No sign of fishing activity at Painters Lodge this year. Photo by Don Daniels

July salmon fishing is good but you will notice some changes

By Don Daniels

Here we are, starting tomorrow, 15 days into the month of July and those wanting to keep a Chinook can do so – just record your catch on your tidal water license.

The COVID-19 era is still with us and social distancing is practiced around our community and on the water. Everyone is urged to stay local and plan outings that are family-oriented and easy on the budget. If you had plans to fish with a lodge or guide, it’s best to call ahead and see what changes have to be made.

For every fishing area around the province, the regulations are posted online. Area 13, Discovery Passage, when it comes to salmon fishing, the regulations were adjusted for size changes in the Tyee Pool just prior to July 1. There is no guesswork, for Chinooks the size restriction is in place. A keeper is between 62 and 80 cm outside the Tyee Pool, anything over has to be released. The only exception is the Tyee Pool at the spit and no motor traffic is allowed. Signs are posted on land and in the water and, for the most part, we know that the pool is open to rowers and anglers who practice old fashioned fishing methods using a single plug or spoon.

If you are new to Campbell River you can drive to Tyee Spit and walk the beach and observe the rowers and anglers in action from early morning to dusk. For club members, the season opens Wednesday and fishing lasts until Sept. 15. The clubhouse is closed to the public because of COVID-19 but an area will be set aside for any inquiries pertaining to the club’s activities. Roger Gage sat down with me and he told me the club will continue with some changes as we all move forward during the summer months and experience salmon fishing in Campbell River.

One of my favourite destinations to catch up on salmon catch information is Painters Lodge. The Marine Centre is closed and the guides that scoot out to the fishing zones such as the Hump and Green Can will not be seen this year. The ladies’ fun tournament was cancelled in June. Each year the ladies come from the mainland and many have been fishing for years but this year they will not come.

At this time of year, there is shore fishing for salmon and the pinks will be coming in; water levels are ideal to get out and spin or fly cast for these 3 and 4-pound tasty fish, and they offer great fun for the family to get out and catch their first salmon. Evening hours you can see the pinks jump around and the area between Salmon Point and the Oyster River is a good spot to try out your fly rod or spin-cast using Blue Fox spinners in green, blue or green on low tide. Hooks must be single barbless and you can keep one hatchery clipped coho.

With the warmer weather and families staying home, there are more people using kayaks, canoes and even paddleboards to get out and cool off at the local lakes. Water temperature is between 15 and 17 degrees and during the sunny, warm days, the trout are staying deeper. There are a number of high elevation lakes that provide good fishing but the challenge is rough logging roads, some are gated and some roads are torn up by all-terrain vehicles.

I have a feature coming up on fishing the lakes north of Sayward and the area is a challenge to get into but a few of us will try to get in and I will have a report in future weeks. Enjoy the summer, stay local and maintain social distancing in our fishing community.

Campbell Riverfishing