Buttle Lake is still a winter wonderland for fishing. Photo by Don Daniels

Buttle Lake is still a winter wonderland for fishing. Photo by Don Daniels

Saying goodbye to winter fishing but it might be early for good spring results

By Don Daniels

The official start of spring is only days away and for most, the dark days of winter are gone and we get more daylight every day.

At the beginning of the month, we had temperatures hitting plus 8 degrees and, yes, the rain and wind continue to hang around. Those who get out salmon fishing have been catching chinook and, yes, lots of undersize are being caught and released. Halibut fishing is open but few anglers go out fishing for halibut, or catches often are not reported.

Give it a few weeks and, as weather conditions improve, the locals will gear up and get after chinook. At the beginning of the month you will see many commercial herring boats head south to Comox and wait for the herring opening. I am planning a trip to the area to view the spectacle that occurs each year and, at times, can be a frenzy of birds and seals going after the herring that can be seen in shallow water.

It was this time last year that COVID-19 started to give us many challenges when it comes to fishing and camping around Campbell River and the Island. Challenges include restricted travel and many businesses that deal with fishing or camping made adjustments to how they can serve customers. Many lodges did not open and some guides, who work at various locations, did not fish.

This year, if you are planning to fish locally, the best advice is to call ahead and find out what they are doing in the months coming up. Call ahead and find out dates available to get on a charter, as many places are offering discounts to slowly keep things moving. Provincial campgrounds will be open to locals and the best thing is get online and book the dates accordingly. Private campgrounds will deal first come, first served.

One of the rivers that gets attention this time of year is the Nimpkish located north of Sayward. A number of local anglers will try for steelhead. On the fly offers a lot of fun if you can get into any fish.

Fry fly patterns will be fished at other rivers around Campbell River and once the sun comes out, the anglers will be out on the Quinsam and Oyster. One of the signs of nature that indicate the start of river fishing is visible skunk cabbage that spring up in creeks and spawning channels.

Local lakes have open water. The north end of Roberts Lake can have good fishing at the end of the month. Try Beavertail and Fry lakes. We need some warmer temperatures before chironomid fishing will improve at stocked lakes like Echo. I will announce the stocking date at Echo and Maple lakes when the announcement comes from the hatchery at Duncan.

Do you remember…You had to get a doctor’s note to purchase an electric downrigger for salmon fishing and remember the old paper charts you bought at marinas and tackle shops? Remember when you could purchase a fishing license at the gas stations and corner stores. Now it’s basically all online.

Campbell Riverfishing