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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.
Click here for the Fisheries Openings and Closures for the Pacific Region

The Clock is Ticking!

Fishing Department - Saturday, April 09, 2016

  Time is running down for prepping our boats/gear as the big run of White Springs should be getting close. It's time to get any final repairs done, test new gear, and do a shake down cruise. Get out on the water and make sure your ship is in ship shape. With the weather we've had, we all should be out enjoying our spring (and taking pictures to send to friends and family back East).

Here in the store we are all stocked up for the season. However we are already running low of some of the coolest new spoons, like Herring Aid, and our new 2" Goldstar spoons. The 2" spoons should be perfect for when the herring eggs hatch in a few weeks. Hopefully the trout fishermen won't buy them all up like they did last year with the first proto types came out.

As for the current salmon situation, not much has changed since last week. Best bets are still out on the far side of Gabriola, fishing deep with glow spoons like Irish Eyes and Homeland Security.

The only significant changes are more legal sized springs and we are starting to see some fish showing up a little shallower in the Five Finder area. Local high liner, Captain Jack of the good ship 'Free Spirit' got a nice 12lber at 130ft with a 3.5" Pink Sink.

Also a heads up, the Inaugural 'Shut Up & Fish" Charity Serauxmen Fishing Derby is set for May 14-15th.

Tips up,

Steve V

tick tick tick tick




Feeder Springs and Prawns

Fishing Department - Friday, April 01, 2016

The feeders are feeding. Large numbers of feeder Spring Salmon have moved into our waters. And the big Harrison white springs should be showing soon too.

 At this time about half of the feeders are undersized and most of the rest are barely legal (nothing wrong with that in my books though;) There are some larger ones as well, at least one nice 15lber at the ramp this week.

There are still large numbers of herring around so the feeder Springs will be fattening up quickly. There are also some huge schools of Pollock schooled up off the fingers

 Best bets are Home land Security spoon, or green glow teaser heads 200ft. down right on the bottom of the East side of Gabriola. Last week one fishermen reported 6 legal out of 17 salmon in that location. However other guys had skunks in the same area, but that's fishing.


Prawns are open as of April 1st in most areas of Nanaimo. So get out and get them while the getting's good. And if you get too many feel free to give them to me.

Also a reminder Ling and Rock Cod are closed in area 17 (Nanaimo) They should open May 1st. They are open on the West Coast as of April 1st.

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Herring Roa on toast

Fishing Department - Saturday, March 19, 2016


So, grilled herring are too bony for me. Tasty, but not worth the effort. The roe was increasable as always. And if anyone is wondering, the green stuff is British mushy peas. They seemed appropriate for a herring based meal.

The spawn is still going from Departure Bay to Lanzville. This is an epic year! 

Herring Roe

Fishing Department - Saturday, March 19, 2016


Fishing Department - Friday, March 18, 2016

Nanaimo Hering Spawn

Fishing Department - Friday, March 18, 2016

Nanaimo Herring Spawn


We are having a great herring spawn in Nanaimo this year. Yesterday I loaded up in Hammond Bay, and right now (March 18th) Departure Bay is  turning white. We will have a great salmon year with all the herring hatching in a month.

Get your herring jigs and head to the beach. I got 8 gallons in 20mins last night. Bait for the year, kippers, and best of all pan fried herring eggs on toast. Mmmmmm tasty

Steve Vavrik

Welcome to a brand new fishing season!

Fishing Department - Sunday, February 21, 2016

Welcome to a brand new fishing season!

I'm hoping this season is as good as it was four years ago.

In the last couple weeks the cleaning station at Brechin has had a decent amount of heads/guts in it. The fish are showing in the normal early season places. That is deep water fairly far off shore. French Creek, Winchelseas, well out past the Fingers, and the East side of Gabriola. Most productive areas are North of Icarus Point Fish deep, with glow cop car patterns currently being the best.


Our yearly order of Gold star/Silver Horde spoons has arrived!!! If you have a favorite spoon come get it now.

We have a whole bunch of new colour patterns designed by Harbour Chandler staff for Vancouver Island fishing. We also received the spoon that won our design a lure contest. The lure is called POP, as in your rods are going to pop off the down rigger. The designer was avid fisherman Till Seigel, 11yrs old, from Gabriola Island.


Tips up,

Steve Vavrik

Mid Winter Fishing Report

Fishing Department - Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mid Winter Fishing Report


    Greetings and happy New Year!

After the holidays and all the foul weather I'm seeing fishermen heading out on the water again. After all it's always a good idea to fire up the boat engines periodically, and you might as well knock the rust off your fishing gear/skills at the same time.

While the quantity of fish coming in right now is not exceptional, I've noticed quite a few large fish for this time of year. In the last week I know of two fish that were over 20lbs. Most are in the 10-12lb range right now, but they are growing fast.

Best lures have been Glow Cop Car teaser heads and Glow Cop Car spoons trolled deep and slow, with long leaders.

Thrasher Rock and the Winchelsea area have produced the best fish, but Entrance and the East Side of Gabriola would be good choices too.



  Here at the Chandler we should see our Gold Star spoon order soon, including a new batch of our own designs. Remember we always sell out of the best patterns before mid-summer, so if you want a particular hot spoon try to buy it before then.



The Vancouver Boat Show is this week Jan 20-24.

   See you there!

Tips up,

Steve Vavrik


Gibbs Delta Prize Packs

The Harbour Chandler - Friday, December 18, 2015

Enter to win a Gibbs Delta Tackle Prize Pack!

Send us your fishing report and/or a picture and get a chance to win a Gibbs Delta Tackle prize pack! We want to know what you caught, where and on what! Each report/picture between now and March 19th gets an entry to the draw so keep sending them in!

You can send in the report several ways. Posting it on our Facebook page, on Twitter @HarbourChandler, on Instagram @harbourchandler or emailed to This is a social media contest, so it will be shared on our social media pages.

Salmon Prize Pack


Bottom Fishing Prize Pack

Winter Doldrums

Fishing Department - Sunday, November 29, 2015

Winter Doldrums

 We are in the middle of our quietest time of the fishing season. November and December are our slowest two months. However, unlike many places on the coast we do still have salmon in our area. Fishing is not hot and heavy right now, but we are starting to see a lot of bait that is drawing in winter Chinooks. To target them, try fishing deep around the fingers at 180 ft. or on the east side of Gabriola just off the bottom in 200 ft. of water. See my winter fishing techniques from two posts ago. Remember to use glow lures, apply lots of herring scent and as much flasher as possible. Kone Zones right off your cannon ball is a good way to attack fish from far off, especially with the clear winter water. (I actually use Kone Zones all season)

There are also still some nice big Coho out around Entrance Island too.  There aren't a lot, but I know of three caught in the 15lb plus range since my last report. Glow splatter back hootchies are best. 

There seems to be a few guys trying to learn how to catch Puget Sound King crabs. I've caught lots of small ones around the fingers and know of large ones caught at the South end of Gabriola recently. It was over a foot across the back. I get them in my Jolly Good crab/prawn trap, but the really big ones can't fit in it without widening the door. If anyone has figured out how to target them I'd love to know. We have some big blue hoop lobster traps that I'm going to try out for this.

Tips up, Traps down.

Steve V

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