Friday, 23 June 2017

Laur and Carol

Laur and Carol came for a visit and we fit in some fishing just for fun .  And, of course,  they will love to take fish back to the Okanagan for fine dinners. We picked up Shamra to join us at about 10 am.  Easy living, great weather.

 Laur caught his limit of two nice chinooks and a lingcod. Mission accomplished.

Then there is cleaning the fish, and prepping them for freezing. 
 A young eagle came in for some of the scraps, while his parents called encouragement from the nearby trees. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

fathers and sons

What could be better than a couple of guys taking their fathers out fishing for a Fathers Day celebration, ( just a couple of days after ). It turns out that the Dads have known each other for ,...oh, no, it can't be that many decades.
Tom, Don, Bernie, Darrel, enjoy those salmon meals and fish stories.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Astrid and Ron

 From Holland, Astrid and Ron have a fresh look at everything.  A first salmon for each of them certainly is special.  Astrid is a representative of a European travel company, and they both have an appreciation for this part of the world.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Maurice and Beth

Another great two day trip for Maurice and Beth.  Maurice  comes from Vancouver twice a year. In the spring with Beth, and in September with his son Marc . This time they are staying at a hotel in the downtown waterfront of Campbell River. Each day begins with a solid breakfast and we always take a break and come in for lunch, this time at one of the floating cafes.

Beth thought the view was so nice that it was worth a photo, so I added the two of them. 

Morris and Beth love a bonus lingcod. 

See you in September, Morris.  See you next June, Beth.  Keep your health. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

another great trip from Napa

Rebecca, Chris, Bruce and Becky share the experience.  Four in the boat, or three, or two, or two boats.  Taking a break from winemaking, or construction, they are all loving this corner of the world, again.

Sonora Resort is the choice of lodging for this trip, with it's luxurious accommodation and attention to detail in all things, from fine food to attentive service. 
 Sonora is also located right on the edge of a series of ocean rapids that has to be seen to be believed.  On the big flood tides the turbulence boils up hake to the surface where scores of bald eagle swoop down to snatch up their dinners. The eagles are often so numerous they are hard to count. If there are about twenty in the photo below, there are four or five groups like that right close by. Eagles generally spread out along the coast, but where there is lots of food they don't mind lots of company. 

 Here's a story I would be reluctant to attempt to repeat. 
 On the last afternoon , all four came out for the trip.  Fishing had been slow,, so when Chris hooked into a strong fish , it really got everybody's attention.  When the fish rolled near the surface at a distance, there were exclamations, and someone said " That's gotta be twenty pounds ! "   With theatrical authority  I said "  nineteen ..........and a quarter. "  
 When it was in the boat , as I was picking it out of the net , Rebecca asked , " Now what do you think it weighs ? "  I answered " nineteen........and a quarter . "   Of course there were some guffaws, so a one dollar bet emerged.  Rebecca took the bet with a wise strategy. " Okay, nineteen and a half " 
 On the scale at Sonora , Rebecca was exactly right.  Rebecca took the photo below with Chris accepting the winnings. 

 We really saw the county on this three day trip, with fishing trips north to Denham Bay , northeast into Bute Inlet, southeast to Toba Inlet, and south into Georgia Strait.  To begin the whole trip, they flew into Campbell River and we started with our cruise up the east side of Quadra Island and to end it all we returned by a circle route down the straits on the west side. 

 Travel well, see you next year !

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Andy and Catherine

 It is so good to do this again.  Andy and Catherine , from Vancouver,  are becoming regulars, and we all enjoy the days very much. A double header adds to the excitement.  This was a two day trip, this time staying at the newly available Loon Point Cottage in Quathiaski Cove, a very lovely spot where you can be picked up at your own dock. They are looking forward to many salmon dinners, and lingcod as well.


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Dave and Katrina are rewarded for their patience

  For a while there it looked pretty slow for Dave and Katrina .We tried a good spot, and then another , then moved again. Three and a half hours without a bite. Then another move and we found a busy patch.  Whew.
  Dave and Katrina, and other members of their family have been coming , from Alberta, for a few years . They know how fishing is, but luckily, it has always turned out well in the end.  

Friday, 19 May 2017

Orca traffic

 It is good form to go slow and look both ways for coming traffic when coming out of the harbour. 
 This family of Orcas was coming up the shore , close in, when I was about to cross Discovery Passage, almost 9 pm Friday night.  I stopped and turned off my motor at the breakwater at the Discovery Harbour entrance.  

We are supposed to give them lots of room, like a hundred metres, but I was just in the harbour entrance and thought it should be okay. They passed by travelling slow and steady. The biggest male has an especially forceful blow.  I had an eye in the camera and found it hard to count them accurately. Maybe there were seven or eight , with the majority being small ones. 
These are the mammal eating kind of Orca, formally called Transients, now Bigg's, prowling for seals and sealions.  

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Al and Holli

 Al's birthday is the excuse for a getaway for Al and Holli.  They've come up from the American side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca , not far from Victoria really, to see what;s up with this Campbell River fishing that they have heard about.  Al has been a skipper for big sportfishing boats in Alaska and Hawaii.  (Yikes, no pressure here.)  It was a fine day for all. Those early fish are going to be so tasty. 

Here's a 7 1/2 inch herring from the stomach of one of the fish. That's good stuff for growing chinooks .  We've see the humpback whales again recently, probably because they are chowing on the same big herring. 


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Avid Anglers

 I attended the Avid Anglers AGM again this year, and again it was so full of interesting information that I have only enough time to hint at in this post. Avid Anglers is the group of volunteer anglers collecting tissue samples from chinook and coho salmon for DNA analysis to find which river stocks of salmon are about and how they move and live.  This is fulfilling  "citizen science".

Some of the things that have been learned over the years is how the stock composition of fish caught in Georgia Strait varies form north to south within the Strait.  Also we have learned that stocks from the mainland side , which are more remote rivers, have been larger contributors to the catch had previously thought.  And on the Vancouver Island side, showing that those rivers contribute greatly to the recreational catch , resulted in addition funds and production to the Puntledge River hatchery.  

We also learned that there is growing scientific data to support the local observation that seals and also sea lions, are eating a lot of salmon.  The rapid grow of seal in Georia Strait for several decades has now leveled off at about 40,000 seals. Perhaps the Orcas ( Killer Whales ) are having an effect, or they might have reached the limit of their food supply .  They eat salmon when they are in schools of tiny young fish, and when they are adults returning to the rivers.
.  At any rate, it is estimated that seals ,with sea lions , are eating about 5 times as much as they did in the 1970s.  And eating about twice as much as Orcas.  And eating about 6 times the recreational catch.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Campbell River Chinook Net Pens

This morning we are putting two deliveries of chinook salmon smolts into a net pen in the Discovery Harbour Marina .  If you like , you could just drop by to see the 3 inch long little guys come pouring out of a pipe from the tank truck , down hoses down the dock, and whoosh into a temporary net pen.

 These are from the Quinsam hatchery, the Campbell River Guides Association supplies this pen, and volunteers to pull the pipes and feed them for a couple of weeks. This is one of 3 such pens , the Tyee Club will host one at the Fisherman’s Harbour, and there is a small one at Hidden Harbour.  they will be held for about two weeks to be fed and conditioned to the salt water, giving them a leg up in survival.

 When they return as adult chinooks in a few years, they will linger right in front of town before heading into the river.  Some will be caught from motorboats, of course, but at the Campbell River Fishing Pier the general public can appreciate a chance at these icons of this city, casting from the pier. 

Of particular interest, these fish are the genetic line of the famed Campbell River Tyees and the Tyee Club of British Columbia. Joining this unique Club rules requires catching a chinook over 30 lbs under Club rules, which include fishing only from a rowboat with specified light tackle. Check out the section on this topic on my website,  .

Interesting note ;  these little fish face into the current , as they would in a stream, while they are being swept down the pipe.  Then when they fall with the water out of the pipe , they turn in that short distance, or try to, and dive in head first.  That’s why someone holds the end of the pipe up a bit, to give them a softer landing.

Friday, 31 March 2017


 My Grady White boat is certified for 4 passengers plus the skipper.  Canada's Ministry of Transport requires all commercially operated small craft to be certified , and the allowed capacity is more cautious than the manufacturer stated, as you can see. MoT has a requirement for stability testing, and also adequate seating.  

Monday, 20 March 2017

spring equinox

Sunset to the west behind Victoria peak at spring equinox.

Last light on Mt.Washington. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

mature chinook lures study

Here's something that some of you may be interested in. It's a study to compare the effectiveness of lures for mature chinook salmon. More specifically, it is a study to help Alaska commercial trollers catch mature chinooks that returned to Carrol Inlet , returning as hatchery fish, ( ranched fish ) meant to be caught.
Chinooks from different areas , different genetic lines and run timings, behave differently of course. Still there is much food for thought here.  ( -If you are inclined to think about these sorts of things. Most readers here let the guide do the thinking.  But maybe, hopefully, sharing what's interesting helps share the experience of fishing. )
 We have fishing for very mature chinooks in the waters near the Campbell River when those fish come home in August and September, as in the Tyee Club season . But we also fish for chinooks that are mature migrants coming down the Straits from the north, heading to various river systems over the whole summer, which are often not feeding, or hardly feeding, and tricky to get to bite.
The studies were done in a method whereby by two commercial trollers alternated their style of fishing with one using the proven gear and the other more experimental lures, and then switching styles on alternate days. They logged more than 35,000 lure hours. 739 mature chinooks, over three seasons. It looks like the studies ended in 1992, but weren't posted online until 2016.

If the link doesn't work, Google it.

Some , but not all, of the intriguing points I took note note of :

- a very strong preference of spoons over plugs
- the only one plug rated highly was the brass coloured # 950 Tomic plug. ( Coincidentally, that was a brassy gold colour of the 6 inch Tomic that caught David D's 33# Tyee Club rowed fish for us, several years ago. )
- bronze was best colour of the bright spoons
- the preferred lures changed some from year to year
- the spoons mentioned are all of the oldtime standbys: Wonders,  Superiors, Clendon Stewarts, etc. All are what I might call " wobblers ", that is to say, all have a shape that has both a concave and a convex bend, fore and aft, and swim with a pronounced side to side swing,  as opposed to the now popular sportie spoons which are concave "flutter" spoons.
- there was an attempt to fish slower with the big commercial trollers. Those lures are very speed sensitive. I like the Superiors and McMahons because you can bend them to adjust .
- added scents didn't help
- herring and flasher/hootchy rigs also had good results, but were only part of arsenal.
- most of the fish were caught moderately shallow, but often over deep water
- a few fish were fitted with sonic tags which recorded that they regularly swam steeply down to extreme depths, like 90 fathoms ( 720 feet ) . Deep diving is common for chinooks although not commonly known. ( I should write a post about that.)
-  a fish located with the sonic tag was not scared at all by a seal bomb detonated near to it.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

bird signs of spring to come

It is snowing again.  Big wet slush flakes that don't stick around for long. I hope. I don't really need to show another snow photo. 
The Weather Network predicts a cool spring , followed by a good summer, warmer than last year.

In between the lingering snowfalls, birds are giving hope that the seasons are progressing.  I have seen views of seven or ten eagles out in the passage swooping for herring , each of the last two days. They don't often pose close enough for a decent photo.  They are following herring that is dispersing from the spawning areas. On these dates in the last two years , it was a much warmer spring- like weather when the eagle shows happened. It is all probably happening a bit later this year. 

A pair of geese is coming close in to the docks and shore to feed on the new shore grasses, and possibly to scout out a nesting site.  Just as they have done in past years.  Most of their nests will be found by predators, especially raccoons. 
And of course, the bird of spring is the robin, the first I've seen this year. Spring must be coming. 

  PS,  by evening the grass was covered white. 

Very good herring spawn

 " Bumper harvest as herring return to Strait of Georgia in great numbers. "  That was the headline from the Vancouver Sun. The Nanaimo paper calls it a " boom year " . 
  This is very good news as a measure of the herring stock, the vitality of the ocean that supports them, and a positive indicator for salmon fishing. 
 Herring school up to spawn in enormous concentrated masses in just a few main locations on the coast, and also in some smaller secondary places. The main location for the south coast of B.C. is just south of us a few miles and stretching down to Nanaimo. Predators of all kinds key on them, most dramatically thousands of migratory seabirds, and hundreds of  sea lions.  And the commercial fishers harvest a big bunch, up to 20%, which is controversial, but it is hard to complain when the population is stable or growing.  
 In recent years a large portion of the herring have found good feeding conditions in our sheltered inside waters, and stayed inside ,rather than heading out to sea in the open Pacific. An indicator of this is the increase in Humpback whales in local waters, as well as the chinooks salmon we find in good size and numbers. 

250 830 8680

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

from snow to snowdrops

This is a long tail on winter this year. There has still been snow , flitting between rain and sunshine, but it doesn't stick anymore.  

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


I was away with Shamra , on a rare vacation trip. I don't often experience jet travel, as many of my fishing guests do.
By the way, did you know that Vancouver Airport has been awarded the title of Best Airport in the World ?!