Pinks and sockeyes are out there in local waters


Making decisions about the eating qualities of one species of salmon over another is somewhat like trying to make up your mind about what kind of wine you prefer. Both wine and salmon are delicious and high on the preference scale of most discerning folks, so it really boils down to what is best according to your personal taste buds.

A FLY-FISHER enjoys some quiet time on an empty beach.

A FLY-FISHER enjoys some quiet time on an empty beach.

 

 

 

 

Making decisions about the eating qualities of one species of salmon over another is somewhat like trying to make up your mind about what kind of wine you prefer. Both wine and salmon are delicious and high on the preference scale of most discerning folks, so it really boils down to what is best according to your personal taste buds.

The next choice is where you can fish for the target species and what kind of resources you have at your disposal to pursue said fish. In the case of sockeye a boat is almost essential if you fish for them in local waters. On the other hand, pink salmon may be taken from shore as well as from a boat.

The other evening the phone rang and the voice on the other end opened with, “Ralph, I have a prime, fat, five-pound-plus pink salmon that I will deliver to your house tomorrow evening in time for supper. You will be pleased to hear it was gilled, gutted and put on ice just after we landed it.”

Of course I was happy to accept this special gift from a good fishing buddy – Charley Vaughn. He went on to relate how he had been fishing with his family in Johnstone Straits and they had landed five sockeye as well as several pink.

On the matter of the prime pink, Elaine grilled half of the fish that evening and garnished it with a new recipe she recently discovered. Let me assure you it was a superb seafood banquet, finished off with produce from our backyard garden.

Let’s get back to fishing locally. The pink we had the other day came from Johnstone Strait. I suggest you may be able to catch them in Area 14 waters on our doorstep.

Pink salmon are two-year fish while sockeye are four-year. In 2009 I visited the Puntledge Hatchery to enquire about pink salmon in the river and was surprised to learn that at that time there were at least 35,000 pink in the river with more arriving everyday.

On Monday I went up to the hatchery and there were over 400 fresh pink in the holding pen, and they had no idea how many were in the river. What that tells me is that we have pink in local waters.

On the matter of sockeye, the season is open to retain two in inside waters. There is currently a high diversion of Fraser River sockeye into inside waters. These fish go by our local fishing hot spots.

During the huge run of sockeye in 2010, Bryan Allan and I successfully fished for sockeye off Bates Beach in shallow waters between the Hump and the shoreline.

From what I have learned over the years it seems that when sockeye leave Discovery Passage at Campbell River many of them follow a current that runs close to shore off Kitty Coleman, Bates Beach and on to Cape Lazo where they veer out into the Strait Of Georgia and travel down the west side of Texada Island. This tells me we can catch sockeye in local waters if we target them.

In the meantime, our Puntledge River pink are coming home. For shore anglers the trick is to intercept them before they enter the river. In the past they have staged in good numbers off the wrecks at Royston and along the shoreline toward Union Bay.

What they will do this year is anybody’s guess with the high, cold water in the Puntledge River. In case you wonder why we do not have an in-river fishery as they do on the Campbell River it is because of conservation concerns of threatened Puntledge River summer chinook, which by the way have made a good showing as of this column.

With a soul-enriching walk on the beach you can fish for pink off the mouth of the Oyster or join the frantic competition of fishing the Campbell River along with several hundred other enthusiastic river anglers.

Me, I prefer the solitude of a quiet beach with plenty of room to play a fish but then a friend just gave me delicious fresh pink salmon.

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.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Baynes Sound Connector leaves Denman Island en route to Buckley Bay. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Baynes Sound Connector undergoing upgrades

The MV Quinitsa is providing service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Erin Chan accepted her prize of a Staycation at The Kingfisher valued at $500, for winning the  Discover Comox Valley Vacation Guide Photo Contest. Photo by Nicole Fowler
Winner announced in Discover Comox Valley Vacation Guide Photo Contest

Erin Chan has been named the grand prize winner of the Discover… Continue reading

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

A non-profit society hopes to keep musical theatre alive this summer in… Continue reading

The development permit application is for the back of a property at 2522 Dunsmuir Ave. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Privacy, heritage reasons for secondary house denial in Cumberland

Majority of council wants to see something more in line with Camp Road’s character

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The Connect Warming Centre has been operating as an emergency overnight shelter in recent weeks. File photo
Grant funds would provide urgent, temporary support to homeless in Comox Valley

At its April 13 meeting, the Comox Valley Regional District board agreed… Continue reading

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

The 5th Street Bridge Project, which began April 14, is expected to take 6 months to complete. Scott Stanfield photo
5th Street Bridge Project begins in Courtenay

The 5th Street Bridge rehabilitation project began Thursday in Courtenay. The $6.5… Continue reading

Most Read