The summer of fishing 2020 and dealing with the changes

By Don Daniels

When it comes to fishing around Campbell River, this will be the most challenging summer in history.

COVID-19 hit us in mid-March and Chinook salmon closures were announced in April. We are within a few weeks of when the new Chinook salmon size restrictions will take place. By Monday, June 22, the locals who fish for a living got the news and it was disappointing. Chinook anglers have to fish by the rules and regulations and size limits of 62 to 80 cm are in effect July 15 until Aug. 31 in area 13 Discovery Passage.

If you live in Campbell River and are planning a fishing trip outside the area, remember that non-essential travel is still discouraged and a phone call to a lodge in another community is recommended; many communities have closed access. Many are making alternate plans to fish or go boating and since non-essential travel is not recommended another option is to support the local businesses in and around Campbell River.

More hatchery coho are being caught at the moment by some local guides who are experienced and have a knack for catching coho. South Island anglers near Victoria are getting smaller size fish but here in Campbell River, we still get the big northern coho. Fishing guides understand catch and release and catching an undersized fish is no problem as hooks are barbless and they have been releasing salmon for years.

On July 15 when the new Chinook regulations come into effect. If a Chinook is caught over 80 cm, it’s released back into the water.

The new size regulation for Chinook salmon comes into play on July 15. I asked a few local guides how many Tyee are in the size range 62 to 80 cm and the general consensus was zero. Last year the Tyee Club of Campbell River had 13 salmon of 30 or more pounds hit the scales between Aug. 7 and Sept. 4.

Each year a number of Chinook come in less than 30 pounds and this year salmon will be caught under 80 cm for sure but will not count as a Tyee.

From now until Aug. 31, rowers and anglers can still get out and row, row, row and get ready for September retention fishing.

In some lakes, trout fishing has tapered off a little. Last week when I was at a local lake, a loon had stopped by and was swimming around the lake. The bird dove and came up with a large trout in its bill. The bird had dived deep and so a change to a sinking line was in order for me.

Recently at Roberts Lake, a shore angler decided to take his worms and shore fish. There is a bait ban and he had mentioned that he was catch-and-release fishing; I would like to be there when a conservation officer shows up and gives him a ticket. It’s pretty simple as we get ready for July fishing, stay local, have fun and obey the rules and regulations.

There have been a few pinks caught locally in Area 13 but it will be a few weeks and they will show up at Kelsey Bay in Sayward, then arrive here in the Campbell River.

Sandy Pool is the main area the locals gather and fish for pinks and this year social distancing will be monitored and I have seen the RCMP walking the beach and checking for any violations.