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Wide-open spaces for August salmon fishing

By Don Daniels
Salmon anglers have plenty of room in the zone. Don Daniels photo

By Don Daniels

My fishing buddy Ed Cargill had mentioned it would be a fact-finding boat ride and wanted to know if I would come along.

It took me a few seconds to blurt out “Yes.” I met him at the boat in the morning the next day and the weather was going to be hot so I had my jacket, water, lunch and license and we were heading out to the Big Rock boat launch.

This would be my first boat ride this year and the month of August this year felt a little different because of travel restrictions and the COVID-19 pandemic. Ed had wanted to check out his boat and make sure everything was working, and if any adjustments are needed he could do it.

The public boat launch at Big Rock had little traffic in and out so the boat was put in the water, the truck parked and off we went. The fishing gear was in place and it was destination Red Can. Quadra Island was soon in full sight and the lines set out in 200 feet of water. Plugs and spoons produced no action; then hits came using Army Truck hoochies.

The area had as many of 15 boats trolling along in hopes of getting a salmon to the boat. Observing other boats, the action was slow during the afternoon so the plan was to move and change locations. It was quite evident the small guide boats that usually are out were not around but other guides are working in area 13 and with COVID-19, boat traffic is down but the fishing continues.

The radio had come on and a mayday was reported. Man overboard was the issue and the Coast Guard had responded; the situation was solved. There was no sign of any cruise ship traffic but it was in the afternoon that a large yacht had passed through and the owner was Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team. You can often see the whale watching boats head off to a sighting but no boats were seen.

It was late afternoon and it was time to get back to Big Rock boat launch and head home. People at the ramp were getting boats in and out and everyone was social distancing and those out had mentioned that fishing had slowed down that day.

You can get your Chinook and get a hatchery clipped Coho and the pinks were also in the mix. Local guides are getting fish with no problem and guide reports from Stuart Island have some large salmon coming in. There is still plenty of summer left and during this time of year, many Campbell River residents are staying home and getting out salmon fishing or camping.

Many rest areas can be busy as campers move around and, at times, are staying in areas that are non-camping. They also set up camp on private land. For example, from Sayward and heading north to the Eve and Adam River, there are people setting up camp with a group and making their own campsite on private land. A new campsite is being developed at Kelsey Bay but it’s still under construction.

The pinks are still in the Campbell River and during the warm weather a pair of wading boots can get you to the fish and a walking cane or stick will help you navigate along the slimy rocks. Local lakes will start to fish a little bit better if the weather cools down. The bite was on at Fry Lake and the road from Campbell River to Fry Lake is a bit like a washboard and at times dusty with some potholes.