Hello Fellow Anglers
It has been at least couple months since my last newsletter in case you thought you may have missed one. After all fishing charter operations got shut down in mid-March I didn't think it was all that necessary to be putting out an update for a bit.
You have also likely heard that on April 1st DFO implemented the same Chinook non-retention regulations that we saw last spring and summer. The one difference is that for many of the areas inside the Strait of Georgia the Chinook non-retention regulation is from April 1st until "further notice"; where as, last summer it was until July 15th. The hope is that this year we will see an opening of some type occur prior to July 15th even if only for hatchery clipped Chinook. Of course with many things being shut down or scaled back due to Covid-19, it is hard to know just how diligently DFO is actually working on this, but word is that we may hear an announcement from them "shortly". I was hoping it was going to occur this past week, so I held off sending out this newsletter, but it never occurred, and Murphy's Law would typically work in a way that they won't put out their announcement until right after I send out a newsletter (so I'd have to send out another on its heels....lol)....so here is my newsletter
As of right now we do not have any indication as to exactly when their announcement will occur, or what they are going to announce. I will put out another newsletter once it happens if there is any news about our local waters. What we do already know is that the area off the mouth of the Fraser and south towards Victoria will remain closed until August 1st (as it did last summer).
On the positive side, I was finally able to open up again for charters on June 1st. We were all waiting for direction from WCB and Transport Canada as to protocols we will have to implement in order to do charters, and that info came out within the last 10 days of May. We got together at the end of May and then put together a plan for opening up charters from Sewells. Luckily, wearing a cloth mask has been officially recognized as being an appropriate safety protocol if you are going to be within 6 feet of other people because as you know, it would be basically impossible to operate my charters if we had to stay 6 feet away from each other at all times. FYI, Here is our Covid plan/protocols that we have put into effect in order to operate our charter businesses. Of course as the pandemic evolves, these protocols may also evolve somewhat. At this time, my 4 customer maximum is still in effect (there was a concern that my maximum number may have had to drop to 2).
Masks must be worn at all times
All exposed areas on the boat will be thoroughly cleaned/sanitized prior to the charter
Clients will be asked to bring out their own PPE and use it, this includes a minimum of a face masks and hand towel to dry their hands. (Gloves and eye protection is optional)
Clients will be debriefed on how to best optimize physical distancing. This will include but not be limited to; the best area to sit/stand and procedures for where to stand and deal with the catching of fish
Hand washing stations/sanitizing areas are provided in various locations on the vessel (it is preferred that customers use their own towels to dry their hands)
Extra PPE is available if any is lost or damaged or considered insufficient to meet the current standards
Fishing rods and other ‘multi-used’ equipment will be sanitizes or washed after being handled
Food and/or beverage sharing is discouraged
While travelling out to the fishing grounds, clients are asked to remain seated to ensure they do not encroach on others personal space
Washroom facilities are available but no other use of the below cabin space will be permitted
Customers are asked and reminded to maintain ‘Social distancing” on the dock and at the cleaning station
Customers will be encouraged to follow provincial protocols for travel to and from the dock
Contact info will be kept on file for 30 days from date of Charter
Payment for trip can only be made with one Credit Card
On the fishing side of things, the local Chinook fishery has been excellent all spring for those that have headed out for a bit of catch and release action. There have been lots of Chinook throughout Howe Sound and off south Bowen, and of course at this time of year, the Gulf Islands will also be very good as it is the peak timing for this area. While catch and release regulations are still in effect for Chinook, trips across to the Gulf Islands are usually a great option (weather permitting) as Lingcod are open in this area and there are also be a fair number of Coho around (retention of hatchery coho opened on June 1st).
If you typically do a lot of catch and release fishing (as those of you who trout fish regularly typically do), now is a great time to get out on the water. There are very few other boats out fishing, and you may find yourself as the only boat fishing an area that would typically be crowded with fishing boats in a normal year. I was fishing off Gabriola on Wednesday and while there were a couple other boats strictly fishing for bottom fish nearby, I think there was only one other guy who came trolling by us all day. Fishing was excellent by the way, as we landed, took a DNA samples, and released 8 legal Chinook (most in the mid-teens, and 7 were clipped hatchery fish), one undersize, and had a shot at another half dozen good fish in the roughly 3.5 hours that we trolled for Chinook.
It is also a good time to do some searching for Halibut (we tried for a bit without success on Wednesday). This isn't a species typically pursued or caught in the waters around Vancouver, but there have been quite a few more taken in recent years (usually by accident while salmon fishing), and it is time to start to try to dial in this species, as there could be quite a few more around than we think. My latest one was an "oversized" of about 145 cm that we released from the lower portion of Howe Sound last October. All the others I've caught were from the Gabriola area, though spots up along the sunshine Coast have also been producing them quite regularly for the last three or four years.
The commercial Prawn fishery started up this past Thursday. I don't think there are too many commercial guys fishing Howe Sound this year. I will monitor where they are setting their strings of traps, and there may still be an opportunity to put out my prawn traps even during their opening. Catches had diminished in recent months as there was heavy recreational effort outside Horseshoe Bay all spring, but there can still be some decent catches.
2020 Charter rates are now in effect, and are as follows: For one person the 5 hour rate stays the same at $600 + GST, for 2 people it rises slightly to $635.00 + GST, for 3 people it will be $670 + GST, and for 4 people it is $720 + GST. Additional hours are staying at $100.00 + GST.
Remember to get your Fishing License if you don't already have it. The 2020 saltwater fishing licenses are available on-line from the Department of Fisheries. You now have to purchase licenses on-line as they are no longer for sale in tackle shops and marinas unless they do it on-line for you. This takes quite a bit of time, and often they will charge a "surcharge" for their time and printer costs. The following is a link to the DFO website where you can purchase your license. Remember to get a salmon stamp as well as the basic license as the stamps are not available at the marina either. https://recfish-pechesportive.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/nrls-sndpp/index-eng.cfm . http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/licence-permis/index-eng.html. Also, when you buy your license, remember to print it out on paper and bring that with you when you go fishing. You still need to have a paper copy of your license with you while fishing in order to record your catch.
There is also the free BC Tidal Water Sportfishing App for smart phones and tablets. It has the updated regulations, species identification, a catch log, and the ability to display your license, though as of now you still need to have a printed paper copy of your license to record your catch with you when fishing. The hope is that soon we will switch to an electronic license, and be able to do away with the silly paper copies.
As always, feel free to pass this information along to any associates whom may appreciate the report. I will be posting pictures and results of my fishing trips from out on the water with Instagram as they occur on both my Facebook and Twitter pages. If you are interested in "following", my "name" is "salmonfishdave (http://twitter.com/salmonfishdave).
If you have any questions, or wish to book a charter, e-mail me, or call/text me at (604) 329 - 8642.
Note: If you see this report posted on my website and you didn't receive it directly like you use to, please send me an e-mail and I will put you back on the list. If you wish to be removed from this e-mail list, please let me know and I will do so.