By Ron Neitsch
Fishing for salmon and crab in Sooke is good, although the average fish are small so far this year.
This can, and usually does, change very quickly as the winter season progresses.
Every winter salmon trip I have been on this year has had keeper chinooks landed, except of course the Sooke Boxing Day Derby, where our team tanked. More about that later.
There are mixed reports about larger springs being taken at Beecher and Whirl Bay off East Sooke, and lately there have been a couple salmon in the 10 to 12 pound range taken at the Sooke harbour mouth.
Jamie from Sooke Marine Center reported landing a larger 11-pound spring in the harbour mouth in some shallower water sometime around Jan.10. Yes, there are some bigger fish being caught.
With the smaller chinooks around, good idea to use artificial lures with single hooks attached for easy, clean releases. Please don’t net fish you are going to release, simply turn the hook in the fishes mouth and let it slip free. Most times this can be done without handling the fish.
You can also give the salmon a little loose line at the side of the boat and sometimes they will get away themselves. Netting can cause substantial scale loss and other damage that the fish may not survive.
Best winter salmon lures include: Coho Killers in the White Lightning series, glow hootchy or squirt,or try some small chrome Coyote spoons, bait will work well, although try using a single J hook rather than trebles until the big fish arrive.
Best results trolling your lures two to three feet behind the flasher, 10 feet behind the downrigger ball near the bottom in 100 to 150 feet of water.
Halibut season remains closed, and is scheduled to open Feb. 1.
Crabbing in the harbour continues to be spotty, although worthwhile considering the price of crab. Crabbing usually picks up considerably in early spring time. Keep loading traps with fresh bait on incoming tides and your traps will be full of large male keepers in no time.
Ron Neitsch is the owner of 2 Reel Fishing Adventures, based in Sooke.