The decision whether we agree or not with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has been issued and for the local Vancouver area fishermen, we are in the non-retention mode till August 1st. All other effected areas on the BC Coast from the northern end of Vancouver Island down the US/Canada border will open up July 14th. There are open areas on the west side of Vancouver Island and coastal BC but they are remote and not heavily fished or populated. Unfortunately, with current Covid travel restrictions, no mainland fishermen will able to travel to these destinations. The Sports Fishery Advisory Board (SFAB) and the Sports Fishing Institute of BC (SFIBC) have been working very hard over the past few years and presented fishing proposals that would address conservation measures to protect of "stocks of concern" and reduce sports fishing retention to only hatchery Chinook Salmon known as a marked selective fishery. However, on the brighter side, the non-retention in 2020 lasted until September 1st so at least we will be able to target the Chinook run in August. I and other Vancouver guides belong to the Avid Angler Program which allows us to go out and catch and release Chinook Salmon for the purpose of obtaining DNA samples for
scientific research for....yes...DFO. I can tell you that the last 3 trips out, fishing no more that 3.5 hours, I have brought at least 14 Chinook salmon to the boat each time. Each trip out I experiment with all sorts of colors and gear. Since January, I have been experimenting by running dummy flashers with spoons, plugs, or bait in teaser heads and found it to be very productive. It's a better fighting sensation not having to drag up a flasher with the fish. There are lots of wild and hatchery Chinook stock in local waters. The commercial prawning season is open and typically lasts till the end of June. I don't drop the prawn traps now till about September when the stocks have recovered and the catch rate goes up. The crabbing has been excellent and there has been no problem getting one's limit but the commercial crabbing season is about to open. May 1st was opening day for lingcod (1 per day) and fishing the typical reef areas on the Nanaimo side has been good to very good. Remember though, it's now the law that you have descending device to safely return unwanted or non-retention species of rockfish. Be safe and enjoy the water and our precious resource. LET'S GO FISHING!