The Island boasts five different types of salmon - coho, chinook (tyee), sockeye, pink and chum that are caught year-round. Other saltwater species are halibut, cod and snapper.
Coho, or silvers, are the most acrobatic of the Pacific salmon and are notorious for ripping a hundred metres of line from a reel, then racing back toward an angler with such speed that keeping the line tight is impossible. Early season coho average 1.3 to 1.8 kilograms (2 to 4 lbs.) while the late summer and autumn will more than double in size weighing up to 10 kilograms (22 lbs.) or more.
Pink or humpback salmon appear about July and taper off by early October when they head upstream to spawn. They average 1.3 to 2.2 kilograms (3 to 5 lbs.) and can reach up to 5.4 kilograms (12 lbs.). They put up a spirited fight, making them popular with fly-fishers and light-tackle enthusiasts.
Sockeye salmon turn bright red once they enter their spawning rivers. Signicifcantly smaller than chinooks, sockeye offer superb flesh for eating and put up a good struggle.
Chum salmon are quite large. 3.6 to 10 kilograms (8 to 22 lbs.), but are not known for their taste. They are not prized by anglers for their flavour but for the best fight of any salmon species in B.C.
Jan/Feb/Mar - Steelhead
April/May/June - Cutthroat & Rainbow Trout
July/August - Trout
Sept/Oct - Chinook, Coho & Trout
Nov/Dec - Steelhead
Cowichan Lake is billed as the fly-fishing capital of Canada and the Cowichan River is one of the most consistently producing fishing rivers on the Island. A fishing path follows the river for 19 miles between the Robertson Road clubhouse and Cowichan Lake and is maintained and sign posted.
The Comox Valley features many lakes with Comox Lake being the largest, boasting trophy-size Cutthroat as well as Kokanee, Rainbow and Dolly Varden trout.
Strathcona Park has 10 alpine lakes stocked with rainbow trout that can be reached by hiking from either the Mt. Washington or the Forbidden Ski areas.
Morton Lake, northwest of Campbell River offers exceptional trout fishing. From April until June and from September to October lake fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and Dolly Varden can be excellent.
Steelhead run in the Quinsam River at Elk Falls Provincial Park from November to March and as spring progresses the surrounding lakes ripple with rainbow, cutthroat and Dolly Varden.
The northern tip of Vancouver Island features 20 lakes and 14 rivers and more information can be obtained on locations as well as the rules and regulations, specific licences, etc. by contacting the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Field Offices: Victoria (250) 363-3252, Campbell River 850-5701, Prince Rupert 627-3436