Strathcona Dam is a popular camping and fishing site but it will soon be removed by BC Hydro to a location above the dam. BC Hydro photo

Everybody’s getting antsy for the fishing and camping season

By Don Daniels

Here we are at the last weekend of February and the feeling of fishing and camping activity is quite evident as people begin to search for a new or used camper and get out with their family.

Ten years ago, when I arrived in Campbell River, I heard stories of people just getting out in the bush or setting up near a lake and go fishing or camping for a weekend and even longer. At some of the lakes it was quite common for a group to head out on a Thursday, drop off a small trailer and bring their grub and beer lock it in the camper and return on a Friday to spend a few days. Some would phone their employer and report that they were ill and stay a few extra days.

Times have changed we see more gates around and permits are required in some areas.

Echo Lake is a day-use area only and last year there were times – especially on a long weekend – people would set up camp and stay all weekend despite posters saying “Day Use Only.” Miller Creek campground is just down the road and they have made more campsites available. It’s first-come, first-served with no reservations needed and there is a discount for seniors.

Strathcona Dam is a very busy area during the summer months and if you read the signs, the non-fishing area is clearly posted. For the campers and anglers who venture a little further into Strathcona Park, the Buttle Lake campground has plenty of room for everyone and the boat launch is handy to get out and fish for trout but, remember, the wind blows up in the afternoon.

License renewals for freshwater and saltwater fishing are coming up at the end of March and any changes to the local salmon fishing will be announced after DFO meetings in mid April. Here’s hoping what happened last year for non-retention of Chinooks will not be repeated but don’t hold your breath. If push comes to shove it would be nice to keep a hatchery Chinook limit of one but there is no decision on that.

Fly fishing is not for everyone but I have met many new people who have moved here from all over Canada and I will have a bug guide review next week and get you geared up for a season of fun on the local rivers and lakes.

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