Fishing Report, July 27 2021

It’s 5:15 am and I’m sitting at the dining room table here at Harbourside Lodge. It’s a very rare day off the water. I can sleep in! But here I am, coffee is brewing, it’s so foggy outside that even the birdlife are having second thoughts about moving too much. I can sleep in! but no….My internal fishing alarm clock is beeping like crazy. I gotta get up. The water beckons…

So here I am catching up on my reports, of which I am late once again. Let’s get at it then.
Fishing in the Sound was getting better by the day, until about three days ago, then someone turned off the switch. I mean lights out, it’s bed time. Off shore? not so much but inshore just died. The past three days Bamfield has seen some very large tides for this time of year. I am assuming the large volume of water moving back and forth the Sound has really put the fish down. Before the full moon and crazy tides I was having great success at Little
Friday we fished Beale. Trolling Bon Chovy Skinny Gs and a glow green white Amundsen Slim Shiver Fish Cop was the ticket. We trolled at 37′ and 40′ on the riggers. Last week with the “Tom Cairns” group we picked up our first tyee of the season just off the wash rock at Little Beale. Awesome fish for a great bunch of guys. Thursday and Friday I had Dana and Wayne all the way from Regina. We went off shore on Thursday for a hali trip. We managed three halis, one over and two under along with a giant octopus and two skates, all the while being circled by three very hungry looking blue sharks. If you have never seen one they are just beautiful animals, gorgeous blue colours… Beale with four of us. We limited out on springs to 22 lbs and a bonus 5 hatchery coho. Once again 37′ and 40′ in a tight to the rocks tack along Little Beale
Last Saturday saw the big tides come in and just like that switch turned off. If the seas allow offshore at 7 mile has been very productive for springs, coho and halis. Troll deep for springs, 140′ – 180′. Spoons, glow white hootchies and bait will all work. Bait can be problematic i the coho are thick. Too much work. Spoons or hootchies would be a better alternative.
Hali fishing is still very productive. Salmon bellies and heads and extra large herring have been straight up money.
Again, as I always, say, get on the bank and find humps that come up to 200′ feet or so. Fish around the hump not necessarily on it. 205′ – 215′ feet of water is perfect. Anchoring is always the best way to go if you have the system. Don’t try your windlass, it can be very dangerous as you are liable to take a wave over your bow.
The long weekend is coming up and the Bamfield Fireman’s Derby is all set to go. Gordy form Breaker’s Marine runs the best derby going! Tons of prizes and giveaways. I’m gonna win the derby with the biggest fish ( I am due!) but there are great cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd. Get your tickets at Breaker’s here in Bamfield.
In the meantime and in between time, full boxes to all of you…
Coach (aka Jonathan)

Fishing Report, July 17 2021

Hi All

Ok I know, I get it… I’ve been somewhat derelict in my fishing report duties. Alright then. More than derelict. Downright absent. Let’s just say it’s been a strange start to the year.
Anyway I am back so let us get after it.
Trying to describe early season fishing in Barkley Sound is as challenging as the fishing itself.
Up to July 15th those wanting to catch and retain a mature chinook salmon have had to play the waters inside of the Sound. Fishing the rocks and reefs inside the surfline has been legal but chinook retention offshore has been closed. So that means working all our local spots and hoping for migrating chinook (mostly American hatchery fish) to come into the Sound and feed. They will do this providing the feed is sufficient for them. So then… that’s the ticket. Keep checking the sounder and looking for bait balls. If you find them? work them hard as sooner or later the bite will come on. The problem is finding the bait. We’ve had success at Sandford, Swale, Austin and Cree. Depths can vary depending on where you are. At Sandford I fish 37′ to 50′ on the rigger. Austin and Cree I tend to go a little deeper to 55′ and 65′. We caught a few good fish at Swale last week fishing at 80′ which for me is like submarine depth deep! Flemming and Beale I’m dropping gear to 33′ and 43′.
At this point in the season you cannot go wrong with Irish Cream or Bon Chovy Skinny Gs 6 ‘ behind a glow green flasher.
We have also had success with Skinny Gs in purple, gold and silver. That said my go to is either the Irish Cream or Bon Chovy. Glow white hootchies are always a safe bet. Anchovies are working but there are so many feeder springs and pinks in the sound that bait is too expensive and way too much work.
I haven’t fished Fleming hard but I have heard that it has been productive. One of my favourite tacks is Little Beale and it has produced the odd fish but hasn’t really turned on yet. Keeha Bay and Keeha Beach hasn’t been as hot as previous years during the squid spawn but I’ve put some hours in there and been rewarded each time with a couple of good fish.
The really good news is that there are lots of coho around. Austin, Swale, Sandford and Fleming have been good for coho. Kirby hasn’t really turned on yet as there are so many shakers there it’s tough to fish.
Hali fishing is as per usual, lights out. That is if you can anchor up near any humps showing on the bank. That is the ticket for sure. Salmon bellies and heads have been money for me.
As for the lodge and such, things are definitely quieter it seems and certainly not as entertaining without Aussie John around. We are very much hoping 2022 will bring us back to pre-covid normal. Just isn’t the same here without him.
So I promise to maintain some fish updates as the summer wears on. If you are in the Bamfield area and are looking for fishing intel please, by all means stop by the lodge and ask for myself, Joe or Captain Tom.
In the meantime and in between time keep your gear wet, there ain’t no fish where it’s dry…
Coach aka Jonathan…
On a sad side note, my handle on the water is Charleygirl. Charleygirl is a golden retriever and has been my beloved companion on the water for the past 17 years. There has never been a better fishing partner and friend. If you chartered with me then you are well acquainted with her. I had to say goodbye to her this past week. As inevitable as it was, it still hit me hard. I am so glad I am here in my favourite place, as it was hers. It’s a good place for happy memories and to heal.
Here’s to you Charleygirl…

Fishing Report Sept 8, 2020

Hi All

Well, just like that it ends… 2020 is in the books for Coach. Charliegirl is out of the water, on the hard and waiting to be out to bed for the winter. As I left the Bamfield Harbour mouth in brilliant sunshine and flat seas it hardly seemed right to be calling it quits. I am now back in Van City and attempting to bring some normality back to students and their Covid-19 educational world. Not sure which job is harder, that or trying to catch spring salmon the past few days! It seems both are challenging me for sure!
We wrapped up derby weekend at Harbourside this weekend. So appreciative of the Alberni Valley Tyee Club for taking the responsibilities of the Derby on. Such great tradition. Hopefully we can return to normal festivities next year on Labour Day!
As for the fishing? Well it was slow for us for sure. We skipped a salmon day on Saturday as the waters were so calm offshore and we headed out for one last day of flatty fishing. We had three Harbourside boats out at 12 mile and with Captain Tom leading the way we eventually all limited out. The halis wanted herring this day. We had refusals on salmon bellies but they eagerly hit herring and herring like jigs. Once again we anchored up on the banks at a hump that comes up to 200 feet or so. Fishing in and around the hump in 212 to 220 feet of water was the ticket. We love to jig coho while we hali fish and we tried but they were scarce. Typically this time of year the coho are thick offshore, but alas not on Saturday.
Sunday we fished hard for springs. We trolled a good 8 hours at Little Beale and managed some nice takes but only managed to boat one spring at about 15 lbs. Not exactly a derby threat. I did see some fish taken so there were some around. Not exactly what it should be for this time of year however. The coho situation almost seems dire. They are indeed hard to find. Hopefully they are still to make their way in. I, however, am long gone so I have missed them. If you are out and about Bamfield way over the next few weeks. Please, by all means, let us know if the coho show up. I am so very much hoping they do!
The lodge is still up and running for another week and a bit and then we will shut her down for the winter. For me? I am now looking forward to donning my waders and having some fun fly casting for coho, chum and the occasional spring in various Lower Mainland Rivers.
I am also already thinking about next year. And so can you.  Email Aussie John for charters, accommodations and moorage at requests@harboursidelodge.com 
Many of our guests have already re-booked so don’t wait. Get your spot booked soon.
In the meantime and in between time, stay safe, stay calm, be kind, and go catch a fish.
Thanks everyone for an amazing Harbourside 2020!
Coach

Fishing Report Aug 31, 2020

Hi All

Gosh it seems that the the summer has just flown by. I arrived for good on the 24th of June and it’s the 31st of August and things will be all wrapped up within the next two weeks. The good news is that there will be some fabulous fishing to be had as we close the 2020 season.
For those of you that have followed my blog over the last few years, you might recall a tale told of a group that comes annually towards the end of August. DJ, Brian, Bill and Steven (and Roxy, can’t forget about her…). All great guys! A total blast to fish with and enjoy a great meal with a glass of vino or two. But Steven is special. And that’s not taking anything away from DJ, Bill or Brian. Steven is blind and Roxy is his guide dog. She is amazing. Both of them spent 10 hours a day out on the boat with us. We would share with Steven what was happening on the water, what wildlife was passing by and such. Each morning Steve would be down at the dock waiting for me and wanting to know what he could do to help out. Roxy was on duty until Steve let her off leash in the boat and then… she was just a dog. So eager to see the fish when we had one on the line. Roxy got very involved when a fish came on board. Sniffing, licking, and attempting a retrieve of a flapping spring salmon. It was all so perfect in a way. Kind of ordinary really. And that is why Steven is so special – 10 minutes after you meet him he is just that, an ordinary guy. You completely forget he’s completely blind. It’s not an excuse for him, it’s not a handicap, it just doesn’t get in the way of him living. And that my friends is very cool. That’s what makes Steven (and Roxy ) special. Kudos to DJ, Brian and Bill too. They also treat Steve just like he’s just one of them. Good friends all spending great times on the water. I am thankful just to be a part…
Ok now to fishing…
We are now in the peak of the Barkley Sound run of spring salmon and we are hoping that the bulk of our coho are not far behind. Fishing has been steady and productive for those willing to put in the time and fish through the tides. There have certainly been some spots that are producing better numbers than others but all the usual places that typically hold fish will eventually produce. Some, however, seem better than others.
The Lodge just finished up with the Pace Processing group. Many thanks to Sean Darrah and family for all the great food and great times Pace brings to the lodge each year.
We had 6 boats out each day. We all went out and about in the Sound searching for hungry springs. Keeping in contact with each boat gave us the opportunity to hone in on productive spots. Over the course of the four days between Friday August 28 through to Monday the 31st, Little Beale turned out to be the hot spot. I fished there with Jason Darrah and his wife Michelle. We fished black uv flashers with anchovies in bloody nose chrome teaser heads six and a half feet back at 30′ to 34′ on the down riggers. This set up definitely was the most productive for us. We were 2 for 6 on our first afternoon out, 3 for 8 on Saturday and three for 8 again on Sunday to punch their possession tags. Unfortunately we did not touch a coho. One of our Guides, Joe was out fishing over in the Broken Group at Harbour Entrance and he managed to boat 3 or more coho each trip he was over there. He found the coho somewhat deeper than the springs at 45 to 55 ‘. Kirby and Swale have been unusually quiet for this time of year. They could both turn on in the course of one tide however so they shouldn’t be overlooked. The Wall all the way down to Danvers has also been quite productive. This is a great alternative in nasty weather or for those with smaller boats. You gotta love Bamfield, it may be the only place on the west side of the Island where Grandpa can putz around in his 14 foot car topper and his 9.9 hp engine and stand as good a chance to catch a Tyee as anyone of us in our Gradys!
As we wind up the summer and move into the Labour Day weekend the Port Alberni Salmon Festival looms. It won’t be quite the same with covid protocols. The weigh in area and sights and sounds of the Derby site will be much more subdued. The derby, however, will go on. Get your tickets at Gone Fishin and Breakers in Port Alberni. That said, I’ve decided it’s my turn so I’m gonna win the whole thing this weekend. Just sayin….
We only have a couple more weeks of the season at Harbourside. Here’s hoping the runs stays strong through the middle of September. Contact Aussie John at requests@harboursidelodge.com for bookings re: accommodations, moorage and charters.
Until then…Be kind, be safe, be calm and go catch a fish!
Coach…

Fishing Report August 24, 2020

Hi All,

Well a week can sure change things up! Sometimes the emotional roller coaster of the fishing season reminds me of my teenage years at a school dance. You want to ask her to dance so badly but will she say yes or shoot you down in flames…A week ago I was as frustrated as ever. It was hard work scratching up a fish. This week? They are here and in force!
We had a massive rain storm last Thursday and Friday. Perhaps that was the catalyst, the proverbial calling card that brought them in. Regardless, come Friday morning and afternoon things started to light up.
We started at the wall as the winds were howling in the morning and anywhere else would have been awful tough to hold a tack. We were into 4 decent fish within the first couple of hours but couldn’t seal the deal. The weather started to break and in the early afternoon we braved the rolling twisting seas at Little Beale. Trolling bloody nose chrome and bloody nose glow teaser heads behind black and lime green uv flashers at 36 and 33 feet respectively the bite was on. We were into 7 springs at the afternoon tide change and 6 gorgeous wild coho. Keeping 4 springs and two coho for my guests rounded out the afternoon. There were a small number of boats braving the seas with us and they all hooked up as well.
We fished the next morning at Little Beale with the same success. We had to call it early as my guests were due to leave at noon. I had the afternoon off and of course I went fishing. My partner Makiko was able to spend the last 10 days with me and we don’t often get the chance to get out on the boat together. She loves jigging with MacDeeps and was excited about a ling cod trip down to Seabird Island. How could I refuse.
It was sunny skies and sparkling seas as we rounded Cape Beale. Still a bit of a roll from the last remnants of the previous storm but manageable. We were fortunate enough to boat two lovely lings while we played with the sea lions and all the other wildlife at Seabird. This is such a special place. So much life.
On the way back we were treated to an amazing orca show. Breaches, tail slaps, spy hops. It was stunning. To be able to share that with my girl was the highlight of my summer so far.
So…yes the fishing is still good two days later. The Wall all the way down to Danvers has been very good. Little Beale and Whittlestone have been outstanding. Bait is still the go to but I know skinny gs and glow white hootchies have been producing as well.
Swale will be a good bet this week especially if it blows northwest. Keep your gear between 28 and 40 feet and troll at 2.5 to 2.8 mph. Great to see coho numbers improving as well!
Hali fishing is still good providing the seas are calm enough to get out. Salmon bellies and extra large herring are your best bets. Anywhere on the bank all the way out to the Rat’s Nose has been productive. Humps that come up on the Bank to 200 feet are money. Anchoring is still the best way to go but folks are hooking up drifting as well.
August is flying by. It’s time to get out here and experience this amazing resource.
Go spend some time on the boat with someone you love. Nothing better…
Until then,
Coach….

Fishing Report Aug 18, 2020

Hi All
Well this is it! During the winter we dream of mid August arriving in Barkley Sound. And now… it’s here. Light winds, calm seas, large hungry beastmode chinook and hordes of acrobatic coho. Ahh… we are indeed living the dream. Except… Someone forgot to let the fish know that it’s now mid August and indeed they should be here in force.
It has been a tough go indeed folks. There are fish around but you have to scratch and dig to bust your butt for a couple of hits and maybe a fish or two in an 8 hour troll. Doom? gloom? a biological marine disaster? Ok maybe not just yet but I am wondering what’s happening. I know many very experienced fisherman and guides that are blanking on trips out and around the sound the past 4 or 5 days or so. Now it is migrational fishing and I get that they don’t all arrive at once and there will be dribs and drabs as waves go through but… this is prime time. It has to turn on. The thing is that it always does. Maybe it’s going to happen later this year and continue well into the fall. I just don’t know, but I do know that I’ll still get up for the expected early morning bite. I’ll fish the tides all the way through and I’ll keep staring intently at both my g loomis rods and waiting for that glorious tug that fuels my passion for this wonderful sport.
So if you are here or on your way here soon what should you expect, where should you fish and what gear should you use?
My most consistent days have been spent at Swale Rock. I have been rolling 5 1/4  sized anchovies. For me, (and it’s been a clear leader of the pack), a chrome bloody nose teaser head fished 6 and a half feet behind a black UV flasher at 39 feet. The last 4 days I haven’t hooked up on any other rig. Others have I know, but for me it’s been crazy how much more effective this chrome rig has been. Glow white bloody nose, glow green and herring aid should all be effective right now. Bait though, for sure, is definitely the way to go at this juncture of the season.
I have had the odd good bite at Kirby but nothing consistent. Little Beale and Whittlesone were solid a week or so ago but it’s suddenly like someone turned off the tap.
Offshore salmon fishing is still productive. Lots of coho all over the banks. Springs are a bit tougher to get at with all the coho but fishing plugs at 3 mph down deep, 150 feet on your downrigger will give you a chance at some larger fish.
Halibut fishing is still fantastic! It’s been an amazing hali season. Take advantage of it while you can. Troll them up off the banks or anchor near a hump that comes up to 200 feet or so. Extra large herring and salmon bellies on spreader bars are still the most effective way to tag into some B.C. white gold.
Just wanted to send a quick shout out to Steady Eddy and the Boys. Thanks for all the intel on the VHF.  Love your new boat but I am not sure Steady Eddy is going to stick. Your old handle Gong Show is still somewhat more representative.
As for all of our Harbourside regulars, we thank you so much for being patient with us as we struggle through this covid-19 summer. It has been difficult for all of us but somehow we have managed to make it work so far.
For all of your accommodation, moorage and chartering needs please email Aussie John at requests@harboursidelodge.com
In the meantime I am going to keep my gear wet and keep believing that those g loomis rods are going to violently pop off the downrigger. And then folks it’s going to be on!
Coach…

Fisheries Notice FN0818 – August 14,2020

Halibut – Changes to Daily Limit – Effective Aug 14, 2020

Limits and sizes:

Effective 00:01 hours August 14, 2020 until further notice:

- The maximum length for halibut is 126 cm (97 cm head-off).
- The daily and possession limit for halibut is either of:
---- one (1) halibut measuring 90 cm to 126 cm in length (69 cm to 97 cm head-off), OR
---- two (2) halibut, each measuring under 90 cm in length (69 cm head-off).

- The annual limit is six (6) halibut per licence holder per licence year, as set out on the 2020/21 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence.

- All halibut retained by the licence holder between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 shall be immediately recorded in ink on the 2020/2021 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence. The area from which each halibut is caught and its head-on length shall immediately be recorded on the licence.

- Head-off measurements are made from the base of the pectoral fin at its most forward point to the extreme end of the middle of the tail.

The exceptions to these openings are:

Areas 121:
No person shall fish for or retain halibut, rockfish and lingcod in Area 121 outside the 12 nautical mile limit seaward of a line that begins at 48 degrees 34.000 minutes and 125 degrees 17.386 minutes W and continues south easterly at a bearing of 116 degrees True to a point at 48 degrees 28.327 minutes and 125 degrees 01.687 minutes W.

Area 121:
Closed to all finfish, year round in the waters of Swiftsure Bank, inside a line from 48 degrees 34.00 minutes N and 125 degrees 06.00 minutes W, thence to 48 degrees 34.00 minutes N and 124 degrees 54.20 minutes W, thence to 48 degrees 29.62 minutes N and 124 degrees 43.40 minutes W, thence following the International Boundary between Canada and the U.S. to 48 degrees 29.55 minutes N and 124 degrees 56.20 minutes W, thence in a straight line to the point of commencement.

Fishing Report Aug 10, 2020

Hi All

Fishing has definitely taken a turn for the better here in Barkley Sound. It seems our local fish have arrived and it appears that August should turn out to be just what we expect August to be.
I just finished up with the Ludemann group. Jeff and son Patrick along with family friend Graeme. Three great guys to spend time on the water with. It was so much fun laughing together sharing the Bamfield experience with them.
Day one we fished the early morning bite at Kirby. We trolled anchovies in chrome and glow white bloody nose teaser heads six and a half feet behind lime green glow and and black glow flashers. We kept a tight tack to the rocks at Kirby running the gear at 33′ and 35′. We went two for six at Kirby between 6:00 am and 10ish. We came in for a quick dry off from the rain, grabbed a hot coffee and headed back out to Little Beale. Once again we kept our troll tight to the rocks and the gear shallow at 33 and 36′. The afternoon bite was good to us and we put 4 beauties in the box. The strikes were violent and ripped off the downrigger clips. It was a fun afternoon.
Day two was supposed to be an offshore day for halibut and coho but the winds and waves were a bit much for everyone’s comfort level and we decided to stay inshore and salmon fish again. We started the day at Little Beale and things continued as we left them the day before. We put three in the box before 10 am. It wasn’t fire cracker hot by any means but it was steady and each fish was over 20lbs. We used the same set ups as the day before. It seemed that the chrome bloody nose out fished the glow white in the morning while the glow white took afternoon honours.
We headed to Swale in the afternoon. I also like to keep my troll tight to the rocks at Swale. I tend to fish a little bit deeper at Swale but still kept the gear fairly shallow at 36 and 39′. We picked up three more gorgeous springs which punched the boy’s dance cards and limited them out for springs.
Offshore was just not in the cards as the waves were averaging well over two meters at La Perouse Bank. We decided to go on a ling cod hunt instead. We braved the waves around Cape Beale and headed south to Sea Bird Rocks. We fished the back side of Sea Bird (south side of the rocks towards Renfrew). The water here is 25 to 40′ deep. We fished MacDeep jigs and the boys had a blast playing black rock fish one after another. And as expected we hooked into the odd ling and put two beautiful lings in the boat before it was time to head back to the lodge as the boys had an afternoon ferry to catch.
As for advice for those of you coming out Bamfield way? It’s time to roll bait. Yes glow white hootchies and various spoons (skinny gs for sure) will work but by the far the most productive rigs would be anchovies in various teaser heads on a minimum 6′ leader. I run mine as long as 7 ‘. Glow white bloody nose, chrome bloody nose, glow green, purple haze and herring aid teaser heads are your best bets. I tend to fish shallow this time of year. Usually in the mid thirties. I know some folks fish deeper and have success (especially at Swale Rock). I just feel more comfortable under 40′.
All the local spots seem to be fishing reasonably well. From Beale to Whittlestone maybe the most productive at the moment but Kirby down to Flemming has also had moments and will just continue to get better as we roll deeper into August. I haven’t head a lot from the Wall just yet but I know that’s going to turn on very soon as well.
My biggest concern is the lack of coho in the sound. I haven’t touched one for over three weeks. I heard of the odd one being caught the past couple of days but it should be a stronger run happening now. Remember the regs have changed here in the Sound. One wild and one hatchery is the new deal inside the surf line in area 23.
Offshore has slowed a bit. The masses of coho have thinned out some (hopefully some our on the way into the Sound!) but there are still springs and coho to be had on flat days. Hali fishing has not let up. It’s been a wonderful summer for flatty fishing. Choose a good weather day. Go out to the any of the humps that come out on the Bank. Fish salmon bellies, extra large herring and or paddle tail jigs. I have had great success with jigs as of late. They have outfished bait for me. It is also a lot of fun feeling the hali hit your jig while the rod is in your hands!
Lastly a reminder that Harbourside Lodge is running in a limited capacity this summer as we continue the covid 19 fight. Aussie John is handling all bookings for moorage, accommodation and charters. Email him at requests@harboursidelodge.com
He will get back to you as soon as possible.
In the meantime I will be out on the water doing what I love best. Hope some of our paths cross as we pull into prime time for Barkley Sound.
Till then…
Coach (aka Jonathan)

Fishing Report Aug 5, 2020

Hi All

It’s been a while since my last update. No I didn’t quit fishing (even though at times I felt I should…), nor did I up and move to another lodge and area. I did, however, take a few days off and made my way to Tofino for a bit of a break. And yes… fishing was equally tough further north. However people, enough doom and gloom. It seems we have turned the corner and fishing has definitely picked up.
The last four or five days we have started to see our Somass fish start to show and folks some of them are very big! I fully expect the fishing to be as we expect in early August or even better.
I just finished up with the Morgan group. On day one we fished Kirby on the early morning bite. Ten minutes in we had a violent take and Brendan jumped on the rod. The big spring took an anchovy in a bloody nose teaser head behind a glow green flasher at 33 feet on the rigger. The first run was a beauty and I was concerned I needed to chase it. It stopped and thrashed some on the surface and it was then I saw the tail and knew we were into a good fish. Ten minutes later we netted what turned out to be my first Tyee of the season at 32 lbs. Super fish to start the trip!
We hooked into another decent fish an hour later. Brendan’s wife Andrea was on the rod and did a great job getting the fish to the boat. Unfortunately the Captain blew it! I didn’t lift the down rigger high enough out of the water and sure enough the fish wrapped around the ball and broke us off. Operator error! I should know better. It did, however, spur me on with even more energy to get Andrea a big spring!
We moved on to Swale for the afternoon bite and hooked into another beauty. Alas we lost that one too and it began to start a disturbing trend.
The next day we headed to Seabird Island to see if we could scare up some ling cod. We managed to boat one but everyone had a blast playing black rockfish. They are eager to bite and provide a good tug. Just the therapy for a group wanting to have some light line fun.
After playing at Seabird we headed back into the Sound for the high tide change bite. We stopped into Little Beale and set the gear with anchovies at 33 and 35 feet.
Over the course of the next two and a half hours we had 9 fish on and 7 to the back of the boat. We only boated two which albeit was somewhat frustrating but this was just the way it was. The fish were large, aggressive and not willing to come to the boat. It was, however, so good to see a real bite on with quality fish.
The last few days we have seen fish taken at Beale, Swale, Austin and Cree. It seems to be that running bait is now the ticket. I am a shallow guy, as in how I like to fish. I keep my gear basically between 30 and 40 feet. I know others go deeper, 50 – 65 on the riggers. I just like to go shallower and it seems to work for me.
White bloody nose teaser heads and chrome bloody nose teaser heads have been working the best for us. Keep your leaders on the long side, 6 to 7 feet minimum.
Offshore has been very productive. Hali fishing has been nothing short of spectacular and the coho offshore have been ridiculous. It’s almost impossible to touch a spring while fishing offshore as ravenous coho attack your gear before you can get it down to fish. When this happens people don’t fight it. Go with it. Get out your buzz bombs, MacDeeps or whatever jig you like. Drift. I typically get my guests to go anywhere from 5 to 20 pulls. That’s all you need. You will love it. So much fun. Yesterday while hali fishing we caught and released dozens of gorgeous coho including limiting out on our hatchery fish. I got my flyrod out and landed half a dozen. Just had a blast!
As for hali fishing? Salmon bellies and herring on spreader bars have been effective. I have also had great luck using an Amundsen 14oz paddle tail jig in glow green. It’s been crazy effective for halibut.
Our bubble slots are full this weekend. That means we have crews bubbled in both suites, our upstairs rooms, and the bunkhouse. The docks are also full with self contained boaters. It should be a busy yet productive weekend. We may have room for late bookers going forward. Email Aussie John at requests@harboursidelodge.com. Johno will get back to asap.
In the meantime and in between time, keep your bait salted, your lines shallow and your passion for this amazing place flourishing…
Coach… (aka Jonathan)

Fishing Report July 24, 2020

Hi All

Do you ever wish it was 5pm and going home time, or it’s Friday and the weekend, or your summer holidays? Keep doing that on a regular basis and you wind up wishing your life away. I am kind of doing that now I think. I am wishing for July to pass and with the onset of August our local fish will finally show.  And you know I shouldn’t! The fish will arrive soon enough. I get it it’s been a hard slog trying to find some willing springs to play with but in the meantime you just gotta enjoy everything else around you.
For instance, I’ve had days this summer with very few fish in the box but… we had marvelous whale encounters, we’ve seen whole families of sea otters taking up residence in the sound, huge pods of Doll’s porpoises racing across the surface slashing at bait. And the least of it? Bamfield and Barkley Sound in the bright sunshine looking every bit the precious jewels that they are. Yup fishing has been tough but taking stock of this place and the wonderful people I get to share it with is a blessing all unto itself. I am a lucky man and July can just keep dragging on. August will come and so will our fish.
In the meantime, how does one make the best of it until then? Well the good news is we have seen signs of things picking up in the last day or two. My go to spots at this time would be Beale and Cree. Skinny gs on Irish Cream and Bon Chovy have been my best bets but anchovies are starting to be productive as well. Fish are generally in the 40 to 60 foot range although I like running some gear at 35 feet when I run through the reefs at Cree.
Coho seem to be soaring by us offshore and not cruising into the Sound to feed.
When hali fishing on the banks I am seeing plenty of coho. We use buzz bombs and MacDeeps while waiting for hali takes and just have a blast!
Frankly it is easy to see why the coho are staying off shore as the Sound is rather bereft of bait. That is the answer to our fish woes as far as I can see. There is very little bait showing. I’ve seen the most bait at Cree amidst the reefs on the south of Cree Island.
Halibut fishing has been very consistent. I’ve had some crazy good luck fishing Mudrakers while on the anchor. I was out with a crew yesterday and had salmon bellies and extra-large herring on spreader bars on the bottom. Of the four halis we put on board 3 we jigged up on the Mudraker. Give it a try, it might work for you too.
Harbourside is certainly different this year as we bubble our groups and socially distance from each other (I think the springs are socially distancing from us too!). We seem to be making it work though. All of our guests have been very cognizant of the times and are taking care to be safe as possible.
Please contact Aussie John for all moorage, accommodation and chartering enquiries, he’ll get back to you asap. Email:  “john@harboursidelodge.com”

So keep staying safe, be kind and stop wishing for August! We are going to enjoy the heck out of July first ( oh and maybe catch a fish or two in the meantime…)

Coach….