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Vancouver Salmon Fishing Report: May 17, 2019


Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing Report

Fishing this past week was good in a variety of places; there are lots of options, so let’s take a closer look at each.

As usual for this time of year we are seeing good numbers of chinook off South Bowen, as we have for about the last 4 weeks.  There are a few slow days sprinkled in there, but for the most part the fishing has been excellent.  It has been good close to the rocks in as tight as 150 and as far out as 450 feet of water.  Each day is a bit different depending on the tides and winds.   Best depths on the down riggers have been from 80-140.

Mid-week a nice school of chinook also showed up at Hole in the Wall and the fishing was pretty hot.  This should be no surprise as there is usually some pretty good fishing in this area in late April, all of May and the beginning of June.  The fish were fairly shallow when our boats were there, 45-90 on the riggers, but other days they have been in that 90-120 zone like Bowen.  It can be a bit hit and miss in this spot as fish move in for a few days, then leave, but when it’s on it can be very good.


Fishing over at Thrasher is also in full swing.  I was there this past weekend and there were a lot of fish around.  I was surprised at how clear the water was.  Usually there is a bit more algae around this time of year, but I could see my flasher down around 50-60 feet, almost like winter.  I was catching fish from 188-255 on the riggers because of the clear water.  There are lots of fish offshore, out off the Thrasher Light marker in 350-650 feet of water and there are fish all along Gabriola on the structure as well.  Just depends on what kind of fishing you want to do that day, “set it and forget” out in the deep water, or the more labor intensive but sometimes more satisfying “structure fishing.”  Either way, there are a lot of fish in the area and not many boats because of the chinook non-retention regulations.   It’s really a shame you can’t keep a chinook, as most of the chinook I brought to hand were hatchery chinook and have nothing to do with Fraser stocks of concern.  The DNA data and Coded Wire Tag data shows that 1% or less of the chinook you are catching at Thrasher are interior Fraser River chinook stocks of concern, so in my opinion it should definitely be open for 2 chinook a day, 1 for sure, and certainly 1 hatchery fish.

A wide range of tackle is working right now.  Hootchies, spoons, bait, plugs, you name it.  As usual I did very well at Thrasher on chartreuse flashers and chartreuse hootchies.  My top producer was the PA custom chartreuse flasher, and Yamashita chartreuse splatter back hootchy (OG140R) with a 32-inch leader.  Another excellent producer in these conditions is a blue glow flasher and blue splatter back hootchy (OG144R).  Off Bowen Eddie has been doing well with Irish Cream and Homeland spoons and Derek has been doing well with the Skinny G No Bananas and 5.5 inch anchovies in No Bananas teaser head.  Productive flashers have been PA custom in chartreuse and UV purple, Lemon Lime, BC, STS, Salty Dawg, and Green Onion Glow.

Crabbing has been good and should remain so the rest of this month.  The commercial prawn season opened up on the 9th, so expect prawning to slow down but there are few little trenches that are still producing well.

I encourage you to get out there and enjoy this excellent chinook fishing.  For our guests booking charters, we are offering a special “catch and release” package that consists of a sockeye fillet piece and some smoked sockeye.  We are also dropping crab traps and prawn traps on our trips and have bottom fishing opportunities.  So, get out there and enjoy being on the water, our guests that have been out these past few weeks have had an excellent time!

Check out our new Instagram page and Facebook page that are dedicated to our charters.  We will be posting photos daily as well as stories when we are out on the water.  Expect some short pro tip videos in the future as well.

See you in the shop or on the water,

Jason Tonelli