Where We Fish
We are very fortunate to be located on the salmon migration routes on the sheltered east side of Vancouver Island. The Campbell River fishing area is a unique and special location for home base. Campbell River B.C. and Quadra Island British Columbia are situated at a junction of several fishing areas which are different ecosystems and have different preferred times and techniques. Many times there are several good choices.
The geography changes here. To the north and east is hard granite carved into steep mountains, inlets, and narrow channels by glaciers such as Bute Inlet and Johnstone Strait. Often we fish deep right close to shore in calm water. To the south the land softens, the water and the views are wide.
You can have the variety of fishing distinctly different areas on different days.
Georgia Strait, On the Doorstep
Georgia Strait is a lovely and sheltered inland sea, protected from the ocean swells and very strong winds of the open Pacific. Campbell River is located right at the north end of Georgia Strait. In recent years we have seen an increase in the vitality of our local waters, with great schools of large herring anchoring chinook salmon that stick around to feed and grow here. There has also been an increase in humpback whales and sea lions.
This is a name well-known to cruising sailors for it’s sun-warmed anchorages in summer. It is on the perimeter where northern Georgia Straight blends into the mountain fjords on the mainland. Fishing the south or east side of Cortes Island puts you on the edge with a terrific view of the islands and mountains.
Bute is one of B.C ‘s major fjords. It is steep and deep, cutting in over 50 miles (80km) into the mainland mountains. For much of the year the water is tinted a gorgeous aquamarine from the till of the glacial ice fields at the head of the inlet. This is a major migration and rearing track for many salmon stocks. It is just a bit too far to go for a day trip out of Campbell River, but it is ideal for an overnight trip to a comfy lodge. The getting there is a very wonderful cruise in itself, and we often stop to fish particular spots on the way.
Johnstone Strait is the narrow main stem of the salmon migration path on the sheltered east side of Vancouver Island. At Sonora Island some Chinooks tend to branch over toward the mainland, and we follow. The vast majority of the other species take the direct route down Vancouver Island, into Discovery Passage, and right by in front of Campbell River. During the second half of summer, we often head north to particular fishy spots to “head them off at the pass.”
Tyee is a First Nations word meaning Chief which has been taken to mean a chinook salmon over 30 pounds. The big Campbell River chinooks come home in late summer and hold near the mouth of the Campbell River and along in front of town. The Tyee Club of British Columbia established rules in 1924 for a sporting fishing style that is still practiced with enthusiasm today. The fishing is in rowboats, no use of a motor allowed while fishing. See Tyee Fishing.