The Marina reports a lot of wild coho, including some big ones. LOTS of Chinook salmon over 30 and 4 or 5 over 40 in the last 2 days. Trevor from No Bananas Fishing Charters emailed in a short Blackberry report too, [probably while out there fishing]: “fishing is still red hot…we limited on springs yesterday and today. Yesterdays largest was 42lbs”.
So…needless to say, the fishing continues to be superb in Port Renfrew! South-west Vancouver Island fishing at its finest….no need to go anywhere else in BC when the good stuff is an hour and a half west of Victoria.
Sports fishermen off Vancouver Island’s west coast say they’re hauling in heavyweight chinook and coho salmon in one of the best seasons in memory.
The sports fishing bonanza is happening at the same time that experts puzzle over the disappearance of millions of sockeye from the Fraser River.
“It’s the best I’ve ever witnessed,” said Steve Veloso, a guide and sales and marketing director for Gold River Fishing Lodge. Salmon are biting “any type of gear,” he said.
Five tyees were caught off Gold River this past week, Veloso said. A tyee is a chinook salmon weighing at least 30 pounds and is considered a prize catch. Other recent catches include a 23-pound coho and a 168-pound halibut.
Off Port Renfrew, Trevor Zboyovsky, owner of No Bananas Fishing Charters, said he’s regularly seeing chinook between 20 and 50 pounds, and just about one tyee a day for the last couple of weeks.
Between 15 and 20 coho are being pulled in daily, he said.
“Fishing is as good as it’s ever been since I’ve been fishing,” said Zboyovsky, who has two decades’ experience.
At the same time, however, the number of returning American tourists appears to be dwindling, Zboyovsky said.
“I’m pretty steady but a lot of other guys who aren’t as established aren’t as busy.”
Susan Barcham, Oak Bay Marine Group’s director of business development, has noticed the same trend.
“It’s sad that the best fishing we’ve seen in years is the year where a lot of our long-term guests, particularly from the U.S. markets, just aren’t coming.”
Large-sized salmon indicates ocean feeding conditions were good, especially during the final year at sea, when the fish put on much of their bulk, said Jeff Grout, regional resource manager of salmon for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Pink salmon returns to the Campbell and Quinsam rivers are high, with a run of more than 200,000 expected.
Chinook return estimates for the Nootka Sound-Esperanza Inlet area — about two thirds of the way up the Island’s west coast — are two to three times above initial expectations of 10,000, Grout said.
The strength of a run is depends on many factors, including the number of smolts that head to the ocean, survival rates, food supply and ocean conditions.
Coho and chinook catches off the Island’s west coast are running above recent five-year averages, Grout said.
July’s coho-catch numbers — called a creel survey — were 76 per cent above the five-year average off the west coast, while chinook is higher by nine per cent, although fishing effort also increased by six per cent, Grout said.
Sports fishing is one of the pillars of B.C.’s tourism industry, creating annual revenues of more than $860 million, and providing 7,700 jobs, the B.C. government says.
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