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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.
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It's calm(ish) and the fish are biting!

Fishing Department - Sunday, August 21, 2016

The wind has finally calmed down and fishing is great. If you are at home reading this get off you computer and onto your boat!

Big Springs are being taken at all the normal locations. For the last week French Creek, Five Fingers, Entrance, and Thrasher have all produced large fish in the high 20's and some tyees. Also, unconfirmed rumors of a very large Chinook (high 30's) from French Creek.

The West Coast is also finally seeing some good days. Gold Coho killers, and "Funky Chicken" spoons have been working in Barkley and Nootka. But the water is very warm, so the fish are deeper than normal.

Locally, the fish are a little shallower (80-140ft). Best lures have been "White lightning", Oatmeal spoons, Cop Car, and White or Blue hootchies.

For flashers, at this time of year I switch from "Glow Greens" to "Purple Onion" or "Purple Haze" and if fishing shallow (under 120ft) I use mirror flashers.

Jigging for salmon is also very good. So if you don't have down riggers right now is your opportunity. Use Lil' Nibs, Half Jigs or Buzz bombs.

The Pinks Salmon are also in in big numbers. They are not in the Bay yet (as far as I know) but there are large schools off Neck Point at 30 ft. Target them with sockeye gear.

It's Tuna gear up time. With the warm water on the west coast it could be a great year for Tuna. In my opinion, Tuna are the ultimate BC game fish. Nothing can fight like a Tuna, and we have all the gear and info you need. So if this interests you come down and have a chat with Dane. He's our most knowledgeable tuna fisherman.

Whatever fishing you do, its time to get out and do it.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

YAY Fishing is still Good

Fishing Department - Saturday, August 13, 2016

Just a very quick update.

For the first time this year I can say fishing is still as good as last weekend!!!.

French Creek, Entrance Island, and Thrasher Rock are all on fire. 5 Fingers and Double Bumps have been a little slower, but still decent. I expect the French Creek Fish to move to 5 Fingers fairly soon too. Also these are still the big marbled Springs. averaging 15-25lbs. And there are lots of 4-6 lbs. Coho.

Blue and white Hootchies are still working well. Oatmeal and Green/Glow Spoons in 3-4" has also been good.

Silver Betsy and Lemon Lime flashers are what I'm using. 

Salmon Jigging is decent with Lil' Nib and Delta half jigs.

All the fish are still mostly around 150 feet. If you mark shallower fish its probably Pinks. There where some of Hammond Bay, but I haven't heard if they are still around.

Prawning is finally starting to get good again.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

I found my Marbles on the Double Bumps

Fishing Department - Friday, August 05, 2016

 Marbled Chinook are not red and not white meat, but a neat mix of the two. Their flesh has distinctive bands of pink and white. Very interesting, very pretty and very tasty.

 We normally see them in deep water, far out past the Fingers in May. However, right now we have some going past Nanaimo out in their usual location. So their usual location in know as the double bumps.  (Please note, on some chart plotters it show as a single bump) Look for the spot way out past 5 Fingers where the water shallows from 1000ft to 800ft. There is only one spot like this, it's about a mile past the fingers towards the southern Tip of Texada. Its a odd little area that often holds fish when nowhere else does. Its hard to find, but worth it. The fish are 140ft down. and hitting on Irish Cream and Homeland Security spoons. Homeland has been so good this year that we have even got some cannon balls in Homeland colours. Pro-Tip, use coloured cannon balls as an additional attractant.

Coho and smaller Chinook fishing is still strong inshore. Pink Sink spoons and Coho Killers, White rainbow, and Blue Meanie hootchies, also Footloose and Mirror flashers are best for the shallower closer to shore fishery. 

Tips Up,

Steve Vavrik


Any Depth Will Do

Fishing Department - Friday, July 29, 2016

 There are plenty of fish out there, just pick a depth, any depth and there will be fish.

There are Chinook at 5 Fingers and  Entrance Island from 50 ft. to 200ft. Coho everywhere from 0ft to 150ft. Pinks are starting to show off Hudson rocks at 20-30ft. Target all salmon species with pink sockeye hootchies. Or if you want more Chinook and Coho, troll Irish Mint hootchies. Pro tip cut 1 inch off the hootchies arms. Pink Sink spoon would also target all of these salmon species. Lemon lime Guide Series flasher are by far the best right now for local waters.

 The only problem right now is the wind. We are finally transitioning to typical summer high pressure systems but that means wind until it settles down.

 In Alberni there is another big push of sockeye coming in. All reports are that this batch is exceptionally large for Sockeye. My dad sent me a picture of one, and I needed him to clarify that it was in fact a sockeye. We have daisy chain flashers in for Sockeye fishing. As Sockeye are a schooling fish you can get the whole school to follow a daisy chain if you leave it down. In fact if you are clever you can have that school follow you away from the other boats...

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Coho Fever

Fishing Department - Monday, July 18, 2016

 Coho fever has stuck Nanaimo. We are currently experiencing the best Coho fishing since the Blue Back days of the late 1980's. They are everywhere and hitting on everything. Best bets are Irish Cream spoon at 140ft. However, they are still hitting T-Rex Hootchies and even big plugs.

 There are many small Chinook mixed in, and some big ones scattered around. Best bet for the big ones is to head way out into Georgia Straight, aim for Sechelt and troll at about 225ft. Best lure for a big Chinook is a White Yamashita Cuttle fish hootchies, such as SGL161R.

 In new product news we are now carrying the Classic Vancouver Island made Peetz reels. I'm a huge fan and still use them as my day to day trolling reel. I'm very happy to have them in the store.

Another really cool new product is a device that allows you to easily return a Rock Cod back to depth without killing. They work well, and are very popular in other jurisdictions with different rules. Only the eagles are upset about this.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Do you want the Good News or the Bad?

Fishing Department - Monday, July 11, 2016

Our odd ball salmon season continues. The good news is there are lots of feisty Coho all over the place. The Bad news is the big Chinook from last weekend have moved on to parts unknown. However they are just the forerunners of some very large 5 year old Chinook that are currently around Port Hardy. We will have a fun time when these big beast get down here.

There are some big Chinook around, but they are scattered looking for bait. If you can find some bait you should find some bigger fish. There are also still lots of smaller feeder springs (12-14lb) mixed in with the Coho. The Chinook are still taking Blue hootchies like Blue Splatter-Back and also chartreuse splatter back like T-Rex. Oddly these are more traditional Coho lures. And the Coho are taking Chinook lures such as Pink Sink and Green Glow spoons. Also the Coho are deep, up to 150ft. And the Chinook are deeper. Up to 240ft.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

The Big Springs are Here...Finally

Fishing Department - Monday, July 04, 2016

It took a while but the really big boys are finally off Nanaimo.

Specifically deep off Entrance Island. Lots of fish in the high 20's and some Tyees. These are the fish I've been hearing about all summer, from the North Island fisherman. Apparently its a larger class of fish than we've seen for a few seasons, and they are now here!!!

They are down 180-230ft and hitting light green Splatter Back, and Blue Meanie hootchies, or Killy McGee and Irish Cream spoons.

Also some nice sized Coho are schooling around 5 Finger Island. They are at 60-120 ft. Use 3" Pink Sink, Nickel Blue spoons or Ace High flies remember as yet retention is for hatchery only, even though there are more than we have seen for 15 years or so. Some are decent sized, Ted 'The Prawn Whisperer' McKinney recently hooked into a matched set of 20" Coho.

It's also getting close to salmon jigging season. So if you don't have downriggers, now's the time you can start to access shallower fish closer to shore. Look for underwater reefs that are 30-80ft below the surface, and jig Lil' Nib and Delta half jigs (Both Nanaimo designed lures). Aim for low slack tide and drop on the back eddy side of the reef. Most hits will be on the drop. This is the most fun salmon fishing of the season. However, as stated above, the big fish aren't in tight to shore yet. So I'd delay jigging inshore for now, to instead target the big guys out past Entrance Island.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Go for Gold...and Silver!

Fishing Department - Monday, June 20, 2016

Gold is not a colour that normally gests used around Georgia Straight. Silver for the East side, Gold for the West side is normally the rule for Vancouver Island. However Gold Coho Killers with a Silver Betsy flasher seems to be working right now. In fact Coho Killers in general are doing well.

I was out yesterday afternoon and got one keeper off 5 Finger Island. 3" Mavrik spoon and Silver Betsy flasher, with at about 80ft.

It had crab larva in its gut, so maybe a tiny clear hootchies with little dots might work right now.

 I missed the bite and was only fishing one rod as I had my 3 year old with me, and keeping it simple with her is the best plan. She had a blast, lasted 4 hours and wanted to stay out!

 I tried in close to Neck but there was way too much sea weed in the water. There was some decent looking bait balls, but it was unfishable with all the weeds. there was less weeds farther out. 

Crabbing was stellar. We pulled up mare than our limit so ended up tossing back several legal Dungeness. Herring for bait.

On the down side my trailer from cracked when I put my boat back on it. I made it home, but if anyone has a trailer for a 14ft boat for sale let me know....

Tips up, Butts down.

Steve Vavrik

Fishing Shallow

Fishing Department - Saturday, June 11, 2016

Normally around Nanaimo we all fish from 140-180 ft. However, sometimes it pays to change things up. If you mark bait at a different depth then fish that depth! Over the last week several good fishermen I know have caught Chinook at various odd ball depths. 40-70 feet off Neck point produced a bunch of nice fish (up to mid twenties in size) over the last couple evenings. 3" Pink Sink and Evil Eye spoons with Green Haze flashers worked.

 Another different thing that's seems to be producing fish are the "Lure Charge" spoons in Army Tank, and Green Tiger patterns. I've never used them myself, but bought one this week as several experienced fishermen I know came in reporting excellent results with them. Including experimenting with the lure by changing the flasher, depth and side of boat. In each case the lure charge lure continued to catch springs while the other gear did not. The spoons are voltage tuned to emit .65 volts to attract Chinook. One story I heard from one guy was last year he was hitting nothing but pink salmon until he put down a Lure Charge lure, and immediately started getting Chinook. Once a different lure was send down it was back to Pinks. I suspect Pinks probably key into the same voltage as Sockeye, which is .75 volts. Either was I'm convinced to try them. After all, all those old commercial trollers swear by the old scotty black box. These lures do the same thing, except cost $7.99 instead of $800! We also have a lure charge device that is a portable black box for $20. It gets attached to your downrigger clip and produces an salmon attracting electric field. It is available in Chinook and Sockeye voltage.

Speaking of sockeye, I'm hearing some good reports from Alberni. Overall the fish are running deeper than normal, try Gold Star pink/glow head hootchies (such as Michael Bait 2.5 MB182) 80ft or deeper. If the fish shallow up, switch to pink/blue hootchies like Michael Bait 2.5 MB182. Also remember Sockeye are schooling fish, so running Daisy Chain flashers can really help you catch more fish than the other guys. In fact, if you leave a bunch of flashers in the water you can get a Sockeye school to follow your 'school' of fish, and take them with you to say the less crowded side of the Cannel...

Tyee Time

Fishing Department - Friday, June 03, 2016

The Big Boys are here!! Just a short Report for the weekend.

Big fish up to mid 30 pound range in deep water off East side of Gabriola. 180-200ft down.

Top lure is T-Rex Spoon AKA Harbour Chandler Custom #8. It got a 36 pounder for Captain Hasse of the good ship 'Song Bird'. He also boated a monster Red Snapper and a big ling, all on the troll.

Pink Sink and Mavrik Spoons have also taken big fish.

Also a large halibut was taken today, not sure actual size but the guy needed to know what the maximum allowed size is, so....

Get out there and catch some fish!

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Check back regularly for our latest reports

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