LESLIE EATON DISPLAYS her first chum of the season.

LESLIE EATON DISPLAYS her first chum of the season.

Puntledge River extravaganza

Grab a fishing rod and check out some great chum salmon fishing

 

On Sunday, Oct. 27 I spent a few hours watching what I used to do with great pleasure – fishing chum salmon with a fly rod on the Puntledge.

The reason I have backed off has to do with getting too old to chance a tumble in the river, but this in no way diminishes my pleasure of watching the river and other anglers enjoying the challenges of playing an angry chum salmon.

It isn’t the World Series of baseball or the Grey Cup of football, but for the people of the Comox Valley and our visitors, the annual chum salmon fishery is a significant event. I am not certain when it will reach its climax, but it is close.

For many anglers it is the culmination of a river season that started with pink salmon in July and will come to an end in the near future unless it gets an unexpected boost from a late season in-river coho salmon fishery. In the meantime, their smokers have been on overtime with all the fresh chum salmon.

If you recall last Sunday was the first day we had a serious wind in several weeks. It was also accompanied by usually warm sunny weather. My morning on the river was one I would recommend to any serious fisher or person who loves the outdoors.

I saw a scene on the river that had all the qualities of one of those extreme paintings that show great swirls of colour across a canvas and seem to have no relation to reality. If you recall most of the trees still had their leaves. What I saw on the sheltered waters of the river just above a rapid was great swirls of red, green and yellow leaves that were swirling in the current and if you can imagine a painting about 50 by 40 feet, I witnessed a surrealistic painting by nature.

I tried to capture the beauty of the moment with my camera but all I got was a reflection; however in my memory book of important moments in the outdoors this beautiful picture has a secure place. Another beautiful scene was a fly fisher playing a chum salmon, dressed in a green jacket silhouetted against a backdrop of red leaves on the trees, and a seriously bent fishing rod. I suggest these are events I would have missed if my attention was focused on the river and its fish.

As I stood on the bank above a tangle of roots extending from the bank I noticed a growing accumulation of carcasses of spawned out salmon. There were chinook, coho and chum bodies in the collection for future river nutrients.

The first good storm we get may have occurred last night. If my weather forecast is correct, it will wash these nutrient-rich carcasses out into the Comox Estuary where they will return to the ecological system of life and in the process fertilize our estuary.

Next year when the little salmon make their way into the ocean the nutrient rich small creatures that broke down the bodies of their parents will be the food of a new generation. This reminder of the cycles of life was another bonus from my non-fishing walk.

Beach fishing is an additional jewel in our collection of fishing for shore-bound anglers. On page one of the 2013-2015 British Columbia Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide there is the following statement –“It is your responsibility to ensure what species you are allowed to retain and that the area you intend to fish is open.”

They give the DFO Recreational Website to get up-to-date information. I went to this website and obtained the following information: “Coho Map 2013 and 2014 chinook and coho openings for Area 14, Courtenay, Comox and Qualicum – Hatchery coho (marked): Coho salmon with a healed scar in place of the adipose fin.

“Portion of Subarea 14-11 (Baynes Sound): in that portion of Subarea 14-11 Baynes Sound inside a line from the Cape Lazo Light, then to the P-54 Bell Buoy on Comox Bar, then to Longbeak Point, then south to the mouth of Hart (Washer) Creek: September 1 – December 31, 2013: two coho, one may be wild(unmarked). FN0445 – 2013-05-31.”

(Note – the area is bounded on the north by Subarea14-14 Comox Harbour – my addition). Shore anglers and small boat anglers should enjoy these normally calm waters.

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

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

LUSH Valley’s partnership with School District 71 this past year helped feed 200 students and families through the Good Food Box program. Screenshot, LUSH Valley/Comox Valley Schools video
LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020

Non-profit organization is looking for new ways to collaborate with school district

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

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

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

The CVRD building in Courtenay.
Comox Valley organizations in need receive funding

The Comox Valley Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has approved $55,000 in… Continue reading

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A virtual public hearing for a rezoning application for a Comox property was held on March 3. Black Press file photo
No comments at public hearing for Anderton Road rezoning application

The virtual public hearing was held on March 3 for the Comox properties

Most Read