One thing about contract fishing guides who spend time away from home working, they get treated to gourmet meals which include salmon, crab and other delights from the sea.
While the fishing season is over until start-up in April, other camps who employ various workers and camp cooks are treated to an abundance of food from their working location which at times is only accessible by boat or plane. Workers in camp spend long days at work and will spend many days in camp. In most cases, it’s work, sleep and eat but another sideline to camp life is seeing whales and eagles, and yes, plenty of bears.
A number of camps will be primarily shut down at the moment and may employ a maintenance person to keep the generators running and do general building and boat upkeep.
There are a number of people who have opinions on the taste of white, red or marble spring salmon. They will say it has to do with what they are eating but that is not true. It’s based on genetics. White springs have a more fishy odor than the red and it makes excellent fish and chips. They have a stronger smell even when you put them in the boat because of the slime on their skin. Experienced west coast fishing guide Gibran White mentioned that years ago, when he was commercial fishing, they couldn’t get anything for them and now they are very popular down in the States with chefs, especially in New York.
The Yakima River in Washington along with the Harrison, Vedder and Chilliwack Rivers in B.C. have the biggest runs of white spring salmon.
Most anglers tend to agree that a small winter spring, 12 to 14 pounds, wins hands down in a taste test. Recent salmon catch reports have cold-water, young keepable salmon coming in locally around Campbell River and in Nanaimo. Fishers are getting down 200 to 250 feet and getting a good healthy winter spring.
River fishing will start to pick up locally if you are so inclined to look for catch and release cutthroat trout. Many locals will get out testing their new gear and enjoy walking the banks of rivers and throw out a fly or single barbless lure or spoon.
Outside the Campbell River area, the Stamp river has been fishing good and later in the year and the Nimpkish will get a few anglers out searching out a steelhead pool. There are some northern rivers that are accessible only by helicopter or boat and they offer great fun if you’re willing to spend the money and get out with professional guides.
I found a picture of a salmon I caught in Knight Inlet in 1981. It was used as a holiday greeting card that year. The salmon came in at 23 pounds and the fishing guide was Rick Raps. After all these years, I met with Rick and we recalled the weekend of fishing more than 40 years ago.
Happy New Year everyone! Happy Holidays! Wishing that all things will get better in 2022 for you and your fishing family, as we continue living during these pandemic days ahead.