Just last week, looking at Quadra Island from a residence in Campbell River, one boat was fishing the rip near the lighthouse.
This time of year, the challenges anglers face are colder weather, high winds and shortened daylight hours. For those getting out, winter springs are being targeted and for most anglers, hooking undersized salmon is not worth getting out and burning gas. We will see the rain turning into snow and the few getting out are longtime residents of Campbell River and they will get out when good weather days arrive.
A few of the experienced guides who can get out with clients have heated boats which allows them to get out and fish for a few hours.
We are still social distancing and travel restrictions are still in place. I get a chance to get out at least once this time of year and there is nothing wrong with getting a few 14-pound winter springs and even a bucket of prawns. You can experience salmon fishing year-round in Discovery Passage Area 13 but the prime fishing dates are April to the end of October. Keep in mind the non-retention of chinooks as per the regulations we get each year from the DFO. You can call ahead and book any charter company but know the regulations and take it from there. Experience the salmon fishing along with viewing the nature Discovery Passage has to offer.
When it comes to purchasing fishing gear during the Christmas season, there are options you can choose from. Shop local or go online. My first choice is to support the tackle shops that have been here for years and they work with fishing guides and anglers who know the local waters for both salmon and trout. They also support local fish enhancement projects with donations to fundraisers. I have yet to experience online buying of products but if price points are a concern, it’s your choice to decide to buy or not to buy.
Local shops provide jobs and any information about fishing you need. They are more than helpful; they go out of their way to get you fishing around Campbell River. You might be surprised to learn that many lures and plugs are made right here on the island, including Campbell River and Gold River.
With the recent rain, most rivers will be high and the salmon runs are pretty much done, except for catch-and-release trout and steelhead. The Salmon River near Sayward is high and coloured and is very driftable for winter fishing. You can see from the bridges, water levels are changing every week and in later weeks, the slush will turn to snow and many pools will be difficult to get at.
The day-use area at Echo Lake is a great place to drown some worms and go fishing off the wharf. The lake was stocked last month and they are feeding on scuds, snails and sticklebacks. Fire pits are there and there is a washroom facility. There may be a few carry-over trout from last year and a few three-pounders plus have been caught. Bundle up, keep warm and practice social distancing on all local lakes.