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South Vancouver Island BC Saltwater Fishing Report

By Tom Vaida, Island Outfitters Sportfishing Centre | Last updated: July 16th, 2015

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Saltwater

Vancouver Island chinook salmon

OVERVIEW – Salmon fishing was EXCELLENT most of this past week. The pink salmon have arrived and limit catches are reported from all areas. There were quite a few chinooks being caught with many in the 30-40 lb size range. It was a very good start to the month! Halibut fishing was GOOD but most anglers were out after salmon.

SOOKE – The salmon fishing was EXCELLENT this past week. The pink salmon are here and most Sooke anglers have reported limit catches! Now that the pinks are running, it is a great opportunity to get new anglers and kids out. The springs were in fair abundance and scattered throughout the area. There were many 30 - 40 lbs springs caught as well as fish in the 20's and teens. The bigger springs fish seem more consistent in the 35 - 60 ft depths. Anchovies are the number one choice for Sooke anglers but with the high numbers of pinks being caught recently, many anglers are forced to use artificial baits when they run out of anchovies or herring. We've heard of some anglers using up to 50 anchovies in a day's fishing. Teaser heads that have been performing well with anchovies are Bloody Nose, UV Green, Green Glow and the Mint Pearl. G-Force spoons in Irish Cream and No Bananas have been catching their fair number of fish. Coho Killers have been quite effective in catching pinks. A few sockeye have been caught but they are closed for retention. The most popular flashers recently have been the Gibbs Madi, the Gibbs Outfitter and the Jellyfish UV.

BECHER BAY – Salmon fishing was EXCELLENT in East Sooke. There are "tons" of pink salmon and boats are getting limit catches. The pinks are throughout the entire area so you don't have to search very far to find them. The best fishing has been on the flood tide. The spring salmon fishing is a little slower than last week but there are still some good ones being caught. Most of the better sized springs (30's and high 20's) fish were caught between the Trap shack and Beechey Head but the springs could show up anywhere. Most springs were running from 15 to 25 lbs in size. The springs have been getting caught most frequently between 35- 75 ft on the downrigger. Anchovies were the most productive bait for the big springs and Bloody Nose and Green Glow were the most popular teaser heads. However, spoons and plastic baits have been popular due to anglers switching to artificial baits because of the amount of bait needed to weed through all of the pinks! Spoons, in 3 or 4 inch size such as G-Force in the Outfitter or Trap Shack colours were effective. Squirts are working too with Pistachio, Purple Haze and white the best patterns. For flashers, the Lemon Lime and the Purple Onion have been good lately.

PEDDER BAY – Salmon fishing was EXCELLENT this week. Lots of salmon were reported caught from Pedder Bay to Church Rock. The pinks were around in big numbers and the springs were in good numbers as well. Pedder Bay itself was the best location to catch a nice spring. It's a great time to get the family out to experience the action pinks provide. For some of the anglers that were jigging inside of the bay, Mac Fish and Gibbs Minnows were the top choices used. Anchovy was the most productive bait for springs with Green, Special Red, Purple Haze and Bloody Nose being top choices in teaser heads. G-force spoons with both glow and green have been working as well and are getting more popular due to all of the pinks eating up bait. Flashers that remain popular include the Madi, Lemon-Lime and the Purple Onion.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was GOOD this past week. There wer quite a few "chickens" on the fish cleaning table this past weekend. Anglers that were fishing were using mackerel, extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work very well. You can also use a large spoon fished off a spreader bar, Mudraker or Lucky Jigs or other large Jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

VICTORIA – Fishing for springs was FAIR off Constance Bank and along the waterfront. Fish weighing into the high teens and mid-twenties are being caught but not very many of them. The pinks have been showing up in good numbers off Victoria, especially in deeper water and along the tide lines. Anchovies, needlefish spoons and squirts were very effective in getting hook ups. Good choices in plastic baits are the Electric Chair, Purple Haze and pink squirts. Gibbs Coho Killer, Sitka needlefish and Coyote spoons in green, moon glow and silver colours have been very effective. The Lemon Lime flasher with the Glow Green Splatter Back Coho Killer has been a very effective combo out on the bank.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was FAIR this past weekend. Anglers had mixed reports of success because of lots of dogfish on one day and then none the next. Most anglers that were fishing were using mackerel, extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work very well. You can also use a large spoon fished off a spreader bar, Mudraker or Lucky Jigs or other large Jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

OAK BAY – Salmon fishing was GOOD during this past week. There were big springs up to 30 lbs taken but fewer fish that the previous week. The fish caught were 10- 29 lbs and most were caught when fishing lures right on the bottom (60-120 ft) on the flats. The fish were hitting 3"-4" spoons as most of the needlefish in the area were small. Anglers did best using the G-force spoons in 3 -3.5in. No Bananas and Outfitter colours have been the most popular. Anglers that were jigging in the morning reported catching springs as well. Corinna Schmidt caught a nice 17 pound chinook while casting a buzz bomb from the rocks at 10 Mile Point. Coho Killers in Gold Nugget and Green Splatterback have been pretty productive. The best flasher has been the Gibbs Lemon Lime and the Bon Chovy.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was FAIR this past week out in Haro Strait and off Discovery Island. Anglers that have been fishing are using mackerel, extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work very well. You can also use a large spoon fished off a spreader bar, Mudraker or Lucky Jigs or other large Jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

SIDNEY – Salmon fishing was EXCELLENT near Sidney. The pink salmon have been running off of the Pender Bluffs and at various depths. Most boats have been getting limit catches in less than two hours of fishing time. A few chinooks were brought in over the past week weighing into the low twenties. The springs have been shallow, 30 to 50 feet and in shallow water. The spring fishing was best near Fairfax Point. Many anglers are fishing using anchovies in Bloody Nose and UV Green teaser heads. Squirts have been out-producing hootchies and the hot patterns for springs now are Purple Haze, J-79 and Electric Chair. Coho Killer spoons have also been working well, especially in double glow and Gold Nugget.

Notable Catches – Corinna Schmidt caught a nice 17 pound chinook while casting a buzz bomb from the rocks at 10 Mile Point.

Freshwater

OVERVIEW – Fishing is GOOD on most lakes as the water temperatures climb. Wild rainbows and cutthroats over 50 cm must be released in Cowichan Lake. Only single barb less hooks are allowed for all fishing on island streams and rivers.

Effective July 4th, 2015, virtually all angling in streams and rivers in Wildlife Management Units 1-1 through 1-6 is suspended. The geographic area covers:

  • Bamfield south to Victoria on the west coast
  • Campbell River south to Victoria on the east coast

Key rivers affected by the order include the Caycuse, Chemainus, Cowichan, Englishman, Gordon, Little Qualicum, Nanaimo, Nitinat, Oyster, Puntledge, San Juan, Sooke, Trent and Tsable. Lake fishing is not affected by the order.

The angling closure order is for southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands only at this time, but B.C. government fisheries biologists are monitoring approximately 75 other key angling streams across the province, and if conditions warrant, additional closures are possible.

TROUT – Trout fishing was GOOD on most lakes in the South Island area this past week. Bank anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms while fishing from shore and right on the bottom. Orange Garlic and Pink Garlic have been good choices recently for Powerbait. Fly anglers are fishing Pumpkinheads, Wooly Buggers, Leeches and Micro Leech patterns on full sink fly lines. Trollers have been doing well with Gibbs Gang Trolls and Gibbs Wedding Bands. Other good trolling lures are the Apex Trout Killers in rainbow, green or black and white patterns. Flatfish and/or Kwikfish have also been effective in sizes 5 to 7 in Frog, Black with Silver Flake or Rainbow Pattern. The biggest trout this year have come from Langford Lake.

BASS – Bass fishing is EXCELLENT. At this time of year most of the bass are in the shallows. During the day, soft plastics rigged Carolina style work well and crank baits can work well too. Soft plastics rigged "Carolina Style "is 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

After you catch a fish, always, always, always, check your leader for tooth marks or scratches. It's amazing how often you seem to hook and lose that big monster of a fish to a broken leader. It probably wouldn't have happened if you had noticed the small scratches left on the leader during a previous battle with a fish.