We are very fortunate to be strategically located directly in the migratory path of many different runs of Canadian and US southbound salmon. Our season begins mid-‐May targeting primarily “clipped” US fish that are aggressively feeding on schools of herring, needlefish and squid. By the first week of June these fish are consistently caught on a daily basis. Rolled baits as well as a variety of hootchies and spoons work best. The target method is a simple one all season long; find the bait and you’ll find the fish! By late June we will start to regularly encounter decent sized Coho while on the hunt for Chinook. This increases the angler’s opportunity for solid action all day long.
Prime time shellfish opportunities are also best at the beginning of our season, with outstanding prawning starting as early as mid-‐March. Oysters and crab are also the best eating throughout the spring months while the water temperatures remains cold and there has not yet been any plankton blooms to raise any safety concerns. However, always check local regulations and DFO postings for all shellfish before harvesting and consuming.
Once we move into July and August we start to see increasingly more of our local mature Conuma, Burman and Gold River fish. These are generally larger and are feeding on tides and tide changes more instinctively, rather than heavily all the time as the migratory fish do. These fish will soon be staging for their run up these local river systems to spawn. At times they can become a little pickier than heavily feeding migratory fish from the months previous. By now Coho are increasing in size. They are ferocious feeders during these months, putting on necessary weight and fat for spawning during the final months of summer. They will continue to do so right up until the end of September.
Nootka Marine Adventures also targets the large runs of Albacore tuna that migrate by our offshore waters. This is a short but action packed opportunity, generally beginning mid-‐August and continuing on through until mid-‐September. Everything is dependent upon off-‐shore temperature conditions, school locations, and of course weather. If you haven’t tried this fishery yet, you have no idea what you’re missing!
The bottom fishing in our area never ceases to amaze us. Every year it is constantly outstanding, from the very first day we open (May Long Weekend) until the last day we close (mid-‐September). Halibut, Ling cod, Yellow Eye and every species of rockfish under the sun are readily available for those willing to invest the time to target them. This makes area 25 and 26 one of the finest fisheries on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Both the Canadian and US preliminary DFO outlooks are very similar to what we experienced last year, with the exception of our local rivers. We encountered many Jack Springs and four year old mature fish last season, indicating a return of slightly larger than average sized mature fish in 2015. This is something we can all look forward too while angling the waters of Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet this coming season.
Tight lines, good luck, and safe fishing!
Marine Operations Manager -‐ Nootka Marine Adventures Ltd.