The latest tide, weather, and fishing reports of what’s hot, and what’s not for fishing the Vancouver, BC area. Tips, best practices, places and the go-to lures are just a sample of what you’ll find in our fishing report.
Howe Sound Marine Map
Howe Sound Marine Weather Forecast
Howe Sound Fishing Report
Vancouver & Howe Sound’s local winter Chinook fishery has been very similar to the last couple years—steady & consistent. Location is the key, along with gear choice. If bait is showing on the sounder, you can bet feeder Chinook are close by. Set a time limit when working one small area—if bait is not present, a small move can pay off.
The great part of local winter fishing in March is that many areas are productive at the same time—Vancouver Inner Harbour, QB, Bell Buoy, or any stretch of water ranging in depth from 100′ to 150′. Howe Sound spots include the north side of Bowen, Tunstall Bay, and out towards Roger Curtis and Gower Pt. North Howe Sound is also a nice option providing winds are calm.
The best gear choices in the winter months are anchovy/flasher, herring strip (cut your own), spoon/flasher, or hoochie/flasher. In recent years, all have been excellent, but one or two combos always seem to dominate. It’s always smart to match colour to conditions, and water clarity and sky colour are critical factors for flasher choice. When fishing bait, fresh is best along with long leaders. Spoons and hoochies can be bright green/yellow one day and darker colours the next. The most sporting and sometimes most effective way to fish winter Chinook is by using gear without a flasher, which also allows you to fish deep very effectively, creating less drag with a great fight from the fish.
Be sure to check current regulations regarding closures in some areas and size restrictions for 2020.
September should continue to provide great Chinook fishing in our local Vancouver waters. We should also see a good run of pink and coho enter our waters. The mouth of the Fraser, North Arm Light, T10 marker, and Sandheads are all great locations to put some time in, as well the harbour and Bell Buoy area, provided the areas are open to sport fishing (check the current DFO regulations).
Hoochies have been producing well in the early morning, but as these fish mature, large anchovy and large herring are the ticket in various colours of Rhys Davis, Krippled Anchovy, and Super Herring teaser heads. Drop the flasher and fish without it—it provides great sport on the Chinook and coho. Go see a reputable tackle dealer like Highwater Tackle, Pacific Angler, or Pacific Net and Twine to get the teaser heads required for your bait.
Depths for these Chinook can be as shallow as 15 ft in the early morning, but as the sun comes up, 60 to 80 ft is the ticket.
2019 is proving to be a special year for anglers throughout the gulf’s inside waters. Chinook fishing, mixed in with some great coho action, is making it a saltwater angler’s dream. Day in and day out, there is a good consistent bite in many local hot spots. Cowan Point to Roger Curtis, Tunstall Bay, Grace Islands, Salmon Rock, and North Bowen have all produced great results in recent weeks, and the solid action should continue.
As August approaches, expect Vancouver harbour to produce regular catches of coho & Chinook. July 15 is the open day for retention of one Chinook in area 28, and August 1 is the open date for other areas locally. Coho have been consistent in the south Bowen area, with Roger Curtis being a good bet. The West Vancouver shoreline will be a good choice moving into August. Anchovies and white ghost hoochies are always a good tackle choice, fished shallow down to 80 ft on bright days. When the bite goes off, cover more ground to relocate the school. Remember, these guys move around.
Large Chinook are a trademark of August in Vancouver, and local waters including mid harbour, Bell Buoy, and the QA marker all will kick out a trophy fish thru to the fall. Large herring, anchovies, and big spoons are all effective. Most importantly, fish the tide changes and manage your depths between 30 and 90 ft.
“Consistent and excellent” is the only way to describe our spring fishing in local Vancouver waters. July should see even larger Chinook enter local waters, along with coho that will make up an excellent early summer fishery in July.
Hatchery-clipped coho can be kept, with a limit of two fish (always check the regulations for notices and changes prior to your day on the water). The coho fishery should develop, and was best last year offshore of Bowen Island around the Hump area. A fast troll with anchovies, bright-colored hoochies, and spoons generated really productive days in 2018 and should be the ticket this July. Fish shallow early in the morning—10 to 30 ft—then drop down as the light comes up.
Try a Ghost White hoochie on a 30-in leader; it’s easy to fish and produces well.
A Pink Haze flasher is also a good call. Coho like bright colors, so experiment. Some large Chinook should appear in July in Howe Sound and in the Vancouver Harbour area, with July 15 being an important date to keep your eye on for retention in certain areas—check the regs for details. Anchovies really take over in our summer fishery for Chinook, and fish the incoming flood tides for best results if you are looking for larger fish. 2019 could be a big fish year in our area so get geared up at one of the local shops such as Highwater Tackle, Pacific Angler, Pacific Net & Twine, Berry’s Bait & Tackle, or Fred’s Custom Tackle—they all stock the gear to get out on the water this summer.
June can be a hit-and-miss fishery in local Vancouver waters, but after a good May there will still be great pockets of action thru the area. The bigger story this month will be another good showing of coho, which last year provided excellent action, with good sized hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) fish. The size of these coho last year was amazing—some reached 7 or 8 lbs by late June. If you found the school in the South Bowen offshore area or tight to Bowen, it was like the good old days! Later they started to move into the harbour as is the usual pattern.
Gear selection always makes coho fishing exciting, and lures like White/Ghost hoochie, small bright spoons, or Anchovy/Flasher are hot, with a no-flasher setup being the most sporting gear for these active fish. Every piece worked well for coho last year, so starting with a good spread of bright-colored flashers, along with each previously mentioned lure, is a good bet. Hoochies were dynamite at times, and Army Truck was a good pick—pull from the archives in this fishery and you will be rewarded. Speed and depth are critical; sometimes 10 ft to 30 ft at first light, then deeper as the day brightens. When the bite stops, as it does for coho, speed up and cover ground to attract them back. It is a great thing to see the coho making such a comeback in our southern local waters, and it shows the value of habitat restoration and hatchery programs that make this happen.
Every angler has his or her own reason to get out on the water; fish to eat may be at the top of the list for some, while others are content to watch the rods all day and not see one even wiggle. But it’s playing a large fish of any species that tops the list for every angler. Fishing simply brings people together, and our local Vancouver saltwater fishing has some great opportunities this spring to come out and enjoy a day on the water.
Even if I don’t land any fish, I get motivated for my next outing to improve my technique, gear, and location choice. One of my favourite topics before any trip is discussing what anchovy, spoon, or correct colored hoochie/flasher combo will be the right call, and how will it affect my fishing? After the trip, reviewing these details with other anglers is always a learning experience.
In southern BC saltwater areas, we’ll go about 11 weeks without putting a Chinook salmon in the boat. We are entering a new era in the Pacific salmon saltwater fishery with measures that have impacted us all. Whether it was time for these measures to be enacted will be contested and debated for a long time, and results from these measures will also be judged at a future date.
In the meantime, you’ll find hatchery coho in mid to late May, a great developing local fishery that is making a major comeback! Moving ahead into the summer months, expect a great fishery to develop for Chinook, coho, and pink salmon in many locations. No matter what you’re after, an entertaining, fun, and exciting learning experience on the water is very much available with an experienced licensed/certified guide who shares a passion for angling.