Fishing is a many sided affair and when you go on the water be prepared for the unusual and you may get a pleasant surprise.
Bryan Allan and I were trying to connect with some chum salmon last week. If you have followed the recreational fishery on these late migrating salmon you will be aware that there has been a considerable amount of fishing time invested with very few fish being caught during our 2012 season, In our case this was our third attempt and aside from playing some coho and at least one large steelhead we have yet to put a chum salmon in the boat.
There are two ways of accessing the recreational chum fishing grounds in Johnstone Strait. Many anglers launch at the Discovery Bay Ramp in Campbell River and travel up the straits from there. Another common access is to travel to the launch ramp at Browns Bay and enter the strait at that point.
The most popular locations for recreational fishing in the lower strait are in Plumper Bay and Deepwater Bay – both across from Browns Bay. There are also two more popular locations – the waters from Chatham Point Lighthouse to Rock Bay on the west side of the Strait and Greensea on the east side of the
Strait. All of these locations are also popular destinations for commercial trawlers, seine boats and gillnets when they have openings.
Johnstone Strait is a well known destination for wildlife viewing of whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions and harbour seals. When Bryan and I were travelling north in the morning towards Greensea we found ourselves in the midst of a large school of white-sided dolphins that were friendly and wanted to play along the side of the boat. I scrambled around and got my camera out and proceeded to take pictures.
After a high from the excitement of the dolphins we started fishing the waters off Greensea. There were 10 recreational and three commercial troll boats in the area and we did see a few fish taken. However our offerings were steadfastly refused by the chum and everything else except one ambitious small lingcod. As the day wore on our patience gave out and we decided to go back to Deepwater Bay to see if could change our luck. On the way back we were entertained by what I assume was the same large school of white-sided dolphins that were super friendly.
I used my camera once again and the accompanying photograph is one of my trophies for an exciting day on the water in the company of a like-minded fisherman. It is not very often we can have eye contact with such a wild, beautiful animal while speeding through pristine coastal waters. We both agreed the lucky pictures we got will be memories much longer than a catch of chum salmon – although it would have been nice to catch at least one.
• • •
Congratulations to Lisa Cunningham on her win in the .410 bore at the World Skeet Championship in Antonio, Texas. Members of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association share the pride of one of our members winning such an event on the world stage. Further congratulations to Lome Wigard for his excellent showing in his first-time entry at the event.
For people who have no idea what skeet shooting is about you should come up to the club and witness the skill level required to shoot two skeet in a row, never mind 100. Lisa came within four small clay targets of doing it 100 times in sequence with the smallest shotgun used in competition to win her event. Well done!
World-class recognition rarely happens in a vacuum and in this case I suggest the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association is approaching world class on more than one level and will receive increasing recognition of its outstanding contribution to the conservation and recreational services of the Comox Valley.
• • •
Stay tuned for a possible chum salmon opening on the Puntledge River in light of increased rain and brood stock moving into the hatchery and up the river.
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.