Freshwater Fishing Vancouver Island

Freshwater fishing adventures are yours for the taking throughout the west coast of Vancouver Island, and the pristine Nootka Sound region features some of the very best in the world. Thousands of home-bound salmon return annually to our many river and creek systems, and our numerous lakes offer plentiful opportunities for trout.

Less than five miles from Moutcha Bay Resort is the federally operated Conuma River Hatchery. This hatchery is a major Chinook salmon enhancement facility and releases about 3.5 million smolts into five different watersheds and estuaries in our area on a yearly basis. It also rears Chum and Coho salmon. The enhancement efforts of the hatchery mean that we see excellent numbers of returning salmon on our local Conuma River. 

The immaculate Conuma River features wide gravel shores, deep pools, and clear water. It is easily walkable and accessible from Moutcha Bay Resort and is popular with both spin and fly fishermen. It has fantastic fishing opportunities for Chinook, Coho, Chum, and Steelhead as well as rainbow, cutthroat, and sea-run cutthroat trout.

The nearby Gold River is a beautiful, long river with green-gold water and good runs of wild steelhead and all five species of Pacific salmon. The Gold River also provides excellent fishing for rainbow trout, sea-run cutthroat, and bull trout.  This is a fast-moving river with steeper banks that is well suited for belly boats and drift boats.

Keen freshwater anglers must remember that fish returning to freshwater for spawning are highly dependent on river levels, so patience is key. Too little or too much water, and the river is unfishable. Novice anglers should also remember that during salmon runs, it is common to encounter numerous black bears on the rivers, and to prepare accordingly.

If you’re after freshwater Chinook, your best opportunity is late August to November. Coho may be caught between October and December. Steelhead may be caught between December and April. The best time to fish for trout is April until June.

Our region also contains a multitude of excellent fishing lakes with plentiful rainbow and cutthroat trout. Some great fishing lakes close to Moutcha Bay Resort include Malaspina Lake, Upana Lake, Deserted Lake, Antler Lake, and Muchalat Lake. These lakes are easily accessible and fishable from shore. Some are stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout.