Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Fishing pressure has been light locally, as one would expect with the lack of chinook retention opportunities in Vancouver waters. Some boats have been heading across to the Gulf Islands where there are retention opportunities for lingcod and rockfish and you can fish catch & release for chinook. We have been doing that when winds allow and have had good bottom fishing and chinook fishing. On our local trips we have been doing some DNA sampling and there are quite a few chinook around, as usual for this time of year.
Most Vancouver anglers have been waiting for some coho to show up and the first ones are already in the Cap with the recent rains. These summer run coho usually start to show up in better numbers in the marine waters right about now. In fact, George, one of our guides, got into a hatchery coho off West Van on Thursday, so there are definitely some starting to show up.
Success for these fish will pick up as more fish push in later in June and all through July, August and even into September. You can catch these coho offshore on the Hump, South Bowen, Point Atkinson, the entire West Van shoreline, and the mouth of the Capilano River. Early season we often prefer to fish the Hump or the tidelines off South Bowen, but if it’s too windy to fish these areas, the West Van shoreline to the Cap Mouth is always a good bet. Keep an eye out for commercial traffic off the Cap Mouth and try this area on the flood. On the ebb try more along the West Van shoreline around the Pink Apartment all the way down to Point Atkinson.
Fishing for coho is quite a bit different than your usual chinook tactics. For starters the fish are shallow. Best depths are usually in the top 50 feet of the water column, especially for actively feeding coho found this time of year. In recent years my most productive depths have been 25 to 35 feet. This is especially true earlier in the morning or on overcast days. Later in the day or on sunny days the fish can be a bit deeper, 45 or 55 is often productive.
We also like to use lots of flash and less glow. We generally aren’t using flashers that have glow tape on one side because at 35 feet this is just going to be a white tape. Flashers that incorporate UV Purple or UV chartreuse blades with reflective tapes like Prism, Moon Jelly, or Laser are all excellent choices. Some top producers are the Gibbs Delta Twisted Sista in UV Purple or UV Chartreuse blades, the Oki Betsy and the Green Onion or Purple Onion.
In terms of lures, hootchies and spoons are the way to go. Keep that buck a bite bait in the freezer for when you really need it later in the season for chinook. Coho love hootchies that are white UV or white UV with a pink stripe, or just old school white plastic. To give the hootchies a bit more flash, you can insert a mylar skirt. I also like a shorter leader to give the hootchy more action. Try 28 inches and experiment from there.
Spoons should incorporate a lot of flash as well so stick to the nickel or silver finishes from Gibbs Delta or Silver Horde. Top producing models are G-Force 3.0, Kingfisher 3.0 or 3.5, Skinny G and Wee G. A 6-foot leader is standard for chinook fishing but to add more action to your spoon while coho fishing, don’t be afraid to try a 3 to 4 foot leader.
The last tip is speed. You are fishing artificial (hootchies and spoons) so don’t be afraid to troll on the faster side of speed spectrum. The coho like a faster troll and hootchies and spoons fish well faster than slower. Make sure to check the regulations for area 28 and 29 as well. In most areas the regulations are 2 hatchery coho a day and they must be 30 cm or greater.
See you in the shop or on the water,