Fishing Report for Feb. 13, 2018

Bob Meyer

Tuesday, February 13 2018

The largest winter chinook I have ever caught weighed 18 pounds. Del Crowe told me that back in the 1970s through the early 1990s he would occasionally catch chinook up to 25 pounds off the Cannery and Orlebar. In those days, the Nanaimo River had a run of March chinook that averaged 18 to 30 pounds.

 I used to steelhead fish in the Nanaimo River in those times, and a couple of fishers concentrated fishing deep, slow pools for the chinook. I once witnessed a man catch a silver bright, 30 pound chinook from under the highway bridge. It blew me away. I had no idea these fish even existed. I wonder how many of these early run chinook still frequent the Nanaimo River. 

Steelhead stocks have unfortunately plummeted in all of the east coast Vancouver Island rivers, except the Cowichan. In a recent Sport Fishing Advisory Board meeting, I asked a biologist how many steelhead remained in the Nanaimo, Englishman and Qualicum rivers. He estimated between 200 to 300 fish per stream. I can remember when individual anglers caught and released 100 steelhead in a season. Now almost all angling effort has been restricted, and almost all is strictly catch and release. 

No one knows why the steelhead and coho were (and are) so adversely affected by the changing sea conditions and habitat loss. Both species numbers have been down as much as 90 per cent from former abundance. The coho seem to be slowly coming back. Hopefully the steelhead will follow suit. 

I have many fond memories of fishing the “Bore Hole” on the Nanaimo, wading the Little Qualicum for miles, fishing the Salmon River, the Stamp and the Cowichan. Sometimes it was days between fish, but it was worth every ounce of effort to catch and release one of these superb fish.

Good fishing!

Bob Meyer is the owner/operator of Silver Blue Charters. 250-247-8807,