The Village of Port Alice. Darrell McIntosh photo

The Village of Port Alice. Darrell McIntosh photo

Staying local gives you a chance to add fishing on your list to do

By Don Daniels

It was about this time last year that we first came face to face with COVID-19 and this year we are playing it safe and we are masked up.

Fishing is a big part of what we do for outdoor activity and you can add camping, hiking and boating to the list. Since we are staying in the zone, there are endless opportunities to get out, carry a fishing rod and add some fun to your daily outdoor routine. If you live in the area and go camping, you can pack a fishing rod and go for trout on spinning gear or fly gear.

I was really not surprised to learn that the younger generation of hikers are getting into fly fishing; and why not? They get out on the trails and hike and come across some lakes I haven’t fished or even seen. There is a group of people who have taken up gold panning and have added a fishing rod to their supplies. Metal detecting has been a big activity and if you’re going to find hidden treasure in grass or trees, you might come across a few fishing flies that have got hung up and broken off.

Last year a number of campers arrived in the area from out of province but that will not happen this year as travel restrictions are in place.

There are nearby lakes that will get busy as the locals get out their canoes, kayaks, and small tin boats. Fishing reports in the past week are very favorable and trout up to 14 inches have been hooked, so in the next few weeks expect the ant hatch to begin and those who have no boat can fish from shore with a floating line and cast out a small #14 or 16 red or black ant pattern. When the breeze blows the ants off the trees, the trout will boil in the calm water, so fish away.

I had a chance to speak with Bonnie Danyk, CAO at the village of Port Alice, and I was surprised to learn that the population has grown a bit. In recent years, the population has grown from 664 residents to 750.There is a new marina; and a number of lakes including Alice and Beaver are close by. There is a new marina and safety guidelines are in place at the provincial campground.

There are opportunities for the locals to fly fish the rivers in the area, that includes the Marble. Port Alice is known as the sea otter capital of the world and I’m hoping to get out with Blair Mclean after this COVID pandemic is over. Port Hardy is in the zone and is 45 minutes away and Sayward is about 90 minutes away.

With travel restrictions in place, and with non retention for chinook salmon, it will be a quiet month on the saltchuck but a few boats will get out and prawn or crab in area 13 Discovery Passage. There are locals who have yet to try their hand at salmon fishing and getting out, even for half a day, is an experience and you may get to see some of the wildlife that Campbell River offers.