Big Chinooks are coming...
August truly is the month saltwater anglers in our local waters await with great anticipation. We are seeing a good Coho salmon return this year, a mix of Hatchery (Adipose fin missing) and Wild (Adipose fin attached). I've caught a few up in the 6-7 Lb. range already! No word yet on Wild Coho retention for 2018 in Area 14.
The Sockeye salmon are on their way, I have heard reports there are large schools off Northern Vancover Island heading our way. If the return is heathy we may see an opening for Sockeye salmon in our local waters. Sockeye are currently non-retention in Area 14.
Mature Chinook salmon heading for the Big and Little Qualicum River will provide all sorts of excitement for trollers and jiggers alike. In early to mid August these Chinook salmon will move into our area looking for lots of food to store energy for their spawning migration. ''Out Front", Ballenas and Gerald Islands are good areas to try. A trip over to Lasqueti Island can also be productive, Finnerty and Sangster Islands are also good areas to try. Make sure to check the Marine forecast for the day before heading over to Lasqueti Island.
When targeting Chinook salmon that are still feeding try using an "Army Truck" hootchie (42" leader) with a red/silver flasher, or a black/white spoon (60" leader) with a green/silver flasher. At this time of year the Dogfish have moved in and using bait (Anchovie, Herring, Herring strip) is pretty tough.
In mid to late August things start to really heat up when these mature Chinook salmon start to mill around the mouth of the Big and Little Qualicum Rivers. These salmon are not feeding at this time, so the gear choice changes dramatically. Try using a "Bubblegum" Pink Mini Plankton hootchie (32" leader) with a green/silver flasher. My personal favorite is a "Bubble Gum" Pink Mini Plankton hootchie inserted into a "Purple Haze" hootchie with a "Purple Haze" flasher. Also small 3 1/2" spoons in "Bubblegum" Pink (36" leader) with a green/silver flasher work well too.
You're usually fishing in water depths of under 100' keeping the gear 20'-80' on the downriggers. Jiggers do well at this time of year too. A 2 1/2 Oz. "Mac Deep" or 2 Oz. "Spring Slayer" jig near the bottom should do the trick. The bite seems to really take off at dusk, so make sure all your navigation lights are working properly to ensure a safe trip home.
The "French Creek Salmon Derby" will take place August 17-19 this year. This is a fun event for all ages, with great prizes. All the proceeds from the derby go to the Marion Baker Fish Hatchery (Coho enhancement) on French Creek. Early registration available call (250) 248-3713 ext. 21. Hope to see you there!
This is a guest article by Darrell Jobb. Darrell owns and operates Western Star Charters
out of French Creek Harbour.
Click here for Fishing Charters in Parksville Qualicum Beach.