What a season! Winter Harbour 2015 was a summer to remember. From the 40-50 chinook days to the mid-July tuna run, we definitely had it all this year and then some!
We started our first trip on June 10th this year and finished our last group the first week of September and not one group went home disappointed.
Our June fishery was phenomenal with the second half of June almost being flat calm every day. On top of that there were many days where we were catching and releasing 40-50 chinook a day!
Another bonus about this past June was that we were getting our limits of Coho every day which usually doesn’t start to happen until well into July.
Bottom fishing like always was great with most days catching and limiting out on springs and only having to travel 1-2 miles from there to get all the halibut and ling that we wanted. A true epic June that I will never forget!
July was just as productive in all the same ways. There were some BIG fish during the first half of July as well with each group pulling out a few in the 30s, with the biggest being 39 pounds.
There was a bit of a lull in July for about a week starting around the 13th due to some extremely warm water that moved in and the bait and most of the salmon seemed to vanish. There were still were salmon around but you really had to work at getting them. But! The good thing about the warm water is that the tuna came in very close to the beach in huge numbers. We were only having to travel about 10 miles off the beach to get into heavy Tuna action as soon as you hit the blue water (62+ degree water). This continued until early September with the water moving slightly in and out as the season progressed.
August was another stellar month with tuna action off the wall. The warm water receded a bit so we had to travel a little further but that meant the normal temps were back near the beach and the salmon were back in heavy number again. A lot of nice Chinook averaging between 20-25 were the norm most days with some bigger fish moving through towards the end of August, just having to work for them a little harder.
Coho were around but not off the wall like most years. We were still getting limits every day, and they weren’t so thick that you couldn’t keep your gear in the water like other years so it gave us more of a chance to target those big springs.
September is usually a great month for BIG Northern Coho, wicked Tuna Fishing and flat calm seas. This year was a little different with a lot of wind and not a lot of Coho. I did hear they moved in heavy in the second half of the month but we had finished our season by then. September is usually some of the best tuna fishing as well but this year the warm water started breaking up earlier and when that happens the tuna start to head West and South.
I know I don’t talk much about bottom fish in this report but honestly halibut/lingcod fishing varies very little all season in Winter Harbour. I believe the reason is because there is little to no pressure on these fish all year long. It is truly the best bottom fishing on Vancouver Island if not the whole BC coast. And I don’t believe there is anywhere else that you can get the guaranteed variety like you do in Winter Harbour.
Let’s hope that 2016 bring the same season as this past. Predictions are looking very good with very strong returns to the Columbia river and all the major rivers on the island in 2012. So this means those 4-year-old fish will be heading home and going right by our doorstep!