Dave Fife with a 3.5 lb. trout caught on bait. Photo by Heather Stratton

Understanding angler etiquette during COVID-19 pandemic

By Don Daniels

By Don Daniels

I keep in touch with a number of friends from Alberta who were asking me if I was adjusting to social distancing while fly fishing on the rivers around Campbell River.

River anglers are very good at keeping their distance from each other and everyone has space to enjoy recreational fishing on the rivers. I tend to stay away from the areas that attract the weekend fishing warriors during the pink salmon run in the summer.

Even in the upper Campbell River fly fishing-only zone, the folks keep their distance and they share the pools and go about their business of hooking trout or salmon.

As we approach the month of May the volume of angling traffic is down but you can get out and enjoy time on the water, cast some lures or wet some flies. To begin with, you need a license and know the regulations. During social distancing you can fish with your family but avoid taking extra people with you.

Fish locally, there are many nearby lakes or rivers you can fish without coming in contact with people in other communities.

Be patient at boat ramps and gates if others are waiting to go fishing. Last week the rest area at Roberts Lake was loaded with people and you have to use the public washroom facilities at your own discretion if they are open.

As we all know, there is no retention for Chinook salmon and it is catch and release until mid July. Few of the locals get out on their own and some good halibut fishing has been reported in area 13 Discovery Passage.

Local lakes have varied catch reports and those getting out on the lower or upper Campbell have had success fishing from shore. Dave Fife got a nice 3.5-pound trout fishing on one of the larger lakes.

I am seeing some fishing activity on Echo Lake. A few of the guys were parked on the back roadside fishing the shoreline with worms. A number of belly boats were in shallow water and the fly fishing is starting to pick up. Water temperature is warming up slowly and while ants are being spotted in the city, the elevation of Echo Lake is higher but the ant hatch there is not far away.

I have not seen much trout surfacing on lakes around Campbell River but those fishing the bottom with bait are getting action but landing them is another story.

Give other anglers more than six feet distance especially at parking areas and boat loading zones.