Fish illustration

Fishing Report

Harbour Chandler Fishing Report

Up-to-date fishing news for BC. Read through our forum, which highlights local fishing conditions, amazing catches and more. And remember that if you are looking for expert fishing advice and top-of-the-line supplies, visit our fishing store in Nanaimo.
Click here for the Fisheries Openings and Closures for the Pacific Region

Fall Coho

Fishing Department - Saturday, September 23, 2017

  The salt water salmon season is winding down, but there are still fish to be had. Guys have been getting their limits of hatchery Coho around the fingers. They are very deep, 180 ft or so. There are also huge schools of anchovies for the first time in decades. They are eating krill, and the Coho are eating the anchovies and the krill. Pink sink spoons have been working, but I suspect a pink sockeye hootchie would work well on them.

The Pink salmon are still being caught in Departure Bay, but outside of the Bay is now closed now for retention of Pink Salmon.

Also Halibut is closed coast wide as the yearly quota has been used up.

Ling cod fishing is still good, but will be closing at the end of the month. We have the new lighthouse lures Max Shad that are great for ling (and halibut). As with all swim baits, if you are using one, don't jig it. You have to make it swim. Either by letting the current move it, or slowly motoring over the reef.

Prawning and crabbing are still very, very good. So get out and get your prawns before the fall storms roll in.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Sun and Smileys

Fishing Department - Friday, September 15, 2017

The Sun is still shinning and the salmon are still biting. While things slowed down a bit after that patch of rain we had, fishing is picking up again. There are loads of salmon stacked up in front of the Little Qualicum river and off French creek. Reports from Nanaimo are a bit less promising, but we have had some very large fish taken in recent days. Including the 40lb + Chinook taken from a Kayak off Neck Point last week.

At this time of year I'm using purple and gold coloured flashers like the Gibbs Watermark series. The Green watermark has a neat hint of gold in it that I really like. As for lures try Gold Stars "Trash can" (a new silver plated spoon), and the as yet un-named spoon (2017 Custom #4). It's green, chartreuse and silver.

I also like to use a very slow trolled anchovy with a purple haze teaser head.

Prawning is super hot off Nanaimo right now. They are extra large and everywhere. With very low commercial pressure it looks like we are going to have a great winter prawning season

Crabbing is also consistently good. My last haul was over 20 crab (in one trap, and one solitary huge crab in the other trap)). I kept my limit and tossed back a lot of big crabs.

Tips up & traps down,

Steve Vavrik

Late Summer Chinook

Fishing Department - Friday, September 01, 2017

 We are getting close to the end of summer and the big spawners are finally showing up. We have large Chinook getting taken anywhere from 20 to 220ft. Best lures locally are Pink Sink, Evil Maverick, and Twisted Sista flasher. 

Jigging is still very good. P Line brand 'Sassin Jigs where incredibly effective last night around 5 Fingers. There are still a lot of undersized fish in the area, but there are more big ones mixed in. The key is to find the bait and stay with it.

If your going to the Alberni derby the best lures have been Skinny G in gold/chrome, Cop Car spoons, our custom painted Herring Aid plugs and Raspberry flashers.

Back in Nanaimo, prawning is very good right now off Gabriola. Get down 400 ft. It's slow south of Dodds Narrows.

Tips up and wet nets,

Steve Vavrik

Check back regularly for our latest reports

Want advice from the experts?
Ask the Pros  Voted number 1 marine store
The Harbour Chandler Ltd

52 Esplanade
Nanaimo BC V9R 4Y7


Toll Free:


on orders over $99 (some conditions apply)


View our instructional videos


for updates about our special offers!

disclaimer iconRead our disclaimer