Victoria, BC Saltwater Salmon & Sportfishing a Victoria British Columbia







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Victoria, BC, Waterfront
Saltwater Sportfishing Hotspots

with D.C. Reid


General Description
Established as a British colony in the 1800s, Victoria (population 250,000) has been the capital of the province of British Columbia since 1871. Located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, a short hop from Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Victoria has some of the best winter chinook fishing on the Pacific coast, with fishing grounds five minutes from the provincial Legislature.

Winter fishing is influenced by sizable herring runs that spawn in the Gorge Waterway, a long, narrow, sheltered inlet that runs through the city centre. These herring school in ever-increasing numbers each winter, making the waterfront a fish magnet; chinook salmon are attracted to the abundant feed, and spend the winter gorging themselves in successive runs. In other seasons, the areas most consistent feed is needlefish, hence, slender lures do better than longer, larger ones.

Summer fishing is influenced by tidal action that sweeps chum , coho , sockeye and pink in a broad arc from Race Rocks in Juan de Fuca Strait across a huge expanse of water (225 square miles) to Trial Island and the entrance to Haro Strait. These species typically occupy the top 50' in water that averages 300'. The 25 mile wide Juan de Fuca Strait separating British Columbia from Washington State reaches depths of over 1,000'.

In recent years, halibut fishing has improved dramatically in Victoria. These fish average 20 - 60 pounds with the heftiest recent catch registered in at 165 lbs.

BC Adventure Members serving this area:
Eagle Wing Whale Watching: Bear witness to natures most awe inspiring creature – the Killer Whale. Our guided expeditions take you through 100’s of Islands in search of ‘Guaranteed’ Whales and other marine wildlife. Come discover a ‘treasure chest' of diverse marine wildlife on an Eagl... more
Ecosummer Expeditions: Have a whale of a time at Orca Camp! Sea kayak with Orcas and Humpback whales along BC's Johnstone Strait. Join an intimate group of travelers, paddling out on three, four, or six-day kayaking adventures with expert guides. more
Five Star Whale Watching: Discover the picturesque West Coast of Canada & Vancouver Island - home to the largest population of Killer Whales in the world. Natural wonders are abundant in this pristine marine environment covering Southern Vancouver Island, Victoria, & the Gulf Islands. more
Fresh Adventures Wilderness Tours: Guided wilderness tours in BC and Alberta. Experience the highlights of Vancouver Island and the Canadian Rocky Mountains in a small group with a professional guide. more
Orca Spirit Adventures: We experience the longest season & most active whales & marine mammals in BC! Focused on conservation, environmental safety, education, family fun, and exhilaration, we own the operation which locates the whales; giving us the highest success rate. more
Pacific Coastal Airlines: Enjoy scheduled service from Vancouver's South Terminal to Anahim Lake, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Campbell River, Comox, Cranbrook, Kamloops, Klemtu, Masset, Port Hardy (float & amphibious aircraft to coastal communities), Powell River, Trail, Victoria, & Will... more
Reel Obsession Sportfishing: Reel fishing stories begin with Reel Obsession Sportfishing, with fully guided salmon and halibut sport-fishing charters around Zeballos, Nootka Sound, Esperanza and Victoria. Let Reel Obsession customize a world-class fishing experience to suit your needs. more
Rocky Mountain Holidays: Rail Vacations in the Rocky Mountains & Western Canada! Rocky Mountain Holidays customize vacations that combine the romance of train travel with the magnificent scenery of Western Canada. more

Annual Cycle of Runs
All five species of salmon may be found on the Victoria waterfront: chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and pink. The latter three species are migratory fish, appearing only as mature animals in summer and fall months en route to spawning beds (Pink salmon appear only in odd-numbered years). Chinook and coho may be either resident winter fish or migratory summer fish.

November 15 - March 31 is the most consistent fishing of the year. Resident 2 - 20 lb feeder chinook comprise the bulk of the catch, with the occasional blueback coho (immature, 12 - 16" fish newly-migrated from fresh water) recorded. Bait and hootchies are the prime lures.

April is typically a slower month, with the winter chinook moving out and the first summer runs yet to arrive. Thus fishers turn their attention to halibut.

The first summer run, the Columbians, show in Victoria waters May 21 - June 30. These are huge chinook, averaging 30 - 40 lbs with the occasional fish reaching 60 lbs. Columbians, as folk lore has it, are destined for the Columbia River in Oregon. Definitely an anchovy fish.

July 7 the first wave of Juan de Fuca coho arrive. With these fish travel pink salmon every second summer. Pink , coho and sockeye fishing hits its peak in August, with pink fishing continuing strong until September 30th. These fish average 5 - 12lbs.

During the summer, successive runs of chinook salmon swim past the waterfront: Harrisons, Frasers, Cowichans, any migratory chinook destined for lower Georgia Strait and Puget Sound rivers.

In October, the large northern coho arrive, some reaching 20lbs. By mid-October, the first winter chinook filter in.


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Lures on an Annual Basis
Bait: Twelve months of the year, anchovy in a glow green or army truck teaserhead on a 6' leader trolled with or without dodger/flasher is by far the lure of choice in this area. Herring strip in a glow green or army truck teaserhead on a six foot leader trolled with or without a flasher is a distant but effective second.

Hootchies: For winter fishing, utilize both an Army Truck and an Angel Wing. Squirts catch more fish than hootchies in Victoria waters. Carry also a Clover Leaf, Glow Below and Jolly Roger. New hot colours include the Tiger Prawn and El Nino

For summer fishing try: Army Truck, Bubblegum, Mint Tulip, Irish Mist, Blue Baron, Shrimp Fiesta, Dragon Boat, Gold Finger, Pink Shrimp, Autumn Leaf, J79, dayglo orange and anything with pink. Carry both squirts and hootchies.

Year round on Constance Bank carry Pink Shrimp, Moby Dick and Campbell River Dancer.

Plugs: 4-6" plugs: 602, 232,301, 632, 179 and when fishing deeper, the 169. Utilize plugs in summers when mackerel predominate, particularly the 6" models.

Spoons: Red Krippled Ks for summer and fall fishing for migratory fish in the top 50' of water.

Bucktails: In recent years, bucktail flies have fallen out of use in Victoria waters anymore.

Drift fishing: White Buzz Bomb, green Stingsilda.



Overall Strategy and Specific Fishing Areas
Victoria has two types of fisheries: structure-related fishing for chinook salmon and halibut; and, summer surface fishing for other salmon species. In addition, four distinct fishing opportunities present themselves: Oak Bay Flats; Victoria Waterfront; Constance Bank; and, summer surface fishing in the Quarantine Buoy area.

Due to expansive sand or mud aprons running in shelves from Ten Mile Point to the harbour mouth, bottom bumping is the predominant trolling method for chinook. These bottoms, particularly the Oak Bay Flats, are almost perfectly flat and contain living carpets of needlefish at all times of the year. Lures are trolled within 10' of the bottom in depths of 90-120'. Strip and anchovy are the lures of choice.

The angler is reminded that the presence of needlefish as well as large spawning herring (winter months only) necessitates trying both large and small lures when fishing for chinook.

Constance Bank lies 6 ½ mile due south of Clover Point. Spires of rock rise from the ocean bed and chinook fishing concentrates on the outer ridges. Halibut fishing is best accomplished from a boat tied with a line to a float which is anchored on its own line to the bottom. The Bank presents a good fishing opportunity due to its remote location and rough water. The uninitiated should venture out only with a guide.

Summer fishing for sockeye, pink and coho centres on the Quarantine Buoy, 4 ½ miles south west of the harbour mouth. Fishers troll the surface 50' across a 15 mile diameter circle between Race Rocks and Trial Island. This is a fishery for hootchies and squirts on 42" leaders trolled fast behind a flasher with the Black Box set at .65 volts.


Saltwater Fishing Vacations
Saltwater resorts, guides, charters & tours.
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All Fishing Vacations in British Columbia
Freshwater & Saltwater vacations.
More info....
Outdoors & Fly Shops
Where to shop for fishing and outdoors gear..
More info....
Guides, Adventures, Charters & Tours
Professional tourism operators offering wilderness experiences in BC.
 
More info...
Wilderness Resorts, Lodges, Cabins & Campgrounds
Browse a selection of wilderness lodging.
 
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Articles
Coastal BC Fisheries
Seafood Recipes (Pt1)
Seafood Recipes (Pt2)
Seafood Recipes (Pt3)
Seafood Recipes (Pt4)
Hot Spots
Bamfield
Campbell River
Gold River
Hakai Pass
Langara Island
Port Alberni
Port Hardy
Port Renfrew
Prince Rupert
Rivers Inlet
Shearwater
Tofino
Victoria Waterfront
Salmon Online
Chinook Salmon
Chinook of Juan de Fuca
Chum Salmon
Coho Salmon
Contacting the Fish
Guide Your Way To Success
Happy Halibut Hunting
Happy Halibut Hunting (Pt2)
Happy Halibut Hunting (Pt3)
Harvesting the Herring
Likes the Lakes
Pink Salmon
Sockeye Salmon
Steelhead Bobber Tip
The Butts of Bamfield
Trolling Tip for Sidney
Techniques
Boat Electrical Potential
Casting for Your Catch
Drift Fishing (Pt1)
Drift Fishing (Pt2)
Mooching for Salmon
Tough Knots for Big Fish
Trolling for Salmon (Pt1)
Trolling for Salmon (Pt2)
Trolling for Salmon (Pt3)
Winter Fishing the Capital

Writers:
Peter Caverhill
Brian Chan
Fred & Ann Curtis
Ian Forbes
Geoff Hobson
Gordon Honey
Steve Kaye
Fred's Custom Tackle
Ron Newman
D. C. Reid
Philip Rowley
Barry Thornton


Victoria, BC Saltwater Salmon & Sportfishing a Victoria British Columbia