Abby Morris with commercially-caught crabs. Photo: Don Daniels

Abby Morris with commercially-caught crabs. Photo: Don Daniels

Fishing conditions quiet with travel restrictions and non-retention of chinook salmon

By Don Daniels

The COVID-19 pandemic here in Campbell River and Vancouver Island is still impacting how we do things when it comes to fishing for salmon or heading out to rivers and lakes to do some angling.

The warmer weather came our way April 12 and you know it will prompt people to get out and enjoy some fishing. Looking at Discovery Passage, there is plenty of room out there to go fishing but many will wait it out because of the non-retention of Chinook salmon.

Some locals who own a boat will venture out and set up crab and prawn traps. When I first moved from Regina to Kitimat it was a first-time experience to head out fishing for salmon and watch the guys also set out crab traps. After fishing for a while, they would then come back and pull up the pots and see what was trapped inside.

There were times I would stay on the main boat and fish for salmon and kill a few hours while my friend Archie Bellwas out. Living in a small fishing community like Kitimat, you meet lots of people and I was introduced to Bell who fished commercially. He lived on a big boat and he used his skiff to get out and commercially-fish for prawns.

We spent countless hours cutting up bait and getting the prawn pots ready to go.

One fond memory I have is staying on the main boat and casting for salmon or cod for a few hours. Using Buzz Bomb lures was the fun way to fish, and for jigging down deep and coming up with a red snapper.

At that time there was non-retention for pink salmon. The Kitimat River had good runs of coho salmon. Steelhead were around in good numbers. You could spincast in the river systems around Terrace and Kitimat and fly fishing caught my attention, especially in the fall months.

I had made my way down to Discovery Pier last week and the kids were casting in the water and I wondered if they were after perch. They were chasing a crab and they finally hooked a submerged cable and that was the end of the chase.

Meanwhile, I had a chance to talk with Abby Morris, who was in the process of setting her seafood operation up, and I also noticed her selection of mussels, crab and oysters. Later in the fall sea urchins can be obtained.

Tackle shops in Campbell River stock all kinds of bait for use in baiting crab and prawn traps. Would you be surprised to learn that pet stores sell a huge amount of cat food to people who don’t even own a cat?

Cat food is used to attract crab and prawns and adding a stink solution will give you better results, but don’t spill anything on your skin or clothes; it’s very difficult to wash out.

For trout anglers, the warmer weather will produce a hatch and since water temperature is warming up, fish the bottom with worms. The best time for the ant hatch is a few weeks away.

Campbell Riverfishing