After a mild and wonderful winter fishing season in the Vancouver and Howe Sound waters, the Spring fishery has started with a bang! Right on schedule, the Chinook Salmon also known as Spring Salmon have arrived off the south coast of Bowen Island. There is a plateau that is approximately 3 miles offshore that shallows up to 450 - 500 feet from the deep depths and it runs northwest for about 3 miles. The locals call this the "Hump" and for some reason, the Chinook salmon gather on this shelf and feed on the bait. My past two trips this week have been sensational for the number of fish being hooked albeit the majority are just undersize to the shakers however limits of legal size Chinook or "Spring" salmon weighing in from 8 lbs to high teens have been kept. Twenty plus hook ups during a 5 hour day seems to be average with numerous double headers. Other local guides and recreational fishers are reporting the same fantastic results. A variety of spoons, hootchies and even plugs are working. When you get a hit, mark it on your chartplotter and stay in that area. I have been finding fish from 80 feet down to 130 feet. My most productive lures have the Gibbs Delta Herring Aid spoon in the Skinny G and Wee G patterns however other patterns are working as well. The salmon stomachs were found to stuffed with 2-3" baby herring so matching the bait to lure size is very helpful. As a bonus to this great fishing, the dungeness crabs are plentiful and the ever succulent Spot Prawns rounds out an outstanding day on the water.
The whole west coast recreational fishing community is waiting for a Department of Fisheries & Oceans announcement any day now for the Chinook fishery that could curtail Chinook retention to one hatchery Chinook per day or no retention of any Chinook Salmon until August 1. Either option is going to be devastating to every business that relies on the 8 billion dollar per year sports fishing economy in BC. However, let's get out and fish till that day.