Fishing in Sooke waters has taken its natural seasonal turn to include those shore fishers looking for salmon at the entrance to the Sooke River.
Many fly and gear fishers have been down at the Billings Spit area for the last couple of weeks hooking into mostly chums and coho, for some good smoking fish, or just for fun. A salt water licence, spinning rod and reel and some casting lures can be purchased locally quite reasonably. It’s a great way to introduce kids to fishing for salmon.
On the local trolling scene, coho are currently in and regulations now allow fishers to retain one wild and up to three hatchery coho salmon each day. Check the regulations before heading out.
Artificial lures – coho killers, spoons, hootchies and pink squirts are favorites for coho. Boats have been reporting hitting most coho with the gear at 60 to 90 feet on the downrigger in 500 feet of water off Secretary Island.
Overall coho fishing has been slower than normal in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to this point, although plenty seem to be showing up in Sooke River.
There have still been a few late spawning spring salmon showing up, but very few. Halibut fishing has been good, as many anglers looking for the thrill of larger fish have switched their attention to these tasty beasts.
Usually halibut are in deeper water this time of year, anchoring in 180 to 250 feet of water in our area consistently. Spots closer to the harbour mouth usually heat up as the halibut move in to feed on spawned salmon carcasses washing out of the harbour. Best baits include fresh herring, and salmon bellies or spines rigged on spreader bar systems with large sharp 8/0 to 10/0 hooks.
Crabbing in the harbour off the Rotary Public Pier continues to be consistant with catches of at least a couple of good hard males for an afternoons’ fishing effort.
On the derby circuit, the Sooke Coho Derby is Oct.10 at Jock’s Dock. Tickets are available at Trotac Marine, Wisebuys, Island Outfitters, Crab Shack, and Eagle-Eye Outfitters. Buffy’s Pub will be hosting a Liquor and Cheese Burger Coho Derby party tonight (Oct.7) from 7 to 9 p.m.
Ron Neitsch is the owner of 2 Reel Fishing Adevntures in Sooke.