worm always produce fish. The biggest trout have come from Langford and Elk lakes.
Bass this time of year move to deeper drop-offs and are harder to find. During the day, soft plastics rigged Carolina style work well. Crank baits have been effective fished around 12 feet down with a fast retrieve. Carolina style in 4" Yum bait colours Smoke or Pumpkinseed is also good at drop-offs docks, branches and overhanging structure. Try Langford Lake, Shawnigan, Prospect and Elk and Beaver lakes and St. Mary Lake.
CARP – Carp fishing is slow.
IIsland Outfitters, 3319 Douglas St., Victoria, ph: 475-4969
SOOKE FISHING REPORT
Fishing for spring salmon has been pretty good especially around Secretary Island and Possession Point, the trailer park also has been productive.
Best fishing depths have been from 70 ft to 120 ft. Anchovies trolled in various chrome teaser heads, with Betsy silver or gold flashers have been the ticket.
On the halibut side Jordan River, Muir Creek and the Race Rocks area, have been producing some nice catches of halibut. Extra large herring, octopus, and salmon bellies seem to be working good. If you like to jig try Lucky Jigs or Mudrakers they can work pretty good also.
Until next time happy faces and tight lines
Al Kennedy, Reel Excitement Salmon Charters www.salmonexcitement.com email: email@example.com 250-642-3410
LAKE COWICHAN AREA FISHING REPORT
SALT WATER - Nanaimo to Sooke has been excellent for winter chinook fishing. Try trolling just off the bottom with purple glow flasher, glow anchovie head and anchovie or Purple Haze hootchies. Bold Bluff out of Cowichan Bay has also been excellent with 8 to 12 lb. fish. Try out the new Kite Tail lures - early reports have been excellent on these.
Freshwater - Cowichan Lake fishing is going strong. Try trolling creek mouths and paralleling the shore line, staying within 30 feet. Keep your line back from the boat by at least 150 ft. Top lures 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 is Dr. Minnow Rainbow Trout pattern, and the popular gang troll and Flatfish. April 16 until November 14, 2014 bait, barbs and trebles are allowed in the lake. Fishing the creek mouths with bait (single eggs, roe, paste or worms) and a Corky rig can produce large numbers of fish including the odd lunker. My favourite way to fish the lake.
Kissinger and Lizard lakes to the west, good rainbow trout fishing, try Corky and single egg rig off the docks and beaches. Troll small Spratley’s, leeches, Wooley Buggers, Flatfish and spoons.
Fuller Lake, Chemainus, Dougan’s, Quamichan and Somenos lakes also producing well. These seven lakes have been recently stocked.
Cowichan River Trout Fishing: Mid-river resident rainbow and brown trout. Minnow Flies, Prince Nymphs and Stone Flies. From Skutz Falls to Greendale Trestle excellent for browns and rainbows. 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!
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 for early summer runs and winter steelhead. Best fished when coming off high water.
May your rod bend to the butt and your smile go from ear to ear.
Gord March, Cowichan Fly & Tackle, 98 South Shore Road, Lake Cowichan BC 250-749-4964 www.cowichanflyandtackle.ca
PORT RENFREW FISHING REPORT
Pacific Sport Fishing Charters is gearing up for another fantastic fishing season for salmon and halibut at Port Renfrew. If you are looking for an action packed season of fishing fun, Port Renfrew will be the place to be.
Spring is kick-off time for our first wave of feisty chinook which provide awesome action on- and off-shore. These early fish are destined for southern rivers, such as the Fraser, Columbia, and enhanced stocks from Washington State.
Our famous Port Renfrew halibut fishery opened February 1, with increased size limits in effect April 1, (maximum of 83c m up to 90 cm for the smaller and 126 cm up to 133 cm for the larger halibut).
Weather permitting, some guys are getting out and experiencing early season success. Port Renfrew and Swiftsure Bank offer some of the best halibut fishing on southern Vancouver Island.
As a bonus, Washington State forecast a return of 1.1 million chinook to the Columbia River; the highest run since 1934. Port Renfrew will have excellent early season fishing, with our regular south coast fish and 7.3 million sockeye (probable forecast of 23 million). I can't think of a better season to be at Port Renfrew!
We had an incredible 30 million sockeye in 2010 (the same Adams River dominate four year cycle). If you experienced it, you'll remember the non-stop action. If you have never had the opportunity to fish for sockeye, don't miss out this season. It is non-stop, double, triple, and quad action for the most tasty fish you can put in the box!
I am offering an early and mid season "Salmon and Halibut Specials". If you are interested please call or visit my fishing website for all the details. Don't miss out…I guarantee you won't be disappointed!
Please visit my website: www.pacificsportfishingcharters.ca or call Dan Harvey at Pacific Sport Fishing Charters 250-954-3997 for all the details.
Dan Harvey, Pacific Sport Fishing Charters, Port Renfrew, 1-866-537-2838
NANAIMO FISHING REPORT
SALT WATER - The winter spring salmon fishing has been about the same as usual - there are fish out there for anyone determined and weather permitting. We’re hearing really good forecast numbers of all kinds of salmon for the coming season, and lots of people are excited about the prospects for this year.
Herring have started to roll in. The commercial fishery up north caught good numbers of large sized herring so there should be lots of big bait for the salmon to fatten up on. Salmon fishing last May was not bad, this year might prove to be even better.
The usual Nanaimo methods should work again, troll green and white between 150 and 200 feet on the downrigger. A green UV flasher is a good idea when you’re down deep. Last season UV and glow with a red stripe was effective. The usual hot spots should be productive: the Fingers, Thrasher Rock, Entrance Island, Neck Point and the Brickyard. Some anglers did well farther out at the Winchelseas. It depends on how much time and fuel you want to use getting there.
Halibut fishing in the Nanaimo area is done by only a few anglers who head out to the Thrasher Rock and the backside of Gabriola Island. They tend to be tight lipped about their success. Ling cod stocks were doing well last year, but so far there isn’t an announcement of an opening for 2014.
FRESH WATER - A lot of the local lakes have been stocked with catchable sized trout, and the fishing will improve as the weather warms up.
Green Lake has been good for small size trout, but there’s not much bass. There have been a few insect hatches in the smaller lakes when it warms up, but so far it remains a deep fishery.
The dry then severely cold winter had caused havoc with the river fisheries. There were weak steelhead numbers in many rivers. That weather may also have effected the fishing in the lakes with a shortage of flowing water then cold and freezing resulting in a lack of food sources flowing into the lakes.
Until it warms up fishing deeper is a the best bet for lake trout fishing. Troll deeper by slowing down when you’re pulling Flatfish or Kwikfish. Shore fishers have better odds going deep by using slip weights to keep Power Eggs or a worm on the bottom. Spin casters can do well from shore on spinners or small BuzzBombs.
Gone Fishin’, 600-2980 North Island Hwy. ,Nanaimo, ph: 250-758-7726
FRENCH CREEK / PARKSVILLE / QUALICUM FISHING REPORT
Last year's saltwater fishing around French Creek was incredible, hopefully the 2014 season will be similar.
The abundance of coho salmon made for great fishing. I learned at an Area 14 Sport Fishing Advisory Committee meeting that the ratio was 75% wild (adipose fin attached) to 25% hatchery (adipose fin missing). The committee is trying to change the possession limit on Area 14 coho to a one wild and one hatchery retention. This would be a good change, in the meantime please use care when releasing wild coho.
Winter chinook salmon will hold in our area providing there's bait (usually herring). I have caught these salmon from December and past April. In May and June we can have great fishing as migratory chinook salmon pass through heading for their native rivers, such as the Columbia. July can be a transition time, however last year we had coho remain in our area through the summer, plus we had a lot of pink salmon (being an odd year predominant run_.
What I'm really looking forward is to see how big the Fraser River sockeye salmon run will be. The 2014 run will be the returning salmon from the mega 30 million run of 2010.
Later, in August resident chinooks start to make their way home for some final feeding preparing to head up the Little 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.
Don’t overlooked the steady bottom fishing for ling cod, and rock cod, 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 2014.
Darrell Jobb, Western Star Charters, 250-951-5927, firstname.lastname@example.org
& French Creek Harbour Store, 5 - 1025 Lee Rd., Parksville, 250-248-8912, www.frenchcreekstore.ca
MID-ISLAND RIVER REPORT
As I write this the sun is shining and spring is definitely on the horizon. The birds are starting to sing and trees and shrubs are in bud. It’s definitely the start of the fishing season whether you fish rivers, lakes or the salt chuck.
As the water gradually gets warmer trout will become more active. In the short term troll slowly with full sinking fly lines. Black leeches or Woolly Buggers work well. High lakes will still be frozen and will be better in early summer. If you fish gear use Wedding Bands or Flatfish which always work well on Horne Lake, Spider or Cameron Lake.
There have been sporadic reports of winter steelhead catches. Some fish have been caught on gear but most anglers have found fish hard to find especially if you have been chasing them on the fly. Recent rains should bring in this elusive fish to the Cowichan and Stamp. The Little and Big Qualicum rivers still have small runs and fishermen have caught small steelhead while targeting cutthroat trout.
Unfortunately I have heard several reports of wild trout being killed on local rivers. YOU MUST RELEASE ALL WILD TROUT AND STEELHEAD FROM ANY RIVER OR STREAM ON VANCOUVER ISLAND.
The daily limit for hatchery trout in rivers is two. Just to clarify, a hatchery trout is one that has the adipose fin removed. I encourage anglers to fish in lakes if you want to kill trout to eat. Killing wild fish in rivers is not sustainable and is obviously illegal. Personally I have not taken any trout from a river either here in Canada or the UK, where I fished until two years ago, for 40 years. Wild fish are an incredibly precious resource and deserve absolute respect from anybody that fishes for them.
Sea-run cutthroat are reasonably common along the beaches north of Parksville. The fishing is catch-and-release only and can be tremendous fun on light tackle. Use your 5 or 6 weight fly rod with a small brown minnow fly. Search stream or river mouths where they enter the sea and look for showing fish.
Whatever your passion we have all the right tackle and advice to help you catch more fish.
Tight lines !
Keith Hyett, Coast Sportfish, 202 - 891 Island Hwy. West, Parksville, telephone 250-586-6622, www.coastsportfish.com
PORT ALBERNI / BARKLEY SOUND FISHING REPORT
Saltwater - There’s decent winter spring salmon fishing now in the Inlet. The annual Sproat Lake Loggers’ Derby saw some catches of some nice chinook into the high teens.
There are predictions for a great sockeye salmon run this year in Port Alberni. We’ve expecting around 1.6 million fish. That’s about four times last year’s run.
The forecast for chinook salmon numbers in Port Alberni is also looking much better than last year.
Coho salmon returns are also looking good for this season after the great run of 2013. As a result there will be more coho opportunities. The wild / hatchery line will move to the surf-line and there are rumors of four of either retention.
April 1 is the opening of prawning in the inside waters of the Alberni Inlet.
Fresh water - Trout fishing really gets going around now with the lower level lakes warming up first. Trolling is happening now with gang trolls, little plugs and Kwikfish. The higher elevations lakes will come alive when the weather warms.
As it warms up we’ll see some good fly fishing. For now leech patterns and Wooly Buggers fished closed to the bottom will be the best option. When the weather warms up try fishing with emerger patterns. When you start to see insect hatches, match the hatch.
Gone Fishin’, 5069 Johnston, Port Alberni, ph: 250-723-1172
CAMPBELL RIVER / COURTENAY / COMOX FISHING REPORT
The winter chinook fishing has been fantastic at the Campbell River Hump, we’ve even heard of the odd winter Tyee being caught.
At this time of year, you will want to use smaller Tomic Plugs, needlefish and 3-4" spoons. Chrome and sparkly lures work the best in the clearer winter waters. Cutplug has also been working very well. Make sure to go down nice and deep.
There are lots of springs hanging around Shelter Point as well.
For the Courtenay area, you will want to troll around the Kitty Coleman Hump or the south end of Denman Island.
Prawning has been productive for the most part, but watch for spot closures. Make sure to use a good mix of Tyee Marine Ultimate Prawn Bait and Carlyle Cat Tuna as this mixture gets the prawns feeding right away and keeps them feeding for a longer period of time. You will find many areas around Campbell River and Denman Island for prawning, but for the most current information, contact one of our stores.
Halibut opened on February 1. Check current regulations:
Steelhead was off to a bit of a slow start this season with the lack of water. However, the current rains and run-off are bringing water levels up and the steelhead are starting to show. Try using Intruder patterns, pink worms, yarn, Gooey Bobs, or Steelhead Jigs.
Courtenay and Campbell River area lakes (Wolf, Mohun, Campbell, Maple and Spider) should start to thaw out which will bring out some very hungry trout. Bobber and worms for shore fishing will work great. Try casing with Blue Fox or Croks.
Please find us on facebook at email@example.com.
Tyee Marine, 880 Island Hwy., Campbell River, 250-287-2641 Tyee (Peter’s Sport Shop), 870 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay, 334-2942
Courtenay Fish and Game 22nd Annual Outdoor Show
June 7-8 (Saturday and Sunday) the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association presents the 22nd 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, food, tea room, entertainment and prizes.
Exhibitor space is still available. Call 250-941-1204 or visit www.courtenayfishandgame.org, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TOFINO FISHING REPORT
Looks like we are in for a great spring in Tofino. Forecasts for the Columbia River are for great coho returns and the best chinook salmon run since record keeping began in 1938! Exciting prospects in Tofino as we typically see predominately Columbia River chinook from March till early July.
We’ve had fantastic prawning this winter/spring and look forward to many more loaded traps. Prawning can be mixed with salmon fishing in the calm waters of Clayoquot Sound; a great experience for the whole family.
Check out the 'Get on the Water' promotion at Tourismtofino.com, offering free ferry passes, two nights stay in Tofino and a fishing charter! #yourtofino #getonthewater
As off-shore weather conditions continue to improve we will spend more time targeting salmon and halibut on the continental shelf off Vancouver Island. Halibut season is open and we look forward to an increase in the size limits to a maximum of 133 cm.
In Tofino visit Method Marine for all the gear, gas and advice you need. For the latest Tofino fishing report catch us on twitter @tfg_fishing
Lochie MacKenzie, TofinoFishGuides.com WITH Shawn Counts, General Manager - Method Marine Supply Ltd., 219, 380 Main Street, 250 725-3251, 250 266-2384
UCLUELET / LONG BEACH
It’s that time of year again, and the crew at Big Bear Salmon Charters is looking forward to what looks to be one of the best fishing years the west coast of Vancouver Island has seen in decades. Early predictions are calling for an abundance of four and five year chinook to return to the Columbia. Conservative estimations see over 1.6 million fish returning. Our local systems, the Conuma, Robertson, and the Nitinat are all predicted to see moderate to high returns of chinook. Also the coho run is said to be at its peak with both hatchery and wild fish doing very well.
Halibut regulations have been changed allowing one fish to 133 cm and one under 90 cm for an aggregate of two in possession. There is still an allowable catch of six per person on a single tidal sports fishing license.
May and June bring the first runs of migratory chinook to the Ucluelet area. These fish average 10-20 lb. with the odd early one topping the scales over 30 lb. These fish are as fresh as they come and are feeding aggressively as they make their way to the spawning grounds. The majority of these fish will make up the spring Fraser River run.
Chinook will be feeding mainly on abundant needle fish and squid so your favourite colour hootchies and squirts will produce. Match patterns to the weather. Anchovies and herring in a teaser head fished on a long leader behind a flasher will also produce quality fishing.
Halibut fishing is going strong now with some of the closer haunts being very productive. Salmon bellies, heads, and large herring are all excellent baits. The #16 & #20 sizes of Norwegian Jigs worked right off the bottom are also a good bet to entice those weary fish that won’t commit to bait. Depths of 160-220 ft. are best with a ledge on either side.
We are offering great early season booking specials for prime dates so give us a call and book your fishing trip of a lifetime with Big Bear Salmon Charters. Tight Lines
www.bigbearsalmoncharters.com 1-855-9- Salmon The Crew @ Big Bear
PORT HARDY FISHING REPORT
Winter spring salmon fishing was not bad in January and February with lots of 12 - 15 lb. fish caught on whole herring and on anchovies at Duval Point. There’s lots of herring; a sign of a good salmon year ahead.
The sockeye salmon run has been forecast to be huge, between 7 and 27 million. If it’s somewhere in between it will still be an outstanding year.
With the amount of feed around now this promises to be a good year for springs. Usually in May we see our first run of chinooks with the Columbia River fish passing by the North Island. Another run of springs usually come through our area late in May. These are red springs, possibly Nimpkish River salmon.
There have been lots of halibut around, but smaller fish so far, 20 - 60 lb. Boats have been averaging two fish. The guys haven’t been going too far, 10 - 12 miles from Port Hardy, weather permitting. 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 was fantastic this winter with lots of 24 inch fish out of Alice and Victoria lakes. One guy got eight fish (18 - 24 inches) one day on a silver flatfish. Trolling and casting for trout should be good through April and May and once the hatches start the fly fishing will pick up.
Jim’s Castle Point Charters & The Bait Shack, 250-949-9294, cell 250-949-1982
CHECK CURRENT RIVER CONDITIONS
Find out river conditions, water levels, volume, temperatures, etc, before you leave home.
2014 TIDAL WATERS FISHING LICENSES ONLY ON-LINE
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.
BITUMAN CRUDE OIL PIPELINE THROUGH B.C. BY 2018?
While still awaiting approval from the federal government, site preparations and surveying has begun for the Northern Gateway pipeline proposed to run through B.C. to deliver tar sands oil to fleets of tankers. The heavy crude oil will be refined in China and shipped to markets.
The pipeline will run through some of BC’s most sensitive habitat including prime fish bearing rivers. Chances of an oil spill along BC’s tricky reef studded coast pose another risk.
Enbridge, the Calgary company building the pipeline is confident they will finish the project by 2018.
Enbridge’s massive advertising and lobbying campaign makes it look like a done deal. The federal Harper government is fully behind the project, despite officially awaiting the results of public input and federal enquiry. The decision is expected in 2014. The federal government has added its voice to Enbridge’s cheerleaders with a multi-million dollar advertising campaign promising wealth and a pristine environment. The ads feature fly fishing scenes.
Enbridge V.P., Vern Yu said, "We expect that there would be some appeals to that decision and that would take us into early 2015 and at that point we would be able to start construction.”
The B.C. government initially opposed to the pipeline, but now supports it in exchange for yet to be disclosed benefits. Over 70 First Nations remain against it, and environmental groups are unanimous in their objections. But with the recent flurry of crude oil train disasters there seems to be no winning option.
Enbridge has a dismal history of pipeline spills and a poor record of response and remediation. The Watershed Sentinel tallied Enbridge’s spills since the year 2000 at 132,715 barrels, more than half the Exxon Valdez spill of 257,000 barrels. Spills occurred in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Montana. One spill in Wisconsin resulted in an explosion that killed seven people. A second pipeline explosion killed two people. In yet another incident the company deliberately set fire to 6,000 barrels of spilled crude oil to get rid of the problem. Enbridge’s 2010 Michigan spill was the largest inland oil spill ever on the U.S.A. mainland.
The authors of an online petition (leadnow.ca) say the pipeline will cost fisheries and tourism jobs in B.C. as well as factory jobs in central Canada, while it will employs only a few Canadians. In addition the pipeline will bring 200+ super-tankers per year into our challenging and hazardous waters.
See the petition at http://www.leadnow.ca/canadas-interests
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 www.rapp.bc.ca.
For more information about bears and bear-human conflicts, visit:
- DEPARTMENTS ON-LINE :
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