As I write this report summer would appear to have arrived with temperatures forecast in the high 20’s this week. Now is the time to get your equipment or boat out of storage and prepare for the new season ahead whether you are chasing trout in rivers and lakes or salmon in the salt chuck!
Fry patterns in rivers work well at this time of year representing young pink and chum that are dropping downstream to begin their relatively short lives at sea, where they will feed voraciously, for 2 years in the case of pinks, and 2-3 years for chum, before returning to the rivers of their birth. Survival rates are low with only 2-3% making it back to spawn after an incredible journey defying the odds of being eaten by a whole host of predators.
Essential fly patterns for river or estuary mouth are beadhead rolled muddlers, brown or epoxy minnows and mick finns. Fish them on a sink tip line or attach a sinking polyleader to a floating line to get down to where the cutthroats will be lying on the bottom of the river. You should also carry some prince and pheasant tail nymph’s and stoneflies with either brass or tungsten beads to get down deep.
The Little Qualicum river has produced some cutthroats in fine condition recently and also the occasional Steelhead. Right now the river is only open below the hatchery down to the sea but the upper river opens on June 1st offering opportunities to explore new pools. The ability to roll cast competently is a definite advantage on this river and others because there are so many places where a conventional backcast is not possible because of overhanging bushes and trees. It really helps if you have a fly line with a relatively short head to achieve this. Many lines out there will make it difficult to roll cast especially if you are making quite short casts. Call into the store if you need advice.
Early summer trout fishing on Vancouver Island rivers and streams is a wonderful experience and there are many opportunities to find wild fish in fantastic scenery if you have the appetite to explore ! Please be aware that it is mandatory to release all wild trout caught in a river or stream on Vancouver Island !
Fishing has been good as the lakes warm up and fish become more active. Spider lake has been stocked and chironomids have been successful for many anglers. There are many wilderness lakes to explore with both stocked and wild fish. For those new to the island we have an excellent Island Lake and River guide Map book at our store which is an essential tool to help you find where to go and how to get there.
Fishing for boat anglers continues to be good. Consistent catches of Chinook in the 8 – 15lb are normal with some fish 20lb+. Fish are generally being caught deep but I have heard reports of some good fish being caught jigging in 60ft of water. Lingcod retention opened on May 1st.
Whether you fish fly, gear or saltwater we have all the right tackle and advice to help.
Tight Lines !