Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sport Fishing Advisory Board Meetings and Catching Coho

Bob Gallaugher: The Nitinat, Port Renfrew and Cowichan area meeting will be Nov.13, at 1 PM, Valley Fish and Game Club, 6190 Mayo Rd., Lake Cowichan. Agenda items include:

1.      Overview of past years fishery in areas and preliminary Chinook and Coho escapements for Nitinat, San Juan and Cowichan.  
2. Coho Regulations at Port Renfrew. 
3. Recreational crab fishery at Port Renfrew [speaker Butch Jack from the Pachedaht native band to comment on new high intensity commercial crab fishery and support of our SFAC motion]. 
4. Status of Court ordered fine money [being withheld by DFO for 3 years now] to be paid to the Port Renfrew Salmon Enhancement Society. 
5. What happened to Chinook fishery at Port Renfrew [1/3 of previous year]. 
6. Groundfish and Shellfish report [Crab, Prawns and Halibut]. 
7. New enforcement interpretation of transport regulations.

I will let you know the escapement figures when they come my way.

Chris Bos: The next SFAB meeting for the Victoria area will be Thursday, November 20 at 2 PM. More info to follow.  

Sport Fishing Institute: The SFI Policy Conference and Big Splash Gala, is Wednesday, November 26, in Richmond. Register at:

Catching Coho in Rivers: Now is the time to get out your spinners, spoons and Colorado Blades and head to your favourite river for coho fishing – retention where authorized. Typically coho are in the deepest part of the soft water. And they may not porpoise for hours and thus it looks like there are no fish. Run through your lures, as below, before moving on.

Take the silver hooks off your lures, add black swivels and black hooks. The coho spots the silver lure in front of them and whacks it, the hook behind (that it can’t see) already in its mouth.

Fish different colours: pink, orange, chartreuse, green and red, silver early and gold later, in heavy, clouded water. Purple in tea stained water, and the Cowichan. Bolos and Blue Foxes in sizes 4 and 5. Use your ugliest, largest spoons in water with less than a foot visibility – these have sonic thump, plus visibility.

With inexpensive Colorado blades in silver, gold and brass (not copper) that you assemble yourself, use a #5 swivel 18- to 24-inches above the blade and to the tag end, lightly crimp some pencil lead – the purpose is to have the lead pull free rather than lose the entire rig. If your blade vibration stops and starts, it is a coho following and touching it with its nose, collapsing its drag. Redo the cast until you catch the fish.

Coho fishing is best in pouring rain with rising rivers, particularly in front of small side streams where they spawn. A well-known example, is Beaver Creek where it flows into the Stamp River below the falls. The heavier the rain, the hotter the fishing, so when others are watching Sunday NFL, you get out there and glom the fish.

Cast at the fish from one spot then try different angles, then take a step up or down and do the casts again, trying different angles, then rotate through your colours until you find the hot one. Don’t think there are no fish there or they are stale until you prove it by rotating lures, casting direction, and by moving to cast from different angles.

Coho, in particular, like to bite lures going directly up stream and may follow for 25 feet across and up before biting. If you see them all lined up in shallow runs, try and put your spinner within two feet of their noses, and watch them follow. This is high adrenaline stuff. Just don’t set that hook when you see its mouth open to glom the lure. Wait until you feel it on the rod.

And if you are fishing pools, make sure to fish the back eddies from down stream. This is because coho line up up-stream, but actually down-river, if you get my drift. But because they relentlessly want the lure going up-current, you have to fish from down stream. Don’t think the fish are not there or not biting until you prove that that is the case. Don’t leave coho to find coho.

Because coho do the coho roll thing, which jerks tension from high to low constantly, set your drag tighter than you would for steelhead which would rip the lure out at coho tension. Coho mouths are hard and with barbless, kirbed hooks, keep your rod tip high or as far away sideways as possible to keep maximum tension on the fish.

Fish in front of very small side streams that you would fish in front of no other time of year. Rising water will create soft water close by the stream and the coho sit in its scent for as much as six weeks before the creek is full enough to enter.

If you know there are fish there but aren’t biting, change up by putting a simple red and white bobber several feet above the spinner. It is surprising how frequently the float will disappear in soft water, the spinner dangling directly down from it, but the coho bit it anyway. From time to time, change action by stopping the float, as this will bring the lure up in the water and its spin will increase. In addition, for fish downstream that you can’t reach by casting, float that bobber down to them, and when you stop it right in front of them, you’ll be surprised how many you may catch.

Also, consider braided mainline, typically 35 pound test, with a 15- to 20-foot leader of 15- to 20-pound clear leader. Braid casts much farther as it comes off baitcaster reels much easier than 20-pound clear mainline that gets ‘memory’.

Kuterra Land-Raised Atlantic Salmon: the on-land Namgis fish farm in the lower reaches of the Nimpkish has received the top sustainability ranking from the best rating system in North America – the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

"We are delighted that the third-party assessment conducted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium has validated Kuterra operations as one of the most sustainable Atlantic salmon aquaculture operations globally," says Garry Ullstrom, Kuterra CEO.

The Aquarium examined land-based facilities in BC, West Virginia and Denmark. All three — Kuterra, The Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown, W.Va.; and Atlantic Sapphire in Hvide Sande, Denmark — received the top ranking.

All of these are in my list of 69 on-land fish farm systems that are better for wild salmon than in-ocean, open-net:

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