Sunday, 13 July 2014

Q and As – July 13, 2014

Trailhead Resort, Port Renfrew: Swiftsure Bank is the closest, pristine wilderness fishery in BC. Trailhead has several things going for it: easy drive-in location 1.5 hours west of Victoria; reasonable prices; large metal fishing boats; Swiftsure itself which – and I have gone out with them many times over the past two decades – typically limits everyone for halibut, then the boat moves to the chinook and coho area, where limits are also taken; rock solid fish prep in vacuum packed portions as you wish them prepared; and, a nice lodge and out buildings. See:

Sockeye fishing: It looks like we will be getting some sockeye retention in the CRD, Victoria area this summer, but there are some issues. Based on gillnetting returns, a 50/50 diversion down Johnstone and Juan de Fuca straits is predicted. That implies low ocean water temperature because sockeye divert through Johnstone at 80% or higher with a one degree rise in temperature. So, many more sockeye will be coming our way than in a warm water year. And you will remember the 7 to 77 million Fraser sockeye forecast earlier this year.

So far 55,000 Early Stuart sockeye have passed the Mission counter. The Stuart and Chilko fish peak timing will be 4 days later than usual, and, right now, they are in Area 20 where we fish. However, the hot weather we have been having is warming the Fraser where the sockeye are going, melting the snowpack sooner and river flow has declined slightly to 5,502 cubic metres per second. 

At Qualark, the temperature, at 17.0 Celsius, is 1.7 degrees above average. This means up-river mortality will be higher this year, and thus sockeye retention in our area isn’t happening until other, larger components of the run start passing through. DFO is still expecting the 50% probability level of 23,000,000 Fraser sockeye.

This is the fishery that includes shore-bound anglers who go up to fish the San Juan estuary, and camp right on the beach. Typically, as lots of lead flies, it is best to fish early, for the largest average-sized coho on Vancouver Island, in the third week of September. Once the rains begin, use the 4X4 road near the Harris Creek Bridge, and take it as far as it goes. You need a 4X4 as this track has some of the deepest holes en route and most mud of any terminal access on Van Isle. Note that you will have to check the non-tidal regs as any water above the San Juan estuary bridge by the Pa-chee-daht First Nation is deemed freshwater.
This is where you find DFO area maps and salmon retention regs:

Lanceville: Lance Foreman, a 12 foot, tin-boat-er from Clover Point Anglers Association, hauled in a big spring this week in front of the Beacon Hill Park Flagpole. In the boat, it measured 31 pounds 4 ounces, and by the time he reached Island Outfitters, 29 lbs 11 ounces, and leads the leader board. He caught it on an anchovy, Bloody Nose teaser-head and 5 foot leader to a Purple Onion flasher. All of us guys who go to the Oak Bay Recreation Centre gym every morning – and there are lots of us – want to thank Lance for telling us two if not three times about his big spring.

Integrated Fisheries Management Plans: There are two documents, the separation point being Cape Caution on the mainland north of Port Hardy. This is the summary document for south BC:, only 13 pages.  This is the actual, full length document for south BC, 150 plus pages, and I suggest you read it at least once in your life: It is impressive and DFO can be patted on the back for doing a good job.

You will note from the summary document that the 2010 number for tidal sport fishing expenditures was: $689.7 million expressed in constant 2009 dollars – this means that the actual figure was higher. DFO puts out its Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada, every five years.

If you compare the DFO document with the BC Stats document – which has the best set of stats on the fishing sectors in BC (commercial, sport, processing and aquaculture) – you will find that, expressed in 2002 constant dollars, that of the total revenue of $2.2 billion spent, almost 50% was from sport fishers, at $936.5 million and that sport employment, at 8,400 jobs, is an impressive 60% of the 13,900 jobs in the sector.

BC Stats 2011 Report: Fish, Processing, Sport Fishing and Aquaculture Stats - Figures in Millions (and 2002 constant dollars, except for 2011 Revenue)

Contribution to GDP, and %
$102.3 (15.3%)
$177.5 (26.6)
$325.7 (48.8%)
$61.9  (9.3%)
(% of total)
1,400 (10.1%)
2,400 (17.3%)
8,400 (60.4%)
1,700 (12.2%)
Wages and Salaries
% of Total
Total 2011 Revenue (increase/decrease)
$344.8 (+4.1%)
$427.5 (+2.1%)
$936.5 (+0.8%)
Revenue % of Total

Pink fly fishers: The River Sportsman in Campbell River says: “There are a ton of pinks in the river.” And flies that work? “Pink and shiny.” My favourite for the Campbell are sparse size 8 Muddlers, tied ala the River Sportsman. For rivers north of the Campbell, pick up their size 8 and 10 pink Muddlers. All who fished in 2012 will remember it as the best year on record, and their progeny are coming back now in 2014.

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