Anglers and swimmers share the pools of the Campbell River

By Don Daniels

During the month of July when the weather is hot, the crowds gather at the Campbell River to fish and cool off.

At times, parking spaces on the highway by the old logging bridge come at a premium and that continues all day. The Canyon View trail gets walking traffic most of the day. The younger generation is also getting out and they enjoy cooling off in a few of the many pools along the way.

The fly fishers will get to the pools in the fly zone and they get there early; the swimming crowd gets there later in the afternoon and at times it can be crowded.

The early return of pinks has already arrived but more fish are coming and you will see more people gather at Sandy Pool to fish and take a swim in the river to cool off. This year with COVID-19, more people are getting out, and at times, take over a stretch of water and stay there.

I tend to stay away from the crowded areas and while the pinks are slowly arriving, I can fish the river where no one is around and everyone fishing keeps their distance from each other.

When the rain comes, the crowds will diminish; the water levels will get higher and the fun fishing for the small pinks is on. Each day you will see fly fishers fish between the bridges and this year the tourist traffic in the fall will be nonexistent. Travel plans have changed for everyone and last July, I fished the Campbell River with a number of people from Vancouver and the mainland but, keeping travel local, that will change this year.

If I am in the river and snorkelers or swimmers come close, I give them the right of way, let them pass by and continue fishing.

This time of year it’s comfortable to wade in the river with a good pair of boots. A walking stick will give you better balance as the rocky bottom is slippery.

Single hooks must be used and must be barbless. Jared Mcaneely has done well on the fly for pinks at the area on the Campbell where the Quinsam comes in and at times it’s a fight for position.

Salmon fishing for Chinooks has been “outrageously good” according to the local guides I checked with recently. Guides have been getting their quota for Chinook and cod and those getting out in Discovery Passage, Area 13, are referring new business to their friends to experience salmon fishing in Campbell River.

Prawning has been good north of Sayward but the wind can be a challenge, crabbing has been okay at the top end of Quadra Island, salmon fishing has been steady at Chatham Point if you want to spend the time and fish in that area.

Some salmon operators at Winter Harbour have cancelled bookings because of Americans not being able to travel.

Early morning hours and late evening is best for trout fishing locally and the bigger, deeper lakes are often the best alternative to the local warm-water lakes. Upper Campbell and Buttle Lakes are fished and many kayakers head out and venture around and try to hook into a 13-inch trout.

A couple of guys were fishing the Campbell River and they wanted to try some dry fly patterns on a local lake. They fish from a canoe and I suggested the Ankle Biter fly and they looked at me and wondered what that was.

Since we have about 53 species of mosquitoes in the province I decided to tie up a dry fly mosquito larvae and go fishing. Hook size is 10 or smaller and I go smaller. Tail is grizzly hackle sparse and the body is moose main hair and the multi-colour is ideal for the striped body. Grizzly hackle up from the body, then trim off the top section and go fishing.