Fishing Reports 2019

July 2, 2019

Hi All
The traveling on weekends back and forth from Vancouver to Bamfield has finally ended and I am now settled in at Harbourside for the duration of the summer.
My first crew of the year arrived Friday evening. Rob who lives in South Surrey and his good friend Michael from Kelowna were very eager to get out on Charley Girl and experience all that Barkley Sound has to offer.
Day one, Saturday morning, was a salmon day. Rob has spent time working as a deckhand on a gill netter but never had the opportunity to catch a salmon with rod and reel. Michael was an experienced salmon fisherman but he hadn’t pulled in a halibut before (on the agenda for Sunday). Either way I had a job to do.
Saturday morning was warm but socked in. Thankfully the radar works beautifully on the new boat. We went round the corner at Beale and headed down to Sea Bird Rocks. We fished a glow white hootchy with a glow green flasher at 30 feet on down rigger 1 and ran a black trimmed glow flasher with an irish cream skinny g at 27 feet on the other rigger. Other than some rambunctious black rock fish we came up empty. We changed the gear to different colours and different depths. We couldn’t get bit. My buddy Al from Bakerbuoy Charters sent me a text that there was a good bite going on at Keeha Bay. Now this is Al who I have mentioned before. The best fisherman I know. This is the guy who can pull a spring salmon out of a ditch on a rainy day along the Island Highway. In my mind there is no one better on the water. If he texts and says the bite is on, then go! They were having success jigging off the bottom in 45 to 70 feet of water. The squid spawn is still going on at Keeha and the springs were taking advantage. Off we went full of anticipation. But…a day late and a dollar short. My first trip of the year and we blanked. O for, nada, empty box, zippo. I drove the boat home with my tail firmly between my legs…
Sunday was a hali morning that dawned with splendour and renewed hope. The trip out to the banks was stunning. Clear skies, flat seas. We saw sea otters, humpbacks, sea lions, harbour porpoises, dall’s porpoises. Salmon were finning everywhere feeding on the surface krill. It was just wonderful.
We anchored on a hump on the bank that came up to 200 feet, dropped the hali gear with herring and salmon bellies and the bite was on. At least the dog fish bite…
Omg! I couldn’t get the gear down before the bait was stolen and or we had a dog fish on. I use circle hooks and it did prevent some of the pesky sharks from hooking up and made for easier releases but man I was working my butt off.
After a couple of hours Michael hooked up his first ever hali and we boated a fat 104 cm fish. Not long after that Rob hooked into a beast. The initial run lasted a minute and pulled a couple of hundred feet of line. The battle was on, however I knew it was an oversize fish. No matter Rob was having a blast. After 25 minutes or so we finally got colour. This wasn’t a hali but the largest dog fish I have ever seen. This thing was 6 feet long and two feet thick. I had never seen anything like it. The b

A great morning at Keeha

oys thought it was awesome and I didn’t have to release an oversize.
We waited it out another two hours before we got another hit. Before the end of the day Rob managed to boat a hali at 106 cms. We picked up one more to end the day and the three of us came home with some serious white gold. After the day before I let out a long sigh of relief.
Monday morning was my last chance to put Rob on to his first ever spring salmon. We headed over to Keeha and got out the MacDeep jigs. We back trolled with the kicker to keep the lines straight up and down and just off the bottom. In a span of 2 and half hours we got the boys into 5 springs and landed 4. Great day on the water!
I now have 3 days off to spend some time on the water with Makiko. Nothing better then spending some quality time on the water with your loved one!
The season is really just starting and there are some fantastic fishing opportunities here around the Sound.
Aussie John is performing his usual magic at the fuel dock and tackle shop. I swear people stop in here for fuel just because he’s so darn entertaining!. Come check him out folks. Seriously, he’s worth it!
Joe, our other guide is here and ready to run with his boat. Call and book with Aussie John. I’ll have another report out within the next 5 or 6 days.
Till then,
Coach (aka Jonathan…)

June 25, 2019

Hi All

Fishing in Barkley Sound in June has been very good. If you are willing to put in the time, fish through the tide changes and find a spot where the rollers aren’t turning everyone green, you will be rewarded. The last week or so has seen some iffy marine weather. Not so much with rain and such but strong north westerlies that are hammering the coast lines surrounding the Bamfield area. There are fish to be had if you have the stomach for it!
We have seen and tremendous invasion of spawning squid. This in turn has fired up both the springs and coho. They are feeding hard and are very willing to pounce on a variety of gear.
I have been up at the lodge just for weekends as I finish out the school year. I haven’t been able to get out on the water as much as I’d like as I have been finishing the setting up of my newer Grady White. I have managed the odd trip out. This past Sunday we made our way over to Whittlestone and Little Beale. We ran a green  flasher with glow white hootchy at 45 feet and on the other rigger we ran a black trimmed glow flasher with an Irish Cream skinny g at 30 – 37 feet. Both rigs hit fish. That said we did not hook up with any springs but did manage to limit out on some gorgeous fat early season coho. Each coho was just plugged full of squid!
We had a number of fisher folk staying at the lodge and all of our groups did well with springs. Whittlestone and Kirby were the hot spots. Flasher hootchy’s were the rage although small spoons and bait has also been productive.
Austin and Cree has produced nicely but few ventured over there so as not to worry about navigating a snarky Trevor Channel. Once one is over at Austin and Cree it is very fishable as it’s in the lee of the north westerly flow. Make sure though you are in a very seaworthy vessel if heading that direction especially when it’s blowing north west. 50 – 90 feet has been the zone for successful chinook fishing at Austin and Cree.
Not much to tell you different on the hali front. Too rough for many boats to get out the last while. Winds are settling down today and Tuesday so boats will be able to get out after some flatties this week. See last week’s fish report for info on early season hali fishing.
I am up for the summer as of Thursday evening June 27. Please contact Aussie John about moorage, accommodations, fuel and tackle. He will be very happy to help you out anyway he can.
Our other lodge guide Joe Martell will be arriving at the lodge this week. There are guide days available with both Tom’s and Joe’s boats. These are great guys to fish with, knowledgable, safe and tons of fun. Join us for a fabulous fishing adventure here at Harbourside. You’ll be glad you did!
We will see you soon,
Coach… (aka Jonathan)

June 14, 2019

Hi All

It’s good to be back! I hope everyone has had a great winter and I can only imagine how excited you all are to get back on the water. Barkley Sound is a magical place and if you are anything like me summer cannot come soon enough.
Breaking news for those of you who will be joining me on the water this summer! You will be welcomed aboard a new ride! As of February, Fishing With Coach Charters added a 2002 Gradywhite Gulftsream into the fold. We are now a little longer and considerably wider. The Boat aptly named, Charley Girl, has been up at Harbourside since the May long weekend. We have managed a few forays out into the Pacific with her and are very pleased with it’s performance so far. For those of you who often chat with me over the VHF and dial me up as Charley’s Angel, take note of our new handle, Charley Girl. Not a huge change I know. By the way the real Charley Girl, the 15 year old golden retriever who owns me and has accompanied me on all of my fishing adventures the past 15 years is still doing well. Noticeably slower but happy, content and enjoying life still. I doubt she will be out on the water as much this summer as in summers past but she will still be a presence at Harbourside.
Ok enough about me. What you really want to know is what is happening on the water! Are there fish around and how can I get into some?
I have only really been out twice so far. Last Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday afternoon I trekked over to Seabird Rocks to check out old haunts and see if there are any springs around.We fished a glow white squid imitation (squid spawn is happening now) 30 inches behind a glow green flasher between 27 and 44 feet on the downrigger. We have two solid swipes and misses, both of which pulled off the rigger clip. On the other side we fished a Bon Chovy Skinny G behind a Gibbs black glow flasher, also between 27 and 44 feet. We trolled mostly in depths between 33 and 60 feet. After about 2 hours we manages a hook up on the Skinny G and Makiko landed a gorgeous 18lb spring. First of the year and a terrific fish for the table! That was, however, our only fish of the day.
I have managed to chat with numerous other fisher folks up in Bamfield last weekend and I can summarize the early fishing as follows:
Beale, Edward King, Kirby, Meares, Austin, Cree, and the Wall have all had their moments. The fish have been a bit shallower for early season. Alot of folks were finding decent springs (8 to 18 lbs) at 40 – 65 feet. I would still keep a deep line near the bottom if I was fishing Kirby, Edward King and perhaps Beale. At Austin and Cree I’d likely go 50 and 65 feet. At Meares perhaps 65 – 90 feet. If you see bait stick with it as long as you can. Sooner or later the bite is likely to come on.
As for the hali front? They are around for sure. There are a few spots right n the sound which can produce early season. We, however,  popped off shore to the banks last Sunday found a hump that came up to about 205 feet. Here we let down the anchor. We fished two lines with 2lb weights, spreader bars, salmon bellies and extra large herring. Inside of an hour we had 5 solid takes and put two nice fish into the boat. One was right near the limit at 125 cms and the other was a very fat 101 cm fish. It was a very productive morning.
We have had some nice springs caught by guests this week – a 32lb and 34lb came in last Wednesday, and some nice bottom fish. There have also been some nice coho landed.
We are very lucky here in Barkley Sound. Our regs haven’t really changed that much. Even the banks will be open to chinook retention starting July 15. I am very concerned about the charter operations here in Vancouver, east side Vancouver Island and those in the Juan de Fuca. It’s so tough when you have that much invested in boats and equipment and you get shut down. Hopefully there are plenty of hungry springs around after July 15th and these guys can get booked solid for the rest of the season.
As for all of us at Harbourside? We are open and going full bore. Tom and Aussie John and have been at the Lodge for weeks now getting everything ready.
The shop is open with tackle, bait and fuel. We still have some accommodation and moorage available, so book with Aussie John soon, as the later we get into the summer the busier the lodge will be. As I have mentioned many times in this blog, June and July can be fantastic fishing here in Bamfield. Less crowds, great weather and awesome fishing.
 I am up for good come June 27. Hope to see you all soon!
Coach (aka Jonathan….)

May 28 Fisheries Update

Fishery Notice – Fisheries and Oceans Canada Subject:

FN0466-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island

Information relating to Area 23 and 123

Area 23 & 123 – Coho Fishing Times and Limits Continuing conservation concerns for Interior Fraser Coho require that 2019 Coho management measures remain precautionary.

Area 123 - the daily limit for Coho is two (2) per day, hatchery marked only from 00:01 hours June 1 to 23:59 hours December 31, 2019

Area 23 – Barkley Sound

Effective 00:01 hours June 1 until 23:59 hours December 31, 2019 you may retain
two (2) Coho per day (hatchery marked or unmarked) except for;

Subareas 23-1 to 23-3 (Alberni Inlet) effective 00:01 hours August 1 until
23:59 hours December 31, 2019 you may retain four (4) Coho per day (hatchery
marked or unmarked.



April 2019 DFO – Chinook, Coho, Halibut, and others


These are the latest regulations for 2019 as published by the DFO for Area 23 (Barkley Sound) which is inside the Boundary Line (1nm outside the surfline offshore),  and Area 123 which lies outside the Boundary Line seawards.

1. Area 23 (inside the boundary line):
   Chinook: 2 per day, 4 possession; minimum length 45cm;
   Coho:  Non-retention until June 1st then they will set the limits. We expect they will be the same as last year.
2. Area 123: (offshore outside the boundary line):
   Chinook: Non-retention until July 14 then will probably go to the same as Area 23
   Coho: Non-retention until June 1st when limits will be announced
Other species:
Area 23 and 123:
Halibut: The possession limit is either of: one (1) halibut measuring from 90 cm to 126 cm head-on length, OR two (2) halibut measuring under 90 cm head-on length.
Lingcod: Fillets, including the tail, must meet the minimum “head off” size limit of 53 cm. (21 in.)
Rockfish – Anglers in vessels shall immediately return all rockfish that are not being retained to the water and to a similar depth from which they were caught by use of an inverted weighted barbless hook or other purpose-built descender device (we sell the descender devices at our tackle store)
Area 23, 123 Rockfish: Daily limit of 3 Rockfish per day, of which only 1 may be a China Rockfish or a Tiger Rockfish or a Quillback Rockfish
The Boundary Line is approximately 1nm seaward of the surfline and is defined as follows: A line that begins at Pacheena Point lighthouse at 48 degrees 43.327′ N 125 degrees 05.855′ W then to 48 degrees 42.456′ N 125 degrees 06.583′ W seaward of Pachena Point, then to 48 degrees 46.420′ N 125 degrees 13.997′ W seaward of Cape Beale, then to 48 degrees 54.572′ N 125 degrees 33.622′ W seaward of Amphitrite Point. There are more points for the boundary line further north that can be viewed on the DFO website. Follow our website link to Are 23 and 123 Regulations.