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South Vancouver Island BC Saltwater Fishing Report

By Tom Vaida, Island Outfitters Sportfishing Centre | Last updated: May 23rd, 2016

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Saltwater

OVERVIEW – Salmon fishing was SLOW or SPOTTY in most areas Halibut fishing was SLOW as the strong currents made for difficult conditions.

SOOKE – The salmon fishing was SLOW for springs this past weekend. Most of the salmon are still less than 10 lbs in size but there are some better hatchery fish around. Gary Caton caught a nice 15½ lb hatchery spring on a Cop Car hootchy off Otter Point this past Saturday. There are some oversize unclipped springs in the area as well. Anchovies have been the top, especially with Cop Car, Chartreuse and Purple Haze teaser heads. The 3"-4" Kingfisher, Gypsy and G-Force spoons are also top choices for Sooke anglers. Good colors have been Kitchen Sink, Irish Cream and No Bananas. Hoochies in Cop Car, Purple haze and White have been catching their fair number of fish. The most popular flashers recently have been ones with Moon Jelly patterns such as the Madi and the Lemon Lime. A few halibut up to 63 lbs were also caught this past week. Halibut hot spots were found east of Secretary Island and near Sheringham Point.

BECHER BAY – Salmon fishing was PRETTY SLOW for anglers at Beechey Head and Aldridge Point. Most of the chinooks were running from 5 to 10 lbs in size but there were some larger hatchery springs up to 15 lbs. There some good size unclipped springs caught and released too. Most anglers are now switching over to using bait. Anchovies in glow teaser heads have been very effective. Spoons, such as the G-Force and Skinny G, in Cop Car, Bon Chovy or Irish Cream colours were also effective. For flashers, the Madi, Lemon Lime and Purple Onion have been good. Only a few halibut up were brought into the marina.

PEDDER BAY – Salmon fishing was GOOD this past week. There were lots of springs in the 7-9 lb size range and a smattering of hatchery springs into the mid teens. Pedder Bay held the most baitfish and salmon and hatchery salmon up to 15 lbs. It was slower off whirl Bay. Many anglers are still fishing close to the bottom, often bouncing the downrigger balls on the bottom, in 120-150 feet of water, while others are getting their fish at 50 – 90 feet along the kelp beds and rocky shore line. The tide change for ebb to flood has been the best time to catch fish. Most of the salmon have been feeding on small squid, so white hootchies, Milky Way, jellyfish squirts and small spoons, such as the G-Force, Coyote and Gypsy, in the glow colours were very effective. Flashers that remain popular include Glow green, Lemon-Lime and Madi.

HALIBUT – Halibut fishing was SLOW this past weekend. Best areas were Race Rocks, William Head, 27 Fathom reef and Constance Bank. Anglers that were fishing were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work very well. You can also use Mudraker, Lucky or other large Jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

VICTORIA – Fishing for salmon was SPOTTY off Victoria. The best fishing was out at Constance Bank, but it was hard fishing there due to strong currents this past weekend. Not many fish were reported to have come from close in along the waterfront. There are some large unclipped Chinook that had to be released in the area. Anchovies were a good bait to use and Bloody Nose, Mint Pearl and Purple Haze have been the most popular colors for teaser heads. Spoons and squirts were successful in getting hook ups. Good choices in plastic baits are the Jellyfish, Milky Way and White Glow. Coho Killers, AP Needlefish, G Force and Coyote spoons in Green Splatterback, Moon Glow and Gold Nugget have also been good. The Lemon Lime and Madi have been effective flashers lately.

HALIBUT – Halibut fishing was SLOW this past weekend with the strong currents. The best areas have been Constance Bank, Border Bank and the Mud Hole. Anglers that were fishing were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work very well. You can also use Mudraker, Lucky or other large Jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

OAK BAY – Salmon fishing was SPOTTY this past week but some fish were being caught each day. The Flats have been holding some springs up to 18 lbs but most are from 6 to 8 pounds. The salmon have been feeding heavily on needle fish on the Flats. It's been best in 90-130 depths and jigging is working just as well as trolling. The main bite period has been at the end of the ebb and the start of the flood. Good trolling lures have been Green Splatterback Coho Killers, Skinny G spoons and APT Needlefish spoons. Drift anglers have been getting fish on Needlefish Darts.
HALIBUT – Halibut fishing was SLOW this past weekend although the weather wasn't. Anglers that were fishing were using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait. Berkley Gulp and Powerbait soft plastics also work very well. You can also use Mudraker, Lucky or other large Jigs if you want to stay away from the dogfish.

SIDNEY – Salmon fishing was SPOTTY this past weekend. The best areas around Sidney were Coal Island, the Powder Wharf and Saanichton. Most trollers were fishing with tiny strip or anchovies in Bloody Nose and UV Green teaser heads. Others are using Coho Killer, Gibbs Needle G and AP Tackle needlefish spoons and they are catching fish as well. Anglers jigging have also been catching a lot of springs and are using Needlefish Darts and Deep Stingers. The Powder Wharf and Shag Rocks area has been good for jigging salmon.

Notable Catches – Gary Caton caught a nice 15½ lb hatchery spring on a Cop Car hootchy off Otter Point this past Saturday. Carolyn Cupido caught a really big Lingcod off the Pender Island Bluffs.

Freshwater

OVERVIEW – Fishing is GOOD in most lakes for both trout and bass. Warmer weather has really made the fish more active and the insect hatches have increased. All bass fishing is closed to retention until June 15th.

COWICHAN RIVER – The water level is very low for this time of year and the water level is 0.27 meters at the lake and near Duncan today. Fly fishing at the top end of the river for trout has been good and insect hatches are happening daily. The rainbows, cutthroats and resident brown trout are actively feeding on these hatches and migrating salmon fry. Bead head nymphs are the top producer there. Good patterns are Pheasant Tail, Prince, Gold Ribbed Hare's Ears and Stone fly nymphs. A fry imitation or a Wooly Bugger will also work, especially for the brown trout. When the fish are feeding on the surface, the Goddard Caddis has been a good fly to fish..

TROUT – Trout fishing is GOOD 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. 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 are catching trout 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. Ron flower caught a 3 lb 9 oz rainbow trout at Quamichan Lake on a Black Wedding Band spinner.

BASS – All bass fishing is closed to retention until June 15th. Bass fishing is GOOD but we're into post spawning conditions. Look for the fish suspended 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 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.

Notable Catches – Rowan Cairns caught a big Smallmouth Bass at the Elk Lake fishing dock on May 16th.

Fish Tip of the Week

For many anglers it is the beginning of fishing season and they are about to take their first trip of the year. Before you go on that long anticipated first trip, go over all your gear in detail. Replace last year's line with new line, get rid of old leaders and replace them with new ones plus clean up anything that's tarnished. It wouldn't hurt to do an inventory of all your gear and make sure that you have everything that you need before venturing forth. Every year we hear a sad story of someone out for the first time and hooking a monster, only to lose it to worn tackle that they just didn't bother to replace. Don't let that be you.