Simplified fishing for trout and salmon

A simple salmon scale cleaner made from wood and bottle caps. Photo by Don Daniels

By Don Daniels

I am noticing that new people are arriving in Campbell River to retire or start a new job and they often will ask questions about fishing for salmon or trout.

At times, they will be hesitant to ask questions about this recreational sport called fishing. Over the years I think the fun part of fishing is talking to people and finding out information – it’s better than trial and error.

I am quite aware there are some guys who simply will not give out any information and that’s okay. We all have our secret fishing spots but, in general, information is easy to come by if you are polite, keep any information to yourself and have fun fishing. In this day and age, if you want any information about what is happening in the area any month of the year you can go to the Internet and search out the latest catch reports or what equipment is working.

We all work with a budget and, at times, a few people will only buy the best, most expensive gear but does that make you a better fisherman? The answer is no. I know of a fellow in Qualicum Beach who purchased a fly rod for $800 and three years later, has never used it. It remains packed away in the basement.

A group of us were discussing the fact that old fishing gear is making a comeback and the discussion turned to golf and I was surprised that the new golf equipment makes you a better golfer because of the latest technology.

When I first moved from Saskatchewan to B.C., I learned to salmon fish using river spinning gear because river fishing was fun and new to me and catching a coho using a Kitmat 80 spoon with light tackle was a thrill – I was hooked. I was invited to go trout fishing and I didn’t have a fly rod so I had to adjust and use the only equipment I had.

The fishing line was a yellow stren that had some floating qualities so I decided to tie on a four-pound monofilament leader – the only fly I had was a silver bodied minnow imitation – and search the shoreline for trout. That day I landed a few trout and then decided to purchase a fly rod and I never looked back at using spinning gear.

You can clean any fish at the fish cleaning stations located around Campbell River and I noticed a piece of wood which looked like a bread board with bottle caps nailed to the wood. At first glance, it looked like a fish bonker but the group from Comox had caught a few springs and they began cleaning their catch and I saw this contraption being used. It was a scaler and it really worked wonders and the guys mentioned it really saves their fillet knives from getting dull.

If you missed the fly tying session for beginners last Sunday at the library in Campbell River, I am back there Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. and I am at the Sayward library on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. I had three tables set up last Sunday and the response was so overwhelming we added more tables.

We spent the afternoon working with feathers and other materials and I was amazed and pleased that more ladies and students are coming out to get some tying tips and talk fishing.

The weather can be a challenge and since the month of February is short, we are getting longer daylight hours and the fishing season will be soon upon us.

This caught my attention: there are some fishing areas that have been mentioned as being haunted. The only thing that means haunted to me is a streamer fly pattern called the Black Ghost.