South Vancouver Island BC Fishing Report
By Tom Vaida, Island Outfitters Sportfishing Centre | Last updated: January 17th, 2017
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OVERVIEW – Finally the weather turned and there was EXCELLENT fishing for feeder (winter) springs up to 16+ lbs on Sunday. Halibut fishing closed on January 1st.
SOOKE – The salmon fishing had been GOOD for springs with most of the fish still under 10 lbs in size. The best fishing has been from the harbour entrance westward to Otter Point in 110 – 150 feet of water. The salmon are holding close to the bottom so you have to troll deep. Most of the anglers have switched over to artificial lures. The top spoons for Sooke anglers have lots of green, glow or Moon Jelly as the primary color. Anchovies are still a good choice for bait though and good choices for teaser head colors are UV Green, Chartreuse, Bloody Nose and Purple Haze. For flashers, you can't go wrong with a Super Betsey, Madi or Bon Chovi Flasher. Hootchies in White, Glow/Green and Purple Haze have been effective recently. Shrimping has been very good in Sooke Basin.
BECHER BAY – Salmon fishing was GOOD this past week. Winter springs up to 12.5 lbs were seen at the marina. Springs are still being caught in the bay all the way from the marina to Aldridge Point. So, I guess you could say that there are fish all throughout the area. Most of the anglers have switched over to artificial lures and are trolling close to the bottom. Spoons, especially G-Force and Skinny G spoons, in Bon Chovy or Outfitters' colours have been very effective. Anglers using bait are finding anchovies in glow teaser heads have been working best. For flashers, the Betsey, Lemon Lime and Green/Silver Hot Spot have been good.
PEDDER BAY – Pedder Bay Marina reports salmon fishing was EXCELLENT in the bay. The bay entrance has held winter springs from 5 to 9 lbs and Whirl Bay has produced springs up to 12+ lbs. Most of the anglers have switched over to artificial lures and trolling close to the bottom. Spoons, especially G-Force and Skinny G spoons in Brass/Silver, Bon Chovy or Outfitters' colours, have been very effective. Hootchies and squirts with a green and glow color combination have been good plastic baits to use, especially with a 28" to 32" leader. Anchovies were still working this past week. Good choices for teaser head colors are UV Green, Chartreuse, Bloody Nose and Purple Haze. Flashers that are popular include the Betsey, Lemon-Lime and Madi.
VICTORIA – Fishing for salmon was ECELLENT this past weekend. The WTF salmon derby was held on Sunday and it was a huge success. There were 68 salmon weighed in and many of the 190 ticket holders did not bother to weigh in their smaller, but legal, catches. Approximately $10,000 was raised to help salmon enhancement in the area. The fishing was outstanding as everyone in this area caught fish. Constance Bank was HOT and we've heard of some boats catching and releasing up to as many as 40 salmon while looking for the derby winner. The largest salmon were caught closer in off the waterfront and some in water as shallow as 80 feet. The winner of the derby was Kelvin Packford with a 16.35 lb spring. Second place went to Grant Wittkamp with a 13.8 lb spring. Third place went to Kael Campbell with a 13.7 lb spring. The 80-130 foot depths have been good off the waterfront and you lure should be close to the bottom. Spoons have been very successful in getting hook ups. Green Spatter Back UV Coho Killers, 3.5" Cop Car spoons or AP Tackleworks herring spoons have brought good results.
OAK BAY – Salmon fishing was GOOD recently. There were some springs up to 10 lbs caught on the flats but not too many. Most of the springs are small. The coho haven't been running strong in this area as well. Good trolling lures have been Coho Killers, Bon Chovi or Outfitters Skinny G spoons or AP Tackleworks needlefish spoons. Anglers jigging have been using Needlefish Darts, Point Wilson Darts or Deep Stingers.
SIDNEY – Salmon fishing was FAIR this past week. Some legal springs continue to be caught from Wain Rock, but no big bruisers. We have heard of springs in the double digits coming from Coal Island and into the Sidney Channel. Anglers using spoons found Coho Killers, Gibbs Needle G and AP Tackleworks needlefish spoons the most successful spoons this past year. This past week, anchovies and Tiny Strip were the best producers of fish.
Notable Catches – The winner of the WTF salmon derby was Kelvin Packford with a 16.35 lb spring. Second place went to Grant Wittkamp with a 13.8 lb spring. Third place went to Kael Campbell with a 13.7 lb spring..
OVERVIEW – Fishing was SLOW in most lakes for trout and SLOW for bass during this past week's cold spell. Some winter run steelhead are just starting to enter the rivers.
COWICHAN RIVER – Not too many anglers were fishing in the river in this cold snap. Water levels in the river are relatively low. It's at 0.75 meters near the lake and 0.71meters near Duncan. There are steelhead in the river but it has been spotty catching so far this winter. The Riverbottom area has been best for steelhead. Not many steelhead have reached the upper reaches of the river yet. Fishing for trout with egg patterns in the fly only area has been quite good. Anglers fishing egg patterns have been catching browns, rainbows and cutthroat trout.
TROUT – Trout fishing is FAIR on most lakes in the South Island area. Shore anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms while fishing close to the bottom. Pink, Chartreuse and Fluorescent Yellow have been good choices recently for Powerbait. Brent Mockford caught a 5 lb 2 oz rainbow trout at Langford Lake on Pink & White Powerbait. Fly anglers are fishing Wooly Buggers, Leeches and Micro Leech patterns on full sink fly lines. Trollers are catching trout with Gibbs Gang Trolls and Gibbs Wedding Bands. 2" Tomic Plugs have also been working well for Trout.
BASS – Bass fishing is SLOW. During the day, soft plastics rigged Carolina style work well and crank baits can work well too. Soft plastics rigged "Carolina Style" are also a good choice when fishing drop offs and docks. The most productive colors in 4" Yum baits are Smoke or Pumpkinseed. Langford Lake, Shawnigan Lake, Prospect Lake and Elk and Beaver Lakes are the best local bass lakes. St. Mary's Lake on Salt Spring Island is also a great lake for bass fishing.
Fish Tip of the Week
Don't get lazy about checking your gear while trolling for winter springs. Although most of these fish aren't real large, there can be some real tackle busters waiting to take your bait. Check your leader for nicks and frays after every fish and change them at the slightest sign of wear. We hear way too many stories of anglers breaking off on big, feisty salmon because the angler didn't check for any weak links in their gear.