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South Vancouver Island BC Saltwater Fishing Report

By Tom Vaida, Island Outfitters Sportfishing Centre | Last updated: May 5th, 2015

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We recommend the following saltwater fishing charters on Vancouver Island.

Saltwater

Vancouver Island chinook salmon

OVERVIEW – Chinook fishing was FAIR to GOOD in most locations but it did slow down at the weekend. Halibut fishing was SLOWER with the stronger tides this week. Lingcod and Rockfish opened on May 1st.

SOOKE – The fishing for winter springs was FAIR this past weekend. Some hatchery springs into the teens, and a few oversize unclipped chinooks, were taken outside the harbour and near Secretary Island. Bait is now out producing artificial when fishing for the springs and the fish have been deeper that during the previous week. 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 FAIR this past weekend.

BECHER BAY – Salmon fishing was UP & DOWN in East Sooke. Most of the springs were coming from Whirl Bay and right inside Becher Bay. Most hatchery springs were running from 7 to 15 lbs in size and there were some larger unclipped fish that had to be released. Most of the salmon were caught deep (100 -140 feet) in even deeper water and near bait balls. Anchovies were the most productive bait and Blood 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. Some nice sized halibut were also 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 were also picking up salmon. There were good size hatchery fish into the high teens being caught and a few over size wild springs as well. If you could find a bait ball, you could pick up springs by fishing around the edge of the bait ball. Most of the keepers were caught near the bottom. 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 FAIR 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 GOOD off Constance Bank during the week. Hatchery fish weighing into the low 20's were caught, as well as some even bigger wild fish that had to be released. Max Miller, fishing with his partner Don McRae, boated a 22.5 lb clipped Chinook on Constance Bank on Monday, April 27 fishing anchovy in a bloody nose head. The fish had been feeding on needlefish.The fish were feeding on needlefish that were schooled on the bank and needlefish spoons were very effective in getting hook ups. Anglers have not done as well fishing closer to shore. Anchovies and Tony Strip have been working well in glow colors outside the harbour. Good choices in plastic baits are the Cloverleaf, Purple Haze and the Glo Below. Gibbs Coho Killer, Kingfisher and Coyote spoons in green and glow colours have been very effective.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was FAIR this past week. Most of the action has come from out near Border Bank and not so much form Constance and Albert Head. 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 did slow down by the weekend. Anglers had the most action trolling out on the Flats. That said, anglers jigging were also picking up fish. Many of the springs were in the mid teens in weight and there were a few large wild springs in the 20's caught that had to be released. There were lots of needlefish around, keeping the fish in the area. 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 FAIR this past week out in Haro Strait and off Discovery Island. 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.

SIDNEY – Salmon fishing was GOOD near Sidney this past week. The Sidney Anglers' Association held their Annual Salmon Derby on Saturday and it was very successful. 300 tickets were sold and 63 springs were weighed in at the derby. First place went to Len Rasile who caught a 20.8 lb spring while jigging a Mac Deep near the Powder Wharf. Second place went to Dave Miligan who caught a 20.6 lb spring. Third place went to Bob Hamilton for a 19.7 lb spring. It turned out that the salmon were spread out over the entire Sidney area with fish coming in from all over. A wide variety of lures and baits produced strikes. The biggest salmon were caught during the week and on Tuesday, a 25 lb spring was taken on anchovy fished in a green glow teaser head behind a Moon Jelly flasher, down 120' in 160' at 9:30 AM by Hans and Karsten Anderssen. Many anglers were 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 – Max Miller, fishing with his partner Don McRae, boated a 22.5 lb clipped Chinook on Constance Bank on Monday, April 27th, fishing anchovy in a bloody nose head. First place in The Sidney Anglers' Association Annual Salmon Derby went to Len Rasile who caught a 20.8 lb spring while jigging a Mac Deep near the Powder Wharf. Second place went to Dave Miligan who caught a 20.6 lb spring. Third place went to Bob Hamilton for a 19.7 lb spring.

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 third consecutive week. The water level today is between 0.5-0.6 meters throughout its length. The trout fishing in the mid and upper river is EXCELLENTI. 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 FAIR on most lakes in the South Island area this past week. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has started their spring releases of catchable rainbow trout from the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery. On April 24th, Elk Lake received 1,150 trout with an average weight of 214 grams and Durrance Lake received 650 trout with an average weight of 214 grams. On April 22nd, Spectacle Lake received 500 trout with an average weight of 232 grams. On April 21st, Matheson Lake, Kemp Lake and Glen Lake received 500 trout with an average weight of 226 grams and Colwood Lake received 250 trout with an average weight of 226 grams. On April 8th, Elk Lake received 2,000 trout, Lookout Lake received 175 trout and Ida Anne Lake received 75 trout with an average weight of 208 grams. On March 13th, Shawnigan Lake received 2,164 trout averaging 248 grams. On March 12th, Spectacle Lake received 500 trout with an average size of 239 grams. On March 10th, Elk Lake received 1,850 trout, Lookout Lake received 200 trout and Ida Anne Lake received 50 trout with an average weight of 240 grams. On March 9th, Thetis Lake received 1,250 trout and Kemp, Matheson, Glen and Dougan Lakes each relieved 500 trout with an average size of 234 grams.

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 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 usually come from Langford Lake and Elk Lake.

BASS – Bass fishing is PICKING UP. At this time of year some of the bass are moving into the shallows for spawning. Look for suspended fish by drop offs close to shore along docks, branches, and any overhanging structure. During the day, soft plastics rigged Carolina style work well and crank baits can work well too. Crank baits have been effective too when fished around 12 feet down with a fast retrieve. Soft plastics rigged "Carolina Style "is also a good choice when fishing drop offs and docks, most productive in 4" Yum bait colors 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 fishing for trout with Power Bait, always make sure the hook is completely covered by the bait. You don't want the trout to feel any metal when they gently mouth the bait. And don't use too heavy a weight as to alarm the fish when it picks up the bait.