Salmon and halibut fishsing regs changes

A report on how the fish are biting in the Sooke area

Salmon fishing in Sooke waters has been good overall. Numbers of spring and sockeye salmon have been a disappointment mostly because of the grand predictions from earlier in the season.

The east or inside passage of the Island fishing reports are excellent. Recreational catch numbers are down in our area, but that’s fishing. Great catches of spring, sockeye, and hatchery coho are still coming into the docks in Sooke, and will continue for the next couple of weeks.

Wild Coho salmon opened to one wild salmon, one hatchery salmon per person/day. A great opportunity to catch some more fish.

Halibut regulations were revised Sept.1. Halibut will open to two halibut per person/day, one of which must be under 90 cm. Both must be under 130 cm. Please check the DFO regulations on their website or at your local tackle provider before heading out fishing.

Many fishers are reporting catching spring (Chinook) salmon deeper than normal, especially after that most important “first pass” in the early morning. Trolling in 130/140 ft. of water with the gear at 100 to 130 ft. or deeper is not unusual this season, and it is producing fish on our boats.

The usual baits are working well, most trollers tend to use anchovy or herring in brightly colored baitheads at this time of year. Although many hootchies and spoons are used with success, including glow hootchies and silver Coyote spoons. Serious spring or Chinook salmon fishing requires patience and time, working the same area in different depths over a whole morning or even day to produce some good fish. Some fishers have been venturing out to the tide lines in the depths toward the middle of the strait in search of Coho and or sockeye action, and many are finding it. Pink squirts or small spoons tied with short leaders trolled quickly seem to be the favorite to attract these tasty fish. I have been finding these fish by trolling south west in a flooding tide or south east in an ebbing tide, off the Sooke Bluffs, Otter Point, or Sheringham Point. When you find them try turning back through them in the opposite direction to stay with the fish, or troll into the tide and enjoy the action.

Not many halibut reports to mention. Soon it will be time to target halibut again as the dog fish or small sharks will be backing off. Now halibut will be starting to move off shore, so we will be looking for them in 120 to 190 ft. of water. Salmon bellies, herring, squid and octopus are excellent halibut baits.

Crabbing in the harbour has been very hit and miss. Good fishing,

Ron Neitsch

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