Travis

Salmon fishing slowing, halibut speeding up

Ron Neitsch writes about the fishing in the Sooke region

Salmon fishing in Sooke waters has slowed down as we transition from fall Coho to winter Spring salmon fishing. Those trolling the depths are catching less Coho, and more boats are fishing closer to shore with the gear closer to the bottom, searching for the first winter Springs.

These salmon will readily take bait (anchovies, herring) trolled in anchovy teaser heads tied on 4-5 ft leaders, hootchies tied on 3 ft leaders, and spoons like Coho killers tied like bait, trolled right on the bottom. The outer edge of the harbour mouth 120-140 ft of water and west to the Trailer Park are great spots to start looking for feeder Springs. The DFO regulations on Spring salmon remain at two per person/day. Halibut fishing is GOOD right now with recent catches of up to 38 lbs. Best locations for halibut are where you have had success in the past. If you are just starting out halibut fishing, you want to pick up a Neah Bay map of the Strait of Juan De Fuca available at your favourite tackle store. It has numbered red dots on it which show the popular halibut spots and the gps co-ordinates. Good baits for halibut include herring, mackerel and octopus. make sure your bait is fresh (not freezer burnt) and that you have lots, as there has been a lot of dog fish around. Be sure to pick a day with reasonable currents, lower winds, and plan to sit through a tide change, for best results. Halibut regulations remain at two per person/day, one of which must be 90cm or less with the head on.

Crab fishing in the harbour seems to be getting better, but is still slow for keeper Dungeness. Fresh bait and fishing the incoming tide is your best bet. Check the regulations on the DFO website before venturing out.

Good fishing, Ron Neitsch

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