The local Herring spawn this year was quite impressive to say the least. A massive spawn took place from Qualicum Beach to Nanoose Bay. The commercial Herring quota was caught quite quickly, so this is great news for local waters to have large amounts of bait.
The start of this year has shown some promise for a good year for Chinook salmon in our local waters. On a couple outings in February I've witnessed lots of bird and sea lion activity. The sounder was marking some nice bait balls too, this will definitely keep the salmon interested in sticking around.
The "Winter Chinook" fishing has produced some nice fish, up to the 15 Lb. range. Many fisherman are releasing a lot of undersized Chinooks and Coho, these fish will grow rapidly and be the fish for tomorrow. "Winter Chinook" salmon will hold in our area providing there's some bait (usually Herring) for their hearty appetite, I have caught these salmon from December well into and past April.
"Out Front" of French Creek Harbour on the humps and Ballenas Islds. are good areas to try for early season Chinook salmon. In May and June we can have great fishing as migratory Chinook salmon pass through our waters heading for their native rivers, such as the Columbia River Chinook run. Sangster Isl. and Young Pt. can be productive areas for migrating salmon. July can be a transition time, however this being an odd numbered year there should be a lot of Pink salmon in our area. Hopefully the Coho salmon will return in similar numbers through the 2017 summer.
No word yet on Wild Coho retention for 2017 in Area 14. It's always a good idea to check with Department Of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on retention limits for the area you'll be fishing prior to heading out. In August our resident Chinooks start to make their way home for some final feeding in preparation to head up both the Little Qualicum and Big Qualicum Rivers. When these Chinooks start to stack up near the end of the month it's quite a spectacular fishery for trollers and jiggers alike.
We have our local "French Creek Salmon Derby" slated for August 18-20, 2017. This is a fun event for all ages, with lots of great prizes. All the proceeds from the derby go to the Marion Baker Fish Hatchery (Coho enhancement) on French Creek.
You round out September with some great late season Chinook fishing, the Coho also start to stack up along the beach as well. Not to be over looked is the steady bottom fishing for Lingcod, and Rockcod open from May 1-September 30. Crabbing and Prawning is also productive in our area.
Hope you have a fun and safe fishing season in 2017.
This is a guest article by Darrell Jobb. Darrell owns and operates Western Star Charters
out of French Creek Marina.
Click here for Fishing Charters in Parksville Qualicum Beach.