We really are having an excellent salmon fishery this year. At the time of writing this report (early September) the salmon fishing around French Creek has kept the fisherman pretty busy most days. It was nice to see our local waters so alive with Humpback whales, Orca pods, huge bait balls, and lots of salmon!
The Coho salmon return was good with solid fishing through the summer, a few Sockeye salmon were even caught in local waters. The migrating Chinook salmon early season (mid May-mid June) was nothing short of spectacular! Maybe one concern would be the return of larger Chinook salmon? Not too many Chinook salmon over 30 Lbs. being weighed in as in past years. Hopefully heading into September there will be a late run of big Chinooks to boost up the overall return.
The returning Chinook salmon to the Big and Little Qualicum Rivers will be staged in front of their respectful river mouths waiting for the river water to rise. Hopefully we'll get some rain to help them up, as the snow pack is getting quite low.
Since these Chinook salmon aren't feeding at this time , you need to get their attention with bright colours and shorter leaders. Try using a "Bubblegum" Pink Mini Plankton hootchie (32" leader), with a green/silver flasher. Keep in mind these Chinook salmon are the salmon of tomorrow, it doesn't hurt to limit your catch, rather than catch your limit. Jiggers do well at this time of year too, a 2 1/2 Oz. "Mac Deep" or "Lil Nib" jig should do the trick.
Coho salmon start to make their way closer to the beach in the fall, giving the beach fly and gear fisherman good opportunities. Bottom fishing closes September 30, 2018 so now is the time to get a few of these tasty fish to enjoy over the winter months. A 2 1/2 Oz. jig bounced off the bottom on a rocky, shelfy ledge in 40'-120' of water should do the trick.
For the hearty fisherman "Winter Chinook" (2-3 Yr. old resident salmon) will hold in our area. When fishing for "Winter Chinook" they tend to be deep so keep the downriggers just off the bottom, troll a bit faster than usual (2 1/2-3 MPH) as well. Covering lots of water is key, as these salmon are on the move looking for food. Brighter colour 4" spoons in neon glow/pink strip (48") leader with a crushed Ice/glow flasher work well. Now is the time to try bait again (Anchovie, Herring, Herring strip) as the dogfish have moved out seeking warmer water.
These salmon are some of the best eating, with cooler water temperatures they have more fat content and beautiful red flesh. Also in the fall pay a visit to the Big and Little Qualicum Salmon Hatcheries to watch all the returning salmon completing their journey, it really is a amazing spectacle!
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.