Over the past couple of days I have had occasion to take an in-depth look at what a wonderful place Vancouver Island is for people who love the outdoors and partake in the delirious hobby of recreational fishing in all of its varied forms.
I am using the exploits of two of my regular fishing buddies, Bryan Allen and Chuck Ashcroft, and myself on Feb. 22 and 23 to illustrate why this Valley in particular and Vancouver Island in general is such an Elysian Field for the recreational anglers’ virus.
On Sunday Chuck went chinook salmon fishing off the hump at Kitty Coleman thinking that Bryan and I had gone prawning and crab fishing to the south. He had a challenging day fishing in choppy seas, but managed to net a prime winter chinook of 17 pounds.
Bryan in the meantime thought Chuck and I had gone chinook fishing, so he headed south of Denman and Hornby islands in search of some illusive prawns, Dungeness crabs and possibly a chinook or halibut. A large exchange of tidal waters complicated his prawning adventure, but he did manage a nice catch of spotted prawns for a family seafood dinner.
In the meantime I had not planned to go on the water this weekend but, after our company left on Sunday morning Elaine said, “I will make you a lunch. Why don’t you take the new truck and go down to Spider Lake this afternoon”? Good question – within half an hour I was on the road to Spider Lake and some mid-winter fly fishing for trout.
When I arrived at the lake it was warm, sunny and there were seven other anglers busy fishing winter trout. As I rowed onto the lake to start my fishing I saw a sedge fly that had just emerged in the unusual warm weather. Between 1 and 4 p.m. I had two nice trout to the net caught on a sedge pupae fly pattern fished on a wet line. Mission accomplished – fresh trout for dinner on Monday. Pictured with the column are my two “one-meal trout.”
Fast forward to Sunday evening and a brief telephone conference. Bryan, Chuck and I had arranged an oyster and clam digging trip to take advantage of the five-foot low tide on Monday afternoon. There had been no rain for several days; which meant the shellfish would be free of surface pollution and shell fish closures. In a short space of less than an hour we each had a limit of prime Baynes Sound oysters and two nice pails of Manila clams for clam chowder.
In the space of 48 hours three retired seniors living in the Comox Valley had successfully partaken in winter chinook salmon fishing, spotted prawn fishing, trout fly fishing, clam digging and gathering oysters. These activities took place in Area 14 and Spider Lake, all within easy access from the Comox Valley.
To help you plan fishing trips, pick up a free copy of this year’s Tide & Bite Guide 2015 – published by Larry Stefanyk of the Island Fisherman Magazine. The guides which also have a set of solunar tables are available at the Comox Valley Record front desk or advertisers throughout the Valley.
Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.