Fishing Report for Week Ending December 11, 2011

Fishing Report for Week Ending December 11, 2011


OVERVIEW Salmon fishing is SPOTTY to GOOD for winter springs when the weather allows you to get out on the water. That said, not many anglers were out in the water in many areas so this report has some carry over of information from last week.

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Sooke Salmon fishing has been FAIR TO GOOD for winter springs up to 13 lbs. There are quite a lot of smaller size salmon around to provide action, but if you want some bigger keepers, you’ll have to release a bunch of the smaller ones first. The fish are deep, from 120 to 130 feet on the downrigger, in 100 to 180 feet of water. Much of the action is coming from off the Sooke Bluffs and towards the trailer park. Anchovies have been working best in Bloddy Nose and Army Truck 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 been FAIR TO GOOD over the past week for winter springs running from 10 to 14 lbs in size. On Saturday there were about two good springs per boat and on Sunday about one per boat. The best fishing has come from the flagpole near Cheanuh Marina out to Lamb Island. On the east side of the bay towards the Bedford Islands, anglers have been catching slightly smaller salmon than those deeper into the bay. The salmon are being caught around between 60 and 90 feet on the downrigger in 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 Green/Silver. Hootchies and squirts were good in White/Silver, Glo Below and Cloverleaf. Cop Car, Glow/Green or Green/Silver spoons have also been good for springs.

Pedder Bay – Salmon fishing had been FAIR to GOOD for winter springs up to 15 lbs but not too many anglers were out fishing. It was best early in the week and by the weekend almost all the fish were small, with most boats releasing all that they caught. The best fishing had been on the William Head side of the bay and in Parry Bay. Some boats reported releasing lots of small springs. Anglers were also catching some 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 Glo Below, Cloverleaf and Purple Haze. Coho Killer spoons in Green/White and Green/Silver Coyote spoons have also worked very well for the springs.

Victoria Waterfront – Salmon fishing was FAIR to GOOD this past week. The Frostbite Derby was held on Saturday and Mark Steer won the derby with a 13½ lb spring. There were 105 people fishing in the derby and 33 fish were recorded. As often happens, the biggest fish of the week was caught the day before the derby, by Mark Webber who landed an 18 ½ lb spring by the Breakwater.

On Sunday, Alec Green and Ed Beatty fished Constance Bank in 20 knot winds and surf-like conditions. They kept four out of six (4,4,7 and 14 lbs.) in one hour and thirty minutes of action trying to control the boat, stay on board, and land the fish. They report that the winter Chinook are still located on the southeast side, at 130-150 ft. and are chasing needlefish. Anchovy and purple haze squirts and hootchies were what they used to catch their fish.

Anchovies have been working best in Mint Pearl 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 Glo Below. Good flashers have been the Green/Glow and Green/Silver Hot Spots. Seals are becoming a bigger problem each day along the waterfront and anglers were heading out to the bank on the weekend to avoid them.

Oak Bay Salmon fishing had been FAIR on the Flats for winter springs up to 9 lbs. There have been lots of small salmon here so you had to keep at it to get a larger fish.  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 were lots of just undersized springs in the Sidney Channel and a few bigger ones up to 9½ lbs. The channel from the Powder Wharf south to near Darcy Island had been the most productive area. There are lots of fish around the minimum size length but a few bigger ones too. Anglers are getting lots of action and frequent double headers. 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 the J-79, Glow Below and Electric Chair. Mongoose Coyote spoons have also been working well.

Notable Catches – Mark Steer won the Frostbite Derby with a 13½ lb spring caught near Clover Point. Mark Webber landed an 18½ lb spring by the Victoria Breakwater. On Sunday, Alec Green and Ed Beatty fished Constance Bank in 20 knot winds and surf-like conditions. They kept four out of six (4,4,7 and 14 lbs.) in one hour and thirty minutes of action trying to control the boat, stay on board, and land the fish.

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 is just over 2 meters both near the lake and near Duncan and dropping. The words “blown out” come to mind.  There’s been big chum and coho runs so there are lots of fish in the water. 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. On the lower reaches of the river, look for fresh steelhead just coming into the system.

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.

It should also be noted that the real time water level data from for the river close to the lake is not accurate. Hopefully that problem will be fixed soon.

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.  However, you can get some big fish this time of year.

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 but we’ve heard tat the Orange Hot Shot has been good. Chris Jones sent us pictures of 22” and 18” rainbows from fuller Lake that he caught on the Orange Hot Shot. The Rhys Davis Baitrix Trout lures and UV Mini Strip Teasers work well for larger fish too. 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


Don’t get lazy about checking your gear while trolling for winter springs. Although most of these fish aren’t real large, there can be some real tackle busters waiting to take your bait. Check your leader for nicks and frays after every fish and change them at the slightest sign of wear. We hear way too many stories of anglers breaking off on big, feisty salmon because the angler didn’t check for any weak links in their gear.

Christmas is coming and the smart angler will make sure that they have filled out their “Wish List” at Island Outfitters. Help make it easy for others who want to get you fishing or hunting gift at this time of year!

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 2012!

See our event pages for upcoming events!

April 6th and 7th:  Island Outfitters 18th Anniversary Sale: Our storewide annual sale with LOTS of great deals and bargains.

April 14th.  The 5th Annual Elk Lake Take a Kid Fishing Derby. Tickets are Adults - $25, Children under 16 - $10. All ticket holders are entered into the draw for a new boat and motor package. First place prizes of $1,000 for the largest tout and the largest bass. This derby has live release weigh boats and weigh-station located strategically on the lake. For more info contact us at 350-475-4969.

May 12th and 13th: The 16th Annual Just for the Halibut Derby. First prize is $7,500 cash, 2nd prize is $2,500, and 3rd prize is $1,000 cash. A hidden weight “Bonus” prize is sponsored by SG Power. Tickets are available at Island Outfitters, Pedder Bay Marina or Cheanuh Marina. Call 250-475-4969 for more information.