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Preparing for a winterlude of salmon fishing in Discovery Passage

By Don Daniels
Keeper springs in December average 14 lbs. Don Daniels file photo

By Don Daniels

As a general rule, this time of year salmon fishing activity around Campbell River and Vancouver Island is nonexistent but a few local anglers go out for the fun of it and they make changes to an outing for a few hours on the water.

Safety is always a top priority when planning a trip and the weather is always a factor if you can get out or not. Winter springs are out there and reports, coming in from a few anglers who have been out, say salmon are ranging 12 to 14 pounds caught on 5 or 6-inch plugs around the Lighthouse.

During the recent storms, at times there were no visual signs of boats anywhere in the fishing zones. With storms comes debris in the water and when things settle down, a number of fallen trees and logs will gather up on shore. Some people will not get out as gas rationing is here around the Island.

Prior to the pandemic, I had a chance to experience December fishing mid-month for a few hours. A heated cruiser is a delight during the colder months and getting out for a few hours is all that is needed if you’re fishing with a local, experienced guide.

Anglers who have fished during the summer and fall may have salmon in the freezer and will use it up during Christmas and New Year’s. I spoke with Gibran White recently and the lodge was getting ready for a weekend closed for the season party. Those people who work at fishing lodges have access to an abundance of salmon and other seafood delights to serve up this time of year to staff or guests. There are a number of people working at various camps around the Island and they spend weeks on end working and they come out of camp and get a break. On their off time while working, they are bonused with whale or bear watching at these remote camps.

With the heavy rain, the rivers here are high and I am seeing very little angling action on the Oyster, Quinsam and Campbell River. Most anglers who venture out when weather clears and rivers clear up will drift the Salmon River at Sayward but more activity will come in the spring.

Fly tying sessions for beginners has been a great success at the Seniors Centre at Ironwood Mall and the next session is scheduled for Jan. 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. The free sessions are booked solid and I have contacted anyone on the waiting list to confirm dates coming up at the Campbell River Library on the last Sunday in January, February and March. Arija Fisher, customer service librarian, has set guidelines which include limited persons in the activity room and this will be a way to get back after almost 2 years of having no fly tying sessions booked.

I am in the process of putting together a number of packages of materials to give away along with fly patterns that are fishable for salmon and trout around Campbell River.

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