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Cold weather fishing for salmon and trout in February

By Don Daniels
Shae Roth with a Bates Beach winter spring. Dave Fife photo

By Don Daniels

It would be nice to think that the snow we had in December is behind us now but you never know.

Rain and wind is a key factor that can keep you at home waiting it out for better weather. Daylight hours are getting longer each day and when March comes around, local anglers will start getting boats out of storage because its time to organize fishing gear and get ready for the upcoming fishing season.

This month, a number of salmon anglers have reported good salmon catches coming out of Kitty Coleman and Bates Beach. We are still early for the herring spawn but when the herring are around, it’s a sight to see along with birds and seals in full action feeding on herring. Here in Campbell River we really don’t get a full visual but going to Comox at areas such as Port Holmes, the spawning herring is clearly visible with the coloring of the water along with the odor of the herring.

In the month of February, trout anglers are choosing to stay away from boat fishing because of the cold weather but another way to get out is to do some shoreline fishing in lakes such as Comox, Maple, and Roberts. Spincasters will use jigs or cast out a variety of lures that imitate bait fish. Small Tomic plugs, Flatfish and Rapalas are popular trolling lures in the lakes. From Cumberland, take Dunsmuir Avenue and follow directions to Cumberland Lake Park Campground.

In summer, fly anglers search the shallow water and when the ant hatch comes alive, the excitement begins, hit it before the main hatch which can be around mid May. In late evening or early morning, you can watch the calm water come alive with ants falling from tree branches. The trout will gorge themselves but then a few days later there is no sign of feeding.

A few anglers have been spotted at the Salmon River and those venturing out will use pink plastic or rubber worms along with egg patterns in yellow and pink. I call it the golf course pool and some nice steelhead have been hooked, but the pool is hard to get at. River anglers should check regulations before heading out into an unknown area.

A box of fly-tying materials was donated to me to use at my beginners session coming up this Sunday at the Campbell River Library. We will be working with grizzly hackle along with mallard feathers and various other dubbing materials and deer-hair.

I found it interesting to learn that various feathers were packaged and stored in a Bronnley soap box, some packages were also obtained from Clem’s Sporting goods in Kelowna.

Fly-tying for beginners begins at 1 p.m. and finishes at 3 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 26. All materials are supplied free of charge and the following patterns will be demonstrated, Montana Nymph, Doc Spratley, red and black ant, then students can freestyle to wrap up the afternoon and take fly patterns home.

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