Friday, August 21, 2009

Latest sportfishing update from Oscar's

Here's the latest regional sportfishing update provided by Oscar's Source for Sports in Smithers.

Coho and Steelhead Returns

We hear much in the media about the catastrophic returns of salmon to the Fraser River System. Fortunately, the Skeena system has been spared from the poor returns. Although Sockeye Salmon numbers are down we are still allowed to fish and keep those delicious Sockeye. However when it comes to Steelhead and Coho returns we have good news.

The Tyee Index shows returns so far are above the decade average for both species. Great news for the local and visiting anglers. Nobody complains if we all get a fair share of the salmon returns and leave enough escapement for the future.

Coho Salmon in the ocean or fresh in the river are sometimes incorrectly identified as Chum Salmon. Check out for easy identification. Coho will have a wide tail base, almost square tail, white gums and spots on the top of the body and tail. As spawning advances Coho will show the darker spawning colours as the males develop the hooked jaw and females also get darker.

Coho are athletic, strong fish and put up a determined fight usually with a lot of jumps. In the saltwater they readily take Coyote Spoons. Apex, Hoochies, Squid and needlefish and herring, anchovies. Driftfishing lures like the Buzz Bombs, Pirkens and Zeldas have a loyal following and many anglers specialize with the various bucktail type of flies. In freshwater you can bottom bounce with Spin-n-Glos, Gooey Bobs with wool. Marabou jigs either bottom bounced or used with a float are very good. Probably the most popular method for Coho is casting the proven spoons and spinners. Gibbs Koho spoons have been a standby for BC anglers for years. Kohos in sizes #35-#65 depending on water depth and speed are used in Silver, silver/red, blue, blue/red and copper/red. Pixee spoons are the most popular in Alaska and are very good in our waters. The best colours are pink, red, blue/red and chartreuse/blue. For spinners the Mepps in #3 and #4 in blue/red and the Vibrax in size #3-#5 are best. Vibrax colours silver, gold, blue, blue/red and copper are all well proven. Many guides will cut the hook off the Vibrax and install a good quality split ring with a quality single hook. They claim better hooking and landing of Coho with this slight modification.

All hooks most be single, barbless and replacing with a high quality Gamakatsu Siwash or Octopus hook is recommended. Because we are often bouncing, and hooking bottom, hooks should be checked for sharpness often. A sticky sharp hook is the single most important thing you can do to improve your luck. The Easy Lap Model S sharpener is good but the best for ease of use is the Dr. Slick diamond sharpener, perfect for lures or flies and has a coarse and fine side.

Fish the current seams and make sure your lure is close to the bottom. You will lose tackle but that is where the salmon travel so make sure you are in the zone.

Limit on Coho in most rivers is 4 but only 2 may be over 50 cm (20 inches).

Regulations can be found for both fresh and saltwater at

Check your area and river for complete info.

Enjoy your weekend. Be safe.

Bulkley River
The hot weather that we have had the last couple days has made the water a little murky, its a shade of cement green right now because of the glacier melt. A ton of pinks have been caught and can be seen rolling in all their favorite spots on the Bulkley. Coho are also moving in and quite a few are being caught, they make for a great fight and great eating. Even the odd steelhead is being landed as the early run comes through with more expected in September and October

Kispiox River
The water is super low right now and the river seems almost a trickle. Lots of pinks around with some coho. Usually when the river is low like this, fish wait at the mouth of the river for some more water (possibly like the rain they got last night) and then make their move. 8 steelhead were caught in native nets, one of them being around 50lb!! So the steelhead are moving to!

The river is really nice and clear and again is full of pinks! Quite a few coho being caught as well as some steelhead. Don't forget any fish you catch that have a tag, you must report.

Prince Rupert
Coho fishing still great out of Rupert and now some of the Northerns are starting to show up( the 18+ pounders). As the forecasts show we are having a good return of the coho. When the Coho are really biting it is not uncommon to have 2 or 3 fish on at once. What a rodeo often becoming a garage sale as lines cross and with their frequent jumps you lose track of your fish. Often we will keep a cast/spin rod close with a Buzz Bomb or Zelda rigged to cast to the jumpers. If you can cast into the rings quickly enough hookups often occur. Big Halibut now being taken as the Halibut follow the runs in. Halibut in Hecate Strait, Tree Knobs and Melville Island. Coho at Stephens Island, Dundas and Work Channel, Humpback Bay.

Douglas Channel
Good Coho fishing throughout the Douglas Channel with many limit catches from Money point right into the harbour. Pinks and Chums still part of the catch and red snapper grey cod and halibut for the bottom bouncers.

Kitimat River
Good Coho, Chum and Pink fishing in the river. The Pink return is abnormally high. Some really big Chum have been taken and a few of the northern Coho are showing up. A great year on the Kitimat with so many fish.

Terrace area
River has really dropped in the last couple of weeks and many gravel bars are now showing. Although Sockeye numbers are down there is still a lot of fish being caught. Pinks are numerous and many anglers are less than tickled Pink as they fish for Coho and Sockeye. Many of the early Steelhead are also being caught on the popular bars around Terrace and upriver. Hard to beat when a possible 6 different species can be hooked in one day.


The Bulkley Valley Fall Fair is coming up on the last weekend of August. They are again hosting their 5th Annual Fly Casting Competition. Come into Oscar's to sign up. There is a women's division, kids, and men's open division. Everyone is welcome to come out and show off their stuff. The competition is based on accuracy as well as distance and all fishermen/women will use a 5wt rod to do their casts.

Ladies, kids, and open eliminations at 7pm Thursday, August 27th at Chandler Park.
Finalists finish off in the Rodeo Arena at the Fall Fair on Saturday August 29th at 12 noon.
There are lots of great prizes to be drawn and we encourage everyone to sign up!
More info at 250-847-2136 or

No comments: