Winter Harbour BC Fishing Report
By Greg Vance, The Outpost at Winter Harbour | Last updated: July 24th, 2015
The last couple of weeks here in Winter Harbour have been as odd as we have seen in over a decade. The Salmon and Hali fishing has been literally stupid good since early June. Seems that everything was happening at least 3 weeks ahead of last year, as we saw thick schools of good sized Springs and Coho here in phenomenal abundance. Pick the day, and the fish were coming up gorged on either Squid, Herring or Needlefish. Oddly, the Lingcod fishing hasn't been great. Noone can really put their finger on it, other than we recognized unusually heavy commercial pressure near shore this spring, and it seemed like a lot of the nearshore regular humps and bumps got cleaned up.
As with most of the West Coast, we had over two months without ANY meaningful rain. Hard to believe, but our lawn in Winter Harbour was burnt brown... NEVER seen that... EVER ... Really odd for here. So a week and a bit ago along comes a fairly good South East gale, and with it comes two-three days of really tough fishing conditions and pretty heavy rain. Everything settles down, and all of a sudden everyone realizes that the SE storm has pushed 65F BLUE WATER right to shore, and even right up into the mouth of Quatsino sound and WH. We literally had clear Tropical Blue Water in Winter Harbour at our dock.
The typical nearshore water temp for this time of year is between 52-58F... it was 67F at Lippy Point and in most of Brooks Bay, 65F at Cains Island Lighthouse. There were Blue Sharks, Sun Fish and a ridiculous amount of jelly fish right up into the mouth of the sound.... and there were Albacore Tuna all over the nearshore waters. Unfortunately, the warm water and rain sent the Salmon running for cover, and things went off the bite for over a week.
CRAZY . Guys were getting 20-30 Albacore a day within 5 miles of shore off Lawn, Lippy and Top Knot Points.
Out of the blue, the high pressure builds back in, it blows NW 25 for 4 straight days, and the cool water pushes back in shore.... and with it rolls in the Springs and Coho again. I can't say its hot and heavy like it was a couple of weeks ago, but guys are getting their fish. The Blue Water is still hanging 15 miles offshore, so lots of guys are running out and having some really eventful Tuna fishing days.
Interestingly, ALOT of the Springs that are coming in, are coming from the shallows right up on shore. Cains Island and the near shore waters off Lippy and Kwakiutl have been excellent. Guys are getting the majority of their fish 20-50 ft down in less than a 100ft of water. There has been really good action about a mile off Cains Isle as well in about 180 ft... and there has been some HOGS caught at Cliffe point if you put in your time. Oddly, the Springs are still coming in stuffed with small brown / white Squid... so UV GLOW / Splatter and Glow White hoochies have been excellent. We have seen incredible success with the Yozuri 103 UV Splatter Squid pattern with the Pirate Den LED BULLET inserts. The fish are clearly targeting Squid aggressively.
The good news is, as CRAZY has the water has been, everyones got a smile on their face, and there are some pretty crazy Tuna / Shark experiences being shared. The shift from cold to warm and back to cold water has also seemed to help replenish the Lings, as there have been a bunch of the racks the last few days.
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