Dave Jamieson: Your last column outlined the fishing spots in Barkley Sound. But this year springs are in short supply. Mackerel are a plague on bait and biting almost anything, including spoons and hootchies. Their small size makes them difficult to detect. This is one of the worst Augusts I have experienced in 22 years. Numerous guides express the same conclusion.
And seals are a real problem. Everyone is having salmon taken this year. Whittlestone and Pill Point are really bad, but all popular spots are being hit. I even lost a few offshore.
Answer: Yes, my column addressed how to do the deed in Barkley Sound. Whether it is a good year or bad, it's better to write what to do, than simply note things have not been good. Here is a creel survey for the coast: www.prsalmon.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/08/CreelInfo.pdf.
Nitinat Chinook are in short supply, too. This is a year for five and six year-olds: 30-to 40-pounders. Rain has been non-existent and springs need almost a foot of water to migrate upstream. Hopefully the fish are out there and the bulk will show up a bit late. The Alberni Derby winner was 34.2 pounds.
The most popular fisheries for shore-bound anglers to take home a big spring are the Stamp and Nitinat. In the latter, pinned in the first hole, the fish have been pounded so much they turned and swam back out into the lake, bearing hooks and yarn flies when caught in the hatchery's seine for broodstock. Consequently, Nitinat River spring fishing was closed Sept. 13 until further notice, meaning appreciable rain. It takes several inches to fill up the forest before it runs off into the river.
Lloyd Erickson: I helped Nanaimo Hatchery staff and volunteers catch 1,000 pinks for brood stock.
In your last column you said when fishing with hootchies, use a flasher not a dodger. What do you use dodgers for? Is the difference between a dodger and flasher just the speed? Now, having read your comment about using a flasher for hootchies, what about flashers for plankton hootchies for sockeye? Since you troll slowly, the usual Hot Spot flasher dodges side to side. Then, the enigma is, we use the same sockeye gear (small pink hootchie) for springs in Alberni Inlet. Should we be fishing these faster and on a longer leader?
Answer: A flasher goes around in a circle whereas a dodger simply sways its trailing edge back and forth. Dodgers are used for bait fishing for springs. But nowadays most people use flashers and longer leaders from 4-to 6-feet - not longer or netting becomes a problem - so the flasher flashes but imparts no action to the spiralling bait. However, there comes a point, if the angler is putting the boat in and out of gear - a cutplugging technique - that will slow a flasher to the point that it does not rotate.
In the past, it was the three S's for sockeye: slow, straight and short, meaning slow speed, trolling in a straight line and short leaders, for example, 23-to 25inches. Yes to using flashers for plankton hootchies. Matt Stabler who guided through Spirit Bear Charters last year is the man who has a well-figured-out rig for Inlet sockeye. Go out with him. More on this next week.
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