Port Hardy Fishing Report – Island Fisherman Magazine

Port Hardy Fishing Report


Find out what’s working and what’s not when fishing in the Port Hardy area on Northern Vancouver Island. Tips, best practices, places and the go-to lures are just a sample of what you’ll find in our fishing report.

 

Port Hardy Tides



 

Port Hardy Weather

 


Port Hardy Fishing Report

September 2019

The 2019 summer fishing season has wrapped up, and on the North Island it was fairly consistent with the odd peak and valley. June and July were gangbusters out of both Port Hardy and Port McNeill. August was full of larger fish, but quantity was not as high as earlier in the season. June and July teenage Chinook were plentiful on the backside of Malcolm Island. August slowed slightly, but the average size increased dramatically to make up for it—perfect timing as the slot size was eliminated. Needlefish were common, and I know spoons are becoming quite popular, but I firmly believe bait always gets the largest Chinook. For me, in both Hardy and McNeill anchovy outfished spoon/hoochie 90% of the time.

The fall is upon us, and the winter Chinook fishery on the north island can be quite good, especially at Duval Point and Daphne Point. The north island is also famous for freshwater opportunities for trout and steelhead, but remember to always check the regulations to ensure where you are fishing is open and what restrictions may be in place. I absolutely love the north island during the autumn months, and if you get a chance to come visit in the fall, throw out a cast or two in any of our hundreds of lakes and rivers. I’m sure something will be hungry!

Our election is not far off, and I hope when you head to the ballot box you remember who will support sport fishing going forward.

 

David Summers
Serengeti Fishing Charters
www.serengetifishingcharters.com

Port Hardy Fishing Report Archives

August 2019

This season has been marked by consistent fishing on the north island as a whole, and the Port McNeill and Port Hardy hotspots are no exception. To make things even better, this summer has been one of the calmest I’ve ever seen, with little wind minus the odd NW blow in the afternoon that Johnstone and Queen Charlotte Strait are well known for.

Chinook fishing is now open for retention, but be sure to always check the local regulations. This has to be one of the best Chinook fisheries we have seen in many years, right from the beginning of June, which makes DFO’s regulations even more nonsensical.

Port Hardy’s hotspots have been Duval Point as well as Castle Rock, with Jeannette Light going off here and there as well. Average-sized Chinook have been in the 15- to 18-lb range, with the largest I’ve heard so far being in the mid 40s. Bites have been tide dependent, with slack tide bites being the best by far, but even on off tides you’d see a bite every 30 minutes or so. As cliché as it sounds, depths really do depend on where the bait is located. Have that sounder on and mark the bait—I always find the best depth to be just under the bait ball. My favourite depths for finding the bait at Castle Rock and Duval are 69 and 81 ft. Personally, I’ve always been a bait guy, so anchovy with glow green and watermelon heads are my go-to. There has been a lot of squid around this year, though, so a white cuttlefish or octopus hoochie would work wonders as well.

Port McNeill fishing on the backside of Malcolm Island has been above average all season. There are lots of needlefish in this area, so try small AP spoons or anchovy closer to bottom. If the bite dies off there, head to the storied Baronet Pass or ÒThe WallÓ (south side of Parson’s Island). These two places often produce the largest Chinook of the year in the area. If you do catch a 35-lb (or heavier) Chinook, always consider releasing it so future generations get a chance at a hog. Remember Òright rod to the rocksÓ while trolling these areas, as certain days can get a little crowded!

Bottom fishing and halibut fishing has been great around smaller tides in both areas. For halibut, off the Hardy airport shoreline will really heat up come end of August/September as coho head up the Keogh River. Taylor Bank, when not hit by longliners, is one of the most consistent halibut fishing spots in the area. If close to Baronet Pass, give the mouth of Knight Inlet a try for lingcod in the many pinnacles in the area (be wary of the Rockfish Conservation Area), and the sand flats in 280 to 320 ft for halibut.

Be safe, have fun, and remember, tight spins catch the most fins!

 

David Summers
Serengeti Fishing Charters
www.serengetifishingcharters.com

May 2019

I truly love my own backyard, as I get the best of both fisheries. The arrival of spring brings calmer seas and better weather, although we seem to get an abundance of liquid sunshine.

By mid- to late May, the Chinook will start moving through and keep increasing in size and numbers until the end of August and early September. Try Duval Point with a cut plug herring on the slack, then run down to Daphne Point (sometimes called Daphne Island) to finish things off. You may also want to try the new Gibbs Herring Aid flasher and spoon combo or teaser head combo. I swear by it.

This year the Chinook salmon fishing will be catch and release until July 15, but there are still many opportunities for prawning and crabbing and bottom fishing that will provide you with an extremely enjoyable day on the water. The average size spring is around 17 to 20 lbs, with the odd 22- to 24-lb Chinook popping up. Try trolling around 45 to 100 ft, but pay attention to your GPS—there are several spots where the bottom just loves to sneak up on you, and it will claim your cannonballs. This will definitely impact your fishing time in a bad way, boys and girls.

Port Hardy and Port McNeill halibut fishing started in early March, but you have to have some real local knowledge to hunt these flat ones. While May halibut fishing in Port Hardy offers many different shoals with tons of structure to fish, give a try to the sand flats near the airport. These spots hold 20- to 50-lb halibut, and a couple of popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling with large spoons or spreader bar with whole herring, or Gibbs Delta Mudrakers and salmon bellies.

This year’s halibut limit will be one halibut of 125 cm, or one above 90 cm and one below 90 cm. We hope you all enjoy the new size increase, and you can still catch one a day and have two in possession. Please ensure you record your halibut lengths and answer questions from our fish observers. The data they collect is very important to our retention limits. So tips up, tight lines, and keep on fishin’!

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

March 2019

The long-anticipated arrival of spring brings calmer seas and better weather. It’s been a very cold February, with lots of below zero nights and snow. But now it’s time to go fishing.

By mid-to-late May the Chinook will start moving through and keep increasing in size and numbers until the end of August and early September. Try Duval Point with a cut plug herring on the slack tide. You may also want to try a Kingfisher Cookies and Cream spoon and a Hot Spot Black Mamba flasher. The #5 Gibbs Delta Gold Clendon Stewart Spoon is a personal favorite as well. When nothing else will work, give it a try; we have had great success.

This year salmon fishing has been decent, with the average size spring coming in around 12 to 20 lbs and the odd 21- to 23-lb Chinook brought to the dock. Try trolling around 45 to 100 ft and pay attention to your GPS—there are several spots the bottom just loves to sneak up on you and defiantly claim your cannonballs. Also, while fishing in Port Hardy please visit our good friends at Redden Net; they will certainly try to take care of all your tackle needs.

Port Hardy and Port McNeill halibut fishing require some real local knowledge to hunt and bag a few of these flat ones. Popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling with large spoons or spreader bar with 10-inch power grub, whole herring, or Delta Mudrakers & salmon bellies. Please ensure you record your halibut lengths and answer questions from our fish observers. The data they collect is very important to our retention limits.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

Sept-Dec 2018

As the season starts to wind down in September, there are plenty of opportunities to nail a few shiny ones. Duval Point and Daphne Point are never bad places to try on the early morning slack/flood tide and are some of my favorite Port Hardy places to fish. But a trip to the Gordon Islands or the Deserters Group can also pay off in a big way. Try between 80 and 120 ft for a big Chinook, and 35 to 80 ft for pinks and coho. Try the Green Splatter Glow anchovy teaser head and O’Ki Tackle Phantom series flasher; cut plug herring is also a popular method. Please beware that you will be moving far slower than other anglers while fishing this method.

For Port Hardy halibut fishing in September, head for some dependable places such as the sand flats near the airport, Taylor Bank, or Ripple Passage. These spots offer many different shoals with tons of structure to fish. Study your GPS and watch for the slack tides. But to be successful, you need some real local knowledge to hunt these flat ones.

These spots hold 25- to 65-lb halibut, and a couple of popular methods for these areas are bottom-trolling with large spoons or whole herring, or jigging with Delta Mudrakers and salmon bellies from Gibbs. But this pro guide prefers to anchor for his halibut, and I use a mix of bait and jigging.

Please ensure you record your halibut lengths, and answer questions from our fish observers. Your catch counts.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

August 2018

August provides some excellent chances for nailing the big one you’ve been looking for. The Deserter island group is a great Chinook producer; try fishing between 60 and 80 ft. Try the GJFSF Green Haze teaser head or # 4 Swiftsure spoon with Lemon Lime Chartreuse Moon Jelly Flasher from Gibbs. Also try Duval Point, or Daffine on a low slack. Your best combos will be a #3.5 Homeland Security spoon and Monkey Puke flasher, or Midnight Mist flasher and Glo Flow Green and Red Titan spoon by Oki Tackle. Both sizes of anchovies will work here. I prefer the 5′ to 5′ anchovy, but I will leave it up to you. Try the Yellow Green Mist Glow teaser head. I have also had success on the small Atomic Plugs and micro flashers–old school sometimes works best. This year’s salmon fishing so far has been pretty good–the average spring around is 20 to 25 lbs, with the odd 35- to 39-lb Chinook being brought to the dock.

Port Hardy halibut fishing has remained good so far. Try the sand flats at the Airport and Taylor Bank; both offer many shoals with tons of structure to fish. Also look for large shoals or pinnacles on your GPS; these spots should hold baitfish the halibut feed off. These spots hold 20- to 65-lb halibut. Popular methods are bottom trolling with large spoons or whole herring, or with Delta Mudrakers and salmon bellies. I prefer to anchor for halibut. Please ensure you record your halibut lengths and answer questions from our fish observers. Also please remember how important it is to identify your catch properly when you are asked by the observer–giving the wrong answer can do more harm than good.

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Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

July 2018

Port Hardy, located on Vancouver Island’s northeast shore on Queen Charlotte Strait, is known as one of the best places on the island to catch all five salmon species. July provides some excellent chances at nailing the big one you’ve been looking for.

The Deserters Group is a pretty good early Chinook producer–try fishing between 70 and 100 feet. For coho and chum in early July, try Duval Point, Hardy Bay, and Masterman Island. Your best combo will be the #4 Atomic Plug Green-White Glow and Lila Micro Flasher or Monkey Puke Flasher and Glo-Flow Green and Red Titan spoon by Oki Tackle.

You can also try fishing Wall Street as well if you know the secret code–try the #4 Swiftsure spoon and Lemon Lime flasher from Gibbs Delta Tackle or the Yellow Green Mist JDF Green Maverick Jellyfish Flasher by Oki Tackle. Both sizes of anchovies will work here. You may also want to try trolling slow using a cut-plug herring. While doing this, please be mindful of the other boaters moving in a faster tack. This year salmon fishing has been pretty good; the average size spring around is 20 to 25 lbs and the odd 32- to 38-lb Chinook being brought to the dock. Mid-July will hold pinks–try a Purple & Pink Squirt, but use a bigger hook; the Chinooks will hit this as well, and if you have an undersized hook say bye-bye to your shiny friend. Hopefully we will see some sockeye retention again for July and August–fingers crossed.

Port Hardy halibut fishing has remained good so far. While halibut fishing in July, try the sand flats at the airport; it offers many different shoals with tons of structure to fish. Also look for large shoals or pinnacles on your GPS; these spots should hold bait which the halibut feed off of. But you have to have some real local knowledge to hunt these flat ones and succeed. These spots hold 20- to 65-lb halibut, and a couple of popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling with large spoons or whole herring. Try jigging with Delta Mudrakers and salmon bellies.

Please ensure you record your halibut lengths and answer questions from our fish observers. Please see the DFO website for IREC info and record your halibut catch. The data they collect is very important to our retention limits. As a professional angler I can’t stress this enough. It’s an absolute must; please do your part.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

June 2018

In June, Duval Point is usually the early Chinook producer. Try the Happy Hooker Titian spoon and Yellow-Green Mist Big Shooter flasher or a Green Haze teaser head.

You should also try the #4 Tossed Salad spoon and Lemon Lime Series LLC Chartreuse Moon Jelly flasher. This seems to be the most effective combo this year. You may also want to try trolling slow using a cut-plug herring. While doing this, please be mindful of the other boaters moving in a faster tack, so you don’t cause traffic issues for others around you.

This year salmon fishing has been pretty good. The average size spring has been 15 to 25 lbs with the odd 28- to 32-lb Chinook being brought to the dock. Try trolling around 45 to 100 feet. Pay attention to your GPS, because there are several spots where the bottom just loves to sneak up on you, and it loves eating cannon balls. Don’t be afraid to adjust your speed to see what’s most effective.

While fishing in Port Hardy, please visit our good friends at Redden Net–they will certainly try to take care of all your tackle needs, crab pots, or boat lines.

Port Hardy halibut fishing has remained good so far, with fishing coming from Pine Island and Bukle Group, but you have to have some real local knowledge to hunt these flat ones.

For halibut fishing in June, Port Hardy offers many different shoals with tons of structure to fish. Try the sand flats at the Airport or Taylor Bank. These spots hold 20- to 75-lb halibut, and a couple of popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling with large spoons, whole herring (same set up as you would with anchovy), or Mudrakers and salmon bellies.
Please ensure you record your halibut lengths and answer questions from our fish observers. Please see the DFO website for IREC info and record your halibut catch. The data they collect is very important to our retention limits. As a professional angler I can’t stress this enough. It’s an absolute must folks, so please do your part.

We would also like to mention the issues around identifying your catch with special concern to yelloweye over canary rock cod. Yelloweye have bright yellow eyes and canaries do not. If you suspect you have an incorrect one on please bring it up slowly to avoid barotrauma–aka ‘pressure shock’–and have a descending device ready.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

Spring 2018

The arrival of spring brings calmer seas and better weather, although we seem to get an abundance of liquid sunshine, some years more than others.

By mid- to late May the Chinook will start moving through and keep in- creasing in size and numbers until the end of August and early September.

Try Duval Point with a cut plug herring on the slack, then run down to Daffine Island to finish things off. You may also want to try a Monkey Puke Flasher (Oki Tackle) and a #5 Gibbs Gold Clendon Stewart spoon, my favourite tackle combo. I swear by it. When nothing else will work, you can also try out some glow spoons from Pesca Lures.

This year salmon fishing has been pretty good; the average size spring around is 15 to 20 pounds and the odd 23- to 25-pound Chinook being brought to the dock. Try trolling around 45 to 100 feet; pay attention to your GPS as there are several spots the bottom just loves to sneak up on you and will definitely claim your cannon- balls. Also, while fishing in Port Hardy, please visit our good friends at Redden Net. They will certainly try to take care of all your tackle needs.

Port Hardy and Port McNeill halibut fishing started in early April, but you have to have some real local knowledge to hunt these flat ones. While May halibut fishing in Port Hardy offers many different shoals with tons of structure to fish, give a try to the sand flats near the airport. These spots hold 20- to 60-pound halibut, and a couple of popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling with large spoons or a spreader bar with 10-inch power grub, whole herring or with Delta Mudrakers and salmon bellies.

This year’s hali fishing will be a little more challenging with a smaller slot size, but skilled anglers should have no problem filling your coolers with your favourite fish. Please ensure you record your halibut lengths and answer questions from our fish observers. The data they collect is very important to our retention limits. So tips up and tight lines and keep on fishin’!

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

April 2018

With the arrival of spring brings calmer seas and better weather, although we seem to get an abundance of liquid sunshine, some more years than another. You still need to pick your days when fishing at this time of the year, paying attention to weather and the tides.

The winter springs are still about still feeding in Hardy Bay and the bottom of Daffine Island. Try a #4 Glow West Coast Express Pesca Fishing spoon or the #4 Blue Nickle Mist Oki Spoon. Combine either of these with the Silver Fever Flasher from Hotspot and you’re ready to rock and roll. The average size winter spring around is between 10 and 14 pounds. Try trolling around 45 to 100 feet; pay attention to your GPS as there are several spots where the bottom just loves to sneak up on you and it will definitely claim your cannon balls.

Halibut fishing starts in early March; many different shoals around the area have great structure and will hold fish. Try the sand flats near the Airport or off of Story’s Beach These spots hold 20- to 65-pound halibut. Popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling. I sometimes will use a rod holder than actively jigging; rig a spreader bar with herring, salmon belly strips, squid, or octopus. Large Berkley Power Bait Glow or White Power Grubs work exceptionally well on a spreader bar, or rigged on a lead head jig.

Please ensure you record your halibut lengths, from our fish observers. The data they collect is very important to our retention limits. Please participate in the DFO IREC Survey, your catch counts. We would also like to add that if you see illegal long lining equipment meaning no numbers or in restricted areas, please inform MPO right away; take a picture and date stamp it with the area it was in. The fishing rules and regulations apply to everyone.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

Sept/Dec 2017

As the season starts to wind down in September there are plenty of opportunities to hook a few shiny ones. Duval Point and Daffine Island are never bad places to try on the early morning slack/flood tide; it’s one of my favorite Hardy places to fish. But a trip to the tip of the Gordon Islands and the Deserters Group can also pay off in a big way. Try between 50 and 130 feet for those big Chinook and 30 to 60 feet for pinks and coho. Try the 252 Coho Special Glow JFD anchovy teaser head and the 724 Lila Jelly Fish Flasher, or another great standby is the #5 50/50 Clendon Stewart spoon, and the 50/50 Chrome /brass Wonder spoons with a Green Chartreuse flasher. Cut-plug herring and anchovy is still a popular method. Beware that you will be moving far slower than other anglers while fishing this method.

This is also the prime period for fly fishing off the estuaries and beaches, where pink salmon will hold until the first good rain, usually at some point in early to mid-September. Pretty well any pink-coloured fly will attract them. Casting spoons, weighted spinners and small drift-jigs are another option. Hot pink works well, as do silver or gold with metallic blue, hot pink or chartreuse highlights.

For some great halibut fishing head for Shadwell Passage, the sand flats at the Airport, Taylor Bank or Ripple Passage. These spots offer many different shoals with tons of structure to fish. Rig a spreader bar with a 1½- to 2-pound sinker and bait up with salmon belly, a shishkebob of octopus and herring, or simply a white Berkley Power Grub. Drop it down to the bottom where the depth sounder indicates about 300 to 400 feet (90 to 120 metres on the marine chart). Top-rigged dink and pipe jigs with colourful skirts are also a good bet, but sweeten them up with a bit of fresh bait. Have a good study of your GPS and watch for the slack tides. I prefer to anchor for halibut and I use a mix of bait and jigging to find out what is working on any day. Please ensure you record your halibut lengths and answer questions from our fish observers. Your catch counts.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

August 2017

August provides some excellent chances at nailing the big one you’ve been looking for. Castle Point is a great Chinook producer. Also, Duval Point, Hardy Bay, Gordon Islands, and off Round Island have all been productive at depths between 60 and 160 feet.

Use the GJFSF Green Haze teaser head or #4 Swiftsure spoon with Lemon Lime Chartreuse Moon Jelly Flasher. Good combos might be #3.5 Homeland security spoon and Monkey Puke Flasher or Midnight Mist Flasher and glow flow green and red titan spoon. Both size of anchovies will work here or the GJSF Yellow Haze Teaser Head. I have also had successes on the small Tomic plugs using a micro flasher.

This year salmon fishing has been pretty good with the average size spring around 15 to 25 pounds and the odd 28- to 35-pound Chinook being brought to the dock.

Lots of halibut have been taken this year from the usual spots like Gordon Channel, the Buckle Group, Ripple Passage, Morgan Shoal, and Taylor Bank, in sizes ranging from little chickens to big barn doors. Chicken halibut are most abundant and by far the best eating, and also a lot safer to get into your boat without breaking bones or equipment. These critters bite readily on herring, octopus and salmon chunks fished off a spreader bar, and most jigs are very effective. Good depths are where the bottom reads 80 to 120 metres, fairly flat and with a gravel or sand surface.

Please ensure you record your halibut lengths on your license and answer questions from our fish observers.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com

February 2017

The arrival of spring brings calmer seas and better weather although we seem to get an abundance of liquid sunshine. You still need to pick your days when fishing in March and April. Whether you fish locally around Duval Point and the Masterman Islands or run all the way out to Pine Island, there are always plenty of great fishing opportunities for salmon and bottom fish around the Port Hardy area.

You will want to try the Skinny G Trap shack spoon and Yellow Green Jelly Flasher or the #4 Cop Car Glow Spoon or Blue Nickle Mist spoon and High Roller Flasher. Try trolling around 45 to 100 feet and pay attention to your GPS. There are several spots at which the bottom just loves to sneak up on you and it will definitely claim your cannon balls.

Port Hardy halibut fishing starts February 1. While halibut fishing in March and April, Port Hardy offers many different shoals with tons of structure to fish. Try the sand flats near the Airport or off of Story’s Beach, These spots hold 20- to 65-pound halibut and a couple of popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling with large spoons or Gibbs Spreader Bar with eight-inch hali hawg grub, whole herring or with Delta Mudrakers. Please ensure you record your halibut lengths.

 

Steven Cahill
Hook’n Them Up Fishing Charters
(855) 805-3474 (FISH) toll-free
(250) 230-0579 mobile
www.vanislefishing.com


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