Getting organized for the 2020 fishing season

Victoria Steinke with her first salmon caught during the holidays. Photo Andy Steinke

By Don Daniels

Here we are in the second week of January and a brand new year of fishing has started in Discovery Passage for salmon and trout in the local rivers and lakes.

Rain and wind have been around and at times stops fishing activity completely but when the weather window opens, people have been out salmon fishing or getting out crabbing and prawning. I know Victoria Steinke from Campbell River had her brothers Andy and Henning here for the holidays and they wanted to go salmon fishing. They met their guide Ron Fife at 9 a.m. and they dropped crab traps north then fished the Red Can and Willow Point area. The bite started in the morning and they got salmon in the boat along with a feed of crab.

On the south portion of the Island, Victoria and Sooke salmon fishing has been slow and spotty with undersize fish caught and bigger fish almost 8 pounds. Water depth is around 180 feet and fish caught are around 10 to 12 pounds. White and Tiger Prawn hoochies are catching fish along with anchovies.

This time of year is a great time to get out but keeping warm and safe on the water is first priority for a few hours of fishing fun. The weather was wet and cold but a warm boat was a bonus for the Steinkes but they will come back to salmon fish in Campbell River.

This time of year with the wind, boat owners should check to make sure their boats are secure at the dock.

The rain has brought up water levels in rivers and for the most part, the smaller rivers like the Oyster and Quinsam are fishable for catch-and-release cutties and steelhead trout.

Around late December to Jan. 3, the Salmon River was high and muddied but when it settles down, those getting out will drift the river. The better fishing will be in late January and February. Log jams are plenty when drifting the Salmon River and some boats have tipped over.

Anglers are getting rewarded for catching a tagged cutthroat trout in Cowichan Lake. The province is offering cash gift cards if you hook a tagged fish. Catch the tagged trout, remove the tag, take a photo and report the catch to the ministry office in Nanaimo. A total of 80 fish have been tagged and it helps study spawning habits and movement of the trout.

Despite the warmer temperatures and rain, there is some snow accumulation around but getting to a lake is no problem at the lower levels, although logging roads are snow covered. Spin casters are gearing up worms, Power bait and Gulp Eggs. If you find a spot, build a fire and keep warm. Small 2 to 3 inch Tomic plugs can also be trolled in deeper water.

On the fly, Pumpkin head leeches have been producing nice catches of trout at Beavertail Lake.

Coming up this month I have a feature report on fly tying products. The cost is going up but there are things you can do to keep fly tying fun and affordable.

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