Find out what’s working and what’s not when fishing in the Victoria 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.
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Victoria Fishing Report
The Chinook fishing in May is outstanding as they gorge themselves on the huge number of needlefish around. The beauty of Chinook eating needlefish is that the bite usually lasts a lot longer, because they have to eat so much to fill up. The three main spots to fish are Oak Bay Flats, The Gap, and Constance Bank. When on the Flats, fish the 90′ to 110′ contour; the majority of the fish will be right on the bottom. At The Gap, you want to fish anywhere from 60′ to 120′ of water, again right on the bottom. If out at Constance Bank, try either the west edge in 100′ of water or right up in the shallows from 60′ to 70′.
Jigging at all three spots can be very productive, but most people will be trolling with needlefish patterns. The Gibbs Skinny G and Wee G spoons are area favourites. I like the Tailspin or Gold Nugget colours the best. Run them with a 4′ to 7′ leader behind a flasher; try the Madi, Bon Chovy, and Betsy. Bouncing bottom is the key to success in this fishery. I bounce the bottom and bring the downriggers up a foot or two—constantly checking for bottom every few minutes.
May is also a great month to get out and target some halibut (white gold). Try anywhere from 150′ to 350′ of water. Constance Bank, Border Bank, and off Albert Head are all good places to try. Make sure you check your tides and currents before anchoring up. The strait of Juan de Fuca has some pretty fast currents that can make anchoring dangerous. Ideally, you’re looking for current of a knot or less.
Get out and enjoy the water!!
I’d like to start off by saying I hope everybody is safe and healthy. In these crazy times, getting out on the water, whether fresh or salt, is a great way to forget about everything and enjoy the outdoors.
March and April are two of my favourite months to fish the Victoria/Oak Bay areas. Large concentrations of needlefish have the springs (Chinook) schooled up and ready to bite! These early spring salmon are very aggressive, and the bite can last for hours. Find the needlefish and you’ll find the fish. Areas to try are the Gap, Oak Bay Flats, and Constance Bank. Fish right on the bottom with needlefish pattern spoons or squirts. Try spoons like Coho Killers, Skinny Gs, and Wee Gs in Herring Aid, White Lighting, Cop Car, Bon Chovy, and No Bananas patterns. Squirts to try are Purple Haze, Pink Haze, and Green Splatterback. Fish any of these behind a Madi or Green Phantom Flasher. In recent years, jigging for springs on the Oak Bay flats has become very popular, and what a great way to catch a fish!
March is usually the month that halibut fishing really kicks off in our area. The preferred method is to anchor and fish with spreader bars, 2-lb weights and bait. Bait like salmon bellies, octopus, mackerel, and herring will keep the rods buckled! If there are lots of dogfish, switch up to lead-headed jigs like the Delta Big Eye Jig with no bait added, or Hali Hawgs (my favourite).
Areas to try are out of Oak Bay Flats, Border Bank, Constance Bank, and Albert Head. Target 250′ to 350′ of water. At the time of writing, the new halibut regulations aren’t out, so make sure you check the regs before you head out.
Wow—the last area report of the year already! Time has flown by. I’ve been lucky enough to be on the water every day, putting all the world’s craziness on the shelf to focus on fishing.
September is a great month for fishing local Victoria and Oak Bay waters. The crowds typically lighten up but there are still plenty of fish to be had! The first two weeks of September can see some of the biggest springs of the year caught right off the Victoria breakwater. Troll over 60′ to 80′ of water with 50′ to 80′ on the downrigger.
Anchovies, spoons, and my favourite white hoochies will do the trick. Solid white hoochies imitate dead squid, UV imitate half dead ones, and UV with red dot imitate distressed, dying ones. The OA12R is the UV I like this time of year. Coho fishing will also start getting really hot and continue until the first big rains in October. Try fishing for them a few miles off Trial Island and all the way out to Border Bank. Try G-Force Spoons in all your favourite colours and white hoochies trolled fast anywhere from the surface down to 150′.
Halibut fishing has been great so far this year, and September and October are two of my favourite months to fish them! Anywhere from 200′ to 400′ of water. Spots to try are Constance Bank, Border Bank, Albert, and William Head. Make sure you check the currents to make sure it’s safe to anchor.
At the end of October, winter springs will start to show up and will continue right through the winter. Fish for these tasty treats right off the bottom. Victoria waterfront, Oak Bay Flats, and Constance Bank are the spots that will keep your rods bouncing.
Until next year, tight lines and big fish!
Wow! I can’t believe it, but here we are in August (Hogust or Fogust, as we like to call it), and some of the biggest Chinook of the year are cruising our local waters on the way back to their home rivers. Clover Point, the Breakwall, and Macaulay Point are most certainly the places to be. While spoons and hoochies will work, it’s tough to beat a well-rolled anchovy in August. Fish in tight to the Breakwall and look for 50′ to 80′ on the down- rigger. You can’t go wrong with Rhys Davis Teaser heads in the Betsy, Bloody Nose, Purple Haze, and UV Green behind O’Ki Betsy or Madi Flashers.
Coho will start to show up in big numbers out on the tide lines. Try speeding up and using small flashy spoons. Gold Nugget Skinny Gs or green and white Coho Killers are a solid choice, as are white glow hoochies—they always work great for coho.
If halibut fishing is anything like July, we’re going to be into some great white gold. Delta Jumbo Skirts in Herring Aide or Pink Glow in front of herring, salmon bellies, or mackerel are really good choices, or try my favourite—a Delta Hali Hawg tipped with octopus. If the dogfish get thick, try Big Eye jigs.
All the normal spots like Albert Head, William Head, and Constance Bank will continue to produce halibut. For best results, try between 200′ and 350′ of water.
Get out in the water and enjoy all the great fishing Victoria has to offer.
Here we are in July already—smack dab in the middle of summer, and smack dab in the middle of some great Chinook fishing. One of my favourite spots in July is for sure the Gap, an hour before and after either flood or ebb slack tide. The Chinooks will be hunting the big waves of needlefish hanging around, so needlefish spoons like the Skinny G in Tailspin, Bon Chovy, or Gold Nugget behind a Gibbs Madi or Herring Aid flasher would be the golden ticket. Other spoons worth trying are Silver Horde Coho Killers in White Lightning and Cop Car. Trolling fast with the gear right on bottom will do the trick!
In recent years, jigging has really made a huge resurgence; it’s a ton of fun. White Darts and Mac Fish dropped to the bottom and brought up a couple turns—it’s just that easy. Keep an eye on your fish finder and keep your jig in the bait. What a way to catch a fish! Other great spots to try are the Oak Bay Flats on the ebb tide and Constance Bank on either tide.
If you can stay away from the dogfish, the halibut fishing off Victoria can be quite good in July. Try the West End of Constance Bank in 180′ of water, the Mud Hole in 300′ to 330′ of water and Border Bank anywhere from 90′ to 250′. Mackerel, octopus, herring, and salmon bellies will all work for some tasty white gold. If the dogfish are bad, try Delta Hali Hawgs or Big Eye Jigs.
I hope everyone is having a great and productive fishing season!
You have to love fishing in June! My favourite part is being on the water at 4 a.m., before the rest of the world gets moving.
Chinook fishing in June can be great at all the hot spots, like Oak Bay Flats, the Gap, and Constance Bank. The majority of the salmon will still be focused on needlefish close to the bottom. I like the Oak Bay Flats on the ebb and right against Brodie Rock in 90′ to 110′ of water. Needlefish spoons and squirts are most certainly the ticket. Skinny G spoons in Tailspin, Bon Chovy, and Herring Aide patterns fished behind a Gibbs
Madi or O’Ki Salty Dog flasher right on the bottom will keep your reels screaming! If you’re not getting any action, try speeding up. You can never troll too fast.
The Chinook fishing will be epic, but let’s not forget about halibut and cod! Halibut can be found at Border Bank, Constance Bank, Albert Head, and the Mud Hole. Try between 250′ and 400′ of water. The dogfish or “mud shark” are usually everywhere in June, and you have to find creative ways to keep them off of your bait. Using circle hooks and salmon heads will help keep them away. Other baits to try are mackerel, octopus, and salmon bellies fished behind a Gibbs giant skirt in pink glow.
Try for lingcod at any rocky pinnacle or ledge around tide change. Power Paddle swimbaits are magic for these bucket-heads!
I hope everyone is having a great summer on the water! Stay safe and tight lines.
Victoria Fishing Report Archives
May has always been one of the best months of the year to catch fish in our area, and the fishing in Victoria/Oak Bay has been outstanding this year. Large schools of needlefish are present in all the hotspots like Constance Bank, Oak Bay Flats, and The Gap. Right in the middle of the needlefish are large schools of hard-hitting, reel-screaming, knuckle-busting Chinook!
Most of the fish will be found right on the bottom, but occasionally you’ll find the odd one mid-water. The gear of choice are needlefish patterns like the Gibbs Skinny G in Gold Nugget, No Bananas, Bon Chovy, and Tail Spin. Also try squirts in J79, Purple Haze, green splatterback, and white glow. Run any of these setups behind a variety of flashers; I recommend the Madi, O’Ki Phantom, O’Ki Betsy, and the new O’Ki Super Herring Aid.
May is also prime time for halibut fishing. Fish pinnacles and banks in anywhere from 150′ to 500′ of water. Albert Head, Border Bank, Constance Bank, and William Head are all great areas to try. The dogfish usually start showing up in May and can be a pain, but it’s worth the effort to hook up some white gold. Try spreader bars with bait such as herring, salmon bellies, octopus, and mackerel. Also, give jigs a go when the dogs are bad. The Gibbs Big Eye jig has been my go-to the last couple of seasons, often outfishing a spreader bar and bait.
Well, here we are in September. The kids are headed back to school, the days are starting to get shorter, and the fish around the Victoria/Oak Bay area are still hungry to bite your offerings!! Whether you want to target some of the biggest Chinook of the year hugging the shoreline around Victoria Harbour to Clover Point, head out a little ways and get in on some crazy fast action fishing for coho with light rods, or anchor up for some halibut, September/October is a great time. Calm water and smaller crowds make good reasons to get out there and have some fun on the water.
For the last of the big migrating Chinook, try a Gibbs Madi flasher or O’Ki Betsy flasher with a Purple Haze or Betsy Rhys Davids anchovy special or a Herring Aide Skinny G. For coho, try trolling fast with either spoons or hoochies behind a Madi or O’Ki Phantom flasher. September/October can offer excellent halibut fishing in all the usual spots—Constance Bank, Border Bank, and Race Rocks. Try herring, mackerel, octopus, and salmon bellies.
Wow, where has the summer gone? Hopefully out fishing! August in Victoria/Oak Bay gives so many fishing opportunities, it’s difficult to know where to start. From catching big Chinook along the coastline to heading offshore to target pinks and coho, August is red-hot fishing. If you’re looking to catch a reel-screaming, knuckle-busting slab of a Chinook, the Victoria waterfront is the place to be. From the Breakwater to Clover Pt., fish in tight with anchovies, herring, spoons, or hoochies behind a Madi or Betsy flasher. You will most certainly be deafened by the sound of your reels screaming. For teaser heads, try anchovies in a Bloody Nose or Chrome Betsy. Herring Aid spoons in Skinny G or Kingfisher will be sure to get your knuckles busted.
If you’re looking for non-stop action, head out to the first, second, or third tide lines to fish for pinks and coho. Pinks will go after any pink lure trolled behind a flasher, and the coho will eat anything flashy like an Ace High Fly. Try depths from the surface down to 120 ft. If you’re looking to make the pinks and coho a little scrappier, try using a fly rod with a bucktail fly or a small pink plug right on the surface. It’s too much fun to miss.
Halibut fishing should still be decent. Try spots like Constance Bank, Border Bank, and the Mud Hole in 180 to 330 ft of water. Herring, mackerel, octopus, or salmon heads should do the trick in putting some white gold on the boat.
As always, have a great time making memories and catching some fish!
Be sure to check the up-to-date regulations before you head out, as they seem to be changing all the time.
Here we are in July already! This can be a great time of the season for everything—salmon, halibut, and a buffet of bottom fish in the Victoria/Oak Bay area.
We’re seeing super fishing for Chinook off Oak Bay Flats and especially the Gap. They are feeding on needlefish on or near the bottom in 80 to 120 ft of water.
I’d suggest the Gibbs Skinny G and Wee G in blue/chrome, No Bananas and Bonchovy patterns, as well as Purple Haze, Pink Haze, and White Glow needlefish hoochies fished behind an O’Ki Phantom flasher or Madi flasher.
Remember, it is still catch-and-release only for Chinook until Aug. 1 in this area. Pinks have started to show out in the tide lines and can be caught on any lure or hoochie with a little pink in it (think pink!). For a little fun, try using a fly rod with a small pink plug or a pink Gibbs Hockey Stick. If see you some at the surface while trolling, you can also cast into them with a small spinning rod—tons of fun! Don’t leave home without one.
Halibut fishing can be fantastic in July. Constance Bank and the Mud Hole are the go to places to try. Concentrate on 300 to 380 ft of water at the Mud Hole, and 160 to 280 ft off Constance Bank. Try salmon bellies, mackerel, octopus, and herring on a spreader bar and 2-lb weight setup. The max size limit for halibut this year is 126 cm if you plan on taking one, or you can take two at 90 cm or less.
Get out on the water and enjoy it! See you out there, and remember no bananas on-board, not even one!
Tight lines and calm seas!
You have to love the early sunrises and late-night sunsets in June, a month that also sees large numbers of Chinook still feeding on schools of needlefish off of Oak Bay Flats, Constance Bank, The Gap, and Border Bank. While Chinook is closed to retention until August 1 in our area, you can still get out and enjoy some unbelievable catch-and-release action! Try using light fly rods with spoons and a dummy flasher off the downrigger to get the most out of every fish. You will love the battle and test the limits of your skills. Skinny Gs in Herring Aid or Bonchovy and Coho Killers in Irish Cream or Cop Car should keep the rods bouncing. Jigging needlefish patterns off the bottom is one of my favourite ways to catch Chinook. For this method you really have to pay attention to your sounder, and jig over areas where the fish stack up.
There are still plenty of halibut to be caught this time of year, although the dogfish will have moved in thick. Use jigs or Gibbs Hali Hawgs to keep the halibut biting and the dogfish away. Try Constance Bank, Border Bank, or the Mud Hole. Keep in mind that the max size for halibut is 126 cm this year, and anything larger must be released.
Bottomfish are still open in June, and you can find nice lingcod and other rock fish on any of the many rocky reefs around the area. Gibbs Power Paddles or Big Eye Jigs work really well for lings. The limit for bottomfish is one rock cod and one lingcod per day.
Don’t let the DFO’s decision to close Chinook retention interrupt your summer of fishing. Get out there with friends and family and enjoy your time on the water!!
May in the Victoria and Oak Bay area brings some of the greatest salmon and halibut fishing of the season! The beauty of fishing out of these areas is how close the fish are to the marinas and boat launches. A long run is 6 or 7 miles and sometimes as short as dropping your kicker out of the breakwater. And in May, tourists looking to experience a day on the water start showing up in groves. The new non-retention limits for Chinook in May change nothing, as most tourists visiting Victoria prefer to catch and release. Kind of hard to cook up a fish dinner in a hotel room, right? From decades of guiding experience on these waters, I can only say book your trips now; it will be busier than ever.
The salmon are still feasting on large schools of needlefish. While most of the fish you catch will be right on the bottom, you will start to get some up in the water column like 60 to 80 ft deep. The usual places to try are Constance Bank, Clover Point to the Flagpole, Oak Bay flats, and “The Gap.” There are lots of needlefish lure patterns out there now, but some of my favourite spoons are Gibbs Wee G in No Bananas, Bonchovy, and Herring Aid; Skinny G in Outfitters or Tail Spin; or the Silver Horde Kingfisher in Cookies and Cream or Irish Cream. As for hoochies, needlefish squirts in Purple Haze, J79 and white glow are also great choices. Fish any of these set ups behind a O’KI Phantom, Salty Dog, or twisted sister flashers and your rods should be popping off the clip in no time!
May is still a great time to Halibut fish in our area. Fish the slower currents, and try Constance Bank, Border Bank, or the Mud Hole in the 200- to 400-ft depths. May can see lots of undesirable dogfish, so jigs like the Delta Big Eye and the Floor Walker will help keep them away and halibut on! The max size limit on halibut is 126 cm for this season, which is a 55- to 65-lb fish. It’s one heck of a bucket list experience to catch one if you haven’t yet. See you out there!
As we roll into early spring, the Victoria-Oak Bay area sees some of the best Chinook fishing of the season. Massive schools of needlefish show up in our waters, and the Chinook are right behind them. These early season, hard-hitting, reel-screaming Chinook are plentiful in areas like Oak Bay Flats, The Gap, Clover Point, and Constance Bank.
The key to success is fishing right on the bottom with needlefish lures like Herring Aid and White Lightning Coho Killers, Kingfisher Cookies n Cream, Herring Aid and Irish Cream spoons as well as squirts in Purple Haze, Pink Haze, and J79. Leader lengths for spoons should be 4 to 6 ft long and 35 to 42 inches for squirts. Flashers to use are the Gibbs Madi, Phantom, Lemon Lime, and the Salty Dawg. Be sure to check the regulations for salmon limits and size restrictions.
At time of writing (mid-January) we haven’t heard when halibut will be open or what size limits we will be dealing with. Early season is the best time to halibut fish in the Victoria area. There is usually not much problem with dogfish so baits like octopus, mackerel, squid, herring, and salmon bellies fished behind a spreader bar are your best bets. Other gear like the Gibbs Hali Hawg or Delta Big Eye Jig will also work. Look for the more favourable currents and anchor or drift in 200 to 400 ft of water.
I hope everyone gets out to enjoy some great spring Chinook fishing!
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As September rolls around, the kids are back in school and the big crowds of boats are for the most part gone. That doesn’t mean the fish are gone too, though! The first two weeks of September sees anglers bringing in some of the biggest Chinook of the year.
The whole stretch of water from Clover Point to MacAulay Point will hold springs. Try the O’Ki Betsy Flasher or the Gibbs Madi Flasher with anchovy in Bloody Nose or Purple Haze teaser heads; the Gibbs Skinny G in No Bananas or Tailspin also will produce well. September also sees great coho fishing in Victoria, which will last until the middle of October. While fishing coho, try using light fly rods to make these hard-fighting fish even more of a challenge. Coho will usually be found in great numbers out in the tide lines from 300 to 800 ft of water. Coho can be anywhere from the surface down to 200-plus ft, although surface to 80 ft is more common. Try the Gibbs Twisted Sister Flasher and the Madi Flasher with a wide variety of spoons and hoochies. One of my favourites is the Ace High Fly! As the end of October rolls around, winter springs will become more plentiful and offer great fishing right though the winter and into March.
September and October are also great months for halibut off Victoria. Pick the best tides and try your luck off spots like Albert Head, Constance Bank and BorderBank. The dogfish shouldn’t be too bad, so mackerel, herring, and octopus are great bets.
Tight lines and screaming reels!
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Welcome to August! It’s a wonderful time to be on the water, with calm mornings and plenty of Chinook and coho to keep the reels screaming. While the rest of the west coast is covered in fog–hence the term ‘Fogust’–we’ll be sitting off hot spots like Macaulay Point, Breakwater, Constance Bank, Oak Bay Flats, and Ten Mile Point in our t-shirts.
August sees some of the biggest Chinook of the year cruise right off Victoria Harbour’s doorstep! Fish close to shore with anchovies, spoons, or hoochies. Macaulay Point to the break wall is a great place to fish in 50 to 90 ft of water. Anchovies in a Rhys Davis Teaser head in Bloody Nose, Purple Haze, Green Chrome, or No Bananas are all great choices behind a Gibbs Madi Flasher or Oki Betsy or Phantom Flasher.
Coho also start showing up in pretty good numbers and are feeding fast and hard! They will eat almost any lure put in front of them, but flashy spoons like a Green Nickel Skinny G or a Gold Nugget Coho Killer will get them on the slower days, and out in the second and third tide line you will still get some while hunting Chinook. You can only retain hatchery coho in our area.
Halibut fishing starts to pick up in August as the dogfish slowly start to leave the area. Border Bank, Constance Bank, Haro Straight, and Race Rocks will all produce if you put your time in. Try herring, salmon belly, octopus, and mackerel.
Halibut have to be 115 cm or under to keep. As always, check the currents before you put an anchor down.
Get out on the water and enjoy the beautiful August weather!
Fishing in July off the Victoria/Oak Bay Area can be very productive. Spots like Constance Bank and Oak Bay Flats are still holding good numbers of Chinook feeding on large schools of needlefish. The best fishing at these spots is for the most part still right on bottom, using gear like a No Bananas Wee G or Herring Aid Skinny G spoons behind a Gibbs Madi Flasher or an Oki Phantom Flasher. This is also the time of year where you start to see boats hugging the shore in shallower water at places like the Breakwater, Macaulay Point, Clover Point, or Ten Mile Point. Fish in 50 to 100 feet of water at a depth of 25 to 90 feet down using anchovies or herring in Rhys Davis teaser heads. Colours to try are Bloody Nose, Purple Haze, Green Chrome, and UV Green.
Halibut fishing can be great in July, although you might have to battle through some dogfish. Jigs like the Gibbs Big Eye or Hali Hawg will catch fish without bait to help keep the dogfish away. If you use bait, try salmon bellies, mackerel, or octopus. Spots to try are Border Bank, Constance Bank, and the Mud Hole between Albert Head and William Head, anywhere from 200- to 400-feet. Check the currents if anchoring.
If you limit out early, try your luck at lingcod. Find a big pinnacle or sharp dropoff and use heavy lead jigs or a Gibbs Power Paddle.
Before heading out on the water, make sure you check the current regulations. Check and double-check, because they are especially confusing this season!
As always feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
As we roll into June, the Chinook fishing off Victoria remains strong. Areas like the Flag Pole, Clover Point, Oak Bay Flats, The Gap, and of course Constance Bank are all great areas to try.
Heading out to Constance on the flood-to-ebb tide change with the new Gibbs Wee G behind a Madi Flasher has been money! My favourite spot is Oak Bay Flats on a hard ebb current using a Blue and Silver Skinny G and a Herring Aide coho killer behind an Oki Besty flasher or a Gibbs Lemon Lime flasher.
Halibut continues to be decent on days where the currents allow–look for 1.2 knots or less.
The dogfish have moved in now and can be a big problem if using bait like mackerel, herring, and salmon bellies. Instead, we use more artificial gear like the Delta Hali Hawg, Gibbs Big Eye Jigs, and Power Paddles.
Areas to try are Constance Bank, Border Bank, Race Rocks, and the Mudhole. We generally anchor for halibut around these areas, so be very careful with our strong currents and don’t anchor in any shipping lanes.
A regulation to keep in mind: There is still a slot limit size on Chinook. The largest wild salmon you can keep is 67 cm.
Regulations get visited by DFO June 15 and usually change, so keep an eye out for modifications. The halibut size limit is 115 cm maximum.
If you’ve got any questions, feel free to contact me. Tight lines and screaming reels!
May is one of the best months of the year to fish out of the Victoria area. Places like Constance Bank, Clover Point and Oak Bay flats will hold nice springs and sometimes in good numbers. Don’t be afraid to move between spots depending on the tides; this way you can hit a couple different bite times in a morning’s fish. Places like Oak Bay flats and Constance Bank will see lots of needlefish this month, and fishing close to bottom is a must.
Gear to try at this time of year is the Gibbs Madi Flasher or Purple Glow Oki Flasher paired up with a No Bananas Skinny G or G Force spoon as well as a gold nugget coho killer. It’s always deadly.
Halibut fishing is excellent in May as well. Some years the dogfish can be bad; try non-baited lures like the Delta Hali Hawg, or my personal favourite, the Gibbs Big Eye jig. If dogfish aren’t bad, baits like herring or mackerel are always winners. Areas to try are Albert Head, Constance Bank and Boarder Bank. If anchoring, keep an eye on the currents.
Lingcod opened this month and are plentiful around most inshore rock pinnacles. Be sure to check for Rock Cod Conservation areas. The Gibbs Power Paddle has to be my go-to lure for these large bucket mouths.
We’re right smack in the middle of a slot restriction for salmon and the regs are two springs per day. Wild fish have to be under 67 cm and hatchery can be any size over 45 cm.
Halibut size limits have changed as well, with 115 cm being the biggest we can keep.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Be safe and tight lines.