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South Vancouver Island BC Saltwater Fishing Report

By Tom Vaida, Island Outfitters Sportfishing Centre | Last updated: November 11th, 2014

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We recommend the following saltwater fishing charters on Vancouver Island.


Vancouver Island halibut fishing

OVERVIEW – Coho fishing is SLOWING DOWN in most areas as the fish are now entering the rivers, but some nice ones are still being caught. Winter spring fishing is PICKING UP and fish up to 14 1/2 lbs have been caught. Halibut fishing was GOOD TO EXCELLENT this past week.

SOOKE – Coho salmon fishing was SLOWER this past week but some are still being caught. Most of the coho have moved into the rivers or migrated closer to their home waters though. Anglers were having some success out in the strait in 500 to 600 feet of water and/or near the US border. We heard that the boats out the farthest produced the most coho. The winter springs have not moved in yet in any sizeable quantity although a few decent ones have been caught. There are lots of small grilse in the area. Choice of lures has stayed very similar to last week; Anchovies are working well with Green and Bloody Nose teaser heads being good colors 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.

BECHER BAY – Salmon fishing was NOT TOO BAD in East Sooke. Coho salmon are still being caught, but not as many as in previous weeks. Most of the coho are being caught at 90-110 feet on the downriggers and have been wild or unmarked fish. Most anglers are having their best results fishing anchovies. Some winter springs up to 10 lbs have been caught, and they have been coming from inside the bay. The most productive teaser heads for anchovies were the UV Green and the Bloody Nose. For flashers the Madi and the Purple Onion have been very good lately. Spoons such as G-Force in the smaller sizes have been working as well, both in Cop Car or Glow/Green.

PEDDER BAY – Coho fishing has been SPOTTY out in the strait. The majority of coho have been unclipped ones, with only a few fin clipped ones being caught.. Spring salmon fishing was FAIR for winters with fish up to 12 lbs being caught. There are lots of grilse around now, making it hard to keep the gear working for the larger salmon. Both whirl Bay and Pedder Bay are holding some winters in the 120 foot depths. Anchovies were productive for springs with UV Green and Bloody Nose teaser heads being top choices in teaser heads. Anglers are getting coho while trolling 3" to 3.5" spoons. Coho Killers and G-force spoons with both glow and green have been working the best. Squirts are working too with Yellow, Purple Haze and Gray Ghost the best patterns. The best flashers have been the Silver Betsey, Green/Silver Hot Spot and Jellyfish UV.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was EXCELLENT over the week. 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 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 has been GOOD off Victoria. Coho fishing has slowed out by the Yellow Marker buoy but was better closer in towards the harbour. Winter springs are now being caught, with the larger fish in the 10 lb range. The springs have been close in as well as out at Constance Bank. Anchovies have been working well in green and UV Chart/Flash 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 GOOD this past week out at Constance Bank and off Albert Head. Anglers are using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait with octopus being the most productive bait this past weekend. 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 SLOW for those trolling out on the Flats and in the Gap. Those anglers who went out to the banks for coho were finding a few along the tide lines. The coho have been between 50 to 70 feet on the downrigger. Some winter springs are being caught at the 70 foot deep level in 220 feet of water taking squirts and anchovy behind cop car or green flashers trolled at 3 knots. Anglers were using squirts, spoons, or tiny strip. 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 Pickle Green, J-79 and Jellyfish. Good flashers have been the Purple Onion, Green/silver or Green Jellyfish.

Halibut – Halibut fishing was EXCELLENT this past week. Halibut seem to be schooling up in the 285 to 315 foot depth on the flats close to the drop offs on the mud/sand bottom on either side of the shipping channel. Lots of Dog fish are at that depth so put a lot of bait on the set up so their mouths can't get around it Anglers are using extra large herring, salmon bellies and/or octopus for bait with octopus. 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 FAIR to GOOD near Sidney this past week. Coho are still being caught near the Pender Island Bluffs. It's been an early morning bite on most days. There are reports of winter springs at Pender too, and in the Sidney Channel from the Red Can south to the Powder Wharf. Most of the winters are just around or under the minimum size for retention but fish as large as 14½ lbs have been caught this past week. Many anglers are fishing using anchovies in UV Green teaser heads. Squirts have been out producing hootchies recently and the hot patterns for springs now are Purple Haze, Glow Below and Electric Chair. Coho Killer spoons have also been working well, especially in double glow and 50/50 colors.


Vancouver Island carp fishing

OVERVIEW – Fishing is GOOD on most lakes in the South Island area because of the recent stockings. Remember that ALL wild trout 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 on island streams and rivers.

COWICHAN RIVER – The water level is high right now but dropping. The water level in the river at the lake is 1.84 meters and downstream near Duncan it is 1.58 meters. There is lots of water for the salmon to enter the river and spawn successfully. The river has been opened to both coho and chum salmon retention until December 31st. You're now allowed to keep two chums per day. The daily limit for coho is one. The trout fishing in the mid and upper river is good to excellent. There are rainbows, cutthroats and resident brown trout that are actively feeding on salmon eggs. Egg patterns are the way to go now, and they are very effective when drifted behind a salmon redd.

TROUT – Trout fishing was GOOD on most lakes in the South Island area this past week. Check out the Vancouver Island catchable rainbow trout stocking updates.

Bank anglers are catching trout on Powerbait, Gulp Eggs, or worms while fishing from shore and right on the bottom. Yellow and Bubblegum have been good colours 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 a variety of lures. The Rhys Davis Baitrix Trout lures and UV Mini Strip Teasers work well for larger fish too. Other good trolling lures are the Apex Trout Killers with the police car one of the best and the black with silver glitter spots taking second place. Flatfish and/or Kwikfish have also been effective in sizes 5 to 7 in Frog, Black with Silver Flake or Rainbow Pattern. Smaller Rapalas in Rainbow Trout or Brown Trout patterns also work well; the jointed Rapalas have also been great for larger fish. Larger Willow Leaf Lake trolls with a size 6 hook tipped with a small 1-2″ piece of worm always produce fish. The biggest trout usually come from Langford Lake and Elk Lake.

BASS – Bass fishing is SLOWER. There have been reports of some success with spinner baits in Chartreuse, White and Black. Soft plastics rigged "Carolina Style "is also a good choice when fishing drop offs and docks, and have been 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.

CARP – Carp fishing is SLOW at Elk Lake. Corn and carp Boilies have been the best bait recently.

Fish Tip of the Week

Most savvy salmon seekers attach Gagnon or heavy cod line to the end of their downrigger lines before attaching their weights. This softer line better withstands the bottom bouncing that fishing for winter springs entails. If you prefer not to make your own, you can get commercially made Downrigger Snubbers that are designed to withstand the same abuse of bouncing on the bottom.