Where We Fish – Sheltered water, south-coast climate
The geography changes here. To the north and east is hard granite carved by glaciers into steep mountains, fjord-inlets, and narrow channels. To the south the land softens, the water and the views are wide. We can reach several different ecosystems which have different preferred fishing times and techniques. Often there are several good choices. You can have a variety of fishing experiences from one day to the next.
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Looking out from the doorstep of Campbell River, Discovery Passage appears to be an ocean river that reverses direction a couple of times a day. We probably cruise over some fish when we head out further afield. At certain times, fishing “downtown” is a good choice.
Georgia Strait is the sheltered inland sea, protected from the ocean swells and the 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 extensive schools of large herring attracting 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. Trips into that view lead to the mainland shores and Toba Inlet where we love to go in the early season.
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 and adjacent channels
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.” The fishing tends to be close to steep cliff shores in calm water.
The big Campbell River chinooks come home in late summer and linger near the mouth of the Campbell River and along the waterfront 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, with hopes of joining the Tyee Club by catching a Tyee, a chinook over 30 pounds.
See “Tyee Fishing “.