Fresh Air & Freedom
Do you remember that feeling? Waking up really early and chasing the sunrise along the way to the shore. Feeling the boat sway back and forth, while the waves lightly roll off the side. Suddenly, the line starts to run and you hear the buzzing of the reel as it spins out of control. You grab onto your fishing rod, lean back and wrestle that fish until it finally surrenders. Dad scrambles for the net and scoops up your beautiful Chinook salmon. Then you stand proudly holding that slimy trophy for photos. Sooke Harbour is home to an abundance of marine life. Salmon are a type of fish that swim plentiful along our waters.
Before you hit the water make sure you have a fishing license as well as stamps for the fish you want to keep.
If you are looking for a smaller 4-10 pound fish Sockeye, Coho and Pink are what you should be aiming for. These fish are all attracted to different kinds of bait, whether its roe, herring or anchovies. Their meat is quite delicious, you could have a fresh piece of sashimi, filet it for the oven or grill, or my personal favourite: smoked salmon!
As the king of the salmon family, the Chinook range between 20-60 pounds. However, be aware that you can only keep them if they meet specific length requirements. You have to release any fish that is less than 45 cm, which can be frustrating when you go out for a few hours and reel in not one but two that measure up to 44.5 cm. But it will be well worth the wait, when you finally bring in the king of the sea, breaking your own personal record!
Just remember “If your Coho or Chinook salmon is a hatchery fish, it will have a healed scar in place of the adipose fin. Remove the head and submit it to a Salmon Sport Head Recovery Depot.” This data is extremely helpful to monitor the progress of these fish. Overfishing is an issue that Oceans Canada is trying to prevent from happening through programs like these.
Due to the logistics of fishing, we always suggest a guide if you are treading in uncommon waters. Certain zones have different rules for what you have to release and everyone is allowed to keep a maximum of two Chinook per day.
If you’re ready to ‘seas the moment,’ there are several fishing charters with a certified guide. Charters can accommodate groups of up to four people and includes all the amenities you will need. Guides provide a boat, all the gear and answers to any questions you may have. They will know the perfect bait and depths to set your hooks at based on the season, weather conditions and time of day. Fishing really is a science, it requires a certain level of patience. The best part of having a guide is that you don’t have to clean up and put the boat away when you’re done!