Stretching your dollars on fishing gear on and off the water

Popular lures that can be used to target salmon locally if treble hooks are removed and replaced with single barbless for catch and release. Photo by Don Daniels

We are honouring social distancing guidelines when it comes to fishing, boating, camping around Campbell River and we are making adjustments as we head into the summer months.

More and more people are spending time at home but those venturing out are keeping it local and watching their budget. If you have booked a fishing trip with anyone outside or in Campbell River, I would contact the place of business to find out the status if they will open or not. Usually, contract fishing guides who work at resorts and lodges around the province are gone by mid-April but with the COVID-19 virus, the season came to an abrupt end.

At the end of May, just looking at boating traffic from Campbell River to the Lighthouse and over to the Hump, it has been quiet, to say the least. The month of June is a prime month for fishing Discovery Passage even if you want to target bottom fish, but know what you can keep. Chinooks are being hooked while jigging and all sizes have to be released. Some people have headed to the west coast or north to Port Hardy which also includes Port Alice to fish salmon in June.

With extra time spent at home these days, my fly-tying vise is still set up and I had to reload my supply of hooks and keep at it. Each week, while fishing in the area, I meet people who are getting more active doing activities outside at a lake or at home. One of the guys mentioned he found the fly tying box he hadn’t used in years. He simply stated he has the time now and wants to do something fishing-related at home so he will make some flies.

A fishing guide buddy of mine showed me his dad’s old tackle box and soon as I saw the contents, I knew it came from Alberta. Inside was a selection of spoons like the Red Devil, Five of Diamonds and many more; all with treble hooks. If one wanted to get out fishing for fun, you could take off the treble hooks and replace with a single barbless hook and experiment and have fun by going for catch and release salmon here in the month of June.

There was a selection of leaders that are used for pike and something that caught my eye was a few packs of snelled hooks and a package of six sold for 29 cents back in the day. Doug gave me the hooks and I will tie up a few nymph patterns and get on the lake in weeks to come. There was also a replacement fly reel with a clear fly line and orange backing, it is yet to be determined if it’s sinking or floating line, but there is one way to find out: throw it in the lake.

Doug pulled out the pike stringer and that brought back fishing memories from Saskatchewan when anglers used to fill up a stringer with pike and at times you could string up more than 12 pike or perch. Those who fish on the prairies are definitely meat fishermen.

Local lakes were very good for trout fishing mid-May and as we head into the first weekend of June the bite is off a bit for the fly anglers but those shore fishing with worms are getting fish. I fished the misty days at the end of May and the fly selection I had was getting hits but not as good as mid-month. I will go to a smaller size hook but continue with my Wild Thing fly creation.

Sometimes fishing can be a comedy of errors and this time in our lives, we could use some lighthearted fun and I’ll pass a few stories on for the fun of it.