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We are lucky to have easy access to the Campbell River

River fishing on the Campbell has easy access for all to enjoy a few hours chasing salmon or catch-and-release trout.
Anglers on the Campbell River in late fall. Photo courtesy John Westergard.

River fishing on the Campbell has easy access for all to enjoy a few hours chasing salmon or catch-and-release trout.

There are some anglers who simply want to get out and throw flies for catch-and-release trout 12 months of the year. Since I fly fish, the majority of the time it is a chance to try fly patterns that work, in hopes of getting a tug on the line. So far, the Carey Special fly has done me well, especially in a dark green pattern.

This summer I spent a few extra days in the fly-fishing area of the Campbell River and experimenting with fly patterns for pink salmon. This year the pink-fly days were hard to come by and meeting anglers from Smithers and Vancouver, they commented that the pinks were being selective this year, so the next thing to decide was what color is going to be the go-to fly.

There is one way to decide and that is change colors and see if the salmon will hit it. Green was the way to go and the fish were hitting it in the fly-fishing-only section of the Campbell River. A size 6 to 10 hook can be used at the various pools at the end of August and also into late fall.

The Campbell River is a controlled water flow and while the summer was hot this year, some of the other rivers were closed for fishing because of low water conditions. I think at one point we had 109 days of no or little rainfall in the area and on the Island.

As we approached the month of November, the coho run had passed and I knew that chums were around. Above the pump house, chums spawn from the old Campbell River Lodge all the way to the lower canyon. Chums are a tiger and can be tough on rods and reels.

Just before COVID, a number of anglers came from Vancouver to fish for Chinook and they had good success on light fly gear but they battled for at least 40 minutes, then released the salmon. For newcomers to the area, you can park by the old logging bridge and walk the Canyon View Trail and pick a spot to fish. This time of year you will have plenty of room to fish.

River fishing in the colder months can be a challenge and a good start is keeping warm and dry. Waders that leak just don’t work, pick the warmer days and get out and explore.

Fly-tying for beginners open house is open to all on Friday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Seniors Centre in the Ironwood mall. It’s free to attend for beginners of all ages and the fly-tying material giveaway will be on also, so bring along a bag and you will go home with materials and join us for the first session to get you behind the vise.

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