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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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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

Here Today, Gone Tomorow

Fishing Department - Friday, May 20, 2016

  A good rule of thumb in ocean fishing is; if fishing was good at a certain place one day, chances are by the next day the fish will have moved on. This is the situation we have around Nanaimo right now. Think of the fish as teenage boys; they can't settle down in one place for long. It is also true for the depth they are running at. Some guys have got their limit somewhere, and the next day nothing from the same area. So if you aren't getting fish move around, vary depth, and location.

 Luckily, the only consistent factor is what lures are working. Irish Cream spoons and "Homeland Security" Flashers are dominating. Remember the "Homeland Security" flashers are by request only, and are not on the shelves. Just ask anyone in Tackle. A fun fact about Homeland Security is that it's not a new pattern. It used to be called "Jehad", which is a word you shouldn't enter into Google. Another sure thing is our "Twisted Lime" spoon. Its our own custom design and we just invented the name, so the label just says "Harbour Chandler 2016 Custom #2"

Tips Up,

Steve Vavrik

* The comments in italics are written by Taylor Rae, and are her opinion alone, and not necessarily endorsed by myself or the Harbour Chandler *


Algae Bloom and Red Tide

Fishing Department - Monday, May 16, 2016

Just a quick update, for local conditions.

 The last week has been a little slow. Some nice fish up to 25 lbs came in yesterday, but overall it wasn't too hot.

 Army truck spoons and flashers, and homeland security flashers and spoons are still dominant. Green and white hootchies are also producing fish.

 There are still loads of Pollock out so troll fast.

 The big algae bloom going on right now. Often fishing shallower and inshore of the bloom is a good tactic. It worked to win the derby this weekend.

 Also there is a red tide closure for all of Georgia Straight. So put your clamming on hold.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Pirates Day Sale!!! May 7th

Fishing Department - Friday, May 06, 2016

Pirates Day Sale

The one and only pirates day sale starts tomorrow at 8:00AM!!!

Its too windy to fish, so you better be here!

35 pound Chinook

Fishing Department - Friday, May 06, 2016

A couple days ago a 35 pound white spring was caught near the fingers. Details to follow. All I know right now is his rod broke, and it was on an army truck pattern.

Quite a few guys are reporting success with army truck pattern gear. Spoons, hootchies and flashers. Its been about four years since Army Truck has been a good pattern, it looks like this season it's back again.

Steve Vavrik

Pick Your Depth, Any Depth!

Fishing Department - Friday, April 29, 2016

 The fishing reports for this week are very good. Lots of nice sized Springs at all depths in many different areas. North East of Five Finger Island was the hot location. However I have no depth recommendations as fish have bean taken from 70ft to 230ft. So basically just get the  gear in the water (salt) and you should be fine. Best lures have been white hootchies, and a version of our custom designed Killy Magee spoon, which we are calling "Evil Eye". We also have an, as yet unnamed; custom made flasher that pairs nicely with it. The other hot spoon is still Homeland Security, and yes we have some of the limited run of homeland security flashers to pair with it. If you want one ask someone in the tackle department as we won't have enough to put out on the selves.

 If you have are having trouble avoiding the huge schools of Pollock out there try trolling faster. Same techniques as when there are dogfish around. By the way, Pollock make great fish and chips.

Tips, up

 Steven Vavrik

Big Bait Little Bait

Fishing Department - Saturday, April 23, 2016

 The reports for this week aren't as great as last week, but still solid for this early in the season. The schools of salmon off Neck Point have moved South to the East side of Gabriola and Thrasher Rock area. Guys are still picking up decent fish off the Fingers, but they are just having to work a little harder for them.

 There is an interesting mix of bait sizes. Some herring hatchlings close to shore, use Irish Cream and Green Glow Coho killers, or 3" spoons to match them. And farther from shore are large mature herring  Use 5-6" Cop Car or Irish Cream and Green Glow spoons. Alternatively try plugs like the 500 series or better still, a 639 to match them.

There are lots of fish just North of us that should be here any day. Comox was doing really well with Canuck Cream and POP spoons, and right now French Creek has the fish. I expect Neck Point to heat up again as soon as this weekend.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

More fish at Five Fingers!

Fishing Department - Sunday, April 17, 2016

 Many nice fish were caught off Neck Point, just north of Five Finger yesterday. Trolling in 500' of water, 130' down. "Irish cream", and "Homeland security" took a lot of fish. One interesting lure variation that was working for a local 'top rod' was; a larger cop car spoon for a mix of white and red springs.

At lease three distinctly different runs of Chinook are schooling in this area at the moment. Possibly some have continued on to the East side of Gabriola, but I don't have any reports from there yet.

Please email if you have a report for me for this or any other area.

Also, if you like reading these reports, and purchase gear based on what I post, please let our owners know. This reports take me away from other duties, and we need to know if its generating sales.

You can email Matt at or let Leigh and Denise know if you see them in the store.

And remember,

Keep your tips up, and your (cannon) balls down,

Steve Vavrik

Times up, It's Fishing Time!

Fishing Department - Friday, April 15, 2016

The first of the big white springs are here! Also fat red springs in the same area. North of Neck Point, 200-300 feet of water. Troll 120-14ft down.

First good fish of the day were 16lb red spring on Homeland Security spoon. Later in the day Capt. Jack scored biggest fish of the day with an 18lb white spring on Pink Eyes spoon. I saw the fish myself and it looked tasty.

Time to get out there!!

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Local Waters Up Date

Fishing Department - Monday, April 11, 2016

Here is a short update for local waters.

 More Red Springs are being taken near Five Fingers Island at 140-180ft. These fish are closer to shore than we typically see for this time of year. Likely the big herring spawn/hatch is what's drawing them in. This is great for guys with small boats like myself.

 The best lures are again our custom made Pink Eye and Pink Party spoons. Also Glow Green or bloody nose (glow & red) Teaser Heads with fire cracker anchovies. A good alternative to real bait are the Baitrix artificial bait fished close to the bottom. I would add herring scent to them too. I actually scent all my lures with herring or anchovy scent. I strongly believe using scent has contributed to the increase in success I've had in the last 5 years

The flashers to use right now are green glow or red glow.

 Further south towards Ladysmith and Chemainus I have seen some excellent reports of nice 14-15lb Springs some taken at the nice shallow depth of 100ft! Best spoons are Cookies n' Cream, and POPs.

 To the North of us it has slowed down in Campbell River, but the Comox and Deep Bay fisherman have been having a sudden surge of success. Therefore, this group of fish is probably on its way to join the others we are seeing in our waters. Hopefully the big herring hatch will keep them all here gaining weight for the summer; just like last time we had a big herring year. 

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Check back regularly for our latest reports

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