Sports fishing in Nanoose Bay and the surrounding waters of central Vancouver Island has been nothing short of fantastic to start the 2018 calendar year. We have had an abundance of winter Chinooks, averaging between 10-15 pounds, being caught with a great consistency. These “feeder chinooks” are very aggressive as they are looking to bulk-up on the high numbers of baitfish (mostly herring) in our area. These are considered to be some of the best eating salmon on our coast as they are extremely high in fat content.
The winter Chinook fishery should hold strong until the baitfish begin to dissipate in the coming weeks. We advise trying gear similar to what is used for summer Chinooks, but suggest smaller presentations. The water clarity in the winter allows for use of simplified flashers and more subdued colors. Smaller-sized anchovies and standard hoochies can be highly productive. Regardless of your chosen lures and baits, it is critical to be not more than 10-20 feet off of the ocean floor to find these deep swimmers.
Tip: Having glow material on flashers, spoons, hoochies, and teaser heads can help to grab the attention of passing fish in the deep / low light conditions. Try using a longer leader (48”- 60”) to help provide slower action on your lures. Chinooks tend to feed near structures so focus your attention on a few of our favorite land features (e.g. the points off either Ballenas Island or Winchelsea Island).
The early season bite begins in April with Chinook and continues through the year. By May, both rockfish and Lingcod are open for retention. During the summer months salmon enter through the narrows, just north of Nanoose, before dispersing to the many creeks and rivers. We have access to both mainland and east-island salmon runs and our local anglers boast the advantage of access to this congestion. Nanoose Bay provides island fishermen year round access to great salmon fishing, bottom-fishing, crabbing, prawning and more.
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- Island Fisherman
- February 12, 2018
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