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South Vancouver Island BC Saltwater Fishing Report

By Tom Vaida, Island Outfitters Sportfishing Centre | Last updated: May 19th, 2015

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We recommend the following saltwater fishing charters on Vancouver Island.

Saltwater

Vancouver Island chinook salmon

OVERVIEW – Chinook fishing was GOOD early in the week but SPOTTY over the weekend. Halibut fishing was SLOW with the stronger currents this weekend. The best fishing was in the afternoon and evening.

SOOKE – The fishing for winter springs was SPOTTY this past weekend. Some hatchery springs into the teens were taken outside the harbour and near Secretary Island. However, the springs are scattered all the way west and past Sherringham Point. Bait is now out producing artificial when fishing for the springs. Anchovies are working the best and Green and Bloody Nose teaser heads being the best color choices. G-Force spoons in Irish Cream and No Bananas have been catching their fair number of fish. The most popular flashers recently have been the Gibbs Madi, the Outfitter and the Jellyfish UV. Halibut fishing was SLOW this past weekend.

BECHER BAY – Salmon fishing was SPOTTY in East Sooke. This past week, salmon were caught throughout the whole area and there was no one hot spot.. Most hatchery springs were running from 7 to 18 lbs in size and there were some larger unclipped fish that had to be released. Some of the salmon were caught deep (100 -140 feet) in even deeper water and others were caught from 50-70 feet on the downrigger. The fish were shallower around Beechey Head and deeper in the bay. The Bedfords were also productive for teenager springs. Anchovies were the most productive bait and Bloody Nose and Green Glow were the most popular teaser heads. Spoons and plastic baits have also been working well. Spoons such as G-Force in No Bananas or Glow/Green were effective. Squirts are working too with Pistachio, Purple Haze and Glow white the best patterns. For flashers, the Madi and the Purple Onion have been very good lately. Not too many halibut were being caught this past week.

PEDDER BAY – Chinook salmon fishing was FAIR to GOOD this past week. Whirl Bay was the most popular spot by far, but those fishing inside Pedder Bay by the can buoy were also picking up salmon. There were a couple of hatchery fish over 20 lbs caught in Whirl Bay but most of the hatchery fish were in the 7 – 15 lb size range. There were also reports of springs by the first tide line out in the Strait in 600 feet of water. They were hitting lures trolled at 120 to 150 feet on the downrigger there. Anchovy was the most productive lure for springs with Green Chrome, Purple Haze and Bloody Nose being top choices in teaser heads. Coho Killers and G-force spoons with both glow and green have been working the best. Flashers that remain popular include the Madi and the Purple Onion.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was SLOW this past week. 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.

VICTORIA – Fishing for winter springs was FAIR off Constance Bank but SPOTTY along the waterfront. Hatchery fish weighing into the high teens were caught at Constance, as well as some bigger unclipped fish that had to be released. The salmon were feeding on needlefish that were schooled on the bank. Needlefish spoons were very effective in getting hook ups. Anglers have not done as well fishing closer to shore but there were a few fish near Brotchie Ledge.. Anchovies and Tony Strip have been working well in glow colors. Good choices in plastic baits are the Cloverleaf, Purple Haze and Glo Below squirts. Gibbs Coho Killer, Kingfisher and Coyote spoons in green and glow colours have been very effective.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was SLOW this past week. 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 early in the week but SPOTTY just before and during the weekend. Hatchery springs as large as 22 lbs were caught early in the week but the fish were much smaller and scarcer by the weekend. Anglers were using squirts, spoons, or tiny strip or anything that imitated a needlefish. Many of the fish that were being caught trolling were caught on Coho Killer spoons and 3" to 4" G-Force & Gypsy spoons. Good squirts were the Purple Haze, J-79 and Electric Chair. Good flashers have been the Purple Onion, Green/silver or Green Jellyfish.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was SLOW this past week out in Haro Strait and off Discovery Island. Anglers 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 SLOW near Sidney. We've hear of small springs caught near Sidney Spit, but not much else. We did not hear of any of the other areas producing fish other than bottomfish. A wide variety of lures and baits are working. 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 50/50 colors.

Notable Catches – Steve Parker picked up a nice pair of springs in Pedder Bay near the Can Buoy.

Freshwater

OVERVIEW – Fishing is PICKING UP on most lakes as the water temperatures climb. Trout fishing in the Cowichan River is EXCELLENT. Remember that ALL wild trout (steelhead included) must be released on ALL streams in Region 1. 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. Bass fishing is now catch and release only until June 15th.

COWICHAN RIVER – The water level has been steadily dropping for the fifth consecutive week. The water level today is 0.40-0 near the lake and .51 meters near Duncan. The trout fishing in the mid and upper river is EXCELLENT. Insect hatches are becoming larger and more frequent. There were some huge mayfly hatches this past week. The rainbows, cutthroats and resident brown trout are actively feeding on these hatches and migrating salmon fry. During the hatch, match the hatch with dry flies for exciting action. Bead head nymphs are the top producer when a hatch isn't in progress. Good patterns are Prince Nymphs, Gold Ribbed Hare's Ears and Wooly Buggers. A fry imitation or a Wooly Bugger will also work, especially for the brown trout.

TROUT – Trout fishing was GOOD on most lakes in the South Island area this past week. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC most recent local releases of rainbow trout from the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery can be found here.

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 PICKING UP. At this time of year most of the bass are in the shallows for spawning. 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. Bass fishing is now catch and release only until June 15th.

Fish Tip of the Week

When fly fishing for trout in rivers, it is very important to check your flies frequently. The small hooks are easily damaged or broken by rocks or hard objects. This can occur on a back cast or as the fly bounces along the river bottom. Nothing is more frustrating than to miss a big fish and then find that the end off the hook was broken off on a previous cast.