Fishing Report for Week Ending December 18, 2011

Fishing Report for Week Ending December 18, 2011


OVERVIEW Salmon fishing is GOOD for winter springs when the weather allows you to get out on the water. That said, the seals have been a huge problem for anglers fishing off of Victoria with reports of up to 80% of all salmon hooked being stolen by seals, along with the loss of gear. The seals do not appear to be a problem either west or north of Victoria.

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Sooke Salmon fishing has been GOOD for winter springs up to 19 lbs. There are quite a few fish in the teens along with the usual 6 to 10 lb fish. The fish are deep, from 120 to 160 feet on the downrigger, in 100 to 180 feet of water. Much of the action is coming from off the harbor entrance to 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 STEADY over the past week for winter springs running up to 14 lbs in size. The fishing was slower from the flagpole out to Lamb Island but better on the east side of the bay towards the Bedford Islands. Anglers have been catching slightly smaller salmon in the bay with the bigger ones coming from the Bedfords and Whirl Bay. The majority of anglers fishing for springs are switching from using bait to artificial lures. Anchovies are still catching a lot of fish though. The best teaser heads for anchovies were the Purple Haze and the Bloody Nose. The best flashers have been the Green/Silver Hot Spots and Oki’s. Hootchies and squirts were good in White/Silver, Glo Below and Mint Tulip. Cop Car, Glow/Green or Green/Silver spoons have also been good for springs.

Pedder Bay – Salmon fishing had been GOOD for winter springs up to 14 lbs in Whirl Bay. There still is good fishing on the William Head side of the bay and in Parry Bay but the seals become a problem as you get close to Albert Head and the fish have been smaller there. Most boats had limit catches and just about every boat reported releasing lots of small springs. 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, Mint Tulip 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 GOOD this past week but the seals have been a huge problem for anglers fishing with reports of up to 80% of all salmon hooked being stolen by seals, along with the loss of gear. We’ve heard of four anglers that lost 17 salmon to seals between Tuesday and Sunday last week, with one Esquimalt Anglers’ Club member losing nine. It didn’t matter if you were at Constance Bank or along the waterfront, wherever the salmon were, the seals were lurking. Anyway, the salmon are down deep, just off the bottom in 120 to 160 feet of water. 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. It’s a shame that something can’t be done about the seal problem.

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 SLOWER around Sidney. There were lots of just undersized springs in the Sidney Channel and a few bigger ones up to 10 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 – 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 1meter both near the lake and near Duncan and dropping. The water is relatively clear. We’ve only heard of one steelhead being caught so far, but more should be heading up the river this week. For steelhead, good lures to fish are Spin ‘n Glo’s, Corkies, Gooey Bobs and the always reliable Pink Worm. Although many anglers are successful catching winter runs on flies, most anglers chose to use floats and gear.

It’s still worthwhile 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.  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


Think pink for steelhead! The first runs of winter steelhead are now starting up the Cowichan, the Stamp and other rivers. And the most successful color to use on the island is pink.  Whether it’s a worm, yarn, or spin ‘n glos, think pink when you tie on your lure.


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.

 April 28th: The Sidney Salmon Derby. Rod Tickets are only $100.00 each! Banquet Tickets are $22.00 (including HST). Scales close at 4:00pm.- Banquet Dinner at Tulista Park starts after 4:00pm. Prizes to be won! 1st Place; $5,000 2nd Place; $3,000 3rd Place; $2,000:  Plus Draw Prizes and 50/50 Tickets! All proceeds go to Salmon Enhancement Tickets available at Island Outfitters

 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.