So far there are few surprises with our early season fishing. As you would expect this time of year, the fishing grounds are flush with large numbers of aggressive feeder Springs. These are not the migratory spawners that we see through much of the summer but young fish in their ocean phase, bulking up on the incredible shoals of needlefish and herring in these northern waters. There certainly is a lot of bait around, evidenced by multiple Humpbacks feeding in the area. There’s lots of amazing eagle action; we’re sometimes seeing dozens of eagles circling over boiling bait balls, swooping down in turn to grab fistfuls of wriggling needlefish and eating them in mid-air. It’s really quite a spectacle. The shallow basin that is Virago Sound is especially productive for needlefish or Pacific Sand Lance. This year they seem to be especially abundant and all of their predators know it!
Salmon action in the past week has been consistent throughout the fishing grounds. Anglers are finding no shortage of feisty, teen-sized Chinook salmon and occasionally they get a surprise when a 20-plus pounder goes screaming off the rigger. It’s great to find relatively steady salmon action with a good shot at a bigger fish at any time. Plus, we’re already seeing several Coho, Chum and Pink salmon in the catch log every day.
QCL anglers are still encountering halibut while trolling inshore, sometimes huge ones! Over the weekend there were several flatties boated around Capes Naden and Edenshaw. Long time QCL guest FJ certainly got more than he bargained for while trolling an anchovy along the shoreline from Eagle Rock to Green Point with his guide Jon Landry. What certainly felt, initially, like a big strong salmon went screaming down the shoreline in 75 feet of water. By the time FJ and Jon were able to get the boat over it they sure knew why this fish could pretty much do what it wanted! A massive halibut lie alongside the Grady and they called the Fishmaster for assistance. Using a salmon rod as a yardstick, they concluded FJ’s catch was a 78-inch halibut! That works out to about 254 pounds – caught on a salmon rod with and anchovy! So we continue to be in awe of the wonders of these amazing waters – You just never know what could happen next!
We’re experiencing some classic northwesterly conditions this week with our anglers fishing the west side below Klashwun Point. Last week’s big tides are easing and after today we’ll enjoy light to moderate west to southwest conditions, providing easy access to the full fishing grounds. Look for more news from the offshore fishery in the next report!