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Sooke Fishing Report
September brings Chinook fishing to an end, and coho fishing begins to heat up. Anglers are allowed 2 hatchery coho per person until October 1. The remaining spring or Chinook salmon can be found close to shore in 50 to 80 ft of water in spots like the Sooke Harbour mouth, Otter Point, and Muir Creek.
Locals have success trolling long leaders behind bright green flashers in the bottom third of water for these last of the season’s Chinooks. The coho can be found farther from shore but not necessarily deeper on the downrigger—running the gear at 50 to 75 ft is quite common. Coho can usually be located by trolling south out of the Sooke Harbour mouth across the strait until you start getting bites. Once you’ve established the depth of water, you can troll parallel to shore or do circles to stay with the fish. Popular lures include anchovy, hoochies, and spoons in glow white and green colour patterns. I find that small red/pink hoochies or squirts tied on short 18-in leaders behind green flashers works well, trolled only 10 or 12 ft behind the downrigger ball.
After the coho have moved on by the end of October, it’s time to target winter Chinook and halibut. The Chinooks are usually found close to the harbour mouth and right on the bottom in 110 to 160 ft of water. They will strike a short 3-ft leader baited again with anchovy, hoochies, or spoons behind bright green flashers.
The halibut take a little more work to figure out but are definitely in the area. Most local fishers anchor for Halibut in 150 to 350 ft of water. Herring, mackerel, octopus, and salmon bellies all work very well placed on spreader bar systems tied with double-J hooks.
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The best location to fish for winter springs is near Secretary Island. Most of the salmon are close to the bottom in 100 to 140 feet. The most productive lure combo has been a white hootchy fished behind a Red/Gold flasher. Hootchies in White, Glow/Green and Purple Haze are the top choices in plastic baits. Spoons such as Skinny G’s, Coho Killers and 3.5” G Force spoons have been good. Anchovies are still the most popular choice for those fishing bait. Good choices for teaser head colors are Army Truck, Bloody Nose and Purple Haze. For flashers, Red/Gold Hot Spots, the Delta Guide Series UV Moon Jelly, Madi and the Lemon Lime Chartreuse are popular.