Brace yourself! Keep a firm grip on your fishing rod because when that 25-pound chinook salmon grabs hold of your hook you’ll want to be ready for the challenge of bringing him in to the boat. It’s almost impossible not to get excited as you play the game of loosening and tightening the line as you reel him in.
If you have never experienced fishing in the tidal waters off British Columbia, then now is the time. The absolute best way to ensure a successful fishing expedition is to sign on with a local guide who knows the waters and will take you where the fish are.
Besides, they take care of all the details such as providing a boat, fishing equipment, lodging, meals and any gear you may need. That usually includes rain gear. Yes, you have to be prepared for inclement weather but don’t worry about it because if you’re dressed warmly and busy catching fish it won’t matter.
Some of the best salmon fishing in the world is off the west coast of Vancouver Island with many lodges to choose from. Access to them is usually by boat or float plane and, by planning in advance, the lodge host will take care of any arrangements necessary to reach them.
Relax and let someone else take care of all the details including bating the hook, cleaning the fish and preparing it for transport home. You just have to reel them in.
Bringing home a cooler filled with vacuum packed fish will not only give you some tasty meals it will give you stories to share for months to come. You’ll share tales of catching a couple of dog fish who were just tangled in your line and prevented you from catching a halibut, or taking medication to prevent sea-sickness and falling asleep in the boat, or just enjoying the rugged landscape as your boat slices through the waves.
Memories will be created that last a life-time.
What can you expect to catch? The guides know where the best places are to catch chinook or coho salmon, halibut, lingcod or rockfish and what the daily quota is since it may change from season to season.
Chinook are prized for their great size and beautiful taste while the halibut requires patience when fishing but worth the wait. Depending on what a person wants to catch will determine when’s the best time to sign up for a fishing adventure.
A BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License is necessary for all species and can be taken care of online. Make sure you print and carry it with you at all times.
Fees vary depending on whether you are a resident or non-resident of Canada. Unfortunately, non-resident fees are quite a bit higher, but it’s possible to get a license for one, three or five days, depending on how long the fishing trip will be.
This is a completely different license than what is needed when fishing on any fresh water lakes or rivers.
How to find a guide
There are definitely different levels of service provided by the lodges and guides and because of that the price will vary. Look for the red SFI CTAG logo indicating the guides are certified, well trained, professional, experienced, knowledgeable and most importantly – safe.
Visit the online Sport Fishing Directory to locate reputable guides and lodges all over the province. Phone the lodges or resorts directly and ask relevant questions that are important to ensure your trip is everything you want it to be.
To access the directory, visit www.sportfishing.bc.ca/directory.aspx?RD=1
Where to stay
Most of the lodges or resorts are a bit remote and RVs may not be able to get into them. However, British Columbia has thousands of campgrounds and RV parks and many will be suitable for leaving your rig while you’re on your fishing adventure.
It will depend on the area, how many days you will be away and if there is parking provided where your transportation to the lodge picks you up. It’s possible to sign up for a day trip of fishing near where a beautiful campground is situated and you can bring home the catch for dinner.
How much will it cost?
Sport fishing is not cheap. There’s no denying it. However, it could be a once in a lifetime adventure and worth every penny spent.
By planning in advance it’s possible to be able to take advantage of some marketing specials so don’t wait until the last moment. Budget for transportation to the lodge, gratuities (cash) and souvenirs you may want to bring home.
Questions to ask
1. What type of accommodation is provided?
2. What type of facilities are there?
3. Do they provide the tackle and is there rain clothing – boots, pants and jackets?
4. How many boats do they have and how many people are there in a boat?
5. Are there both guided or self-guided fishing packages available?
6. What species of fish are usually caught?
7. Do they prepare/freeze fish for transport?
8. If taking a float plane, what is the maximum weight of equipment/luggage allowed?
9. Is parking provided at the pick-up point?
10. Do they provide references?
British Columbia has some of the best sport fishing in the world and some of the most beautiful scenery. Anglers of all ages and experience come to BC for their fishing adventures.
It’s possible to bring your own boat, charter a boat and guide or attend a full service lodge or resort where everything is looked after for you. Not only will you catch some very big fish you’ll have fun in the process. Be prepared for an adventure you won’t soon forget.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada — www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/index-eng.html
Sport Fishing BC: www.sportfishing.bc.ca