Find out what’s working and what’s not when fishing in the Sooke area on Southern Vancouver Island. Tips, best practices, places and the go-to lures are just a sample of what you’ll find in our fishing report.
Sooke Marine Map
Sooke Marine Weather Forecast
Sooke Fishing Report
For saltwater fishing in the Sooke area, July offers a great opportunity for halibut, cod, crab, and salmon. There are lots of dungeness crab in the harbour; many boaters are dropping traps before heading out into the Strait to target finfish. Cod can be found in front of the Sooke Bluffs in 70′ to 80′ of water, and can be trolled or jigged up with spoons, hoochies, or Buzz Bomb, Zinger, or Spinnow jigs. There are plenty of rock cod in this area—be sure to only harvest one per person (check the current regulations) and stay clear of the Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA), which is in 70′ or less of water off the Bluffs.
Halibut have been found in shallower water as we get closer to midsummer. Halibut are now being landed in 70′ to 80′ of water, especially in spots farther west of Sooke Harbour. Herring, octopus, mackerel, and salmon are all great baits for halibut in our area. Be sure to plan your halibut trips during weaker tides and lower winds to make fishing safe and enjoyable.
Chinook salmon can be found at all the local hotspots now including Trap Shack, Secretary Island, Possession Point, and Otter Point. Green and glow bait heads, spoons, and hoochies are always a local favorite. Typically, large Chinook are found closer to shore this time of year, especially early in the morning.
Looking for coho usually involves trolling out from the shallows south into the Strait until you locate a school, then (of course) trying to stay with it. When the action stops, try the north-to-south troll again until you find them. I like to use small pink hoochies or green/ glow spoons for coho with bright green flashers, starting out shallow, 30′ to 40′ on the downrigger and never really going deeper than 80′ to 90′. The Prestige Hotel has a public launch facility, and be sure to get there early to get a decent parking spot.
Contact me directly, visit Island Fisherman magazine’s fishing report section, or visit the DFO website for up-to-date regulations.
2 Reel Fishing Adventures
Saltwater fishing Sooke in June can be very exciting. Large Chinook are moving through the Georgia Strait headed for their respective rivers to finally spawn in the fall. Secretary
Island can be a great place to troll for these large spring/Chinook salmon early in the season; it has a shallow reef structure and lots of deeper water all around it. Try starting out early morning, running east/west trolling patterns on the south side of the island, with the gear shallow—25′ or 30′ on the downriggers. Remember to lengthen your leaders and the distance from the boat to the flasher; this is summer fishing.
Bring out your green gear, spoons, anchovy holders, and hoochies, and the brightest green flashers you can find. Manufacturers usually have a newer brighter green/yellow flasher every year—grab that one. As the morning goes by, drop the gear lower and gauge your results. Possession Point is very close, so keep an eye on boats fishing there as well. If you notice boats going sideways and nets coming out, you can easily troll a few hundred yards over there.
Halibut fishing is good, usually with more and more dogfish or sharks around. That means the fishing is busier, but the halibut are still there. Most serious halibut fishers in Sooke anchor for their flat fish, but they can be drifted as well. The area between Otter Point and Sheringham Point in 140′ to 200′ is a prime halibut fishing ground. The sandy bottom allows for trouble-free anchoring most of the time. Watch for anchoring too close to other boats and commercial crab lines. I find those fishers who put the time in for halibut produce, while many who show up just for the slack tide or the “turn” can come up with nothing. Bring out lots of different baits; many times, the bait makes the difference between getting a bite or not, and you never want to run out of bait.
Please check the regulations before fishing any new area, or even in your regular spot. Fisheries may have made in-season changes, depending on fish abundance.
2 Reel Fishing Adventures
Sooke Fishing Report Archives
May is traditionally a very exciting time to fish for salmon and halibut in our area. Some really nice-sized, first-of-the-season salmon are moving through the area and provide excellent sport when trolling medium or light gear. The wind turns mostly westerly, bringing warmer breezes and fresh sea air. Many anglers are now seriously gearing their boats for salmon and halibut, fishing for salmon closer to shore and higher in the water column.
This is when most fishers start to lengthen leaders and gear distance behind the trolling weight. Many believe longer the better, but remember to take into account the length of your net handle and fish fighting room in the boat when tying those long leaders.
I like 30′ behind the boat and 6′ leaders when using bait, and bring it in closer for spoons and hoochies.
Trolling close to shore in shallower water first thing in the morning can be super productive in the Trap Shack or at Otter Point, and many local boats can be seen returning to the harbour by 7 or 8 a.m., when lots of anglers are just heading out. Like many areas, salmon concentration is higher at early morning, late evening, and the tide changes. Popular colors change slightly each year, but some proven standards always seem to work in Sooke. Green, Glow Green, and White Glow work well in bait heads, hoochies and spoons. Chrome series bait heads are also popular. Small spoons like the Coho Killer and G Force series typically work very well in our waters.
Halibut fishing was slightly slowed this spring by poor weather during the opening weeks of the season. Now things should be better, with warmer weather and more bait fish around to draw the halibut into the shallows.
There are many good halibut fishing spots in Sooke, both shallow and deep. Most fishers like the slack portion of the tide, but I find they will bite in current if you work on bait presentation and make it roll or flash in the moving water. Halibut like fresh bleeding bait and are drawn in by scent. Most serious hali anglers in Sooke have an anchor system for this type of fishing, but you can drift fish the area between Otter Point and Sheringham Point with success. The bot- tom is sandy and fairly free of snags, but stay away from commercial crab fishing floats. Please check the regulations before fishing the area, and ensure you are aware of the marine weather reports for the day.
2 Reel Fishing Adventures
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.
2 Reel Fishing Adventures
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.