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Fishing on the Salmon River yesterday and today

By Don Daniels
Angler Vern Skogan in Sayward in the 1960s. Valerie Skogan photo

By Don Daniels

On my weekly drive to get the Campbell River Mirror to Sayward, I get to talk to anglers who launch their boat from the marina and many people who live there have stories about fishing the Salmon River.

I started going to Sayward in 2013 and enjoy it for a few reasons, many locals have fished the area for many years and some of the elders are not around. When the Rainbows owned the golf course, I met Vern Skogan who was always good for a fishing story, primarily on the Salmon River. Last week I heard that Vern, who is 99 years old, is doing well. Because of COVID, many elders have stayed close to home.

Back in the 60s there was a good run of steelhead and in 1967, there was a derby. But those days are gone! The steelhead numbers are down and few anglers will give catch and release a try. The Salmon River is wide and drifting is the best way to find a pool but many logs can jam up and you have to portage around it. A few guides will fish for cutthroat trout and there are big ones around. You have to check regulations as the Salmon River is non-retention for even pink salmon in summer.

Because of popular demand, there will be another session of fly-tying for beginners at the Vancouver Island Regional Library on Friday, May 27, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. You can enter your name at the library and you have a chance to win fly-tying books donated by people who have given me books to use as prizes.

Tyers who have been with me this year at the Seniors Centre, please enter your name and everyone will be contacted to join us on the Friday, May 27. I will keep the group in a smaller size and it’s free to enter and we get everyone in to begin tying fly patterns and go fishing.

A draw box is at the library and please enter your name for a chance to win books and fly-tying materials.

Last week I tied up a bunch of ant patterns and a few of the guys wanted the foam-bodied little creatures and this is the time of year ants will be out. When the hatch is on, it’s like watching rain explode on the water and have fun on floating line. Find the tree area and observe the rising trout gorging on ants.

Trout fishing has picked up locally. Maple Lake has been reporting good catches but access is limited and getting out in a small boat is recommended. A few guys have fished Buttle Lake along with Beavertail. There are some groups of anglers who will get out and fish for a few days and have some fun with bragging rights at camp.

Salmon fishing in northern B.C. is off to a slow start but it’s still early and guides follow the runs and know where to hunt the chinook.