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…