Sunday, September 9, 2012
Fly Fishing for Salmon on Vancouver Island
Roy Saunders and I just got back from a fabulous salmon fly fishing trip to Vancouver Island with friends and family. The trip was filled with the unexpected and the sight fishing for salmon with our fly rods was challenging. Roy's dad is 81 years young and he learned to fly fish when he was 78 years old. He has quickly turned into a very accomplished fly fisher. I loved watching him catch pink salmon at a spot we affectionately named Qualicum Bob's Riffle at the Stump Pool. Last years trip was all about coho. This year the coho were quite unpredictable and when they did show up, they were elusive. One afternoon, Roy and I hooked up 7 times and landed only one coho. They are brawling fighters that do not easily come to hand. They are into your backing in a blink of an eye and several times, I thought I was about to get spooled. Spring salmon (chinooks) came into the estuary and were taking our flies. We hooked up while trying to catch coho and the last of the pink salmon run. Imagine hooking a 25 to 35 pound spring salmon on a 7 weight fly rod. We were lucky to land some monsters. We also encountered steelhead. We did not land any. We were within an arm reach with one steelhead. The trip also was about 3 brothers and their dad having a great time. Those were very special times for the 4 fly fishers. Camping, tying flies, story telling and fly fishing made the week fly by. When some of the Qualicum Beach fly fishers joined us, the trip was just plain fun. I also borrowed a spey rod and was able to manage several salmon on the 12 foot-7weight rod. That was a first and only made me want to get more competent. That will come with practice and more learning. Next year we will have 10 weight rods along.
Qualicum Bob's riffle at the Stump Hole was always action packed.
Roy Saunders, his dad and brothers.
I couldn't believe this chinook salmon came to hand.
Roy and his long time buddy Don waiting for the coho to show.
A nice coho in the estuary.
This spring salmon was landed in less than 10 minutes and then tore away to complete his journey.
Several perfectly placed casts allowed Roy to catch some amazing coho.
Roy hooks up with a chinook salmon.
A rare triple header.
We were not the only ones interested in the salmon.
Sight fishing along a beach was slow. Roy found these crabs at his feet. Unfortuately a bit small for the pot.
All species of salmon in the river were taking chartreuse clouser minnows.
The big boys were out and tough to land.