Salmon Fishing – West Coast Style
Hank’s tried and true methods used on his Ucluelet salmon fishing charters:
Spring time triggers the beginning of the early run of Columbians in mid-April through May. These fish do go up to 35 lbs but most of them average 20lbs and they are aggressive feeders.
When fishing for the Columbians, I like to use a Needle Fish Hoochie, a splatter back is a good choice. I also use a red flasher and a 32″ tail. On the opposite side of the boat, I like to run a green flasher with a 4′ tail to the 3″ spoon, green/silver. This is a good combo but any spoon will work as long as the spoon is not more than 3″ long. I also troll at 2.5 knots ground speed, 20-60′ off the bottom. These fish like to feed off the rocks, so stay close to shore.
Salmon fishing in June & July:
I like to fish the following areas during this time of the year; Inside South, Outside South, Inside Light or Outside Light and Long Beach.
Needle fish hoochies and small spoons work well but Cuddle Fish hoochies are starting to work as well.
Squid are starting to show up in good number during this time, so a white Turd or a brown one will also work well. I like to put a longer leader on, 38″ for my hoochies but I use a 4′ leader for my small spoons, up to a 4″ spoon.
Watch what size the feed is in your fish…If the herring are big, then take off your flasher and run a 5″ spoon. One of my favorites is blue/silver or white glow. Look for feed on your sounder and try to put your gear just above the feed. If you are not catching the fish, be prepared to adjust your height, one line deep and one shallow.
Keep looking for the fish! One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wait for the fish to come to you…and work your gear!
Salmon fishing in August
This is the month of BIG fish!! I use big spoons and if there are pilchard, then I use a 7″ plug. If there is no pilchard, then I use a 5-6″ plug. #602 and #527 are pretty standard plugs or the good old white or brown Turd with a gold flasher.
Big Springs have a tendency to shy from too much flash, that is why I like a gold flasher on a 38″ leader, not so flashy.
There is a lot of Coho around too, so use spoons, no flashers, work the top 60′ of water. A Bucktail, 50′ out from the boat works very well and is a lot of fun on light rods!