At this time of year saltwater fishing in the north Strait of Georgia and nearby islands is primarily restricted to pursuit of Chinooks and prawns, with the chance of crabs or a halibut less common choices. That said, fishing can be productive, especially for those willing to travel over to the mainland shore or close to it.
The factor dominating local Chinook abundance is to what degree they follow the herring to their mid-east coast Vancouver Island spawning grounds, and after which event how fast both the herring and Chinook disperse more widely around the inner coast. In some years springtime Chinook fishing can be really productive close to Campbell River, just southeast of town along the Vancouver Island shoreline. In other years local waters seem bereft of fish and, weather permitting, anglers have to travel some distance to find Chinook salmon.
Close to town all the usual locations around the south end of Quadra Island and along the Vancouver Island shoreline from Willow Point down to the Oyster Bay RCA are always worth a try. There’s Chinook present somewhere in this area twelve months of the year, the only question is how many and where? Given these are feeder Chinook and may be widely scattered trolling at a reasonably fast clip to cover territory is a good approach. Plugs and spoons fish well at speed, enhanced by using dummy flashers attached to the downrigger cannonball. Of course flasher and hootchy rigs can work well and, with the usual absence of dogfish at this time of year, bait in a teaser head can be used with confidence also.
If reports close to town are less positive then travelling over towards the mainland shore is a good idea. Intermediate spots like Viner Point at the bottom end of Read Island or around the dropoff adjacent to the Cortes Reef bell buoy or nearby Twin Islands are always worth a try. Further over, Lewis Channel on the east side of Cortes Island and Frances Bay at the entrance to Ramsay Arm produce fish every year. The bait here is frequently smaller herring or hake so size your lures or bait accordingly. One up side to travelling to these parts is the prawn fishing is generally more productive than closer to town, an added bonus to offset the higher gas costs!
The closest consistent halibut opportunity to Campbell River at this time of year occurs in lower Johnstone Strait near Kelsey Bay. It shouldn’t take more than an hour to trailer your boat to the ramp, and on the slower tides of the cycle some productive halibut fishing is enjoyed there every year.
Also see the Campbell River Archives
- Island Fisherman
- February 12, 2018
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