It is known to many that the BC West Coast offers world class Chinook salmon fishing. People travel from all over the world to destinations such as Tofino, The Queen Charlotte Islands and Prince Rupert in pursuit to try their luck for a strong fighting Chinook. Even though all of these places are world class salmon fisheries, sometimes our budget or time availability doesn’t allow us to travel to these destinations as much as we would like to.
The good news is that for most of us in British Columbia, the adventure can happen close to home and within a day’s drive. For years Nanaimo BC has been an underrated spring Chinook fishery and something only recognized by some of the locals. Since Chinooks are predictable due to their migration patterns being the same, this makes the timing of their migratory runs consistent.
The early run starts at the end of March and well into June. These fish make their way through the south end of the Strait of Georgia, passing right in front of Nanaimo. This provides an excellent opportunity for anglers to get out fishing for Chinook without breaking the bank or having to travel a long distance.
A typical fishing trip departing from Nanaimo is not a long boat run to start marking the fish. Chinook salmon are near shore coastal fish so once you pass the “fingers” outside the harbor area it is fishable waters. In late March there is also a good Herring run that brings in the larger feeder fish near the harbor area and they can range from 7-10lbs. These feeder Chinooks provide additional overlapping action with the migrating passing fish.
The BCFishn.com team paired up with Chad Green owner of Swale Rock Sport Fishing Adventures to go out and discover this Nanaimo local Chinook hotspot. Chad was born and raised in Nanaimo and fishing has been a tradition in his family that has been passed down from each generation. With Chad’s local knowledge and expertise it didn’t take long to get onto the fish.
The traditional Salmon fishing methods work well, but the day we went out it was all about the Luhr-Jensen Coyote Spoons trailing behind 6 foot leaders with a green-silver flasher. The popular trolling depth was 150 feet. Since we were fishing the West-Coast of BC, it only made sense for us to use traditional Mooching Reels “knuckle busters”.
Chad targeted the deep ledges that dropped from 700 to 1000 feet throughout the day. His patterns definitely put the odds into our favour! It didn’t take long until our one of the lines snapped off the downrigger clip fiercely and the reel started to spin! After a few minutes of a spirited fight we knew these early spring Chinook had a lot of fight in them. Marina would reel the fish in 50 feet and it would take another 75! Finally we she was able to bring it for a swift netting. The Chinook weighed in at 18.6lbs, an excellent testament to Chad’s local guiding expertise and what the Nanaimo fishery has to offer! In the parts of the spring time it is not uncommon to experience a few fish day with a consistent weight of over 20 pounds.
Nanaimo has a lot to offer to the outdoor enthusiast and fishing is a MUST DO. The charters are very affordable and the local guides such as Chad are very accommodating and will make you feel like at home. The fishing opportunities in Nanaimo are endless. For more saltwater fishing opportunities in Nanaimo check our Chad’s website: Swale Rock Sport Fishing Adventures. I would like to thank Chad for his wondeful hospitality and the BCFishn.com team highly recommends Swale Rock Sport Fishing Adventures to our fellow anglers.
Tight lines & Conserve our Waters!