The bad news hit us in mid April that it would be catch and release fishing for Chinook salmon until July 15. Has it finally set in?
This would have been the third year that the local salmon derby would be held in early June in Campbell River but that wasn’t to be. Boating traffic is definitely down just by looking at the fishing spots in Area 13 and seeing a decline in fishing activity. Those people who have come to Campbell River to fish Discovery Pier have postponed coming to fish until July 15. Whether you fish from a boat or throw out lures on the pier, you have to know the regulations and adjust your fishing plans accordingly.
Since early April, I have been in contact with experienced fishing guide Ron Lamont who is now Marine Manager at Painters Lodge. Ron gave me a good explanation of how fishing guides would have to adjust to the new rules and regulations pertaining to Chinook salmon and roll with the punches.
Larger catch and release nets are being used by guides and digital weigh scales would be on the boats. In addition to catch and release nets and digital scales, Rockfish descenders will now be mandatory.
Already in the month of June, private companies have taken salmon charters during the catch and release days remaining on Chinook until July 15 but hatchery-clipped Coho opened June 1. This got my attention. Meanwhile, Ron mentioned that at least 44 women were entered in a fun salmon derby June 14, 15 and 16. I made my way to the dock on Saturday and I was waiting for the first boats to arrive with catch reports. I immediately noticed the scales were not even hung at the fish tables and that tags would be marked with fish weights recorded. The ladies would fish the morning tide, then fish the afternoon tide then arrive back at dock around 3 p.m. The ladies varied in age and they came to Campbell River to experience salmon fishing, go shopping and be catered to. One lady mentioned she cooks at home all year and this three-day weekend would be a break for her.
Few of the ladies mentioned it’s a shame they can’t bring Chinook salmon home but they had fun during the get together. Pat Hansen caught and released a 26.11 pound Chinook, Theresa Chipperfield got a 23.5 and Janet Law a 21.6 pound Chinook. Next year the derby will be open to 80.
River levels are low on many rivers on Vancouver Island and rain is badly needed. It is time to get out the floating fly line and see what dry flies are working during hot weather spells. I am using a 4 wt rod on the rivers but when the pinks arrive a 6 to 8 wt rod is better. Many people will use a heavier 9 wt rod for pinks but the action on the rod feels like you are using a hockey stick.