Port Renfrew Road improvements

December 10th, 2012

The drive to Port Renfrew just got easier, faster, and a whole lot safer, with the elimination of the infamous switchback just past the Sombrio River.  The 180 degree turn down a steep embankment cost many vehicles and injuries over the years — the photo at right being one example of a 30′ Boston Whaler meeting its end a few years ago.

This will be a great improvement.  Kudos to all involved for helping make this happen!


New Sombrio Bridge ends ‘nastiest switchback

By KATHERINE DEDYNA, Times Colonist December 9, 2012

A new bridge near Sombrio Beach will deep-six the “nastiest switchback in North America” when it opens Monday, says Capital Region director Mike Hicks.

“This is a tremendous, tremendous achievement for the people of south Vancouver Island,” said Hicks, CRD director for the Juan de Fuca electoral area.

“It’s a big day for Port Renfrew, Sooke, Juan de Fuca and Lake Cowichan.”

The $12.6-million project was part of provincial improvements worth at least $20 million and completes the Pacific Marine Circle Route linking Victoria, Port Renfrew and Duncan.

The two-lane, 124-metre concrete and steel Sombrio Bridge replaces the 55-year-old, single-lane timber bridge. It is on a new, straighter 1.2-kilometre alignment that replaces the Sombrio switchback, a curvy portion of road that police say is notorious for vehicle accidents.

A new viewpoint overlooking the Olympic Peninsula has been built 500 metres north of the bridge.

The new bridge will be safer for visitors and residents, including schoolchildren from the Pacheedaht First Nation who will use the bridge daily, Hicks said. It also provides an alternate route when the Malahat is closed because of accidents.

Hicks, who owns a fishing lodge, said residents hope the new route helps boost tourism in towns from Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan as travellers take advantage of the circle route.

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong, who attended the bridge ceremony Saturday, drives the route regularly and said in a statement she knows “what a difference this is going to make in people’s lives” — whether they’re local residents or international visitors checking out the coast.

Nanaimo-based Windley Contracting (2010) Ltd. carried out the work, which also included the repair and resurfacing of 5.4 kilometres of Highway 14 east of Sombrio ending near Lines Creek.

Don Mann Excavating worked on the $1.2-million two-lane Upper Harris Bridge on Pacific Marine Road between Port Renfrew and Lake Cowichan replacing a one-lane structure. The new bridge improves water flow, fish passage and habitat with a wider opening at stream level, the Ministry of Transportation said.

The work completes about 22 kilometres of improvements to Highway 14 near Port Renfrew since 2009.

Previous work in the area includes:

• The Upper Harris Bridge on Pacific Marine Road north of Port Renfrew earlier this year.

• Improvements to the Baird and Murton bridges

• Resurfacing of 15 kilometres of Highway 14 from Port Renfrew to Sombrio.

• Replacement of the single-lane Sombrio No. 3 Bridge with a two-lane concrete structure and new alignment.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/Sombrio+Bridge+ends+nastiest+switchback/7672670/story.html#ixzz2EcTpGDqJ

Bird’s Eye View of Vancouver Island

November 30th, 2012

A fly-by of Vancouver Island’s coast, from Victoria, past Sooke, and then from Port Renfrew to Carmanah and Nitinat.  See all the fishing spots from the “bird’s eye view”.  The video was taken on a sunny clear day in October — it would have been fun to see this in August, with hundreds of fishing boats spread along the coast.


The Best Seat on the Planet – for exploring Victoria & Southern Vancouver Island

from Plus

The Best Seat on the Planet – for exploring Victoria & Southern Vancouver Island from John Veale on Vimeo.

Join me for another flight over some of the most beautiful country anywhere. We depart Nanaimo Airport (CYCD) for a flight of an hour and twenty minutes (Edited down to nineteen) We fly over some of the southern BC ‘Gulf’ Islands to the Saanich Peninsula, over Victoria International Airport (CYYJ) and follow the shoreline down the peninsula and around Victoria, BC’s Capital city. We continue NW along the coast and above the Strait of Juan de Fuca for approximately 90 miles or so. We then turn inland over Vancouver Island and follow tidal Nitinat Lake to it’s head and then on further to the head of Cowichan Lake. (Some very beautiful video here) From here we fly on to our point of departure, Nanaimo Airport. Enjoy, as we once again take in the view from the ‘Best Seat on the Planet” our Bushby Mustang ll C-GAIF

Cheap Fishing Stuff?!?

November 27th, 2012

Christmas is coming, and there’s nothing like buying yourself some new gear to get what you want under the tree. And if you get it at a bargain, hey, that means you can just buy more, right?

The  Steep and Cheap site is advertising fishing gear lately, mostly for fresh water — float tubes, fly reels, fly rods. This site posts gear at 50-70% off for a limited time, up to 20 minutes or until it sells out.  Then it’s on to another deal.  It can be excellent for bargain hunting … but it’s super addictive and dangerous for buying things you really don’t need on impulse.  Beautiful shiny reels and fun toys…mmmm.

The SAC Alerts site allows searching of past sales, and you can click on the orange box “Buy Now at xx% off”, to get the ongoing deal, sometimes just as good as the Steep and Cheap deal.

Shipping is cheaper to the USA, so if you have an option to ship to a mailing house in Point Roberts or Blaine, that’ll save some money.  Or opt to combine orders and you can add extra items for 99 cents extra shipping.

{NOTE: FishingPortRenfrew is in no way affiliated with this site!  Just passing along a possible bargain for fishing gear}

Two recent sales below …. good luck and happy hunting!

Spey Rod…$199, regular $399

$69.95, regular $149.95….but only for 12 minutes!


September Port Renfrew Fishing Report

September 18th, 2012

Dan Findlow, Dan Hamhuis, and Manny Malhotra with a couple Port Renfrew coho

Port Renfrew’s September fishing is quite good.   There are still a few chinook/spring salmon around, but they are becoming fewer and farther between.    But the coho fishing is excellent, with salmon int0 the teens being caught all over.  There are jumpers in 10 feet of water in the San Juan River mouth, right out to 600 feet out front of the bay.

The current fishing regulations for Port Renfrew are a little complicated, but DFO has provided this helpful map.  You can keep 4 coho in the Port San Juan bay right now, of which 2 can be wild.   Outside the bay, you can keep 2 coho, hatchery only.  Starting Oct 1, you can keep  4 outside the bay too, but only 1 wild.

Halibut fishing is now closed for the season.

Port Renfrew Marina is holding its annual winner take all coho derby on on Sept. 29th and 30th. Tickets will be available at the marina the day before the derby. The cost is $25.00 a rod with $5.00 of each ticket going to the San Juan Hatchery. This is a fun derby and goes to a good cause, come on out and catch some coho!

The photo below is a late post … from the end of August, posted by Chris Brotherston. His dad Tom landed the 32lb fish in the photo, and that’s Chris and son Logan holding it. It was caught at 40 feet in 85 foot depth, anchovy, green head, and an old faded orange hot spot flasher 6.5′ leader. Brotherston Family Tyee!

August 18 Port Renfrew Fishing Report

August 19th, 2012

Fishing in Port Renfrew so far in August has been pretty good.  Some days have been slower than others, but on its day, the fishing has at times been absurdly good on the Beach.

No Bananas Trevor passed on this report earlier this week: “Wow what a day on the water!!! Flat calm warm and a all day bite on the beach!!! Did a quick charter from 530-10 am and limited out by 8 am then back at it 11-330 had two triple headers a double and some singles mixed in!!”    The next day, he caught 12 springs … with Walbran the hotspot, in the afternoon, on the flood.  There’s been good reports from East Point as well and the word is out … about 30 boats on it at 6am on Friday!

Swiftsure Bank has also been doing its magic, with limit catches of midsize spring salmon and smaller halibut caught driftfishing, or a little bigger on anchor. The photo is from Swell Time Charters … Frank and Murray’s catch of the day.

Get out to Port Renfrew and get in on the fun!

July 14 Port Renfrew fishing report

July 14th, 2012

Port Renfrew Marina reports that fishing is good is P0rt Renfrew, but slowed down a little from the off-the-scale fishing of a week ago.  The Beach is sporadic, but most anglers are coming back with 1 or 2 springs.  Swiftsure is chock full of coho, but the weather has been a bit rough.  The harbour is great for crabbing.

The photo is from the Facebook page for  Jolly Rogers Fishing Charters, showing Brian, Cam, Courteny, and Zack from Calgary after a lucky fishing day at Swiftsure Bank.

Lots of fun to be had in Port Renfrew, get out and enjoy the summer!

Port Renfrew trip report: July 2012

July 6th, 2012
Great report sent from Sean Johnson:
These are photos of a friend of mine from Minnesota-Joe Sexton, a pro snowboarder friend (with a twin brother on the Anaheim Ducks).
Monday was on and off showers but very calm waters – like a millpond. So after a very late start we managed to land three nice springs at Walbran between 2 and 4PM. It was Joe’s first time fishing in the ocean and he was jerking the rod and fighting it like a lake bass. Rod twiching and jerking he was able to land his first Salmon ever – a 21 lbs hatchery Chinook. We were fishing the spoons between 27 and 40 ft.
Tuesday wind, waves and rain no go.
Wednesday at the bank was unbelievable. Sunny skies and no fog. Caught nice springs all morning and limited out in just over an hour at 180 ft deep. We waited for the tides for a bit so caught and released some more beautiful chinooks. Mostly on hootchies – green and white.
Current slowed down and we dropped the lines at the Chicken Ranch for halibut. Everyone around us was nailing them. Within a few minutes we had a beautiful ling on. An hour later we were headed back to the marina with a boat load of fish including a couple of Hali’s – one 23lbs and another 31 lbs.
Ended the day with a Ling and Halibut feast. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!
You can say that again Sean, that’s about as good as it gets … ho hum, another great fishing day out of Port Renfrew.  :-)

Canada Day weekend looking good in Port Renfrew

June 28th, 2012

Al Planiden & sons & Tony with a boat-load of salmon

Dan Harvey from Pacific Sportsfishing Charters sent in these photos of recent catches. He reports the fishing has been excellent. Plenty of Pelagic Chinooks from 12 to 25lbs (average size 14 to 18lbs). Coho are thick right across Swiftsure Bank, lots of wildlife: krill, herring, birds and whales. No fog and the weather has been great!  .

Robin's 50 pound halibut

Port Renfrew Marina also reports Swiftsure Bank has been on fire”Easy limit catches he “chicken ranch” and “salmon bumps”, down deep 160 feet on green hootchies. Smooth seas have allowed even the smaller boats to get out there and enjoy the fishery. Hatchery coho are everywhere, though small in the 3 to 6 pound range they make for a great meal. Halibut has been a little hot and cold. Limit catches of 1 a day and spotty the next.”  They add that the crabbing in San Juan harbour is fantastic … “unreal”.

Get out to Port Renfrew this Canada Day weekend and get in on the fun!

Port Renfrew Fishing Update, June 25

June 25th, 2012

Happy Guests of No Bananas Charters

Photo is some guests of No Bananas Fishing Charters after a “Swiftsure Bank full meal deal”.

Here’s a report from Jeff Lawson (“Totally Tyee”) posted on the sportfishingbc forum. That pretty much sums up the great fishing Port Renfrew can offer up, super fun!

“Just back from 3 days in Port Renfrew. Day 1 on Swiftsure Bank and loads of spring salmon in the 8-18 LB range. Tomic Spoons did the trick for us and outfished the flashers/hootchie. Day 2 on the beach and lost a couple in the low 20s to a seal at Camper Creek and lost another to a leader issue. Cutpluggers were outfishing Anchovy almost 3-1 but I had no herring. Threw out a large Tomic 602 Spoon out the back (no flasher) to try to mimic the herring in the area and landed a 32LB just off the rockpile. Day 3 back out to the bank and again loads of smaller springs and the coho were thick with a few hatcheries mixed in. Threw the pic down on a hump off Carmanah and landed a 162lb Halibut and a bunch of yellow-eye. Great way to cap the trip off!!”

Good times! Get out to Port Renfrew and get in on the fun.

June 20 Port Renfrew Fishing Report

June 21st, 2012

Last weekend saw some slower salmon fishing in Port Renfrew, with a low pressure system coming in and dumping rain. Still Des Hatchard of Vicious Fish Charters was able to take both 1st and 3rd in the Fathers Day Derby, with a 30.1 and 18.7 pound chinook. Second went to Corey Arnett with a 27.7 pounder.

Trevor from No Bananas was the organizer and reports a donation of 850$ to the San Juan hatchery. He also thanks Bud from Port Renfrew Marina for weighing in the fish.

Here’s a photo from Trevor of a tyee salmon caught at Nitinaht, plus a few halibut friends.

There’s been good reports of both salmon and  halibut catches out at Swiftsure Bank.   Let’s hope for some nicer weather, think happy thoughts for some sunshine and calm seas.

Good luck out there!