Sunday, 16 August 2015

Q and As – August

Eric Hvid: I am thinking about taking my older boy to Renfrew for Coho fishing around the end of September but want to avoid the Coho derby Oct 3-4. Would it be advantageous to go later after the derby or the weekend before? I live in Port Alberni so it is a bit of an adventure getting there.

A: I would go the weekend before the derby, for a couple of reasons: if it rains in those two weeks, the coho will shoot up the river; and the San Juan coho, the largest, on average, on the island, do stage in the bay for awhile, presenting themselves for trolling.

In addition, the third week of September is usually the hot time for shore anglers to fish coho on the seaward side of the bridge, as the coho will stop there for quite awhile once crossing the bar before rain begins in earnest. The best time is early in the day, or the high tide as the fish get pretty bombarded with lead all day long.

Do look at the regs because the San Juan area has both pass by and local coho, and DFO usually splits the bay regarding retention and fishing area.

You might want to pick up my Vancouver Island Fishing Guide as it gives a lot of lures for Port Renfrew, and does cover the entire island, for other trips. Also, phone Trailhead Charters as they have accommodation and sell tackle and will know some of the currently hot lures when you will be going. Phone: 250-647-5468 and check out their site:

Try blue/green in hootchies and traditional Cowichan Bay bucktails, and fireplug cutplugs. You can fish, both in the tide lines offshore, or in the open portion of the bay.

Steve Housser: The Nature Trust of BC has completed acquisition of the last slice of the Salmon River estuary, some 165 acres, near Sayward. The purchase of this stunningly beautiful property and important habitat would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of many conservation organizations.

As in many cooperative conservation initiatives, it takes time and patience to pull together all the components that lead to the successful acquisition of significant habitat. In this case, The Nature Trust of BC, it and its partners have been steadily acquiring Salmon River estuarial and river bank properties since 1978.

For this latest acquisition we were thrilled to have the participation of Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and the BC Hydro Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, as well as the Steelhead Society of BC, The Kingfisher Rod and Gun Club, The Parksville-Qualicum Fish & Game Association, the Campbell River Salmon Foundation, Islander reels, the Totem Flyfishers Club and dozens of individual donors, including fishing enthusiast and blogger DC Reid.

This new acquisition allows for protection of a larger, contiguous area of Salmon River estuary and its banks. This strategic purchase will enhance critical habitat for numerous species of fish and wildlife including Great Blue Heron, Marbled Murrelet, Northern Pygmy Owl, Roosevelt Elk and all species of Pacific salmon. The area is also home to sea run cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden Char and it boasts the largest steelhead in BC! Throw in the fact that it is an area of exceptional beauty that will allow future generations to enjoy its natural splendour and you have an all-round superb conservation acquisition.

A: Good for The Nature Trust. I suggest all anglers consider making a donation to the Trust and also consider leaving a bequest in wills.

Syd Pallister, Gibbs Delta tackle: Did you get those Coho Killers and flashers?

A: Yes and thanks. I can see why the Madi, Lemon Lime and Purple Onion have been hot flashers in the Victoria area. That Moonjelly pink tone that turns to purple when you rotate the flasher looks very fishy to me.

I found the silver Coho Killer to be the best lure when I fished Constance Bank a few weeks ago. On The Flats in Oak Bay these new spoons have been very effective, I would guess because they are slim profile and thus match the needlefish bait. The Green Spatter Back has been good, and I’ll give the White Lightning a shot soon. It looks good as does the Kitchen Sink; Gold Chrome should be good for coho, particularly on the west coast of Van Isle.

Don Ford: I don’t use downriggers and feel the same results can be achieved with a one pound slip weight and putting the engine into neutral every 10 seconds or so. Springs love a slow fluttering bait and many strikes occur as you go back into forward.   Even without a depth sounder this technique has worked very well for me.

A: Yes, motor mooching can produce well, but these days is usually only done at remote sport fishing resorts in the summer. Chinook are in higher numbers in these areas and are also actively feeding. In more urban areas, getting down and up without weights does require downriggers.

Paul Bohun, Costa Rica: Alexandra Morton directed me to your post on land-based fish farms, but I did not get the URL.

A: For the past few years, I have put down the on-land fish farm systems I have found while researching the environmental damage caused by in-ocean fish farms. My list now has 88 different systems, comprising more than 10,000 actual farms around the globe that are on land.

There is no need anymore for the old-tech, dinosaur Norwegian-style fish farms to be in our pristine oceans. They need to be on land.  

Paul B. Downing, Editor,,  I am looking into doing a trip to the Island this September or October. I am interested in walk wade fly fishing opportunities for all types of fish. I prefer stream fishing but have never done shore salt fishing for cutts. Also, I have never caught a steelhead. I do love to catch salmon, especially kings, on the fly. I am not opposed to gear fishing if that is best. My idea is to wander around the Island sampling the waters listed in your book. However, it is clear I will need some help finding the best places and learning the local techniques. When would be the best time to come and fish salmon, trout and steelhead? I will do a number of articles for my online magazine based on the trip.

A: My Vancouver Island Fishing Guide lists many fisheries. The other book you should pick up is a Backroad Mapbook from Mussio Ventures as it has all the logging/gravel roads on the Island and the paved as well. They have a GPS chip, too.

September or October should work, although this year it looks like a real drought and so fishing the bigger rivers is a better bet for September when you will find chinook in several of them. October is chum and coho month, particularly once it has rained. But, if not, then they will be on the beaches and in estuaries. Typically searuns and Dollies are a secondary target taken while doing other fisheries.

I have caught summer steelhead in every month of the year. They are in short supply as they are all wild runs composed of 100 to 700 fish. So, catching one is a real treat. Please treat them well.

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