By Don Daniels
Around Campbell River the fishing activity is not at a standstill but the usual number of boats has been far fewer this year because of the lack of tourists or people from Vancouver not coming over because of the restrictions on nonessential travel.
There are folks who are putting their boats in the water for the first time in many years because they are staying local and want to get out boating or fishing. Some of the best dry fly fishing is located between Campbell River and Gold River. Last year, during a trip to Buttle Lake and the Ralph River campsite, the campsite was full and I expect another busy season as we get closer to the month of June.
Within a few hours’ drive north of Campbell River, there are a number of fishable locations on the Adam and Eve rivers and social distancing is not a problem; in some cases, you can walk a stretch of water and not come across a single person. At times you will see a number of anglers fishing the same pool but that doesn’t happen very often and those who enter a pool that is being fished will move on. When the salmon runs start, rivers like the Nimpkish and Cluxewe can get crowded later in the summer. The Salmon River is fishable and some nice cutthroat trout can be caught in the next couple of weeks. Check regulations to areas that are open and that hooks are barbless. There is no retention of trout or steelhead.
Recently, I met Pierre and Helen Moline on the Kelsey Bay wharf when they were the first couple fishing and enjoying the day on the wharf. Helen caught her first greenling. They were staying locally and are in the process of moving to Port Hardy. We started talking about fly fishing and they mentioned that they made a fly from some of her hair. I know that many fly tyers experiment with various hair from humans or from dogs or cats.
Fly patterns that have been working around Sayward lakes are Royal Coachman, Doc Spratly and Idaho nymph. Fry patterns can be fished on the Oyster and Quinsam rivers.
Anytime I want to know about ants, I contact Rick Feller in Campbell River. He had mentioned that the ant hatch has been on for a few months, so out come the black-ant fly patterns and it’s time to fish them. The weather has warmed and the plant growth at various local lakes has been good with bug hatches on the rise. On the fly fishing-only section of the Campbell River a fly pattern that has been fished with good results is the olive green Carey Special.
A number of people are fishing the Sooke area, south island. Lures that are working for salmon are Looney spoons, so if you’re inclined to experience fishing non-retention chinooks around area 13 Discovery Passage, give it a try.
With weather permitting, I have been invited out to jig for lings and get out for a few hours on the water. Whether you are fishing a local lake or spin casting from shore on a local river, maintain social distancing and remember to stay close to home.