April chinook salmon and halibut fishing in Sooke has been on fire.
Unsettled weather has slowed down some fishers, but those that don’t mind some wind and rain are being rewarded with good chances and catches.
Both salmon and halibut action have increased since the beginning of April, when we began to also see more bait (herring) on the bottom and in fishes mouths and stomachs as they are cleaned back at the dock.
The salmon have been schooling up to feed on herring just west of Otter Point on the ebbing (outgoing) tide, and at the Otter Point reef during the flood or incoming tide.
We have also been finding them at the Sooke harbour mouth and on the troll to the trailer park, down deep, 120 to 140 ft on the downriggers.
Favorite lures and baits include; anchovy or herring trolled in brightly colored glow teaser heads.
Many trollers are starting to move the gear a few feet further back from the release clip as we get closer to big spring salmon season, this will slow the presentation down slightly to attract the “big lunkers”.
Many of these current fish are larger 10 to 15 lb hatchery chinooks which have no maximum size restriction, meaning they are great for taking home for the table and freezer. Halibut fishing continues to be good, but has also been getting much better.
Spots closer to the Sooke Harbour mouth have recently been seeing more action. Herring is the standard go-to bait, but many fishers report landing halibut on octopus, mackerel, and salmon bellies. The Neah Bay Strait of Juan de Fuca fishing map is a great resource for those looking for halibut fishing spots in the Sooke area. The map also has GPS locations of well-known Halibut fishing spots printed on waterproof paper.
Strong wind and tide conditions in our area often make it difficult to fish for these delicious flat fish, those looking to seriously target halibut in Sooke should really consider investing in an anchoring system.
This season looks to have some great fishing derbies coming up soon, mark these on your fishing calender. Sidney Anglers Association Salmon Derby, May 1/2, $125 per rod and dinner. The Sooke Halibut Derby, May 23/24, $50 per rod or $150 as part of the Sooke Saltwater Series (3 Derbies). The 2015 Alpine Group Juan De Fuca Fishing Tournament June 20/21, $200 per rod.
Other up coming events include a Liquor and Cheese Burger night, sponsored by Buffy’s Pub and the Sooke Saltwater Series at 7 p.m. on April 15. There will be Series tickets and sponsor information, prize give aways and lots of fun.
Ron Neitsch, 2 Reel Fishing Adventures Sooke