FALL 2016 FISHING REPORT

Another unusual year with most of the rivers on the east coast closed on July 1st until further notice.

Lakes, of course, have remained open, but the high water temperatures have made fishing difficult as the fish retreat to the depths to find cooler water.

Most fly fishermen were therefore looking forward to the arrival of the Pink salmon in July at their traditional staging places off Nile Creek and other beaches north of Qualicum Beach. These fish, however, have not arrived locally in any great numbers. The fishing at Nile Creek, in particular, has been disappointing with small numbers of fish showing sporadically. Typically fly fishermen have been travelling north to Campbell River to find fish. The upper river produced a spectacular morning for me in mid-August when I caught and released about 30 fish to 7lb in 2 hours. All the fish were sea liced and took a swinging fly. Not something one will always experience on that river where the norm is heavy sink tips in order to get down to where the fish are lying!

As I write the only rivers open to fishing are the Big Qualicum, the Campbell and its tributary, the Quinsam. Some Pinks are in all these rivers supplemented with Chinooks and early Coho in the Big Q and Campbell. If you chase these large powerful fish make sure you are using equipment that is up to the task. Typically an 8 or 9 weight rod is appropriate. Use a reel with a good disc drag and tippet material of about 15lb.

On the west coast the Stamp will have runs of Coho and Chinooks now and the lower river should offer opportunities to both the fly fisherman and those using gear.

I have observed fly fishermen on the Big Q chasing Chinooks with 5 and 6 weight trout rods which don’t have the strength to play and land the fish quickly. Worse case this will result in either a broken rod or a fish with a fly and leader trailing from its mouth. Respect the fish and use tackle that matches the quarry, so that if you want to release it the fish will be able to recover relatively quickly.

September and October will see all anglers eagerly looking forward to the arrival of COHO salmon off local beaches. Also called the silver salmon it is considered to be the most sporting of the Pacific Salmon. Several jumps and long runs typify this species. The gear guys will score using Buzzbombs or Zingers especially when the fish are out of casting range for the fly. Coho spoons and Gibbs Crocs also work very successfully in the salt chuck. For those that fish the fly be equipped with baitfish patterns fished fairly fast to replicate normal behaviour. Smaller krill and shrimp type flies are also very effective in green, blue, red, and copper.

Whether you are chasing trout, pinks, coho, steelhead or chinooks we have all the right tackle and advice to help you be successful.

Tight Lines

Keith Hyett
Coast Sportfish