You can fish for salmon 12 months of the year around Campbell River but there will be some challenges.
Local anglers who own their own boat will decide to keep it in the water or put it in storage for the winter. For those looking for coho, a main challenge will be finding the bait and for Chinook, a lot of undersized salmon will be hooked and released, but there are chinook around 15 pounds that can be retained.
Chum salmon will be around and already some have been caught around Browns Bay and the numbers have been not determined, but salmon anglers will be out and about getting some for the smoker. Because of COVID-19, travel restrictions are still in place and social distancing remains with us.
On a weekly basis, I get to Sayward and I speak with a number of people who get out and fish on a daily basis and the area is known for good halibut fishing. Ron Flanagan has had good catches of halibut and the larger fish have been hooked and released.
At the moment a few chums have been around and the weather will play a big part in getting out or staying in. At Sayward junction, a number of boats are being moved around and the fall season will be busy with people getting gas and picking up supplies and going north to Port Hardy. It is best advised to check around for lodges or campgrounds, to see what is open or closed.
A number of fishable rivers are within a three-hour drive from Campbell River and small trout are being hooked and released. If you’re willing to gas up and drive a few hours you can get out and enjoy a few hours fishing for coho, trout and steelhead. To the north, the Cluxewe River can offer up good fishing if the fish are in. During prime time, coho fishing on the weekends can be busy at times. Around Gold River, a few locals recently made a trip to see if any steelhead action was around. Wherever you go, check regulations for each species targeted.
Beach fishing for coho can be done anywhere from Rotary Park in Campbell River all the way to Salmon Point and further to the Oyster River estuary. Certain tides will move the fish closer to shore and you have to wade out on the incoming tide and cast out a lure or fly.
A number of locals get out often and will cast out and spend the day searching for coho or cutthroat trout. Footing can be difficult; the rocks are plenty and slippery.
The Oyster River nature trail is ideal to walk in and find a spot to go fishing the beach. Fly anglers can work with many patterns that will hook coho and last week a number of anglers were getting into small trout and when I got down to the river, a few coho had gotten into shallow water and made their way to the upper pool.
Last year local lakes were stocked with trout starting Oct. 9 and I will have a date when lakes will be stocked this month. When the weather gets cooler and the rains arrive those dismal, cloudy days can offer up good fishing.
Fly tying sessions for beginners have been popular and coming up I will have a summary of what is in the works this winter, during these social distancing times. Cold weather months are ideal to work with fur, feathers and hair to create a fly pattern to catch a trout or salmon.