Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report
Coho, coho and more coho! If you are a regularly reader of this report, you will recall I mentioned the abundance of juvenile coho we were encountering this winter while fishing for chinook. The hope was these fish would stick around in the Strait of Georgia (sometimes they leave for the West Coast) and we would have some good coho fishing this summer. Well, it looks like they did stick around, as the coho reports up and down the Strait, and in particular around our area and Nanaimo to Comox, have been excellent.
For those who can remember the 80’s, when this kind of coho fishing was normal, it is a nice throwback to those kinds of numbers and fishing. We are seeing coho jumping, surfacing, attacking plugs and bucktails in the prop wash, all things we haven’t seen locally in many, many years.
Our guide boats did very well for coho this past week, with limits most if not all days. The limit is 2 hatchery coho per day, 30 cm min. size. These fish will be from local hatcheries like the Capilano, Chilliwack, and Qualicum. There are some wild coho in the mix as well, which should be carefully released. I would recommend not netting the fish until you can confirm it is a hatchery coho (missing adipose fin). The wild coho should be released at the side of the boat, not in the net. Don’t worry if a few fish fall off in the process of trying to see if the adipose fin is there or not. There are lots of fish around and lots of hatchery fish around. Most days we are releasing hatchery fish by the end of the charter.
With so many fish around, a lot of different lures will work, but let’s take a look at some of the most productive ones. For starters, the fish are shallow. As mentioned earlier, some anglers are literally getting fish in their prop wash on bucktails, plugs, or spoons with no flashers. This is fun and very visual (you can watch them hit the gear), but if you are looking for maximum productivity, I would recommend using flashers and hootchies.
Three of my favorite coho flashers are the Oki Betsy in silver, the Gibbs Twisted Sista in UV Purple blade, and the Oki or Gibbs Purple Onion or Purple Onion Glow. Team these flashers up with a white UV hootchy like the Yamashita OAL12R or OA12R, a 20-28 inch leader, troll fast, and hang on. You are going to get some fish. Best depths have been as shallow as just below the surface down to 65 feet with the consistent zone being in that 45 to 55 a lot of days. It does change though, so don’t be afraid to get the gear up shallow like 17 to 25 and if in doubt, pick up the speed a bit. The coho prefer a faster troll than chinook so your speed over ground is often in the 2.5 to 3.5 mph but it depends if you are trolling with or against the tide.
If you are thinking of booking a trip for some local salmon action, the time is now. These fish should be around for awhile with more coming down the Strait. The thing about getting them early in the season like this is that they are feeding voraciously and a lot easier to catch then when they stack up off West Van. So try and get out there in your own boat as soon as possible or give us a call to book a trip at 778-788-8582
A note on the crabbing: The commercial fleet opened June 15 and have done their usual damage to the local crab stocks. We went from getting easy limits early June to almost all undersized in the traps right now. This is normal, and crabbing usually won’t pick up again until later this winter after the commercial fleet has put their gear away.
See you in the shop or on the water,