It is common practice to plan on travelling over long holiday weekends to get some extended time at favourite fishing destinations. May I suggest there in no need to travel this weekend to get to distant destinations when we are enjoying some of the best saltwater fishing in local waters that we have had for years.
Local chinook salmon fishing has been excellent for the past several weeks. There seems to be a major diversion of salmon down the inside waters this season – let’s enjoy the bounty.
Before we get into details about where to try your luck I would like to suggest some interesting timing of tides and Solunar tables that offer enriched opportunities to be on the water when the bite may be at its most active.
Case in point – On Saturday, June 29 there is a high slack of approximately 11feet at 11 a.m. At about the same time the Solunar tables show a major period at 11:30 a.m. Whether or not you follow these events, if I were fishing on this day I would try to be on the grounds actively fishing during these natural tidal movements and Solunar pulses that seem to trigger feeding for fish and wildlife.
Similar conditions occur throughout the weekend. Also when checking tides for the weekend you will note there are no extreme highs or lows. This means all ramps will be usable throughout the weekend and there should be no major tidal currents.
Sometimes it would be nice to be in several locations at the same time – hence if you wonder why I have not been fishing local salmon it is because I have been elsewhere – a situation I shall try to correct in the coming days.
The number one hot spot in local waters is the Kitty Coleman Hump. It has been consistently producing good catches of chinook in the 10- to 30-pound range. A fair number of these fish are white fleshed that indicates they are probably lower Fraser River Stocks.
To the north, Campbell River has also been producing good numbers of these wonderful fish. There has also been a surge in coho numbers with limits of two marked fish being boated.
If you find the numbers of boats excessive on the hump I would suggest fishing the 200-foot line on the western boundary of the chinook non retention area from Kitty Coleman to Little River, which incidentally opens on July1. The 100 to 200 feet off Cape Lazo will also be good bet. Let the presence of bait on your sounder be your guide.
Moving farther south on the outside try the 100 to 200 foot range on the east side of Hornby Island all the way down to the rocky reefs off Flora Rocks. Southeast winds will be your problem in these waters.
If you fish the waters off the south end of Denman Hornby be aware of the chinook non-retention in place off Deep Bay. The waters on the south side of Hornby from Norris Rocks to Flora have no closures and if there is bait present these are excellent chinook and coho areas.
Bottomfish are always a good choice especially if you like halibut, lingcod, rockfish, or Pacific cod. All of these species are frequently taken while trolling for salmon. Targeting lingcod by using bait or jigs on rocky bottoms will produce some of the finest eating fish in local waters. In the cases of lingcod and halibut be aware of size limits and record your catches on your license.
Camping and fishing are two activities that compliment each other. Local resorts and parks are normally fully booked on this weekend however there are many day use parks and recreation areas that serve local people without camping.
Maple Lake is an example of a local trout fishing destination with virtually no travel time. It does however have limited parking and access. Farther afield, Comox Lake offers lake fishing and if you are a member of the fish and game club you will have access to the trout pond.
The current cool weather has extended fishing opportunities in our freshwater lakes by keeping the water cool and the trout in prime condition, although hard to catch because they are feeding primarily on small zooplankton. Worms, Berkley Powerbait and lures still work under all conditions.
Fishing locally makes it easy to include children.
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.