Some Detailed Info on How to Fish Nootka Sound

MyEscape

Active Member
A friend of mine who is not a guide but spends more time on the water then most passed this on to me. It is compiled of years of fishing this area and I was told I could share it.

Nootka Sound

One of the largest and most protected of the 5 Sounds on the West Coast of Vancouver Island ;accessed through and sometimes mistakenly called Gold River.
Located mid-way up the West coast of Vancouver Island it is renowned for its large and abundant runs of Springs (King), Coho (silvers), and Chum Salmon. Springs of 30 to 40 Lbs are quite common and there is always a fish or two over 50 pounds each season. Coho (silvers) are present in large numbers and are often in the 18 to 20 lb range.

Off-shore there is good to excellent, Ling cod, Snapper and Black bass fishing plus the Salmon can be down-right spectacular. Halibut are available,and while not as numerous as Quatsino Sound they tend to average quite a bit larger in size.

Fishing at Nootka Sound intercepts most of the Salmon runs bound for mainland B.C. , Vancouver Island, Washington and Oregon State Rivers. In addition Nootka fish are also homeward bound to the Gold ,Burman,and most importantly the Conuma River and it's hatchery. It is the Conuma River Hatchery which enables anglers in the Nootka Sound area to enjoy the most generous Coho limits of marked or unmarked fish on the West Coast.


Where and When to Fish.

Area 1. Outer Bajo Reef- This is a vast area of Kelp and shallow water frequented by lots of bait and Grey whales. The big Springs will show up on the Reef sometime in the last weeks of June. These are not always Nootka Sound fish and are often very agressive feeding Springs and Coho bound for other areas. The water around the Reef is from 35 to 90 feet deep and the best tactic is to contour the Reef at various depths. The Reef always holds fish no matter what tide, but try and put the reef between you and the tide flow thus puting yourself and the bait in a back eddy. This area is great fun to fish; fish too close to the bottom and you will certainly get Ling Cod or Black Bass,. they are here in great abundance.

There is a large Red Navigation buoy which marks the outside edge of Bajo reef; from this point fish directly seaward and incorporate some of the deep trolling techniques listed on this web site and found so effective at Winter Harbour. Big Springs ,Coho and Halibut frequent the deeper water known to commercial fishermen as the 50 Fathom line (300 ft).

Tackle:
Anchovy on a 60 to 72 inch tie behind your favourite flasher (hot spot, Ok'i etc) ;cut plug herring, Dymara Lazer skirt (new) 40 inch tie for silvers, 42 to 48 inches for Kings, various colored hootchies and of course spoons either coyote or Dymara in green and chrome or cop car type colors.

The Reefs remain excellent places to fish throughout the summer and fall but make sure you have a chart and GPS as this area is prone to sudden fog banks.

Area 2 North
This area, usually called Beano Creek, is extremly picturesque with features such as huge tidal caves and large bait holding kelp beds. In the late weeks of June and early July fish fairly tight to the kelp ;follow the shore line with 25 to 45 feet on down riggers. If the bait is in, there is often very good fishing for Springs and Coho and the occaisional large ling. This area is often calmer than area 1 and always more comfortable to fish than area 2 South ,however if there is no bait showing,give it a short try and if unsuccesful ;move.

Area 2 South

Maquinna Pt. or Wash Rock. One of the premier places to fish for the really big Springs. This is the first place that you can be sure you are into a "true Nootka Sound Spring". The first big Spring or King will be taken here in the last days of June to the first days in July. It signals the start of a "river of fish" which will flow into the Sound on each successive flood tide. The water along this shore, close to the rocks and kelp, is about 70 ft deep and should be fished from 25 to 45 ft on your downrigger. Be carefull!!! Watch the other boats and study your charts and sounder -there are a few spots which can be hard on tackle. Anchovy or cut plug herring is the first choice for bait, followed by Lazer skirts, hootchies and spoons. If you are not taking fish and other boats are and you are fishing anchovy -lengthen your leader to 8 to 10 feet from the flasher. Other options are anchovy or spoon only, no flasher; flasher on one side of the boat only or consider a flasher only on your weight and a lure or bait above it. The really big Springs will not be feeding at this point and it seems that they become "flasher shy" so inside the Sound keep this in mind if you seem to be the only boat not taking Springs. Coho or Silvers don't seem to be so particular.

This area can be choppy due to large tide changes and the ever present "afternoon" inflow winds. Fish very early morning, late evening and "the flood tide". Jigg around " Wash Rock" for Ling cod and other bottom fish including the odd Halibut.

Area 3 -"The Monument"

Called " The Monument" for the stone cairn erected on the lighthouse point to commerate the meeting of Capt Cook with the local "First Nations." This is where the early action takes place through most of July. This area can be crowded, especially in the early days of July when the fish aren't into the Sound proper. Fish all around the point in 60 ft of water from 25 to 40 ft on the downriggers. Lures and leader lenths are the same as Area 2 South. Fish early morning ,late evening and the tide changes. If the area becomes too crowded fish outside the gaggle in deeper water and contour the bottom with your downriggers. Another option is to contour the several points heading West to Maquinna pt; there are plenty of fish here and it is often overlooked.

Area 4 Burdwood Bay

Great trolling water, fairly protected and a real pleasure to fish. Start at the Navigation light on the South shore of Zuciarte Channel and troll along the shore to Burdwood Bay. Fish tight to the shore with 25 to 45 ft of wire on the downriggers. If you see bait out in the Channel swing out and around. Try and get below it and you should pick up a Coho or a Feeder Spring. This shore yields some monster Springs!! Fish very early morning,evening and the Flood tide.


This Area as well as Area 5 tends to be a later fishery than all the others mentioned. It does not usually come alive until the start of August;some say that this is because these fish are bound for the Gold and not the Conuma River. Indeed, fish can be taken here well into October when there is little or no competiton from other fishermen.

Area 5 Escalante Pt

More exposed than Area 4 and smaller. Contour the Kelp beds and the points-quite shallow; fish 25 to 45 ft as the bottom allows. Seems to produce on the Ebb tide. Try Area 4 first and if it is "slow " try this area-quite often it seems to be a staging place before the fish move onto the Burdwood shore on the next Flood tide.

Area 6 Hoiss Pt

This is what it's all about!! Huge fish, great scenery and no fishermen!!! Two out of three ain't bad! It can be crowded. Fish very early or very late to beat the crowd. Fortunately Nootka Sound is huge and boats tend to gather at known spots, certainly there are fish there but these fish have one thought in mind and that is to get to the Conuma River. Fishing in the crowd doesn't necessarily get you more fish, your presentation and shore contouring might not be ideal and in the end you will enjoy the experience much less. That said,there is no denying that from around July 10 and for 3 to 4 weeks after, Hoiss point will host almost all of the huge Salmon run bound for the Conuma River. Contour the shore from the Fish boundry marker ,north east to in front of Hoiss Point Lodge using 25 to 45 ft on your downriggers. Anchovey. cut plug,(long leaders) are the baits that are most favoured. Lazer skirts, hootchies, and spoons in cop car or army truck are the most prevalent colours for large Springs. Coho(silvers) are a different subject at this point and I will address it separetly at the end.

Area 7 San Carlos Pt

Fish from the Navigation light on the point southward along the Bligh Island shore. Fish fairly tight to the shore using 25 to 70 ft on the downriggers. Directly across the Sound from Hoiss Point, it is fished much less intensly. In Aug 2003 ,at 4 in the afternoon a friend of mine took a 501/2 lb fish on this shore. Our boats were the only ones fishing while Hoiss point had a crowd. A great alternative to Hoiss Point. Fish early morning,evening and on the tide change.

Area 8 Camel Rock and "The Wall"

Think of Nootka Sound as a large funnel, collecting Salmon from all over the coast,as time marches on the salmon move further into this funnel whose tip happens to be the Conuma river. July gives way to August and the hot spots will move closer to the Conuma River. During August start fishing from Camel Rock-contouring the shore northeastward past Galiano Bay; Cougar Creek and until directly across from Princess Royal Point. Fish the baits as previously discussed but if there are a lot of boats don't be afraid to explore the 70 to 90 ft depths. Fish early mornings and evenings and all tide changes; if it becomes too crowded go to Area 9.


Area 9 Hisnit to Princess Royal Point

One of the most overlooked areas in Nootka Sound. It is protected, easy to troll; 25 to 70 ft and yet most people are drawn like magnets to the Camel Rock shore. Fish early morning,evening and tide changes. Usually good to excellent from the start of August into the first weeks of September. The end of the Spring fishing will depend on the start of the Fall rains.

The Best Part

Nootka Sound is well known for its fabulous summer Chinook or King fishing. It attracts people from all over the world. It becomes deserted in September just when the huge Coho and Chum move in. There are so many Coho that the Dept. of Fisheries allows 4 Coho a day,marked (hatchery} or unmarked (wild). These Silvers can reach over 20 pounds and are incredible fighters. They will take a fly or a bucktail. You will still catch the odd Spring particularly in area 4 but area 8 is the place to concentrate on. Fish anchovy,(4 to 5 ft leader) ,Pink lazer skirt,pink hootchy or Dymara or Coyote spoon . Use downriggers to 30 feet and run a light rod with a pink spoon, pink bucktail or anchovy in the prop wash. Fishing doesn't get better than this but you may be lonely. Continues well into October.

How to get to Gold River and Nootka Sound: At Campbell River take highway 28 to Gold River an easy 1 hour drive. A good concrete boat launch is located 13 km (8 miles) southwest of Gold River on Muchalat Inlet. This ramp is usable for most boats down to a 2.5 low tide. It is run by the local "First Nations" and there is a charge for secure parking and launch. From the launch it is an easy 30 minute run to Nootka Sound. You can get a multi day launch pass and it is feasible to either launch every day or tie up at the Government wharf and stay in a motel at Gold River. This will probably give you a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours commute a day. It is possible to drive right into Nootka Sound but it is over gravel logging roads and not recommended for large boats. At Gold River follow the signs for Tahsis, cross the Gold River and continue on usually good gravel road for approx. 30 miles turn left at the sign for Cougar Creek. It is approx. 10 to 12 miles on gravel logging roads into the Campground at Cougar creek. There are grades on this section of road to 15%. Drive carefully and watch for logging trucks. The boat launch is over the beach but pretty good. I have launched a 21 ft glass boat there with little problem. Most people with large boats or a little less adventuresome prefer to launch at the ramp south of town.

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Hope you enjoy the info thanks to Mike Cummings from Courtenay for allowing me to share this with you. He also sent a copy of this to salmonuniversity.com

Cheers ME
 

Klob

Well-Known Member
When I first started reading this post I was interested in seeing what this guy had to say. The farther down the page I went I became somewhat uncomfortable about how detailed the information was, and then the charts. But when I saw you had forwarded a copy to an American site I was upset.
I don't have a problem sharing information to help newcomers like Seawolf 1 or others starting out, but to unload what clearly is knowledge that has taken many of us years to aquire I belive is careless. Bearing in mind the challenges that our coastal fisheries face, maybe such detailed imformation should be kept under wraps.
This is bound to get some heated responses and I'am prepared for that, but maybe I'am just saying what many are thinking.

Klob
 
S

scottyboy

Guest
i dunno what 2 think , myself its kinda nice to go to a new place with a little info and figure things out for yourself. big part of the fun . scottyboy
 

wolf

Well-Known Member
Klob take it for whats its worth any fisherman can look at a chart and see where a good fishy spot is kev posted this as a tool for new fisherman and to help fellow fisherman LIKE every topic on this forum we ALL talk about.

Remember you still have to go out and apply it and FISH its not like he gave exact gps spots and you know and I know every one likes to "follow the pack" me personally I like to be away from everyone and by myself.

Good luck Wolf
 
B

Brisco

Guest
I've fished salmon in B.C. for over 30 years and never been to Nootka. And having this info isn't going to make me drop everything and go.
 
I have fished Nootka for 6 years, this is all common knowledge or info you can get over a beer on the dock.

There are a lot of boats that go home with nothing to not much every year, which tells us you still need to know how to fish even when you are surrounded by them.
 

wolf

Well-Known Member
Right on for the last 2 who posted no different than saying constance bank or swiftsure bank is great hali fishing you know where it is but you still need to know how to fish it when where and HOW.

Good luck Wolf
 
S

SIR

Guest
By the amount of ink on that chart it seems to say that you can catch fish just about everywhere.... and fishing narrows, points, rock piles and the tidal lee of reefs isn't exactly the worlds best kept secret.

I'm going with the folks who say technique is what puts fish in the boat. I usually have three to five boats fishing the same spot I do and it's a rare day that I don't catch more than the rest of the boats combined(unless Ron's out fishing - all bow to the master). Lure selection, lure progression, tail lengths, flasher color, depth, speed, trolling patterns, adaption to weather/currents/feed etc. etc. are make or break with salmon fishing. This is not like bass fishing where a moving bare hook gets the job done more often than not.

I remember fishing with my Dad as a kid on the west coast of the island in a rental boat with rental gear and no idea what we were doing. Folks were catching fish all around us so we knew they were there but we ate burgers every night...

P.S. Tourism is a GOOD thing so y'all can just stop lambasting our well heeled neighours to the south or I'm gunna find out where you work and start pissing off your customers :D
 

Red Monster

Well-Known Member
Beer, the best lubricant for learning how to fish. [8D]
 
B

blueorca

Guest
Fish Nootka even once and you will see that the information on Kevins post is where all the boats are anyway.
It's like posting that there is fish at Cape Mudge (Campbell River), the Trap Shack (Sooke) or any other location around the Island. Or heaven forbid reposted that fish map you can get at the tackle stores.
Thankfully, fish have fins and can move around...alot...in fact, I hear that they actually migrate occasionally.
I'd be really pi$$ed if he told everyone to troll Tomic plugs dead slow on the surface, with a Fire Fish attached to the back. That's really the secret that he's wanting to let out.....
That and the frilly thong thing he wears when fishing...
In all seriousness, I've met Kevin once, and he impressed upon me that old adage...You can always tell when a fisherman is lieing...it's when his lips are moving....
 

Paul Burak

Member
I think it's good to give the basic spots to catch the fish to other people. They still need the skill and knowledge to catch fish same as the other guys said[:p]
 

alley cat

Active Member
Been there fished...... those spots , got some , and again got none and moved on to another spot , thats a huge area to cover , you can't pinpoint the fish on a map only show where the water is and a general direction , after that its skills and determination , put the hours in and you will be rewarded.

Regards

AL
 

Tailwalker

Active Member
When I first started reading this post I was interested in seeing what this guy had to say. The farther down the page I went I became somewhat uncomfortable about how detailed the information was, and then the charts. But when I saw you had forwarded a copy to an American site I was upset.
I don't have a problem sharing information to help newcomers like Seawolf 1 or others starting out, but to unload what clearly is knowledge that has taken many of us years to aquire I belive is careless. Bearing in mind the challenges that our coastal fisheries face, maybe such detailed imformation should be kept under wraps.
This is bound to get some heated responses and I'am prepared for that, but maybe I'am just saying what many are thinking.

Klob
You must be the guy that over the radio will say to your friends, "2 in the box, usual place, secret lure, special flasher, usual depth, usual chant........" and probably one of the few Canadians to buck the stereotype friendly, helpful Canuck persona. I take the opposite approach, I see it as we fisherman (nationality neutral) against the fish. I will tell my buddies where I am, what I am using, what direction I'm trolling and what depth. If a stranger (yes, including people like Klob) comes on the radio and ask, I'll even give them my GPS coordinates. The info and maps are helpful, but you still have to do the right things to catch the fish!!
 

GLG

Well-Known Member
It's an 8 year old post... he may have changed his mind by now:eek:
 

Califbill

Member
You must be the guy that over the radio will say to your friends, "2 in the box, usual place, secret lure, special flasher, usual depth, usual chant........" and probably one of the few Canadians to buck the stereotype friendly, helpful Canuck persona. I take the opposite approach, I see it as we fisherman (nationality neutral) against the fish. I will tell my buddies where I am, what I am using, what direction I'm trolling and what depth. If a stranger (yes, including people like Klob) comes on the radio and ask, I'll even give them my GPS coordinates. The info and maps are helpful, but you still have to do the right things to catch the fish!!


Reminds me of a radio call one salmon opener at Moss Landing, Calif. I am at the Secret Spot. . . With 200 other boats. :)
 
Pescador Thanks for putting Spring Fever's article out there. Lots of GOOD stuff in there. Yes the fishing/catching remains STRONG in Nootka.
Yes the regulations are different today than they were 10 yrs. ago especially the mouth of Nootka Sound for Both Chinook & Coho. Check them out before venturing out.

Mike mentioned that after his article Nootka got a little too crowed. Yes it happened I was there, it was quite a change.
Some fishers pulled out of the area. I for one went just North to Esperanza Inlet. In those day hardly anyone from out of the local area fished the inside waters of Esperanza & often there were very few boats at The Pins,High Rocks, Yellow Bluff, The Whistle Buoy, Catala Island, Double Island, Centre Island, Rosa Harbour & the World Famous Ferrer Pt.
That has changed somewhat over the years Especially at Ferrer Pt. BUT it is fair to say that there are certainly Less boat per hector fishing in Esperanza than in Nootka. Also according to DFO records over the past 4 years the Salmon Catch per unit of effort has been consistently higher in Esperanza. Which mean fishers in Esperanza are Catching more fish for the time on the water. Could be a result of the Esperanza Fishers are better Fishers But most likely they are encountering More Chinook & Coho as they come off Brooks Peninsula moving south STOPPING at the mouth of Esperanza to FEED.

Don't get me wrong Nootka is also a GREAT place to catch Salmon. When that Conuma Hatchery run starts moving in the fishing/catching i is HOT!!!.

Fishing out of Tahsis gives us the benefit of both areas. It is only a 20 minute run down the Tahsis inlet to Nootka. Then a right Or left turn depending on where in the Sound the hatchery run has staged itself that day. On July 15th it's a near sure bet that the Chinook will be stacked up at Coopte Point right at the mouth of Tahsis Inlet where it enters Nootka.
On calm days most boats head out Esperanza way simply because the Salmon fishing is more productive. On windy days they head down to Nootka it's just that simple. No Missed Fishing Days.

All in All We are very fortunate to have Area 25/125 Esperanza & Nootka literally at our doorstep to enjoy some of the BEST SALMON fishing/catching in all of BC.

See You SOON. It is stacking up to be a GREAT SEASON.
FOJ
 
Right on for the last 2 who posted no different than saying constance bank or swiftsure bank is great hali fishing you know where it is but you still need to know how to fish it when where and HOW.

Good luck Wolf

True! It's all a hoot, I've fished Nootka had same info and couldn't catch a cold. Next year after a great deal of trial and error did well. Same has applied everywhere I've been. At the moment we are relocated and making home Campbell River. Been out lots, crabbing, prawning, fishing caught nothing. I'll figure it out, every area is different and the folks that post area "secrets" make it all that more fun but probably not to hard on the fish populations.
 

Waterwolf2230

Well-Known Member
What an excellent thread and very thoughtful to do for those of us that are just getting familiar with the area and are teaching their sons about responsible fishing. Can you tell me what the pink/green marker signifies?

Much thanks,

Curtis
 
This is a really old thread. Look at the date of the first post. Funny coincidence is I was just looking at it yesterday, considering giving Nootka a try. Never been.

The marker is the fishing hotspots. Or are you talking about Bajo reef where it is pink line on top of green?
 
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