Fraser River sockeye run highlighted 2010 season

It has been a year of change and turbulence on many fronts in the outdoors. We had Olympic-style fisheries on some salmon runs and serious crashes on other fronts. As always, the outdoor venture is a continuous series of glorious successes and less splendid results that make for never-ending challenges in the world of recreational fishing and hunting.

Ralph Shaw’s new year’s wish would be to see Maple Lake developed so all ages could use it. Photo BY RALPH SHAW

Ralph Shaw’s new year’s wish would be to see Maple Lake developed so all ages could use it. Photo BY RALPH SHAW

It has been a year of change and turbulence on many fronts in the outdoors. We had Olympic-style fisheries on some salmon runs and serious crashes on other fronts. As always, the outdoor venture is a continuous series of glorious successes and less splendid results that make for never-ending challenges in the world of recreational fishing and hunting.

The Fraser River sockeye salmon run and, on a slightly lower scale, the Alberni sockeye run were gold-medal affairs. Anglers who fished these delicious salmon were richly rewarded for their efforts. Let’s hope we do not have to wait another four years to repeat the 2010 performance.

Pink salmon returned in gold-medal numbers to the Campbell-Quinsam system, and for over a month, thousands of eager river anglers enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime fishery. More than a few anglers had thrilling runs where their line was stripped and the fish made off with a valuable line plus the fly to leave a fish-story about the big one that got away.

The pinks started coming in late July, and they just kept coming well into late August. There was enough chinook salmon on local hot spots to keep the majority of chinook anglers happy. One of the high points of the season was the 72-pound giant that was landed in Johnstone Strait late in the season.

Chinook fishing in the Comox Bay was a disappointment for most anglers.

Finding a marked coho in local waters was a challenge most of the time. I succeeded on one occasion. The Puntledge River fishery in the fall was a bonanza for many anglers landing mint, bright coho in the 10- to 20-pound range. There was also a major catch-and-release fishery that took place off the mouth of the Oyster River.

Chum salmon were a disappointment for most anglers who normally fish Johnstone Strait out of Browns Bay for these feisty late-season challenges. The Puntledge River chum salmon fishery was one of the better fisheries in Strait of Georgia river systems.

Steelhead continue to be a threatened species in local rivers. There was some good fishing in the Alberni system and streams at the north end of the Island.

Halibut fishing was not great for most anglers who target these magnificent fish. See note at the end of the column.

Lingcod fishing in Area 14 waters was good for those who target these tasty fish. Rockfish continue to be in low numbers. Most rockfish that are kept are frequently taken while trolling for salmon. While not many fishers target them, flounders are present in good numbers and are fun to catch on light tackle – taste good, too.

Prawn and crab fishing with traps and shellfish gathering continue to provide excellent recreational time on the water plus many seafood culinary repasts.

Lake fishing for rainbow trout and cutthroat trout has given much pleasure to thousands of Valley residents that are addicted to this lifelong variety of fishing. With some spirited dedication from local politicians and everybody concerned, would it be too much to be hopeful to see some resolution to the sad fishing situation that seems to prevail in our Valley urban lake jewel – Maple Lake?

A couple of highlights for children in the fishing scene were the Family Fishing Weekend event and the Bullhead Derby.

On the local hunting front, deer hunters enjoyed a good season. Limited Entry Hunting was good to Smitty and me. (I plan a future column on Limited Entry Hunting in the near future). Hunters who have been hunting geese are being looked at in a positive manner because in many areas, geese are increasingly perceived as problem wildlife, as are some deer and feral rabbits.

To all of my readers, I sincerely thank you for your support and positive criticism you have given my column throughout this past year.

I sincerely hope you catch a fish so big in 2011 that when telling about it, you do not need to tell a tall tale. Have a happy and prosperous new year!

• • •

Notice: You might want to attend the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association meeting on Monday, Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the clubhouse. There will be special speakers on how the recreational fishery is being shortchanged by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on our halibut fishing season and allocation.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aspen Park in Comox is the latest school reporting a COVID-19 exposure. Screenshot, Google Maps
Fifth Comox Valley school reports COVID-19 exposure

Exposure at Aspen Park in Comox was reported for Feb. 22

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

School District 71’s final budget for this school year showed more revenue from distance learning students but less from traditional classroom registration. Record file photo
Comox Valley Schools’ budget grant almost $5.5 million higher than planned

Increase came from a boost in distributed learning rather traditional registration

A&W on Ryan Road confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 at their restaurant and temporarily shut its doors. Google Maps photo
Courtenay restaurant temporarily closed due to COVID-19 exposure

It’s the latest business in the Valley to be affected by the virus

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read