Fishing Report for Week Ending November 20, 2011

Fishing Report for Week Ending November 20, 2011


OVERVIEW Salmon fishing is FAIR to GOOD for winter springs. Many of the winter springs are fairly small and undersized, but there are some into the high teens being caught too!

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Sooke Salmon fishing has been GOOD as the winter springs. The fish are deep, from 100 to 160 feet on the downrigger, in 130 to 180 feet of water. Many of the fish are not very big, but there are a few bigger ones into the high teens around. Much of the action is coming from off the Sooke Bluffs and towards the trailer park. Anchovies have been working best in Purple Haze and Bloody Nose teaser heads. Hootchies and squirts are good in Purple Haze, Cloverleaf and Glo Below. The best flasher has been the Silver Betsey and Silver Fever Hot Spot. Cop Car or Green/Silver Coyote spoons have also been good for springs.

Becher Bay – Salmon fishing has still been GOOD over the past week for winter springs running from 7 to 11 lbs in size. Early in the week there were lots of herring in the bay and the springs followed them in. The herring have since moved out but the salmon are still hanging around. The best fishing has been from the flagpole out to Lamb Island. The salmon are just off the bottom in around 140 feet of water. The majority of anglers fishing for springs are using bait, with anchovies being the most popular choice. The best teaser heads for bait were the Purple Haze and the Bloody Nose. The best flashers have been the Silver Betsey, Silver Fever Hot Spot and Purple Haze. Hootchies and squirts were good in Purple Haze, Cloverleaf and Glow/Green. Cop Car, Glow/Green or Green/Silver Coyote spoons have also been good for springs.

Pedder Bay – Salmon fishing was GOOD for winter springs up to 19 lbs. Some boats were bringing back limit catches after having released lots of small springs. Anglers were catching most of the springs near Church Rock and in Whirl Bay. Bloody Nose and Purple Haze teaser heads have been the most popular when using bait and the best flashers have been the Silver Betsey and Purple Haze. Hootchies and squirts were good in Purple Haze, Cloverleaf and Glow/Green for springs. Coho Killer spoons in Green/White and Green/Silver Coyote spoons have also worked very well for the springs.

Victoria Waterfront – Salmon fishing was GOOD this past week. The fishing at Constance Bank was spotty and most anglers did better by fishing from Albert head to Clover Point. There were quite a few 10+ lb springs caught and several in the teens. The best fishing was in 80 to 120 feet of water. Ben and Bill Wright reported catching a nice 12 pound spring at Clover Point on Saturday morning using a green glow flasher and a large Baitrix herring strip in a purple haze teaser head. Anchovies have been working best in Purple Haze and Bloody Nose teaser heads. Coho Killers, Green/Glow and Army Truck spoons are working well for winter springs. Hootchies and squirts are good in Electric Chair, Cloverleaf and Glow/Green. Good flashers have been the Green/Glow and Green/Silver Hot Spots. So far the seals haven’t been too bad, but we hear that they are increasing in numbers and becoming more of a problem than they were last month.

Oak Bay Salmon fishing has been GOOD on the Flats for winter springs up to 11 lbs. Anglers were catching fish while trolling close to the bottom in the Gap and on the Flats. The best bet is trolling right on bottom in 80 to 120 feet of water with squirts, Baitrix tiny strip, small anchovy or Coho Killer spoons. Good squirts are the Cloverleaf, J-79 and Electric Chair. With spoons, 3½” or 4” Gypsy, Titans, and Coyotes in Cop Car or Silver/Green colors and the Gold Star Coho Killer. Glow in the dark flashers would be the best choice for springs now.

Sidney – Salmon fishing was GOOD around Sidney. There are lots of just undersized springs in the Channel and a few bigger ones too! The channel from Sidney Spit to the Powder Wharf produced non stop action yesterday for Bob Haney. Most of the fish were around the minimum size length but a few were bigger.  Many anglers have been fishing for springs using anchovies in Bloody Nose, Purple Haze and UV Green teaser heads. Squirts have been out producing hootchies recently and the hot patterns for springs now are Purple Haze, Glow Below and Electric Chair. Mongoose Coyote spoons have also been working well.

Notable Catches – Please send photos and descriptions of your notable catch to our email


OVERVIEW – Fishing is FAIR on the local lakes for trout and SLOW for bass as the water temperature drops. The fall stocking of catchable rainbow trout into Island lakes is over.  

Cowichan River – The water level on the Cowichan River near the lake is just over 0.9 meters so there is lots of water in the river.  With all the salmon in the river now, it’s a good time to start fishing egg patterns for trout holding just below the salmon redds in the upper reaches of the Cowichan. You can also try fishing small nymphs, egg patterns and/or streamer patterns for the Rainbows and Browns. Nymphs are good flies to use all year round, especially Prince, Caddis, and Mayfly nymphs. Wooly Buggers work well for brown trout, as do Bunny Leeches and Zonkers. Remember that it’s barbless hooks only and there is a bait ban on the river.

The Cowichan River is open for the retention of ONE (1) Coho Salmon (over 25 cm) from Skutz Falls to the Highway No. 1 Bridge (Silver Bridge), in Duncan, from 00:01 hrs November 16, 2011 until 23:59 hrs December 31, 2011. Anglers are only allowed to have ONE (1) Coho per day on the Cowichan River (Jack or Adult). Retention of Chum Salmon remains CLOSED at this time.  Please check with the Duncan DFO Office (250)746-6221 for updates. Retention of all Chinook Salmon remains CLOSED. The use of single barbless hooks is mandatory in all streams within Region 1. All fish foul hooked (ie: hooked other than in the mouth) must be returned to the river immediately. The use of bait is prohibited in the entire Cowichan River as per page 2 of the 2011 – 2013 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis. Fishers are further reminded that it is illegal to fish in any manner within twenty-five yards downstream from the lower entrance too any fish-way, canal, obstacle, or leap.

Local LakesTrout fishing is FAIR on most lakes in the South Island area. As the water temperature drops the fish are not as active causing the action to slow down. That said, this is a great month for catch and release of BIG cutthroat trout at Lake Cowichan..

Many anglers are catching trout on both Powerbait, Gulp! eggs, or worms. Fly anglers are mostly using Wooly Buggers or leech patterns. Trollers have been doing OK with a variety of lures. The Rhys Davis Baitrix Trout lures and UV Mini Strip Teasers work well for larger fish. Other good trolling lures are the Apex Trout Killers with the police car one of the best and the black with silver glitter spots taking second place. Flatfish and/or Kwikfish have also been effective in sizes 5 to 7 in Frog, Yellow with Red Spots or Blue/Silver. Smaller Rapalas in Rainbow Trout or Brown Trout patterns also work well. Lastly, Willow Leaf Lake trolls with a worm-tipped GIBBS Wedding Band will almost always catch some fish. The biggest trout continue to be caught at Elk Lake with Langford Lake being your next best bet to hook into a real “lunker”.  By the way, all wild rainbows and cutthroats over 50 cm must be released in Cowichan Lake.

Bass Fishing - Bass fishing has SLOWED DOWN. Slower presentations such as soft plastics work as the water cools. As winter approaches, look for the fish to move into deeper water and suspend. They might become less active and take a little more “coaxing” to bite.  Langford Lake, Shawnigan Lake, Prospect Lake and Elk and Beaver Lakes are the best local bass lakes. St. Mary’s Lake on Salt Spring Island is also a great lake for bass fishing.

Notable Catches – Please send photos and descriptions of your notable catch to our email





When the salmon enter the river to spawn, opportunistic trout will migrate to the spawning beds to eat and fatten up for the winter on salmon eggs. You can get some great trout action by searching for large schools of salmon on their redds, and then fishing a salmon egg fly or lure just downstream of the spawning pairs.


Island Outfitters Leader Board – 2011


1)    231.4 lbs – Terry Zarelli – Race Rocks area – Octopus- March 25th

2)    194.4 lbs – Al Crow – Sooke – Salmon Head – May 14th

3)    127.5 lbs – Reg Day – Sidney – June 26th

4)    124.6 lbs – Todd Steen – Sidney – May 27th

5) 101.9 lbs – Reg Day – Sidney – June 27th 



     1) 47.1 lbs – Ian Robinson – Port Renfrew – Anchovy – July 29th  

     2) 40.0 lbs – Dave Stubbs – Constance Bank – Hootchy – August 20th

     3) 36.4 lbs – Brandon Salter – Waterfront – Anchovy – August 7th

     4) 33.0 lbs – Bill Campbell – Trap Shack – Anchovy – July 5tth

     5) 32.8 lbs – Joe Zammit – Trap shack – Anchovy – July 16th


Island Outfitters starts and ends the year with the free for fun and prizes Salmon and Halibut Leader Board. Simply weigh your catch in at Island Outfitters and the top five fish in each category on December 31st wins a special prize. Everybody who enters a fish gets a prize! Maybe it will be you bringing in the big one!  Please let us know as early as possible about your up coming events in 2011!

See our event pages for upcoming events!