Fishing Reports:  Fresh water and salt water - Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada - UPDATED April 2, 2019.

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salmon, trout, halibut, steelhead, bass fishing report

Vancouver Island Fishing Reports: For Spring 2019 From: 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, Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, Port Hardy.

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).


Saltwater With good tides, more anglers were fishing for halibut than salmon, and a few boats did well on halibut.
NOTICE: Chinook salmon - Area 19 and 20 - until further notice: Waters: Subareas 19-1 to 19-4 and Subareas 20-4 to 20-7 (those waters near Victoria between Cadboro Pt. to Sombrio Pt.). You may retain two chinook salmon per day. These
chinook 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 in these waters is 45 cm in length.
BECHER BAY� Salmon fishing was slow. The chinooks were not in their usual spots in the bay. There were small chinooks between 5-6 lb. and others from 10-12 lb. last week but the big tides have probably moved them to other spots. They
should be back in the bay soon. The best depths have been between 90 to 120 feet on the downrigger. The fish have not been too picky about what they will strike and anglers are mostly using hootchies and spoons for lures. Good spoons
have been Skinny Gs, Coho Killers and Coyotes with glow on them. Needlefish hootchies in white, glow/green and Purple Haze are the top choices in plastic baits. Large anchovies were working too and effective choices for teaser head are
chartreuse, Tiger Prawn and Bloody Nose. The Gibbs Highliner Guide Series Outfitters, the Bon Chovy, and Gold Fever Hot Spot flashers have been working well.
PEDDER BAY� Although not many boats were out salmon fishing, we were told that most boats came back with at least one salmon. The hot spot was again near the Navy Can buoy at the mouth of the bay, both for salmon and halibut. Pedder Bay
Marina also reported a very heavy red tide in the bay. Coyote style spoons have worked well as the fish are targeting herring and not needlefish. Hootchies and squirts are still working with green and glow, Purple Haze or UV white good
colour choices. Anchovies in green glow teaser have also been effective. Popular flashers include the Guide Series Madi, Bon Chovy and Lemon Lime. Good teaser head colours are Bloody Nose, Chartreuse and Purple Haze.
VICTORIA � Salmon fishing has been fair to good on the bank and all along the waterfront. There were lots of salmon from 4-6 lb. throughout the area, with some larger fish into the low teens as well. Anglers are trolling close to the
bottom in 70 to 120 feet of water. The fish have been in depths of 70-150 feet. Anchovies and herring are working best and glow teaser heads have been better than the non glow colours. Spoons are working very well with Skinny Gs and Coho
Killers in Irish Cream, Outfitters and the AP Tackleworks 4� herring spoon good choices.
OAK BAY� Anglers had been reporting springs up into the teens on the Flats and in the Gap in 90-140 depths. Trollers had been catching salmon trolling small spoons: Coho Killers, Wee Gs and AP Sandlance spoons. Most anglers have been
bottom bouncing spoons and squirts. Best bets for Oak Bay trolling lures are Wee Gs, Skinny Gs, Coho Killers and AP Tackleworks Sandlance spoons. Squirts will also work with Jellyfish and Electric Chairs good bets. Jiggers are using Deep
Stingers and Point Wilson Darts.
SIDNEY� There are springs near Coal Island, Wain Rock, the Sidney Channel, from the Red Can to James Island. A number of the fish have been between 8-10 lb. Suggested spoons are Coho Killers, Gibbs Needle G and Wee G spoons and AP
Sandlance spoons. Suggested colours are green/glow and blue/glow. Anchovies and Tiny Strip were also good in glow or UV purple teaser heads.
Halibut � We�ve heard of fish being caught at Constance Bank, Pedder Bay, Albert Head, the East Race and Sooke. Most anglers that were fishing for halibut are using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Other good
baits are the 8� Powerbait Grubs and Delta Hali Hawgs, especially if there are lots of dogfish hitting the baits. .
Freshwater - Trout fishing has been good at local lakes. Shore anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, and worms while fishing close to the bottom. Pink, chartreuse and fluorescent yellow have been good choices recently for
Powerbait. Fly anglers are mostly fishing Wooly Buggers, leeches and Spratley patterns on full sink fly lines. Trollers are catching trout with worms fished behind Gibbs Gang Trolls and on Wedding Bands. 2� Tomic plugs have also been
working well for trout.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC is currently stocking spring catchable triploid rainbow trout into southern Vancouver Island lakes. Thetis Lake received 1,500 trout, Durrance lake 1,000 trout and Colwood lake 250 trout averaging
257.5 grams. Shawningan Lake received 2,500 trout and Dougan lake 500 trout averaging 244.62 grams. Elk Lake received another 1,200 trout and Glen lake received 500 trout averaging 222.89 grams, both Elk and Prospect lakes were stocked
with 1,800 catchable rainbows averaging 227.37 grams. To find out about fish stockings all over the Island and the province, as well as the different strains being released, click on
Bass fishing has been slow on Island lakes with the cold water temperatures. Soft plastics are a great choice now but crankbaits are starting to catch bass as well. The most productive colours in 4� Yum baits are Smoke or Pumpkinseed.
Drop shot fishing can be very effective this time of year if you find fish in deeper water. Langford Lake, Shawnigan, Prospect and Elk and Beaver lakes and St. Marys Lake on Salt Spring are the best local bass lakes.
Island Outfitters, 3319 Douglas St.,
Victoria, ph: 475-4969


Spring salmon fishing has been very good around the local hot spots in March and hopefully continues for the upcoming spring months.
Working the bottom seems to be the best bet from 100 to 150 ft. Anchovies have been the most productive trolled with Glow White, Bloody Nose, Purple Haze and Silver Betsy teaser heads. For flashers try red glow, purple glow, Purple Haze
and Silver Betsy. Spoons have been working good also like Coho Killer, Skinny Gs and Coyotes; make sure they all have glow in them.
On the halibut side it is just starting to pick up. Some nice ones are coming in from the Jordon River area and Muir Creek and the Sooke Bluffs have been producing also. Large herring, salmon bellies and octopus has been working good.
A reminder to make sure to check fisheries regulations for salmon and halibut; starting April 1 there will be a few changes.
Also, the Sooke Halibut Derby will be held on May 11th and 12th. For more information phone 250-642-7983 or 250-213-2118.
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 the Tomic plugs which are catching way
more than their share of trout in the lake .
We have a fantastic selection of plugs and all together 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 lake to the west has 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, and Dougan�s 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, steelhead fishing still excellent on the Cowichan mainly on mended kelts. These fish will feed aggressively after spawning making them the easiest to target. The spring
months are the best time to catch your first steelhead.
Lures of Choice: blades, the new Blood Dot Trout Beads, or small pink worms.
Flies of choice: large and black, or the ever popular egg fly. Intruders all the way!
Nitinat, San Juan, Harris Creek - all excellent rivers for early summer runs and winter steelhead. Best fished when coming off of high water.
Stop by the store for an up to date fishing report.
May your rod bend to the butt and your smile go from ear to ear.

Gord March, Gord's Fly Box & Goodies, 170C Cowichan Lake Rd., 250-932-9309

Saltwater - Lots of herring showed in local waters in March, and the salmon weren�t biting our lures. Good news is, plenty of bait. Still lots of undersize salmon, so good news for the future.
The chinook fishing will improve once the herring spawn ends. They�ll still be deep, fish 170-200 ft., from the Fingers to Neck Point. As it warms up they�ll move in a bit closer. Off Gabriola, the Grande, Flat Tops and Thrasher Rock
should be good areas.
Small spoons, needlefish plastics and hootchies in Green Splatterback, Blue Meany and T-Rex finishes have been reliable. In recent years the fishing has really picked up later in April with a spurt of bigger fish. We also expect a decent
year for coho salmon.
Prawning has been good throughout the winter and should remain productive. Upcoming regulations will probably restrict us to 100 per day.
We expect lingcod and rockfish to open May 1 as usual. Halibut opened March 1. The maximum size is 115 cm.
The big uncertainty is what DFO is going to do on chinook salmon. They�ve rejected �Plan C� from the recreational fishing community, so we probably won�t be allowed a lot of these fish.
Freshwater - Most local lakes are now ice free, and the snow will be gone. The trout restocking program is in full swing. Trout will be still be hugging the shorelines and be easy pickings during the springtime.
Soon insects and other feed will start to appear and really kick start the lake fishing for trout and for bass.
Fishing from the shore, on or near the bottom with Powerbait or worms is (almost) a sure way to catch trout. Fly fishers will do well in the spring, fishing deep with sinking lines and wet flies like Pumpkinheads, leech and chironomid
patterns or the local favourites bead head Wooly Buggers. Trollers especially on the bigger lakes, like the Nanaimo lakes, Cowichan, Horne can do well with Flatfish tipped with worm (where allowed), or 3� or 4� plugs.
Gone Fishin�, 600-2980 North Island Hwy., Nanaimo, ph: 250-758-7726

Spring has arrived at last! The past couple of weeks we�ve been seated at the bench tying flies for spring cutthroat fishing. Clippings of silver mylar tinsel and mylar tubing dominate the clutter that falls to the floor. With it, deer
hair from Rolled Muddlers and brushy sculpin patterns that have worked in the past and will work again this year. Fly lines that have been hanging loosely on wooden pegs since the fall will be wound back onto our saltwater reels. The
reels themselves were cleaned, dried and lubricated after our last visits to the sloping beaches we cast over as we look for those fish that spend their time in or near the estuaries where they feed.
Sea-runs are always hungry. We catch them in spring on fry patterns in both river and the salt, in rivers in fall on egg patterns, and in winter on egg patterns and flesh flies. Like all things in nature, they adapt to the seasons. We
hope that there is an abundance of fry for them. Those fry have worked their way out of the gravel that protected them over the winter. The chum babies spend little time in the stream of their birth and soon head to the brackish estuary
where they too adapt to their new environment.
From Keith, Glenn and Gary at Coast Sportfish.
Coast Sportfish, 202 - 891 Island Hwy. West, Parksville, 250-586-6622,

Saltwater - Winter spring salmon fishing has been regular in Barkley Sound. Everyone is waiting to see what regulations and limits federal fisheries will set for the season.
The 31 annual Sproat Loggers Derby, held March 2 and 3 at Poett Nook Marina and Campground attracted full participation of 500 rods. The winning fish, for first place was caught by Brad Berry with a 17.12 lb. salmon. Travis Howell was in
second place with a 16.4 lb. fish. Third place was Viviane Burns with a 16.3 pounder. Lots of other nice salmon were landed.
The winter salmon are being caught inside the sound and a few people are also going a little offshore. Vernon Bay, Nahmint and in the Canal are producing good catches. Anchovies in a Purple Haze teaser behind a glow strip flasher are
catching more than their share of them.
The sockeye salmon run is supposed to be a good one this year. They should start to show up in May. In the canal, troll slow with pink, red, or pink and black, or pink and blue hootchies behind short leaders. In the Paper Mill Dam cast
floss or yarn.
Halibut is open and there have already been some catches reported inside the sound. Lingcod and bottom fish usually opens May 1.
Freshwater - The big lakes have been good for trout. In Sproat Lake by the petroglyphs (at the upper end) and near the mouth of the Taylor river trolling flatfish or plugs has been producing nice catches of trout.
The higher elevation lakes will still be inaccessible until the snow melts. Loon Lake on the Alberni Summit was frozen solid in February.
Steelhead fishing has been steady. The river level remains low and the water is clear so small lures like Trout Beads are catching them.
Good luck. Gone Fishin�
4985 Johnston, Port Alberni,
ph: 250-723-1172


It seems like winter went by so quick, maybe because of the beautiful weather here. There were a lot of sunny days and not a lot of rain. Some locals went out to get those winter springs kicking around. There was a lot of small fish
(flasher size) but once in awhile you�d get some very decent sized springs to stock up your freezer. The daily limit for spring salmon in area 24 (effective to March 31) is two, four in possession. The minimum size to keep is 45 cm and
over, however new regulations will be out on the first of April.
Halibut opened on March 1. A few local fishermen, fishing guides and their guests went out to try their luck, and most of them got lucky, not too far away from shore either. Most people are using spreader bars and the most popular bait
would be herring and octopus. Squid and Powerbait grubs are good as well. Trolling seemed to be working really well; the key is to troll slow, 1.5-2 knots and to have your cannon ball a few feet from the bottom. A set-up that works
great and is an all time favourite is using a Big Shooter flasher red/gold embossed with a squid nicknamed �the turd�. There are a few different patterns of this squid; UV, glow, white and black. You can jig for halibut too using big
heavy jigs or Powerbait grubs.
The limit for halibut is one halibut a day up to 126 cm, or one halibut under 90 cm per day with a possession limit of two that are under 90 cm.
On the April 1 you can jig your favourite reefs for lingcod and rockfish when the new season opens. For lingcod the size limit of the fillets including the tail, must meet the minimum �head off� size of 53 cm (21 inches.)
Remember to check the regulations before you head out on the water and to have all your safety equipment on board. If you are not too sure of the species regulations you can check your British Columbia sport fishing guide, or if you are
on the go there is an app you can download on your cell phone called �fishingBC� - a very handy and easy to use tool. Choose location -regulations -
display license-interactive and shareable catch log-species ID guide
Also, you can find out with this app if it�s a good time to get clams or oysters as it includes information on biotoxins and sanitation alerts, A.K.A �Red Tide�, just to make sure the seafood collected is safe to consume.
Looking forward to the new season, tight lines!
Mathieu Barnes, Method Marine, 380 Main St., Tofino, 250-725-3251


May and June can offer great fishing for salmon and halibut. The chinook are close to shore and also in some protected water spots as well. The weather can be as good as it gets for sun and calm seas. The early chinook are mostly between
8-15 lb., but sometimes in some spots they average bigger. Ucluelet is one of the best spots on the whole coast to reel in a salmon or halibut so get excited, get your fishing license and lets go!
For more fishing reports check out
Sam Vandervalk, Salmon Eye
Fishing Charters,


Saltwater - Spring salmon fishing remains consistent. Troll four or five inch Sandlance or Big Eye spoons or a Christmas Tree hootchie behind a flasher. The spring months are also the perfect time to use anchovies and herring, before
the inevitable arrival of the pesky dogfish. The Hump / Shelter Point is still the best place to find salmon, but heading into April, Lewis Channel and Cortes bell buoy will become good places to be.
Early spring is a great time to drop the prawn traps. Mix some of Tyee Marine's Ultimate Prawn & Crab Bait with a splash of liquid prawn oil or the new Ultimate Prawn Paste to attract these tasty bottom dwellers. How you set up your
traps can mean the difference between a bucket full of prawns and a sad ride home. The waves and current can pick up and bounce your float around, meaning your trap is doing the same thing. To correct this, tie your line in a knot 20-30
ft. above the trap, then slide a 3 lb. weight down the line to your knot. Your float with pick up and drop the weight, leaving your trap nestled quietly on the ocean floor. Prawns can be located between 250-450 ft. deep in many
productive areas. Stop by our store before heading out to get the latest tips and to check for legal areas to prawn.
Halibut is open now too, so spend some of your waiting time jigging for these delicious fish. Please, always check the regulations before you head out just to be aware of any last minute changes to your legal angling opportunities.
Freshwater - Mid-day lake fishing is best during the spring. Water temperatures are neither too hot or cold and numerous insect hatches are beginning. Beavertail Lake provides several different species to pursue, including wild
cutthroat, Kokanee and Dolly Varden. The lake is also stocked with rainbow trout. Trolling lures like Leo's Rondell Flashers with a generous amount of worm attached in open water is great for Kokanee. Deadly Dicks are always, productive.
Fly anglers should use one of their favourite early season flies and be ready for the black ant hatch starting in early May.
Tyee Marine, 880 Island Hwy.,
Campbell River, 250-287-2641



Lots happening in the way of regulation changes for the upcoming season. The very good news is that inside the surf line of all of Area 25 chinook salmon regulations will remain the same in 2019 as they have been in 2017 and 2018.
Retention of two chinook per day, hatchery marked or non marked. Four chinook possession limit. Better news is coho limits in Area 24-4 and 24-5 (Tlupana Inlet) last season where increased four per day (only two of which could be wild).
Eight coho possession limit. For 2019 the coho limits will remain the same but, the catch area will include ALL of Area 25 and a mile out off the surf line.
Why this very positive change? Good question. In 2004 an approved proposal was put forward by local recreational fishers to fund and seriously increase the numbers of coho produced in the Conuma River Federal Hatchery. All coho fry
released from the hatchery are marked. Results were amazing. Over 12,000 hatchery marked coho return to Area 25 in July to September. Over 18,000 will return this season. Add to all the above that DFO is projecting a good increased
return of coho stocks for most all areas on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Why is the catch area being expanded to include all of Area 25? Another Good question. Answer: those fishers who know the area well know that a large share of all Conuma Hatchery salmon (chinook and coho) enter in to Area 25 by way of
Esperanza Inlet.
These salmon travel deep into the usually calm waters of Esperanza and are catchable all the way into Stemmer Pt. The salmon continue their migration moving south through Tahsis Inlet into Nootka Sound. Most years around July 15 there
are large schools of chinook stacked up at Coopte Pt. This is the point where Tahsis Inlet dumps into Nootka Sound. Pull up a tide flow chart on you computer of the Tahsis Inlet and Coopte Pt. area, you will understand why these hatchery
salmon stack up there.
In 2018 fishers in the Esperanza area saw a huge jump in the hatchery marked coho move in mid July and continue moving through well into September. In fact it was nearly impossible to catch an unmarked coho in Esperanza Inlet.
Get ready for another fun filled salmon fishing/catching season.
Lots more fish and shellfish regulations changes are in the works. Check it out before you fish/harvest. DFO web site
John Falavolito, Owner/Operator Westview Marina & Lodge, Tahsis 800-992-3252
N49* 55� 13 W126* 39� 78.5


Jessica Rodgers with a November Vancouver Island steelhead. Photo courtesy Tyee Marine

Jasmine from Campbell River caught her very first fish (at Point Holmes) on her pink Barbie rod with a blue BuzzBomb. She was persistent in wearing her pink princess dress to match her rod.










This Atlantic salmon was caught in the Salmon River on Vancouver Island. The faceless angler is a federal fisheries employee who fears for his job security if he is perceived to be making an anti-aquaculture statement in his off duty fishing.










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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