There are options for winter fishing

Don Daniels displays a recently-caught winter spring salmon. Photo contributed

By Don Daniels

A few of the local guys who live in Campbell River have been in Mexico for a month and I wanted to get a report of how they were doing fishing wise.

I get a chance to fish with a buddy who fishes the lakes around Campbell River in the spring and summer and the area he is fishing is Lake Chappala, Mexico. The reports came back and it wasn’t good fishing. The lake is full of lily pads which provide good habitat for fish and if you can find open water, you can fish. Shore fishing is out of the question and the lake is basically a big slough.

In many parts of Mexico, property owners build casitas and rent them out. Ed had mentioned all the casitas are rented out and there are too many dogs running around and no one cleans up the dog poop. Ed will leave Lake Chappala and head to the Baja to check out pier or beach fishing then head back to Campbell River in spring.

It was one year ago I was invited to salmon fish with local guide Ron Fife and Ron mentioned we would take a short trip out to the fishing zone, catch our limit and head back to the dock. We met at the boat and Ron mentioned if the snow continued we would not fish. We managed to get out and we had limited out within a few hours and the winter springs were biting. Over the next two weeks, the winter springs should be hitting plugs in about 190 feet of water and a heated boat is a pleasure in the cold weather.

The salmon run is finished in local rivers but there have been catch reports of steelhead in the Salmon and Campbell rivers. Most anglers will drift the Salmon River even though getting around log jams in upper levels can be a challenge.

With the recent rain, river levels are changing but all rivers show no sign of being blown out. For catch and release trout, the parking area at the Fisherman’s pub at the Oyster River is closed off to the public.

Coming up during the holidays you will see a few anglers on the Quinsam River trying out their new gear and, at times, a few steelies are caught along with cutthroat trout which are all catch-and-release.

With the arrival of the colder weather, you can fish area lakes from shore but if you come across ice on the surface my best advice is to stay off.

It just hasn’t been cold enough and I have heard of people letting their dogs on the ice and they have fallen through. When we get a dump of snow – and it will come – getting to upper elevation lakes will be difficult. I have no interest in getting stuck or even sliding off the logging road.

Many of the local lakes will have ice on the shallow water sections but Roberts Lake has open water year round. Stay on the shore, build a fire to keep warm and enjoy fishing during the holidays.

Coming up this month I have a fly tying feature for those of you who want to get started and I will have a few ideas on affordable gifts for the angler in your life.

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