By Don Daniels
Just before the family day holiday, the salmon fishing reports clearly indicated that herring were around and local anglers had good success fishing for winter springs starting at Shelter Point and continuing to Kitty Coleman and Bates Beach.
This time of year the weather plays a big part of getting out but certain days will be ideal and trying to get a decent size spring is quite possible. A few of the locals are chasing herring and it will be a matter of days before the herring spawn begins and both anglers, eagles, seals and gulls will have a feeding frenzy from Campbell River to Qualicum Beach.
Two weeks ago, the boats south of Pacific Playgrounds were finding herring on the sounder, but coming up this month you will see the herring eggs stuck onto everything and the water color will change to a milky white during the spawn.
When I met some of the local boat owners and started talking about herring, it was all new to me. I was invited to join a local pilot who had built a homemade airplane and we headed off to the Comox area to watch the commercial boats in action south of Union Bay. The aerial view showed clearly the exact spawning area and you could see eagles, seals and birds feeding on shallow herring. Sport anglers will find the herring balls and fish the area and the exact location is clearly shown on the electronics. Those who prefer to jig will find the ball and drop a herring jig and catch their limit of fish.
Locally, in days to come, you can walk the shoreline and observe the eggs sticking to everything around. In Comox, there is a shoreline spot that once had a fishing lodge but today the condos are there. South of Comox, the area around Qualicum Beach will be loaded with herring during the month of March, but at the moment it’s a little early. Herring is used for bait and also makes for good pickled herring recipes if you are so inclined to utilize this fish for eating purposes.
For lake anglers, the snow is still around in upper elevation lakes and even Echo lake was iced over two weeks ago. I’m in contact with the trout hatchery in Duncan and the trout arrivals should be here within three weeks and I have a confirmed date to when the truck arrives to stock a few of the lakes around Campbell River.
My next session for fly-tying for beginners is set for Friday, March 18, at the Seniors Center at Ironwood Mall from 1 to 3 p.m. I have a full house for that date. I have spoken to those who have registered and it is possible that another event will be added, but it’s yet to be determined.
Joe Kerwin from Campbell River had his mother send out duck feathers from eastern Canada and those who have indicated that they will enter the Ducks Unlimited fly-tying competition will receive these feathers and maybe win a prize this year.