THE CANADA DAY weekend is a great time to bring the bounty of the sea to your dinner table.

Fishing on Canada Day weekend

Great opportunity to reap the bounty of the sea in local waters

With Canada Day falling on Tuesday I suggest more than a few outdoor people will make it a four-day weekend. With this happy thought in mind let’s do some adventurous fishing in home waters.

One of the essentials prior to going fishing is to read and understand the fishing regulations for the areas you plan to fish. This suggestion applies to freshwater as well as saltwater fishing. Check the Tidal Waters website at for time and area closures that may not be in the printed regulations.

Starting Saturday, June 28 we have a super good shellfish tide at approximately 10:40 of 1.4 feet. These timely shellfish tides continue through to July 1 with a low tide of around 3 feet at about noon. Clam chowder and fresh oysters are as much about being British Columbian and Canadian as anything I can think of.

When making chowder it is common practice to save the liquid from boiling the clams for stock. Another good source of stock for chowder is to boil the bones and head from rock fish or other fish to produce a base for tasty seafood chowder.

Some of the tides are low enough to dig horse clams if they are on your exotic list of shellfish treats. This cool weather has kept oysters in good shape. The low tides will create some strong currents in many places, but setting out a crab trap in your favourite crab grounds may produce a special treat.

The commercial prawning season closed last week and with the commercial fleet off the water you may luck out on a feed of spotted prawns. As in the past, when the tide was out local folks enjoyed special seafood banquets. Maybe this will be your weekend to enjoy the shellfish bounty of the sea.

Salmon fishing in our local hot spots has been exceptionally productive for chinook in the past month.  Kitty Coleman, Grants Reef, Century Shoals, Flora Rocks, Tribune Bay, Norris Rocks are some local hot spots.

In adjacent waters of Campbell River hot spots have been producing limits of chinook. Coho are also spread throughout local waters with the southern area producing good numbers of marked fish.

The salmon move with the bait so if your favourite fishing hole is not producing it may well be that the bait has moved as when Kitty Coleman comes up short on one day and full limits the next.

While trolling is the preferred method of salmon fishing in local waters, the traditional methods of Buzz Bombing and drift fishing are seeing a good comeback. While salmon are the preferred fish of most anglers, there is a good selection of other species in local waters. Lingcod and rockfish are popular species. We also have a fair number of halibut that show up in local catches and also some areas in the Campbell River waters they are being targeted.

Pacific cod are frequently taken in catches at Kitty Coleman and points north. They are not pretty; but a six- or seven-pound Pacific cod produces two good fillets for fish and chips or other recipes.

Freshwater fishing with the possibility of a four-day weekend suggests some camping as well as serious trout fishing. There are hundreds of lakes in the northern half of the Island that offer adventurous trout experiences along with many well-developed forestry camp sites. As always prepare for wet weather and hope that it does not materialize.

It is my experience that chaotic weather patterns with frequent changes in atmospheric pressure have a direct effect on feeding periods of trout in lakes. Last week I spent a glorious day on one of my favourite lakes and came away without a single fish to the net. While I had a few halfhearted takes on my flies it was a day without fish. If this happens to you just go back the next day and you will probably experience an active fishery with plenty of eager trout taking your bait.

Locally, Comox Lake, Wolf Lake, Maple Lake and Spider Lake are good bets for some excellent fishing. July and August are traditionally hot weather months and the quality of low elevation fish goes off with the warm waters. With the cool spring and low rainfall your Canada Day weekend is a great opportunity for some good local fishing – enjoy.


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.



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