Sooke Fishing Report
Welcome to the Sooke Fishing Adventures website! On this page, we will post regular updates on what's happening with Sooke fishing, Vancouver Island fishing, and other news of interest to our fishing friends from around the world.
June Salmon Fishing Regulations
There has been a lot of discussion around Sooke for what the salmon fishing regulations are going to be this summer. The key question is what to do about the Fraser River salmon run, as these are the fish that pass through Juan de Fuca and Sooke in May and June. Today's announcement from DFO clarifies the rules for keeping Chinook Salmon from now until July 15th.
Department of Fisheries and Oceans:Management Measures: The daily limit is two (2) chinook which must be either wild or hatchery-marked if between 45 and 85 cm or hatchery marked if greater than 85 cm.The minimum size limit for chinook salmon in these waters is 45 cm.
In other words, if the Chinook salmon is wild (has its adipose fin, the one to top just before the tail), then you only keep it if it is 85cm or less (maybe 12 pounds or so). But if the fish is hatchery born and has its adipose fin clipped, then you can keep them any size above 45cm. That's good news -- and three cheers for all those hatchery workers and volunteers slogging away all winter to grow these big tyees for us to catch!
Halibut: has been quite steady, with plenty of nice ones into the 50s being caught in local waters.
Salmon: a little spotty, some reports of salmon into the 20s. Most reports from Muir Creek west, lots of people have been fishing Sheringham, as that's been the western edge of the slot limit. Today's announcement extends the restriction to Sombrio Point, so unless Sheringham is super hot, you may as well save the gas and fish closer!
May Fishing in Sooke
Sooke's early season fishing has been excellent. Most of the local anglers are targeting halibut, and they are coming in regularly from the east, from the west, and right in front of Sooke Harbour. There are also some nice salmon being taken, with one report up to 26 pounds out west of Sheringham Point. Beautiful sunny weather with no fog, this is a nice time of year to fish -- just watch for those afternoon west winds.
Picture is guests of Vancouver Island Lodge
after a fun day on the water. About to have a halibut and crab feast ... the days are great, the evenings even better. The good life!
November Sooke Fishing
Whoever said the fishing season is over on September 1st obviously doesn't know about Sooke's year-round fishing possibilities.
Once the returning chinook and coho have passed through in August to October, there remains a solid fishery for "winter springs", the resident chinook salmon that spend the winter in local waters. They are smaller than the big prize fish of summer, but they are packed full of oil and make for fantastic "barbecue" fish or smoking. You can find them from the Bluffs to Otter Point right on the bottom....magic depth often 130 feet. Bounce that downrigger ball to make sure you're on the bottom. Glow hootchies and spoons are the most common lures.
And the good news this year is the halibut fishery has once again been left open to December 31st. Lots of reports of good catches coming from those willing to dodge the storms. They are being caught from the Bluffs to points west, both on the drift and on anchor. Here's Darcy with the first halibut caught on his "new" boat ... what's the expression about even blind squirrels finding some nuts? Just kidding....way to go Darcy, that's quite a few fish n chips dinners there!
So, if you want to catch some fish, don't be putting that boat away for winter just yet. Get out there! But make sure you watch the weather and play safe!
September Sooke Fishing
As we near the official end of summer, we are starting to feel it, with cool mornings and a little rain. But the fishing is still quite good!
For salmon, there are still some chinook/springs around, but they are getting less frequent and a little dark, as they prepare to head up river to spawn. One report earlier this week had a local angler losing a 40 pounder right at the boat this week, unfortunately unable to net it solo! (though the one that got away always seems bigger and bigger as your mind plays tricks on you) Most of the attention is on the coho salmon lately. You can presently keep 2 hatchery coho, and it seems that some days there's lots around and others it is all wild coho that have to be released. Please release them gently, so they can survive and spawn lots more.
Local anglers are turning their attention to halibut. Luke from VIP Fishing Charters
sent in this photo of a great day "somewhere west". That's some nice white gold there ... a fish feast for sure. Reports of nice halibut caught right outside Sooke harbourmouth and then in all the usual hotspots.....keep an eye on the tides and give it a shot.
Bundle up and get out there ... lots of fishing to be had before the monsoon season hits!
September Fishing is Good Fishing
Fishing continues to be excellent ! Nice weather and a steady stream of Chinooks are coming into the docks. An abundance of Chinook in teens and twenty range are coming in as well as the occasional large ones up to 40 lbs. There are a few pinks around still but the bulk appear to have moved on making it easier to target the Chinooks without going through large amounts of bait. A few coho are showing up and are beginning to get into the low teens for size, although only the hatchery coho can be kept.
With a bit of rain and some salmon heading up stream soon this should also mean better and better halibut fishing as well throughout September.
Lots of great reports from Sooke lately....nice sized chinook salmon and plenty of pink salmon action for the kids.
Here's a great fishing forum post from Terry B "Walleyes" about his upcoming annual trip to fish Sooke's waters:
There have been some pretty darn nice fish landed in Sooke this year
already it's a darn good sign. I expect with the next wave of Chinook
coming through (with the bigger floods I hope ) it will bring a few more
in with them. There is always the big one down there, it's what brings
me 1400km every summer in search of him. The hope and expectation and
the feeling that this is the year I break 40# I have broke 30 3 times in
Sooke over the last 10 years twice in one week with a 32 and a 33 just 5
I cant sleep when I am there, I am lucky if I get 4 hours sleep a night. I
fall a sleep about 10 pm and am awake by 2 or 3, I can see those big
beauties slipping past the light house, past Otter, slipping by in the
dark under cover. I can't sleep, I am up with coffee made and at my boat
by 430, spot light out the front as I make my way through the crab
floats in the harbour. As you make the turn around the spit and the cool
west wind hits you in the face and you point the bow west you can
feel, this is the day. As you drop your first bait in the water just
past the rocks up tight to the bank on Otter, so dark yet you fumble
with your tooth pick to see it come through the teaser head. Rods set,
coffee in the cup, down rigger cables have that nice hum to them ... yup
today is the day. Whump,, the right rod hammers free from the clip and
the Islander screams free, your heart jumps cause you know this could
be the one, this battle you are about to have, this is the one you
have tried for since you were a young boy..
Ahhh just a few more sleeps !!!!
That's awesome ... very well said Walleyes. Wishing you tight lines and calm seas.
Big Chinooks and lots of Pinks
The big chinook salmon continue to come into the docks with regular catches in the 20 to 40 lb range. The pinks are around in abundance now and while some may not like having to sift through pinks to find the big chinooks, this is a great time for new anglers to learn to catch some scrappy salmon. Fresh pinks on the BBQ or smoked is excellent.
While the pinks seem to be taking every lure right now, white/glow hootchies are a popular choice. For the big chinooks bait is still preferred with the right roll being the key to catching the big ones (and a closely guarded secret by the guides).
Here's a photo sent to us by Warren Olsen, after a fun day on the water with Vancouver Island Lodge
. A great introduction to salmon fishing here in Sooke's waters.
A boat full of fishers right now can mean a boat full of pinks in a few hours.
Sooke Fishing Adventures