Recreational fishers have been enjoying good weather, water conditions and lots of action on salmon and halibut in Sooke waters between the harbour mouth and west to Sheringham Lighthouse.
Salmon fishing has been very consistent through the winter and continues through the spring fishing season, currently the winter salmon have been getting larger to the 10-pound range while larger migrating springs are moving into the area. Have been getting many reports of larger spring salmon being hooked into west of Otter and Sheringham Points.
Most trollers are running spoons and hootchies at this time of year to increase action on the lure, but some are reporting catching these larger fish on anchovy or herring.
We’ve been trolling the gear deep, 100 to 130-ft on the downriggers in 120 to 160-ft of water, but the migrating salmon should start showing up in the shallows very soon. Leader lengths have been shorter for more action during the winter months, but will now have to be lengthened for these bigger, stronger springs that will be very hard on the gear (breakage).
Remember to look at the regulations on the DFO website as they are not printing booklets this year.
There are length limits on springs in Sooke waters. Halibut has been the best, most consistent I have ever seen in this area, especially those halibut spots closer to the harbour mouth. Nobody wants to talk about hali spots, most fishers don’t answer halibut location questions. There are many good halibut spots west of the harbour mouth in anywhere from 70 to 250-ft of water, please don’t anchor, drift or troll close to boats already on anchor, it’s considered bad manners, can be dangerous and expensive! Herring, mackeral, octopus and squid are the most popular baits used on a spreader bar system utilizing a one or two pound weight, and a number of different leader/hook configurations, which can be bought pre-tied at your local tackle store.
Most anglers fishing for halibut in the Sooke area will choose to fish a slow ebbing tide, and through the tide change or “switch” for best results. The large flat fish tend to strike as the tide is slowing down and just as it starts to flow again after the tide change. As with most fishing, those who are patient and persistent will enjoy the thrill of a large rod pounding hali strike on the gear.
Crab fishing in Sooke Harbour has been a little slower for our boats but still very worth while to try different spots in the harbour. Fresh fish heads, tails and trimmings or chicken tend to work well, dropping the traps during an incoming (flooding) tide works well. Good fishing.
Ron Neitsch — 2 Reel Fishing Adventures