Fishing Reports 2018

July 10, 2018

Hi All
Fishing Barkley Sound and the surrounding offshore waters continues to be productive.
I finished up with the Morgan group on Sunday. We fished Seabird Island and Little Beale over three days including a day offshore hali hunting.
Seabird was good last week and into the weekend. As per usual I fished a tight troll in and around the kelp and reefs. At times we had just 29 feet of water under the boat. We trolled Bon Chovy skinny gs at 27 and 39 feet in the rigger. When the bite came on it was frantic. We managed 4 springs in the box on an afternoon fish and another 5 the next morning. A very strong south easterly blew us off the rocks and we returned to the sound to fish in the lea of the wind at Little Beale. We also found a great bite going on here. Dropping the gear to 37 and 35 feet seemed to be where the action was. Once again skinny gs were the ticket.
I’ve made two trips offshore in the past three days to hunt halis. On board with the Morgan group and then again with Jaime and his son Chris. Chris works in Beijing so two days on the ocean here in Bamfield were a welcome respite from the heat and crowds of the big city. We fished them humps out at 12 mile. Fishing was slow with the Morgans. We released one oversize and that was the only hit of the day. Jaime and Chris were a bit luckier. We had 5 hali hits, released one oversize and kept two lovely fish in the 35 lb range.
I’ve noticed that the salmon fishing has slowed some the past two days. This is not uncommon as migratory fish are constantly on the move. Slowed down is accurate, but certainly it hasn’t died off. It is still very productive. Little Beale and ocean side just out from Beale are producing quality fish. So has Pacheena and Keeha Beach. I haven’t been over to Austin and Cree for over a week and really haven’t heard much from there. It’s going to blow northwest the rest of this week so that will have to be my destination. I’ll have more info up later in the week for Cree, Austin and Meares.
On a more urgent matter. Please read the important announcements regarding the fin fish closures for Swiftsure and La Perouse Banks. While doing what we can to help the struggling orca populations is noble and well worth the effort, it seems to me the closures will have no effect whatsoever. Start with the elimination of the herring fishery and the whale of the west coast would respond in rapid positive fashion. The Sports Fishing industry drives salmon enhancement and is the major reason we can still enjoy the wonderful resource. I for one would be happy to pay a bit more for my salmon tag if I knew that those finds would go directly to enhance our salmon stocks.
Anyway, enough of my political pontificating. Read through the details posted to our website and respond accordingly. Let’s try and get things done people!
In the mean time, Harbourside chugs along. Please, by all means come by and say hi. We would love to pass along the latest in fishing news  with what and where it’s hot.
We have lots of gear in stock, fuel both diesel and marine gas, ice and snacks.
We’d love to see you.
Coach (Jonathan)

July 7 – Important Announcement regarding Proposed Finfish Closures – Please read and act before July 11


IMPORTANT DFO ANNOUNCEMENT:Southern Resident Killer Whale – Area Refuge Fishing Closure LaPerouse to Swiftsure
Peoplewho are actively involved in the management of sports fishing via advisory boards are calling on all anglers to respond to an invitation for input to DFO on revisions to the Critical Habitat Section of the Species at Risk (SARA) Recovery Strategy for Northern and Southern Killer Whales. Input must be provided by July 11, on a prescribed online comment form.As many of you know, this is a similar “consultation process” to what was used to arrive at the eventual implementation of a SRKW Refuge Area Recreational Fin Fish Closure in Areas 20, 18 and 29.   The current practice is to use Area Refuge Closures as opposed to implementing equally effective 400m bubble zone strategies. Going forward, one of the likely outcomes of expanding the critical habitat to include Swiftsure to LaPerouse Banks will result in similar Area Refuge Recreational Fin Fish closures (closed to all fishing). Once these are in place it is highly probable the closures become permanent.

Please review the map that sets out the area proposed to be set-aside as critical habitat.

My colleagues and I have reviewed the science associated with the SARA Recovery Strategy and have several concerns with assumptions and weak scientific facts being used to support the expansion of the Critical Habitat within the Recovery Strategy.   Please use these response points when you complete your online comment:

  • “B.C.’s tidal water recreational fishery, combined with the freshwater fishery, is the largest and most valuable in Canada, valued at $18 billion annually. DFO issues over 350,000 tidal licenses per year collecting $7.3 million in fees and the fishery employs around 8,400 British Columbian’s (as of 2012).”
  • Area SRKW Refuge Recreational Fin Fish Closures will cause significant socio-economic harm destroying jobs and economic spin off activities in small coastal communities like Ucluelet, Port Alberni, Bamfield, Port Renfrew, Sooke and Victoria.
  • Killer whales are only very rarely present on LaPerouse Bank, and there is no documented evidence from passive acoustic monitoring to clearly demonstrate this is actually critical habitat. DFO science is making an assumption that because areas of LaPerouse Bank are important areas for commercial and recreational Chinook fishing that they area similarly important to killer whales.
  • According to Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM), killer whales are only present on Swiftsure Bank 43% of monitored days between May to September – broad Area Refuge closures impact recreational fishing opportunity during significant periods where the whales are not present.
  • There is no comparative analysis that demonstrates the effectiveness of Area Closure vs. a mobile “bubble” strategy
  • More effort is required to scientifically determine if indeed there is any less benefit to be achieved using a “bubble” strategy which is less impactful – striking a balance between protection and economic activity 
  • In the past ______ years, I have fished areas of LaPerouse Bank, and observed killer whales only ____ times. (your observations are very important)
  • In the past ______years, I have fished areas of Swiftsure Bank, and observed killer whales only ____times. (your observations are very important)
  • Given these observations, there is little scientific data to support expanding the critical habitat areas, especially on LaPerouse Bank where killer whales are very rarely encountered and there is no scientific evidence to support DFO Science claims. 

Here’s DFO’s request for input – please take time to write in your input:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) would like your feedback on the revised critical habitat section (section 7) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) draft Amended Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada.

Key points for discussion

  • The draft Amended Recovery Strategy updates the critical habitat for Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales based on new science advice
  • It identifies two additional areas of special importance as proposed critical habitat for Resident Killer Whales. These include:
    • Waters on the continental shelf off southwestern Vancouver Island, including Swiftsure and La Pérouse Banks (important for both Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales)
    • Waters of west Dixon Entrance, along the north coast of Graham Island from Langara to Rose Spit (important for Northern Resident Killer Whales)
  • The amendment also provides clarification of the functions, features and attributes for all critical habitat identified for Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales

How to provide input

The deadline for submitting comments on section 7 (critical habitat) of the draft Amended Recovery Strategy is July 11, 2018. Please note, feedback is only being sought on section 7 (pages 55 to 68); feedback on other sections will not be considered at this time. If you choose to submit comments, please use the online comment form.

After we have received your feedback and finalized the draft Amended Recovery Strategy, a proposed document will be posted to the SARA Public Registry for a 60-day public comment period. The Government of Canada will then have 30 days to incorporate comments before posting the final document on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Here is the Comment Form Link Address:


July 5, 2018

It’s early July and Barkley Sound has been very productive on the fishing front.
Spring salmon from various rivers to the south have been stopping along many of our traditional hot spots and feeding up on needle fish and immature herring. It’s been a very good start to the season.
Just finished up with my first group of the year. The Underhill brothers, along with family friend Gilbert, have been guests of mine for some years now. We fished hali last weekend and managed our limit. We fished the humps at 12 mile using spreader bars and extra large herring. 205 feet of water was magic as the bite came quickly and it wasn’t long before we had 4 nice flatties in board.
The next two days were salmon days. With a high pressure system bringing very strong norwesterlies, the best place for us was over in the Broken Group at Austin and Cree Islands. The winds were strong but it was fishable. We fished anchovies in a green teaser head 6′ behind a Guide Series green moon jelly flasher at 55′ on the down rigger. On the other side we fished a Bon Chovy Skinny G at 65′. We found the slot between Austin Island and the under water pinnacles the most productive. Lots of feed, needle fish mostly, were showing on the sounder with arches of feeding salmon below them. It was constant action, especially on the Skinny Gs. We had to wade through tons of feeders but by the end of the day we managed 8 nice spring from 9 to 16 lbs. Next morning we went back to the scene if the crime as the north west winds were forecasted to blow strong once again. We fished half a day and boxed 5 lovely fish, the largest tipped the scales at 18 lbs.
The north west blow ended a two days ago. I have two days off between guests. I was really looking forward to getting out on the water with my partner Makiko and exploring some old haunts which I hadn’t had time to get to. We motored down towards Seabird Island Rocks with Tom’s son in law, Brian in tow. Between the two boats we fished the reefs and kelp beds of Seabird. This maybe my favourite troll. It’s technical, it’s’ tight to the rocks and boy can it ever produce! Makiko and I trolled a Bon Chovy Skinny G at 30′ and a Herring Aid Skinny G at 27′. Within 10 minutes we had our first fish on. In 35 minutes we out 4 springs in the boat, including a double header and we were done for the day. All cookie cutters, teenagers between 15 and 18 lbs. Gorgeous fish. Feisty, acrobatic and just a whole ton of fun. Brian’s boat also did well. They had 8 springs to the boat and boxed 4. One lovely fish at 24 lbs. Brian’s fish all came on a blue / silver Skinny G.
All the fish we have cleaned over the last few days have been gorging on small needle fish. Small spoons have been the best imitator of the available feed. Definitely for us the Skinny Gs have been the ticket, but I would think any small 3.5′ spoons would be effective. Silver Horde’s Herring Aide and Irish Cream have also been working well.
Both Aussie John and Tom are around. The store is running full swing, gas dock is going strong so no excuse not to drop by. Harbouside would be happy to help make your Bamfield adventure just a little bit more special.
I have The Morgan group in next for the weekend. I’ll update you after the weekend on how it all goes.
Till then,
Coach (aka Jonathan).

June 30, 2018

Fishing Report Harbourside Lodge June 30 2018
Hi All.
What a pleasure it is to be back! It has been a long, wet winter and we are all excited about the upcoming summer. Reconnecting with friends, the excitement of making new ones and of course renewing our love of the water and all the things that make the west coast of the Island so special. This is what fuels us, this is why we continue the Harbourside Lodge chronicles.
During the winter I frequently visit our web site and the listed weather links. It’s intrigues me to see the weather buoy transmitting waves of over 7 meters at 10 second intervals. It also makes me very happy I am safe secure on dryland during our west coast winter storms! It’s interesting to note that these storms are critical to the health of the west coast marine environment. The massive waves breaking on the rocks stir up the shore line providing the much needed oxygenated water to support the amazing mass of life that makes up the west coast. All to our benefit…
It is now the end of June and many of us are eager and hotly anticipating early morning bites and reels singing. The tug is definitely the drug. Most of us have been exposed to the thrills of battling wild fish through uncle’s, dad’s and other various family members. For me? It was my Dad. Growing up in the prairies might not seem like the best place to learn the finer arts of angling but in actuality the pristine lakes of Canada’s north offer wonderful places to learn all about the water and the denizens of the deep. My dad gave me the opportunity to fall in love with the water. He is the reason I fish to this day. I lost my Dad a few months ago. He was 94 years old so it was time. That said, it still feels like a punch to the gut.
Relationships with loved ones can be complicated. They can be difficult and they can be stressful. My relationship with my Dad was all of these at times. We were very different people. In my life and in my work I find it imperative to find little nooks and crannies that one can connect to people with. One doesn’t need to have the pieces fit perfectly to build a connection. If we are that way we may miss so many wonderful opportunities to forge lasting bonds with others. Sometimes all it takes is one little thing. For my Dad and I? It was time on the water fishing.
For those precious hours we were unencumbered by difference. We were sheltered in same. We were the best of ourselves.
My love of the water was his gift. it was our time together. We could reminisce without fear and or guilt. it was ours…
Ok on to the good stuff!
Fishing has been solid in Barkley Sound. We were out this past Sunday and decided to venture around the corner to see what was happening at Seabird Island Rocks. We fished hard and tight to the kelp and reefs, trolling a glow white hootchie and a Bon Chovy skinny g. We managed 3 solid hook ups in about 3 hours of trolling time. Nothing however stuck. There were two other boats from Harbourside out with us and both boats managed a pair of nice springs, one of which was pushing 20 lbs. For our last hour out we put the trolling gear away and tucked into the kelp and jigged Macdeeps. Again we had a couple of salmon hook ups but nothing we could keep on. Had a blast with some ling cod, cabazon and greenlings.
I had some time to chat with guests on the docks over the weekend and it seems small spoons, hootchies and anchovies have been the most successful rigs that are producing fish.
In the Bamfield area, Austin and Cree have been good. The deeper water close to Kirby has also been producing. As per usual you will never be wasting your time fishing the Wall and Aguilar Point.
Halibut fishing has been solid when the weather allows off shore boating. At this time of year you may manage the odd hali inshore as well. Herring and salmon bellies on are the best producers.
The lodge and docks are in full swing so if you are in the area in July don’t forget to swing by for fuel, tackle, ice, bait and such.
Till then, flat seas and full boxes…
Coach… (aka Jonathan…)

June 19, 2018

Fishing Report Harbourside Lodge June 21 2018

There have been some good fish caught in the past week. A 28lb spring on the Wall at dusk three days ago had some smiles on the boat, as it was the first ever salmon caught by the guy on the rod.

There are plenty of feeder springs in the 5 to 15 lb range, as well as larger fish in some areas. Swale Rock and Austin & Cree are producing as well as the Wall, Aguilar Point and along Brady’s Beach, along with the deeper water close to Kirby and of course you can head offshore for some bigger spring and hali. One of our charters last week saw three good hali come in with the largest at 114cm. The hali were all caught on a mix of herring and salmon bellies.

A mixture of bait and hardware is the current choice. Small 3.5” spoons and Glow White hootchies and green splatter back hootchies seem to be working best.

Our store and fuel are up and running, and the weather has been really spectacular, so come to Bamfield and wet a line.