Campbell River Storm player Mitchell Finner and Owen Watt with a catch-and-release coho from the Oyster River. Don Daniels photo

Campbell River Storm player Mitchell Finner and Owen Watt with a catch-and-release coho from the Oyster River. Don Daniels photo

Experience fishing and nature around the Oyster River

By Don Daniels

In the past month, I had a few opportunities to get out and cast some flies into the Oyster River and maybe catch the last run of coho or hook and release a cutthroat trout.

The weather had changed a few times and the middle of October was ideal to get out and walk a few trails at the nature park and get to a pool and get fishing. During these pandemic days, there are more people on the trails walking their dogs or others just getting out and walking down to the ocean. I see a number of cars parked next to the old pub location and it looks like public parking has been expanded. Signs are posted and social distancing for walking the trails remains in effect.

The coho run is pretty much done but getting out and finding a few stragglers is a good way to get on the water, catch a few fish and observe the nature around you. The geese are holding around the island pools and eagles and other birds are surveying anything in the water that can be eaten.

In the final days of October, the drift anglers did very well hooking and releasing coho and on the fly, I had hooked into a nice coho with a blue wing fly tied with a green body. On the water, Mitchell Finner and Owen Watt hooked into fish all afternoon. Last year, a few of the ladies who took my fly tying for beginners’ session were out there casting flies and I will be working on a story about ladies on the water in future Fishing Corner articles.

If you are new to the area, remember a few things you should know about the Oyster River. There is no retention of trout or salmon and hooks are single barbless and there is a bait ban. River levels are determined by rainfall amount and snowmelt from the mountains. There are steelhead in the river but the numbers are low. From now until spring weather will play a big part in getting out and wetting a line.

Echo Lake was stocked with 1,250 catchable-size trout on Wednesday, Oct. 21, so they have settled in and fishing can be done from the wharf at the day-use area. Try worm fishing and if the weather is favourable, rowing around in a small boat using a fly or spinner should get you some action. Maple Lake received 650 trout and another 2,400 to be stocked in November.

The stocking of Echo Lake is done for this year. If the weather is favourable, fishing the water around 46 feet deep is recommended. But in the meantime, water depth of 15 to 25 feet can hold some carry-over fish fattening up before winter.

Many boats are being winterized and put in storage for the most part around Campbell River but a few locals will get out fishing for winter springs or setting out prawn and crab gear. There have been reports of stolen gear in certain areas of Discovery Passage and anyone pulling up gear other than their own is simply theft but, at times, with strong tides, the gear can move and names are clearly on the marker buoy and if anyone finds the gear, it can be reported. Some people tie up gear to log booms but these booms get moved by the contractor and the equipment is long gone.

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