Gearing up for the evening hatch. Photo by Don Daniels

Anglers are keeping their distance during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Don Daniels

As we head into the final weekend of May, there are some noticeable changes in the fishing on lakes within a short drive of Campbell River.

Days prior to the long weekend, the weather got warmer and that brought out more people to fish or kayak around the lakes. There are people who love the mornings and they will get up and fish daylight to about early afternoon. I am a fan of fishing from early afternoon to about 5, then head home.

The dry fly anglers will start fishing late afternoon to almost dark. I am seeing more people coming out fishing and they are being socially responsible. I think for some couples, it was get out of the house and get the boat in the water and go fishing. Solo anglers who want to get offshore are fishing from pontoon boats and float tubes and they get to an area in the lake far away from anybody else and wet some flies.

Day-use areas have been busy, especially on warm sunny days, and since I fish from an inflatable boat, I get to hear the chatter and at times it’s entertainment in itself. Kids can enjoy fishing and the wormies catch fish and many times a fish is hooked and gone, so they hook up another worm, then wait and wait. Worms are often trolled behind a wedding band and one angler said he was ashamed to keep a small trout but the size doesn’t matter, it gives him more patience to get out and catch a bigger one.

A number of anglers have spread their wings and are fishing higher-elevation, fly fishing-only lakes and with the extra fishing pressure on the lake, shore access and parking can be an issue.

Some lakes are hard to get at, as roads can be rough, and good tires are a must. At many lakes there is no camping area but at times people will stay overnight, often with a group, and that is just being disrespectful to others. Some lakes are close to the highway and often a car will pull up close to the lake, stay awhile, then head out, leaving beer cans behind.

There is no problem fishing from shore at any lake using a bobber and hooking up artificial bait or worms. These rigs are often used in shallow water and when you finish, take everything home with you. Wildlife can get tangled up; so make it a practice to take out anything you take in.

Wet flies that have been working at the moment are green or black leech fly patterns that resemble bloodsuckers and I have been playing with the Wild Thing fly and it has been a hot producer. Dry fly patterns have been working in the evening hours and a fly pattern to try is the Irresistible.

Whether you are on the rivers or lakes, the restrictions will start to ease, so be considerate and wait it out.

On the saltchuck, keep your fishing activities limited and obey social distancing during this pandemic. For any fishing you need a license and for the most convenient way to get it, go online. You can check with local tackle shops and each place will have a company policy regarding getting you a license.

On the rivers there is lots of space between the pools and social distancing is not a problem for catch and release cutthroat trout. If you are new to Campbell River, you can pick up a paper copy of the regulations for fish or shellfish in this area.

Nonresidents of the area will walk the sandy areas of Discovery Passage with a pail harvesting shellfish not knowing you need a tidal water fishing license. DFO has been checking and you could pay a fine.

We are all going through changes during the virus situation but the bottom line is to enjoy what we have, be courteous on the water and let’s wait and adjust to the day-to-day changes.