This week we are going to focus on coho. If you have been reading past reports, you know we have had an epic chinook season so far and we were talking about the coho showing up about this week, and sure enough they did. Test sets for juvenile coho in the Southern Strait of Georgia this winter were at or near record levels and the coho seem to be spending their time in our local waters instead of going off the West Coast. This means we should have an excellent coho season this summer, and if the schools of coho we saw this past week are any indication of what is to come, things are looking good. Remember that last year the Cap had one of the biggest coho returns in a decade, with 16,000 fish making it into the hatchery. This year there are already good numbers of coho in the river, with many more waves of fish to arrive in July and August.
There have been good reports of coho off the Hump, South Bowen from Cowan to Roger Curtis, Point Atkinson down towards Dundarave, and a few at the Cap Mouth. The limit is 2 hatchery coho a day.
So how do you catch these fish? Well the first thing is they are shallow. I hooked one the other day with the flasher on the surface with a spoon trailing behind as I was getting ready to set the gear. Bucktailing is certainly not out of the question, but if you want to put up some numbers then trolling with flashers, spoons, and hootchies is the way to go. Since the fish are generally in the top 50 feet of the water column we are using flashers that rely on reflective properties, not glow properties. Think of Betsy, Green Onion, Purple Onion, Green Haze, Purple Haze, etc. For spoons they are loving the reflective nickel finishes in the Skinny Gee or Wee Gee, like blue/nickel, purple/nickel, green/nickel, chartreuse/nickel, and Killy McGee. Kingfisher 3.0 and 3.5 spoons are also working well in Killy McGee, Bob Marley, Pink Sink, and Maverick. Try a 5 to 6 foot leader to your flasher when fishing spoons. When it comes to hootchies we like short leaders that provide a lot of action, usually around 28 inches. UV white hootchies, white hootchies, or UV and white hootchies with some pink or red on them have all been very productive.
Some productive flashers, spoons, and hootchies for coho.
Now that you know what works, lets talk about riggers and depths. Since you are fishing shallow, you definitely want to stack. That means 2 rods on one rigger. Keep it tight as well, about 20 to 25 feet between your release clips. If you do this on each side, and then offset your rigger depths by 10 feet or so, you can really cover that top 50 to 60 feet of the water effectively. Keep in mind early in the day and on dark days the fish are going to be shallower and later in the day or on sunny days they will often be deeper, so adjust your depths accordingly.
If you would like to book a trip and get out there for some coho action, give us a call at 778-788-8582.
Note that chinook will open in some areas on July 15 and others Aug 1. I will cover this in detail in next weeks report, but in the meantime the coho fishing has been great and we are often getting some big chinook at the same time!
Also note the commercial boats are out in full force in Vancouver Harbour and crabbing has really dropped off. We are getting a few keepers, but crabbing will get pretty lean as the commercial fleet continues to set in our local waters.
See you in the shop or on the water,