Incredible salmon fishing all season long is only part of the reason we have a world class fishing destination. Unlike many lodges, at Reel Obsession, our unique location means we are not reliant on one particular run to produce great fishing for a few weeks each season. We have huge runs of salmon passing by all the time. This is why they call our area “The Salmon Highway”. We have access to amazing fishing all year long, but at our west coast lodge, we focus on the peak fishing times throughout May to September with a focus on salmon, halibut and tuna.
The Mighty Chinook Salmon
BC Chinook salmon, also called Kings and Springs, are our main focus. In the early season, migrating American stocks come by our area in vast numbers producing great fishing for fish in the 15-30 pound range. We typically target these fish fairly close to shore in 100-150 feet of water. Their diet mostly consists of needle fish/sand lance. At times through the month of May and June the schools of baitfish can almost seem endless. This provides these fish with a great food source allowing them to hold up for an extended length of time.
From late June through to July we have consistent salmon fishing along the rock piles and beaches that make up this beautiful coastline. It is very exciting trolling next to a kelp bed with your line down only 25 feet and hearing the scream of the reel when a large salmon hits. Imagine grabbing the rod making sure to keep your hands free of the single action reel that is now spinning at a rate that would burn rubber! That’s the kind of exciting, unfailing action you’ll consistently find. With Coho salmon also in the mix you’ll find non-stop fishing action that often requires you to have 2 rods in the water at a time.
Another reason our west coast lodge, located in Esperanza Inlet and Nootka Sound is special is due to the offshore Salmon fishery we have available. Just a few miles North West of Esperanza the continental shelf comes in closer to Vancouver Island than it does anywhere else. What this does is funnel the South migrating Salmon into a tight corridor closer to shore than most other offshore salmon fisheries along the Island’s coast.
This area known as "The Salmon Highway" can hold Salmon all year long. May through September is indeed prime time with mature Salmon passing through on the way to their native river systems.
Everyone enjoys eating the delicate white meat from one of the most sought after fish on the B.C. and Alaska coast. Halibut fishing has become very popular in the last 15 years. At $25 per pound who would not want to take home some of this prized meat?
When anchoring up for Halibut we look for some form of structure. We are not looking for major contour changes, but more of a subtler form. Most of the time, small rock piles produce the bigger Halibut. Gravel bars and sand bars are usually the "chicken ranches" as we say. These are the smaller tastier Halibut weighing less than 30lbs.
We have an incredible resource in the area we fish. Although we do see numerous fish over 100 pounds in a season, there has been a size limit placed on halibut throughout west coast waters with regulations requiring any halibut over 133 cm or about 75 pounds to be released.
Halibut fishing around Vancouver Island’s west coast can be done anytime the weather permits. Unlike parts of Alaska and the southern part of Vancouver Island we do not have the strong currents that can limit the days and times you are able to fish Halibut. Our logbooks show that over 90% of our clients go home with their limits of halibut.
Albacore Tuna Fishing
Tuna fishing is nothing new to Vancouver Island’s west coast. Commercial fishermen have been catching albacore tuna for years along our coastline. However, it is fairly new to the sport fishing sector on the Island and we are excited to offer this thrilling fishing experience. We fish 5 to 7 lines off each boat where double, triple, and even quadruple headers are not uncommon. Tuna are a schooling fish and once they are located, the action can be intense.
Our tuna fishery takes place between 20-40 miles offshore. Water temperature and warm currents are what bring these fish within our reach. Every year is different, but historically from the 3rd week of August until the 3rd week of September is when these fish are found off the Esperanza canyon.
At Reel Obsession we recommend a four-day trip to maximize your opportunity to get offshore for this thrilling fishery. Tuna trips are booked in combination with salmon, halibut and ground fish. This is a calm water fishery. In the occasion that weather keeps us from the tuna grounds we’ll target other species. Safety is always our fist priority and thus high-speed offshore boats will not head to the tuna waters unless there are calm seas and calm winds in the short-term forecast.
Albacore tuna is personally one of my favorite fish to eat and are extremely powerful and fun to catch. We’d love to get you out to fish tuna on your next trip!
Call now to reserve your seat on the boat for the 2017 season.