Fishing Reports 2017

June 23, 2017

Hi All
It’s been a blustery few days here in Barkley Sound. There have been very strong north west winds that have limited the choices of many fisher folks. Things seem to be calming down a bit today so hopefully we can get out and explore a bit more. Might be a day or two before offshore possibilities are a reality though.
Ok let’s get at it.
Salmon fishing has been spotty. There are fish around and if you have the right gear in the water at the right depths at the right time, you will be rewarded. So let’s help you with the right stuff.
I’ve been on the dock the last few days, doing some much needed boat maintenance. This actually gives me opportunity to chat with many fisherfolk coming in for fuel and gear. It’s a great way to get an idea about what’s going on around the sound.
The past couple of days we have seen fish come in from Beale, Diplock, Flemming and Sandford. It’s been typical standard early season stuff. 50′ to 90′ on the rigger. Small spoons and hootchies have been the most productive. Coho killers, 3.5′ coyote spoons, silver horde and skinny gs, have all been producing fish. Cop cars, herring aide and of course my fav, purple haze spoons are leading the parade early so far this season. Fish them 6′ behind your favourite flasher for best results ( we have all the gear you need right here at our shop!)
I have noticed a number of boats coming in with flasher hootchie setups. Many of the these have long leaders from the flasher to the hootchie . Long leaders are very effective for spoons and rolling anchovies but not so much with pulling hootchies.
Hootchies have no action of their own and need to dart through the water behind a dancing flasher. A long leader will deaden the affect of the flasher. My rule of thumb is running a leader from my chin to extended arm, likely 30 to 36 inches. At this length your hootchie will have a nice enticing wiggle and waggle that springs and coho seem to love.
Speaking of coho, we have started to see some very nice ones come to the dock.
One of our guides, Brett, brought in a beauty the other evening that was pushing 10 lbs. A great fish for early June. This bodes very well for August indeed!
Not much to report on as far as halibut fishing is concerned. It’s just been too snarky to get outside. We are hoping Friday and the the weekend will allow us an opportunity to get off shore and get after some flatties. So that said, same old same old as far as hali fishing goes. If you have read my blogs before you should have it pretty much dialled in by now. Get out to the banks 210 degrees southwest of Bamfield, ( we like to go 10 to 14 miles out), find a hump that comes up to 200′ and anchor up or drift.
Salmon bellies and herring on spreader bars are the ticket. You cannot go wrong if the seas allow a day offshore!
Harbourside is really beginning to hum now. Please drop in for fuel, gear, or a coffee and a chat about what’s hot on the water. We have some spots left at the lodge for those of you that would like to come stay and a few open charter days if you would like to up your chances at landing the big one.
Aussie John has been here for a month already and has gotten us an early jump on the season so we are all ready for you!
Till then,
Coach (aka Jonathan), Aussie John, Tom and Brett.

June 5th 2017

June is here and the fishing is starting to pick up in the Barkley Sound region. Local areas that have been producing are The Wall, Whistle Buoy, Kirby, Sanford, Diplock, Meares, Austin & Cree.

Fish are being caught anywhere from 32 feet to 140 feet and deeper so I recommend hunting for the bait then adjusting from there. I have caught all my fish in the last week on either 3.5-inch Irish Cream spoon, 3.5-inch Cop Car spoon, Army Truck hootchie or a Purple Haze hootchie.

This isn’t from a lack of trying numerous different combinations and almost always having an anchovy rig running on one line. Matching the flasher colour to the lure/hootchie/teaser head is something I always do and the past week has been no different.

Currently one must find the bait to find the fish and mostly the fish being caught have been between 5 to 15 pounds. Even these smaller fish can pop the clip and take off a pile of line producing that most loved sound and provide anyone on the rod with some entertainment.

Happy hunting and best of luck out there. Brett

June 1st 2017

Fishing Report May 30 2017

Hi All

Both the weather and the fishing has seen some significant improvements over the past few weeks. Summer is just around the corner and Bamfield is beginning to hum.

Aussie John has landed and is sorting out all that needs sorting in preparation for all of you. We now have the lodge up and running and are ready to welcome folks to the wild west coast and all that Bamfield has to offer.

Ok let’s get to the good stuff. What is happening on the water? We are seeing very typical early spring and summer fishing. Spring salmon have been showing up in all of the usual haunts. We are now seeing some mature salmon mixed in with the feeder springs that call the western reaches of Barkley Sound home. When this starts to happen it can be confusing as to what depths to ply your gear. Typically for feeder springs we like to bounce our cannon balls along the bottom at depths pushing 200 feet but with larger mature fish arriving, it pays to keep some gear shallow where they like to hang.

My favorite place to fish at this time of year allows your gear to target fish without trolling to deep. Effingham is a beautiful spot to fish, stays in the lee of summer nor’westerlies and allows you to fish your gear relatively shallow through the water column. I very much enjoy the tactical troll at the west end of Effingham towards Austin and Cree Islands. Drop your gear to 55’ and 65’ and troll through the pinnacles tight to Austin and Cree. At 65’ your gear may bounce the bottom as you pick your way through, but for the most part you are looking at around 90’ of water under your boat. Watch your sounder closely as the rocky pinnacles just south and east of Austin come up very quickly. The pass through fishes well on either the flood or the ebb tide as the flow will push bait fish into the pass where the feeding springs lie in ambush.


My first time fishing this area I picked up 4 beautiful springs in 30 minutes and pretty much ordained myself as Skipper of the Year. The very next day I returned ready to box another 4 springs. Within the same time period of 30 minutes I managed to lose 3 cannon balls on the pinnacle ledges and limped back to Harbourside a much more humble fisherman. If you haven’t given this area a try, stop in at our gas dock and ask Johno or myself to show you where on the map one should fish. Chart your course on your GPS and watch your sounder closely. Once you have a couple of slug trails recorded on your GPS, you should be good to go. This area often picks up at the tide change so don’t pull up your gear until at least an hour after slack water. In early June and July, I fish an anchovy off one rigger and then a purple 3.5’ spoon on a 6’ leader behind a purple uv haze flasher. Last year I actually began fishing the purple spoon off both riggers as they far out fished the anchovy. Towards the end of July and into early August it seems anchovies begin to take over but early summer spoons rule!

Other areas that hold fish this time of year are really the same ones we fish late into August. We just fish a little bit deeper in early summer. The Wall has been productive when bait is showing. Both sides of Flemming have been very good. Typically we really only fish the north side of Flemming but the Bamfield side has been quite productive this spring. Aguilar Point all the way west to Cape Beale has produced fish, as has Kirby Point and Edward King.

Offshore fish have started migrating down the Banks and are now feeding at various hot spots along along the coast. Big Bank and the Rat’s Nose have started to turn on and if the weather and waves are good it can be a very rewarding troll.

Spoons and hootchies are the order of the day off shore. I like glow white hootchies and spoons with glow green and white. These are deadly off shore combos. Spread your gear out depth wise until you have dialed it in. I typically start at 90’ on one rigger and 130’ on the other one. Then it’s just a matter of playing from there.

Hali fishing is what it is, and that means if you are in the Barkley Sound area it’s time to get your flatty on! These tasty denizens of the deep are active and eager to chow down in early spring and summer.  As many of our readers know, I love to fish halibut off the banks south west of Barkley Sound between 10 and 14 miles out.  I am looking for gradual rounded pinnacles that come up just a bit off the banks. In short, get on the banks in about 225’ of water. Now search for a hump that comes up from 185’ to about 215’. If you are outfitted for it, drop your anchor and set your lines out on the bottom. If you don’t have an anchor system you can back troll and or drift over the hump. Once you past 215’ I’d pull your gear and then backtrack and drift once again. If you are drifting, you will want 2lb to 3lb weights on your spreader bars. If you are anchoring up I like to stagger my weights. I’ll drop 1lb weights out the back of the boat and 1.5lb out the sides. This keeps a nice spread and reduces the chances of tangling up gear.

We pretty much stick to spreader bars, salmon bellies and or extra-large herring when hali fishing. Salmon bellies are much more resilient in the water and stay on the hook much longer. Herring are easily picked off and are tasty tidbits for dogfish so that sometimes can be a big pain. That’s said? Hali just love herring so I tend to make sure I have at least one rod rigged with herring on each trip. It’s often worth the hassle.

Circle hooks are also a good way to go when hali fishing.

Circle hooks eliminate gut hooked fish. They will always hook fish in the corner of the mouth. Once a circle hook is in, it’s locked down. A fish will not shake it if the line stays tight. If a fisherman gets a chance to tangle with an oversize fish (133cm for a legally caught halibut) a circle hook will allow the fisherman to release the fish with little more than an annoying pull in the side of the mouth. Even a large fish released with a clipped line and the hook left in will be able to fend quite nicely as the hook erodes away reasonably quickly.

The draw back for circle hooks is the “take”. You can’t rear back and set the hook. Leave the drag loose enough so you can pull line with your bare hand. When a hali hooks up, let it take line. When the first run slows, gently tighten the drag and reel. When you feel head shakes and weight, you are hooked up! Then let the fun begin.

Once again should you be a hali novice or are new to the area I’d be happy to chart some hot spots for you.

Come look us up Harbourside’s gas dock and tackle store. The gas dock and store will be up and running come the first week of June. All the gear we carry in the shop is the same gear our guides use on a daily basis. We won’t be selling you gear that we ourselves wouldn’t use with guests in our own charter boats.

We are booking fast but still have some spots left for charter dates, lodging and boat moorage. By the way if you have never fished Bamfield in July you have been missing out. The weather is spectacular, it’s uncrowded and the fishing can be superb!

Coffee is on and we are looking forward to seeing old friends and welcoming new ones to the Harbourside experience.

Till then, tight lines and full boxes…

Coach (aka Jonathan…)


April 21, 2017

Fishing Report April 21, 2017

Hi All

Welcome to the 2017 version of the Harbourside Lodge Chronicles.

It has been a very cool and wet winter that has transitioned directly into our spring. As I am writing this though, the sun is actually shining and thoughts of Bamfield summers where glints of light reflect radiantly off chrome bars of salmon are making me twitch just a little bit. It is almost upon us.

Fishing in the area is still spotty. There are, however, fish to be had. And just like wearing a very comfortable pair of slippers, it’s good to know that our usual haunts are still producing some very nice fish.

Early season salmon fishing in Barclay Sound is all about finding bait and keeping gear close to the bottom. Places like the Wall, Kirby, Flemming and Austin / Cree / Mears are worthwhile spots to drop the gear and find some early season springs. There has been some great new gear that has come on the market and is perfect for the early season salmon fishery that Bamfield offers.

Try a variety of the new glow and moonjelly flashers such as the Salty Dawg, Green Onion Glow, or the Yellow / Green Kinetic. Top spoons such as the new Pescas in glow green with blue or black trim. Irish Cream, Homeland Security are terrific down deep and off shore.

I can’t give up my favorite, purple haze flasher with a 3.5 or 4 inch purple spoon. This rig was absolute money for us last season. Troll these outfits at 2.5 to 3 mph for best results. Bait is always effective though when trolling deep it is so hard to detect little bites and nips. Spoons and hootchies give you a much better chance of keeping your gear in the water.

Early season halibut is really prime time for flatties. Spring sees a more consistent bite with the likely hood of bigger fish than later on in the summer. That said if this fishery is anything like it has been over the past few years we can expect a strong halibut fishery deep into September. All the usual spots will produce. As many readers know I love to fish the humps off shore between 10 and 14 miles off. Check your charts and locate your boat in and around humps that come up on the bank between 190 and 215 feet. An anchor system definitely will put you at an advantage but drifting and back trolling can still be effective. We mix things up between salmon bellies and extra-large herring. Somedays the bellies knock them dead and some days it’s all about the herring. Octopus can also be very effective and certainly stays on the hooks solidly.

We are so very much looking forward to see all of our regulars this summer as well as welcoming newcomers to the Harbourside experience. Aussie John and Tom will have things up and running for opening early June. I will be up to the lodge by mid June. At this point we are already filling up prime spots, that said we do have accommodations still available in prime time. It would be prudent to book now. Tom has added another Grady to the fleet so we have more options for charters and larger groups. All booking enquiries can be made through Aussie John via email at

Until then we will keep you posted on all things fishy here in Barclay Sound.

Coach… (aka Jonathan…)