Comox Valley waters are filled with big chinook salmon lately, according to local fishing guide Steve Veloso.
After a day out on the water with his business, Island Pursuit Sport Fishing, Veloso decided to go out for fun to see if he could catch a big chinook salmon with another local guide, Chris Steinbach, after they’d been hearing rumours of big fish Saturday.
“We just kind of went out for fun to see what we could do about this, jokingly saying, ‘We’re not accepting anything less than a 40-pounder,’ ” said Veloso. “Within four minutes of fishing — boom — 44-pounder.
“So this thing hit like a truck and ran and ran to the point where we thought it was a halibut when it started to come up. And then it porpoised by the boat, we saw that it was a very big chinook, and of course, excitement, and we netted it and hooting and hollering.”
Veloso said he’s never heard of a 40-pound chinook being caught in the area in his lifetime — which is just 24 years — but his family owns Portuguese Joe’s Fish Market and he’s been fishing for most of his life.
Normally, a big chinook is 30 pounds, and that doesn’t happen very often, according to Veloso, adding this year is proving different.
“We caught the 44, followed after that with a 33-pounder, and I got a 30 the day after, and my friends were catching a 30, and these are all big fish that you only see a couple guys get a year,” he said. “They’re becoming pretty regular.”
He said the best shoreline in the area is near Kitty Coleman, Seal Bay Nature Park and the Lazo area generally — and he wants to promote the Comox Valley as a fishing destination.
He noted other areas are more known for fishing — like Campbell River — but the Comox Valley area has been more consistent this year.
“Campbell River, they’re on the map, and Langara (Island), and the West Coast, but so far, Comox has been the most consistent spot all year,” he said, adding Campbell River charters have been coming into Comox Valley waters to fish lately. “They have been coming down our way, and it’s like an hour and a little bit run for them, and it’s only half an hour for us.”
He noted reasons could be the large herring run this year, as herring are bait fish for salmon, or possibly a small change in the migratory run, with more fish going along Vancouver Island’s east coast instead of the west.
But he also said bottom fishing for fish like snapper and halibut is generally good around the Comox Valley area as well.
For more information on Veloso’s business, visit www.vancouverislandsportfishing.ca.