Find out what’s working and what’s not when fishing in the Esperanza Inlet area on North Central Vancouver Island. Tips, best practices, places and the go-to lures are just a sample of what you’ll find in our fishing report.
Esperanza Inlet Fishing Report
The best of the best fishing for salmon is upon us!! Yes, all the efforts of the federal hatchery at Conuma River and the many volunteer hatchery efforts at the Burman, Gold, and Canton Rivers in Nootka Sound and the Tahsis, Leiner and Zeballos Rivers in Esperanza Inlet are paying off big time. With more than four million Chinook/spring/king fry and two million coho/silver fry being released annually, an average of 84,000 salmon are returning. Come get your share!
Before the first fall rains arrive these fish will be stacked up and hungry at all the usual places. In Esperanza, the sweet spots are between Catala Island and Double Island, Rosa Harbour, and Pin Rocks, while at Nootka they’re at Coopte Pt., Fidalgo Passage, and Camel Rock. All of these areas are basically inside water fishing. While the outside waters of Esperanza and Nootka remain productive, it is usually not necessary to go outside to fill your fish box. For the inside waters, the best gear is Flasher Hi Vis, UV reflective, and Glow patterns; the best baits are Rapala Flash Flys, Double Glow hoochies, Glow Cop Car Coho Killers, and Glow Dark Green Lighthouse lures, and the same colors with Glow Coyote spoons will all get the job done. Have you noticed the theme? Whatever you use, make it glow or double glow.
As always, all of the aforementioned baits are imitating anchovies and needlefish bait. A properly rolling anchovy will normally outfish most artificial baits. The trick is getting it to roll properly. Most of the anchovy headers out there will help with this. Again, Cop Car Glow scale pattern or Green Glow headers work well. Read and follow the instructions on the package, then hold on–FISH ON!
The depth and speed for trolling your bait off your downrigger varies with location, time of day, and tides, but generally you want to fish just above the bait you will be seeing on your sounder–about 30 to 50 ft. at 2.5 mph +/- .5mph.
For bottom fishing, 2018 has proven to one of the best years ever for 35 to 55-lb halibut and 15- to 35-lb lingcod.
Westview Marina and Lodge, Tahsis
(800) 992-3252 – Toll-Free
(250) 934-7672 – Cell
Successfully Serving the Fishing Public for 26 years
Esperanza Inlet Fishing Report Archives
Where to Fish
Esperanza Inlet is the sweet spot between the south side of Catala Island and Double Island on an incoming tide. In the area from the outer Black Rock/Low Rock area to outerÊHigh Rocks on 75- to 90-ft contour line, fish deep just off the bottom for the best results. The world-famous Ferrer Point is red hot in early July, and Rosa Harbor area and the north side of Centre Island over to Garden Point are always good options, especially on those windy days.
On Nootka Sound in early July, Beano Creek and outer Bajo Reef will produce well. The salmon move into the outer and middle sound from mid-July to early August. Nootka Lighthouse to Coopte and Hoiss Points–and every point in between–will be holding Chinook on the west side of the sound. On the east side Burdwood Point, Fidalgo Passage, San Carlos Point, and Camel Rocks are all hot spots.
How to Fish
Small anchovies, Coho Killers and Coyote Spoons, and Flash Fly and Glow/Pearl/Green hoochies all work well. Trolling deep at 10 feet off the bottom often will load you up on halibut, lingcod, and salmon. When you find suspended schools of bait, run your gear about 10 feet above them. Hold on–fish on!
Bottom fishing/catching is very good in our area, with generous limits. A mixed daily bag would fill your fish box with halibut, greenling, cabezon, lingcod and more! Our guides have been using large durable swimbaits in glow colours for best results recently. Large herring and jigs also work well. If you are fishing out on your own boat, stop by the Westview Marina Tackle Shop, and we will get the charts out with GPS coordinates to help you find the bottom fish hotspots. When bottom fishing, have a descender device in your boat to save these long-lived fish, which you return to the water.
Owner OperatorsWestview Marina and Lodge, Tahsis
250-934-7672 or 800-992-3252
Successfully Serving the Fishing Publicfor 26 years
Low Rock to Half-Tide Reef is an excellent troll. Blind Reef, which is often called ‘The Pins’, is a great spot for these holding/feeding Chinook. The world-famous Ferrer Point is second to none for large schools of salmon. On an incoming tide the fish usually are near the shoreline contours and kelp beds from Double Rock well into Hospital Bay. Remember, you are fishing one of the best spots on the west coast of Vancouver Island so the action is usually fast and productive. When you hook up, pull out of the trolling pattern if possible. Double Rock always lives up to its other name, ‘Double Hookups!’
Beano Creek holds salmon at the tip of the reef at the creek and out front of the caves just off the kelp. Maquinna Point to San Miguel is another excellent troll. Look at your chart or GPS, and you will see a narrow trough (about 40- to 120-feet deep) that runs from off shore in.
Get in it. The fish are usually 60 to 90 feet down. Watch your sounder, you will see the bait. Fish 10 feet above the bait. Then hold on. ‘Fish On!’
Keep it small. Use four- to five-inch spoons; Tomic, Coyote, Titan, and Coho Killers.
Colours that work well are Glow/Green, Glow Army Truck, Green Image, or Envy; also Hoochie-Yamashita/Goldstar, Lighthouse LED, Yo-Zuri, North Pacific, and the Jensen Flash Fly; and all with variations of Glow or Double Glow, Splatter Green, Speckled Turds, Confetti, and Oil Slick Glow. As always, the best bait is what all the above are imitating. Yes, a five-inch anchovy in an Anchovy Special, Bulletroll, or Krippled Head. It will roll perfectly at two to three mph behind your favorite flasher and usually out-fish the imitations.
Bottom fishing/catching in the area for halibut, lingcod, and much more is excellent.
Stop by the Westview Marina tackle shop and we will get out the chart and GPS coordinates to the local hot spots for you. We also have the preferred gear–Lighthouse LED nine-inch Flash Green jigs, the new 10-inch Supper Tuf Glow swim baits, Triple Glow B2 Squid 12 ounce jigs, and Large/XL Herring.
Owner OperatorsWestview Marina and Lodge, Tahsis
250-934-7672 or 800-992-3252
This year’s herring spawn is going to be best in the last 10 years. And this year’s run of Chinook/king/spring is expected to be from 700,000 to one million-plus for the Columbia and other Washington and Oregon coastal rivers. Add to that our usual crop of winter springs, and there is a lot of opportunity.
Where to fish
The mouths of Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet are both excellent bets.
These areas are on inside and outside waters. For Esperanza inside waters fish all of Hecate Channel. It is especially hot fishing at CeePeeCee, at the mouth of Mc- Bride Bay, Steamer Point and out to Centre Island. Outside waters to fish are Pin Rocks, Low Rock, Catala Island and the world famous Ferrer Point. For Nootka inside waters fish Anderson Point, Marvinas, Burdwood to Escalante and Nootka light area. On the outside fish Maquinna Rocks, Bajo Reef and Beano Creek.
Baits that work
It is all about matching the hatch. Medium size this year—herring, larger anchovies, Coho Killers and five-inch Coyote spoons, Flash Fly and glow/pearl/green hootchies all work well. Trolling deep at 10 feet off the bottom often will load you up on halibut, ling cod and salmon. When you find suspended schools of bait, run your gear about 10 feet above them.
Bottom fishing is very good with generous limits. A mixed daily bag would fill your fish box with halibut, yelloweye, greenling, cabezon, lingcod and more. Our guides have been using large Durable Swimbaits in glow colours for best results in recent spring and early summer. Large herring and jigs also work well. If you are fishing out of your own boat stop by the Westview Marina’s Tackle Shop and we will get the charts out with GPS coordinates to help you find the bottom fish hot spots.
- Island Fisherman
- February 12, 2018
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