Salmon enhancement at work on the Oyster River. Photo by Don Daniels

A nature walk on the Oyster River and some non-retention fishing

A few times a year I get a chance to go fishing on the Oyster River for catch-and-release trout but in the fall I make my way to the mouth of the river to hook a few pinks on the fly.

Since I fly fish, it’s more of an experimentation to test out fly patterns and enjoy the day of fishing. In past years, during the heavy rain, I see people standing on the bridge and observing the flowing water. The Oyster River is alive and well due to the fact that members of the Oyster River Salmon Enhancement Society volunteer their countless hours to preserve the salmon in the river.

My fishing friend, Ed Cargill from Campbell River, phoned me up and mentioned that we should drive out to the Oyster River and take a look. We headed south and would find Hamm Road and follow the signs to the parking area. We walked in because it was Sunday and the gate was closed. The trails are well marked and you can see the work that the Salmon River Enhancement Society is doing to maintain salmon stocks on the river.

We found a spot on the river that you can see the various pools and noticed little rings on the calm water. It wasn’t rain, it was salmon fry. In addition to the Salmon River mainstream, there are various rearing channels that are active with fry and bugs. The water boatman insects were all over in the shallow pools. The pinks were also around, even the spawning cycle is coming to an end. The next salmon to arrive will be coho and chum.

When you drive across the main bridge, you can observe the water levels and drive down to the parking area across from the pub, which is not operating. The driveway is now blocked off with no parking allowed.

When it comes to fly fishing on the Oyster, I take my waders, fly rod and fly box and walk in to wet some flies. From the parking area it’s a short walk to the estuary and in days to come, you will see the beaches lined with fly fishers trying to hook coho. If you drive along the old Island Highway, the various beaches from Union Bay to Campbell River will have anglers waist deep in water throwing out lures and fly patterns.

The fall stocking of local freshwater lakes is complete and I will have a report next week on what is working at the moment to increase your chances of getting a nice trout.

I am getting reports of a few steelhead being caught but they are incidental catches but the steelies are around in both the Campbell and Salmon River. Remember there is no retention of any species of trout in local river systems and all hooks are single barbless.

Since Monday is a holiday, more anglers will be out on the rivers and salt water spending time enjoying sport fishing around Campbell River.