There are a few tell-tale signs that announce the arrival of pink salmon to the Campbell River.
The first sign is the number of fly fishers that will wade into waist deep water and fish the water between the two bridges.
The second sign will be people fishing at Sandy pool and the number of lures that get snagged on underwater branches are high in number. Local tackle shops sell hundreds of pink flies lures and jigs. Before you go fishing check the regulations on local rivers like the Campbell River, Quinsam and Oyster.
Schools of pinks will go past Discovery Pier and anglers will catch their fare share of fish. Take a short drive to Salmon Point and see if the pinks are jumping. You can take a walk on the path that goes from Salmon Point to the Oyster River and yes you can beach fish.
I get a chance to talk with campers in Sayward who stay and fish all summer long and ,so far, the pinks are being caught north of Kelsey Bay. The numbers are low but some five-pound pinks have been caught by trollers. Few pinks have been caught from the Kelsey Bay wharf but when the pinks arrive, word spreads fast and the anglers come out in full force and at times fish shoulder to shoulder during the time the pinks are in and biting. If you don’t feel like fishing from the wharf take a short walk to the point and get away from the crowd.
You can have a lot of fun using light spinning gear and casting out small pink Buzz Bomb lures or even jigs in an assortment of colors but pink or lime green is popular. Fly anglers will use light rods and cast out small pink flys in a size 6 or 8 hook. This time of year I have a pool that I fish and I put away the neoprene waders and I simply put on a good soft sole wading shoe and wade in up to my waist and start fishing.
My first year fishing in Campbell River I caught a pink salmon, bonked it and left it on the bank. The pink salmon almost got away on me as the gulls were picking at it and ,yes, a bear was around. I now carry a big anchor bolt and I attach a small rope to my belt and if I want to keep a pink, I string it and let it stay in the water close to me. I found that a 6 weight rod is ideal for pinks and a size 3 or 4 wt rod is a little light for catching these 3 to 5 pound feisty salmon. I added some weight to my flies and find getting it down to the bottom got me lots of hits and using a dry line seemed to keep the action going all day
Area 13 Discovery Passage has been very good for those fishing Chinooks and this year you will see a number of boats out near the lighthouse and getting fish. The bait is around and riggers are getting down to 180 feet of water. I recently went out fishing with local guide Ron Fife and will have a full story coming up later in the month.
I have wondered why more people don’t get into fly fishing and I will have a chance to get out on the water with some locals who have never cast a line. The month of August is exciting and the fishing action for saltwater or pinks in the river will be fun and exciting.