Fishing through the smoke on Discovery Pier. Don Daniels photo

Fishing scene rolls into fall

By Don Daniels

Mid-month all around Vancouver Island there was smoke from a distant fire and it added to the mystique if you were fishing on the water.

Visibility was down and the rain and wind came and the anglers had a chance to get out and go fishing. During the smoke in the air days, at Kelsey Bay, the wind usually blows across but it stayed quiet and Hardwicke Island was nowhere to be seen. Local campers saw the sun come out and they went fishing and a number of halibut were caught and released between 160 and 195 pounds.

Each week I get to speak with the campers and get an update to salmon fishing in the area. Chinook salmon fishing has slowed right down and hatchery coho have been caught when the bait is located. Around Campbell River, most of the guides have finished the season and now many will store their boats and go hunting. Some of the locals have reported hit and miss salmon fishing but hatchery coho have been caught. The chinooks are dark and for the most part, have made it to the rivers to spawn. Hatchery coho are out there and the chums will be arriving. Since we are still in COVID-19 times, the Browns Bay chum derby will not be held this year.

Our local river systems are ideal for wading in and casting out a fly or spin cast for a salmon. A number of people are still not knowing rules and regulations for fishing each river. Signs are posted and what salmon species you can fish for. The information for the Campbell River, Quinsam and Oyster are listed online.

Another alternative is to ask any staff member at local tackle shops – they can advise and make recommendations to what tackle is needed to enjoy a day out on the river.

Beach fishing is a fun way to cast out flies, spoons or jigs and enjoy recreation angling while enjoying the scenery around your fishing area. Already the schools of coho have been spotted, and while the rain is yet to come, it will move the coho into the upper river pools to spawn. You can watch the coho staging up from Rotary Park all the way to Salmon Point and the Oyster River.

You need a license and should be aware of the regulations. DFO and RCMP can check licenses and can take away any illegal fish and write up a ticket. I have a number of fly patterns I tie up at home and the barbs are removed before I even leave the house. I want to get my waders on and get out and fish, not stumble around finding a plier to make the hooks legal.

Lake fishing has started to get better during the cooler temperatures and while the hot sunny days might be a thing of the past, it may be a good thing for trout anglers. Shallow water will have trout lurking in the weeds, feeding during the insect hatch and a little size 12 backswimmer fly pattern has been a great producer during the month of September

Buttle and Upper Campbell will start to pick up but so will the wind. Reginald has been a busy lake this year and Beavertail has produced some nice trout.

I have some fly tying features coming up but I will wait until the colder, wet weather settles in. Hopefully, we can get out and enjoy fishing rivers, lakes and the ocean around Campbell River well into November.

Weather permitting, it is possible to jump in a boat and fish for salmon in December or trout-fish local stocked lakes. The fall trout stocking program should be completed by mid-October.

Campbell Riverfishing