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.

Sept 8, 2017

Hi All
It’s amazing how it seems that we are so right in the middle of it all. Our mornings are still early, there are boats to fuel, bait and tackle to sell, we are on the water all day, fish to clean and package, suppers to make and dishes to clear, and then… it feels like in one fell swoop, it ends…
The lodge was full to the brim on the September long weekend. It was hustle and bustle with excited fisherfolks just as it has been all summer. I fished Monday morning till 11ish then back to the lodge, showered, packed my bag and off on a Pacific Seaplanes Beechcraft floatplane. By 1:30 pm Monday afternoon I was having lunch in Vancouver and just like that, my season ends… The lodge is still up and running this week and will be through next week but now it’s more catching up on paper work and getting things ready to close up. And just like that we start the process of dreaming of next year….
As for the few ardent fishers who will still be making the trek to Barkley Sound? We can still offer some last minute advice as to where to go and what to drag behind the boat.
The Derby weekend, in all honesty, I found difficult. I expected to deal with much more boat pressure than usual but that teamed up with some marginal fishing results made things a tough grind.
I fished with returning guest Carmen and his lovely wife Rene. They were at Harbourside with the Pace Processing Group. (Thanks so much to our friend Sean Darrah for organizing such a great crew and great food for all of us on the long weekend!) We fished hard Friday starting at Little Beale and Whittlestone and finishing at Edward King and Kirby. We ran a skinny g at 37 feet on one rigger and a chovey at 33 feet on the other. After 4 hours we returned to the lodge without a sniff. There were 5 other Harbourside boats out with the Pace Processing group Friday afternoon and some boats did well on running bait. Al, Joe, Tom, Sean and Duncan all came back to the dock with 2 or more nice fish. Coach? nope we were skunked…
The next day dawned with renewed hope. We trolled Kirby first light then tried the Wall all the way to Danvers. Again, not even a hit. We ran bait at 33 and 37 feet. Once we arrived near Danvers we ran a bit deeper at 39 and 45 feet. No results but very clean gear. Ahhh… Frustration indeed setting in. This is prime time after all!
We pulled up our gear and set off for Flemming. Running bait in a bloody nose teaser head and green uv flasher at 29 feet and then a purple haze teaser head and purple flasher we finally had some action. The bloody nose hit not 5 minutes after we dropped the gear but didn’t stick. Then my old fav purple took over. We managed two nice springs and a gorgeous coho to the boat expertly played by Rene and Carmen. Not a great day as far as full fish boxes were concerned but it felt like we made some progress and we all had a great time on the water.
Th next day was an offshore day for a hali hunt. Neither Carmen nor Rene had tagged into a hali before so we had high expectations. We hit our hali spot early, 14 miles off Cape Beale on a hump that comes up to 197 feet. The idea was to anchor up setting our gear in around 205 feet or so. We were teamed up with Tom’s boat Aqualady.
My first anchor drop was miscalculated and we did not drift into where I though the best hali fishing would be. I pulled up and tried again. Once again I was off on my expected drift. I was not comfortable with our spot. We pulled up one more time.
Now it was stick and stay and make it pay time. Tom’s boat, Aqualady were into 2 nice hali before we dropped a third time. Not long after we settled our first hali hit. Salmon bellies on spreader bars were once again what these flatties were after.
In the next four hours we had 11 large hali hit and peel line. Only one stuck. It was another frustrating afternoon to say the least. 100 meters to our west Aqualady boated four beauties including a 130cm 65lb fish. We came home with a lovely 37lb hali but were very disappointed at what could have been. Such is fishing….It ain’t catching after all..
So if you are making one last trip out to Bamfield I’d suggest the following. Little Beale, Whittlestone, Brady’s Beach and the Wall all the way down to Danvers will be fishable and produce. We were starting to see some beautiful northern coho show and there will still be the odd spring around. Choveys, glow white hootchies and and small spoons, (skinny gs will be killer in glow green and white) will give you a solid shot at hooking up. 25 to 40 feet on the riggers. Kirby and Flemming will also be productive. I love the tack in tight at Flemming with less than 40 feet of water under your boat.
So we are almost done. I do have one more trip and it’s a biggie. Officially I am done my personal business and I am now back at my real job. I am the Athletic Director at St. John’s School here in Vancouver. Hence my moniker as “Coach”. Every fall during the 2nd week of September I take 44 grade 10 students out to Bamfield and Harbourside Lodge for 4 days. It is an awesome experience. Showcasing 44 teenagers the amazing west coast of the Island and the treasures of Barley Sound is a real joy for me. We hike, we fish, we whale watch. The kids cook and clean and really get into life on the west coast. It’s my favourite trip of the season. Watching the kids eyes light up as they feel their first tug on the line, see a breaching humpback or 1500 lbs of steller sea lion lazing on the rocks likely does more for me than it does for them. Sharing this with our young people indeed goes along way to keeping you young too. Can’t wait…
Until then… as per usual, Aussie John and Franny are keeping the lodge, gas bar and tackle shop up and running. We will be selling bait and fuel all through next week. I’ll have a final run through of the last part of the season and some thoughts on the summer as a whole. In the mean time and in between time,
Tight lines and full boxes…

Aug 31, 2017

Hi All
I’ve just returned from the Big Smoke, Van City. Two and a half months at sea, so to speak, almost had me looking forward to being back home in Vancouver, however three nights in the heat and noise of the city had me yearning for the quiet and cool of Bamfield. So I have returned, eager and anxious to be back on the water for this last push.
It’s Derby time here in Barkley Sound. The Port Alberni Salmon Festival is the grand daddy of all the summer derbies. The beauty of this derby is anyone can win it. Grandpa with his 14 foot car topper and 9.9 outboard stands just as good a chance to net the winning fish as anyone else does in their 30 foot Grady and their twin 4 stroke 250s. Every bite and every hit could be the derby winner – for me, that makes the anticipation all the more intense. You just have to buy the rod fees and who knows? It could be you and why not, you deserve it. Except, I think this year I’m due. Yup, it’s my turn. Now last year the derby was pretty much over as the winning fish at over 50lbs was caught early on day one. I plan on being a bit more dramatic, perhaps charging up the ramp to the scales at 3:55 pm on Monday with a hog – or maybe not. A man can dream right?
Ok as I have said I have been away. I spent today, however, at the dock helping guests with fuel and tackle orders. The dock provides a wealth of info regrding what is happening on the water. So, this is what the word is.
There seems to be a fresh push of fish as of yesterday afternoon. Late in the afternoon Wednesday and into the evening the bite came on. Whittlestone, Kirby, Flemming, Aguilar Point and the Wall all gave up fish. Skinny G’s again were very productive in cop car, bon chovey and irish cream. Bait, as per usual, was also good but it did seem from what people were saying that spoons were more effective. Coho Killers in glow green and white, white lightning, watermelon and army truck were also hot. Things bode well for the derby indeed!
Off shore the hali fishing has definitely picked up. Last Saturday I was out and managed three beauties in 2 hours. A 75lber at 132cms along with a 45 and a 35. Guide Brett from Harbourside also had a great day boating twin 132cms! What’s the secret? Find the pinnacles that come up to 190′ or so. Fish in and around them in 205′ to 215′. Salmon bellies and spreader bars are the mosh productive way to go. We will be off on a hali hunt this weekend so we will keep you updated.
We are looking forward to all the crew from Pace Processing joining us for the long weekend. This is an annual trip and we thank Sean so much for booking every year with us! We are eager to start filling the boxes for you guys!
We are fully stocked with fuel, bait, salt ice, drink ice, tackle, and snacks. Why wouldn’t you want to stop in? Come chat about the fishing, the Blue Jays, the upcoming NFL season, or, if you are talking to Aussie John, the latest test scores from the cricket pitch down under. It’s all good and we would love to see you!
Stay tuned for a report early next week…
Coach (aka Jonathan), Tom, Aussie John, Joe Joe and Franny…

Aug 26, 2017

Hi All
Well it’s true, some days are diamonds and some days are stones and every nice in a while stones turn into a diamonds. Shall I explain?
I spent the last three days with DJ, Bryan, Norm and Steven. Great guys which made a great crew. I will admit that I struggled to get these guys into fish. We drew a blank the first afternoon and then a complete blank the following day. That’s a hard thing to deal with when boats around you are boxing fish and your box remains empty. I take it personally, I shouldn’t, but I do. I so badly want people to experience the rush of fighting such amazing fish as the spring salmon we have here in Barkley Sound. When you spend 12 hours on a boat in the Pacific with nothing in the box, one trends to desperation. My crew, however saw it differently. They had a blast. That said, it made me want to try all the harder the next day. So we did.
We ran our gear at 33′ and 31′ at Kirby. I ran anchovies on one side and a Bon Chovey skinny g on the other. First pass through we hit a nice spring. Bryan was excellent on the rod as he brought the fish towards the boat. Finally we looked like we would have one in the box. But, yup there was a but, the fish ploughed the water on the surface as a seal lined it up for a breakfast snack. 30 minutes later we managed our gear back but the fish was gone. Of course all around us boats are netting fish, taking advantage of the morning bite. We hurried to get our gear back in the water and over the course of the morning we boated 3 decent springs. Much better than the day before but a bit short of what we had hoped. The day was still young though and we were determined to find fish.
We headed over to Gibraltar and Swale, where the afternoon bite at the tide change had been good to me. No such luck on this day. We marked tons of bait and lots of salmon but could not encourage a take. Getting late in the day we made a move to Whittlestone and here we took one last fish for the day. This one, however was special. Was it a tyee? No. A spectacular fight? Not really. But it was the fish of the summer for me, as it was caught and landed by Steven, who is blind. Steve was aboard my boat with Roxy his guide dog. Steve fought this fish by feel and he was spectacular. I was amazed, proud and stunned all at the same time. I’ve had double diget spring salmon days, I’ve caught Tyees, 40s and even two in the 50s, but Steve’s fish was better than them all. Not because he overcame his disability but because he came despite his disability. In the three days we spent together I realized that Steve was just Steve, special because he really is, not because he’s blind. I’ll never have a better fishing day. Some days are diamonds, some days are stones, and sometimes stones turn into diamonds.
Thanks boys for a memorable trip.
Now, more about the fishing.
It’s good right now. Bait (though small bait is better), small spoons and glow white hootchies have been the best choices for spring salmon. 30′ to 40′ on your down riggers. All the usual spots are good. Just make sure you fish the early morning bite and through the tides. Whittlestone and Kirby have been solid, same with the Wall and just west of Aguilar Point. Coho still have not arrived in numbers, fingers are crossed they get here soon! There are a few around but not what it should be for this time of year.
Offshore is still spotty. Big Bank has been downright poor. Hali fishing has been ok but nothing like it was in July. Hopefully both will turn on one more time before the end of the season.
Please come see us at the lodge and store. Gas and diesel are at the docks along with bait and tackle in the shop. Aussie John will talk your ears off if you let him. It’s highly entertaining so go ahead, let him.
I’m back to Vancouver soon and back to my other life as Coach. School starts in a few days. I have two more groups and then I’m done for the season. Stay tuned for some reports as we close the year.
Till then, tight lines and full boxes…

Aug 21, 2017

It’s a Monday afternoon on August 21. I’ve been pretty much on the water now daily since June 16 with a few changeover days sprinkled in. I am waiting for my next crew, DJ, Brian and the boys to arrive at the Eastside dock. We were blanketed in August fog early this morning but by 10:30am it lifted and we could see a foggy version of the eclipse of the sun – it might be one of the prettiest days of the summer. I have 4 groups left this season. I’ll admit I am tired and a bit beat up but as I am writing this I can only wish the boys would get here sooner as I am itching to get out there and drop the gear. It’s days like this in Bamfield that we dream of come the grey, dreary days of the oncoming winter. Folks, if you love the water and love salmon fishing, then book off work, call in sick or heck just quit. Get here fast, the weather is stunning, the fishing is terrific and Barkley Sound is like a jewel in the sun. Oh we just wish this would last forever…
Ok let’s get you updated on the fishing. Fishing is great but you are going to still have to work hard to get it done. Don’t expect 20 lb springs to just throw themselves into the boat. The right gear, the right depth, the right place and time all factor in.
Let’s talk the right place. Beale, Little Beale, Whittlestone, Kirby, Flemming, Swale Rock and the Wall have all had their moments. I think that Beale and Little Beale are likely the more consistent. I’ve also been doing very well at Gibraltar just south of Swale Rock.
Get to a spot and fish it through the tide. Don’t leave until you are at least an hour past the slack. Someone told me the other day that the fishing sucked. I asked him where he was fishing and he replied, ” All over. I went to Beale, then to Swale, then to Kirby and Flemming and finally finished up at the Wall”. No wonder fishing sucked, you can’t catch fish at 40 kph when you are traveling all over the map. Go to a spot, fish it hard, then move once if need be. Fish that hard and call it a day. Keep to it and you will produce.
Now let’s talk gear and depth. Depth is easy. Keep you gear between 25 and 40. First light I might go 30′ to 35′. I’ve been having great success in the afternoons at 40′.
Bait, more specifically anchovies are everyone’s ” go to ” this time of year. I tend to agree. Yet this year I am still having more luck with smaller spoons then rolling ‘chovies. And yup, you have read all about it here in my blog this summer, skinny gs are still getting it done.
Now the best fisherman I know just happens to be our next door neighbour. Al and Duncan from Team Fish are very good on the water. Al could pull a spring salmon out if the ditch along Highway Number 1 if he wanted to. Al rolls bait and he rolls it well. Fine tuning your roll makes a difference. Al proves it day in and day out. I like to thing I’m pretty good on the water too. I am still catching fish but they seem to want my skinny g before they want my bait. Yesterday I rolled bait on one rigger and a Bon Chovey skinny g on the other. 8 springs came to the boat in six hours. Not one took my bait, all hit on the skinny g. As for my friend Al? He had 7 to the boat all before 9:30am.
So what do we take from all of this? Bait still works and works very well for those who know just the subtlest of differences to gain an edge. As for the rest of us? I’ll continue to roll bait on one side and and a skinny g on the other. Why not? It works for me. Small spoons and hootchies are all a good go too. Keep your gear moving through the water at 2.5 to 3 mph speed over ground.
Offshore hali has picked up. Still some great opportunities to get some nice flatties for the freezer. Any where the humps come up on the bank to our south west. As per usual, spreader bars, salmon bellies and or extra large herring will entice hali to some vicious takes. Drop by the store for more info re: hali fishing should you be interested.
We have about three weeks left for our season here at the lodge. We have one charter boat available should you want to plan a late season trip. Still some rooms upstairs as well. We are pumping out the fuel both gas and diesel. Lots of tackle and bait in the store. We would love to see you drop by for a coffee if you are in our neighbourhood.
Stay tuned for another update later this week.
Until then,
Tight lines and full boxes…
Coach (aka Jonathan), Aussie John, Franny, Tom, Joe Joe and Brett!

Aug 17, 2017

Ok things are getting seriously fun now folks. The fish have arrived with attitude! This is as prime time as it gets here for us. Mature springs are showing at all our usual haunts.
Let’s talk about how you can maximize your time on the water and enjoy this incredible resource.
Hot spots? Beale and Little Beale I think has been the most consistent, especially for the morning bite. Anchovies in a variety of teaser heads will work here. 30′ on the down rigger in anywhere from 40′ to 100′ of water. I’m still having luck running spoons. Skinny Gs have still been productive but I do think rolling anchovies is likely a better bet at this point in the season.
Early morning at Flemming has been very good but extremely crowded. Personally I’m staying away, it’s too much like combat fishing for me. Kirby has been good also but with much more room. At Kirby you can run your gear as deep as 45′ if you want, though I must admit I am a shallow guy this time of year. I like to keep it under 35′.
The Wall always produces and is certainly doing so now. It’s a great place for an afternoon or evening fish. Lots of room and lots of fish. Going up the sound towards Danvers or what some call Yankee Bay, just before Poet’s Nook, has also been very good. Here I do run my gear a bit deeper. 35′ to 45′ on the rigger seems to be a productive depth.
Whittlestone and Brady’s Beach have also seen their fair share of fish this past week.
Bait first but don’t rule out small spoons either, sometimes the fish prefer them.
As I alluded to earlier, Skinny Gs have still worked for me. The Bon Chovy Skinny G and the purple and nickel have been very good. I replace the hooks however as I find the packaged hooks weak and will bend easily on an energetic spring salmon. Coyote spoons in 3.5′ green glow have also been very effective. Green flasher and white hootchies are still a rig that will also produce.
We are just finishing up a week with Drew, Brunny, Dave and Deano. It’s been such a blast to have these guys out on the boat each year. Already looking forward to next year. We have also had the pleasure of Jaime, Jaz and Guy along with Chris and his partner Chelsey joining us at the lodge. Chelsey has come all the from China visiting Canada and of course Bamfield, for the very first time. What a great experience for her and what a joy for us take get to know her!
The Harbourside Lodge experience is a special one and each year we make new friends and share such special memories. We would love to share this magical place with you too. It’s easier than you think. Aussie John will take your calls for bookings, charters and accommodations. If you want to know the latest fishing news please call or email us. Don’t forget, if you are up with your boat to come by for fuel, bait and tackle or a coffee.
The fish are here, so where are you?
Till then,
Tight lines and full boxes…