EAGLES, WHALES AND SALMON


Written by Bob Melrose.

The second week of June really gets things going for the saltwater angler bound for either Kitimat's Douglas Channel or Prince Rupert area waters. Now the bigger runs are approaching our coasts and reports are becoming much more consistent from all reporting areas. We are so lucky here in Northern BC that our Salmon runs haven't suffered the diminishing returns of our fisheries to the south where some of their returns are a shadow of their former status. We still have salmon up here that can reach the 60+ pound mark and usually with fewer anglers competing for those fish.

Many guides work the waters out of Prince Rupert, Kitimat and fly or boat-in lodges out of our north coast. Rates vary from one day excursions to deluxe live aboards to land based lodges with multiple day packages. Added to the great Salmon fishing is some superb bottom fishing for Halibut, large Ling Cod, Yelloweye Rockfish (Red Snapper), a huge variety of smaller rockfish and so many Bald Eagles you will lose count, and if you are really blessed you may see some Gray Whales and/or Orca (Killer Whales) amidst some of the most beautiful scenery BC has to offer.

Unguided anglers can launch their boats at Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Port Edward, Work Channel or over in the Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte) Islands. Tidal water regulations can be accessed at website below. All Salmon fishing in BC is Barbless hook only. Barbs may be bent down fully with pliers or exchanged with the excellent and very sharp Gamakatsu single or treble replacements.

Most Salmon angling is done with downriggers trolled at the depth that your depthfinder shows the fish prefer. Popular tackle includes flashers and dodgers with herring/anchovy in bait holders, Hoochies and needlefish in the hot colours and either Apex or Coyote Spoons. Check at the Marina or local speciality shop for the preferred tackle or colours. Many times we have taken the advice of local experts on either tackle or techniques and that resulted in some fabulous trips.

Purists will mooch off the various points and this is a preferred method for many guided operations. Extremely effective in some areas combining the intensity of watching that rod tip and the quietness, it is pretty hard to beat.

In many areas drift-jigging is very popular. Often called "Buzz-Bombing" you will raise and lower various lead jigs, usually from 1-3 ounce in blue, green or silver. A smooth 3-4 foot lift and a quick drop imitates a wounded minnow that salmon, halibut, cod and rockfish find irresistible. Buzz-Bombs, Pirkens. Stingsildas, Zelda's, Spinnows, Krippled Herring are just a few of the proven drift-jigs. Most bites come at the bottom of the fall. Make sure your rod tip is close to the water so you can give a good strike upwards. Once off a point near Rupert the fishfinder picked up three fish at 42 feet, We swung around and drifted over the spot. We all dropped at the same time and the salmon god smiled on us. The three of us hooked up. What a rodeo! We all managed to land our fish without tangling each other up. The fish were 30, 32 and 45 pound Chinook.