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Port McNeill Area Report

Port McNeill

The Columbia River winter springs are still around and the average size is around 10 to 14 pounds with the odd 200-pound Chinook being brought to the dock. At this time of year it’s really important to know what bait the salmon are eating and try to match that with the type gear you want to use. I suggest you try the #3.5 Glow Gut Bomb spoon or my personal favorite a green snowflake anchovy teaser head combo, combining these with Green Yellow Jelly Flasher.

When Chinook fishing, try Mitchel Bay; the tide and currents force the bait in and holds them. Another great spot is the corner of Cormorant Island; it holds some nice Chinooks. Beware that the bottom may change quickly and you could be losing a few cannon balls. It’s not all sand. There are a few sunken cables and some reefs to worry about as well. Please be aware and respect the RCA’s at the comer of Dongle and the reef of Cormorant Island. Please see DFO RCA for map location.

Halibut fishing can be some of the best you have ever seen backside of Malcolm Island, or the sand flats off of Dongle Head. These spots hold 20 to 65 pound halibut. A couple of popular methods for these areas are bottom trolling with large spoons or whole herring, jigging with Mudrakers and salmon bellies.

When you are up this way try some river fishing; you can catch the steelhead on the Nimpkish River. It’s the longest river on the Island, rising on the west slope of Mount Alston, flowing northwest into Nimpkish Lake and then north into the Broughton Strait at a point 8 km east of Port McNeill. Pink or blue Intruders and egg sucking leeches can be an effective pattern for anglers using a fly rod. If you are gear casting, try rubber worms and Gooey Bobs in bubblegum pink

Steelhead licensing is now done online. Visit the BC government license website.

There are three parts to buying a license. First part is buying your Non- Tidal (freshwater) Basic Fishing license. You can buy a one-day license, an eight-day license or an annual license. License costs depend on where you are from. Residents are considered people living in BC, non-residents are considered Canadian residents not living in BC and non-resident aliens is everyone else. If you’re from the US you’ll be buying a non-resident alien license.

Second part is buying your Steelhead Conservation License. You need this license if you’re targeting steelhead anywhere in BC. There is a flat fee for the steelhead license, $25. This is good if you’re fishing for a day or a week. For non-residents and non-resident alien it is $60.00. It can be expensive if you’re only fishing for a day or two but all license fees do go back to conservation.

The third part of your steelhead license is your Classified Waters License. If you’re a BC resident this is easy, there is one license that covers all classified rivers. If you’re not a BC resident, then it gets a little more complicated. You have to know what rivers you’re fishing and on what day you’re fishing them. Then you have to buy a classified waters license for each of those days. Best advice when it comes to buying your Classified Waters License is wait, to know which river you’re fishing and when.

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

Also see the Port McNeill Archives



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