Monday, 16 February 2015

Winter ?

There is very little snow on the mountains. A good snow pack is needed to provide water for creeks and rivers through summer and autumn. 
Those are sea lions, not seals, near the breakwater. One of three groups, each with three to six animals, swimming northward, viewed from the Campbell River side on the Quadra ferry.  They show up where the herring does, but right now a great mass of herring is congregating to spawn around Hornby Island and south, so these ones seem to be heading in the wrong direction. 

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Valentines Day

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True cod bonus

Sometimes we catch Pacific Cod on the salmon gear. These are true cod and close relatives of the Atlantic Cod. See the single fleshy whisker under the chin, and three dorsal fins. The flesh is white, mild, delicate and tasty. There is a lot of head and stomach and not so much meat when fillets are removed from the skeleton, still they're great food.  They are often in extensive schools and in the deep salmon fishing spots.
I'll be cooking some of this cod this Valentine's Day weekend.  Photo taken by an appreciative Ontario angler.

This salmon is typical of winter chinooks, but there are some in the mid to high teens and bigger. Just a few days ago a local angler weighed in a 31 pounder. That is pretty special for a winter fish, with a whole summer ahead for any of his kind to fatten up even more, right in our front yard.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Eagles come back

A few eagles stay year round, but more go a little south for the winter and start to reappear with the masses of herring that come by on their spawning migration in and out of Georgia Strait.

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Humpback whales presentation

photo credit ; Jackie Hildering

Jackie Hildering gave a presentation on the return of the humpback whales at our last meeting of the Campbell River Guides Association. She is a very enthusiastic about these big animals. It is amazing how the humpbacks are coming back in numbers and how the are coming back to the inside waters.  ( So much so that Jackie wants to warn us to avoid collisions.)

If you are reading this in time, I highly recommend seeing her show,  She is doing another one in Campbell River ,Feb 26 , 7 pm at the Maritime Heritage Centre.
"They’re big, they’re beautiful, and they’re back! Join us on February 26th at the Campbell River Heritage Centre for a discussion on the return of Humpback Whales to BC’s Coast (7 PM, Rotary Hall, free entry). Presenter Jackie Hildering is a researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society and wishes to share their research with those who are most often on or near the water and discuss how we can work together to better understand these giants and the risks they face (for the sake of boater and whale safety). As an avid diver and underwater photographer, Jackie is also known as “The Marine Detective” with recent on-camera experience including being featured on Animal Planet’s “Wild Obsession” series and in the BBC production “New threat to Canada's Pacific humpback whales?” It indeed promises to be an informative and entertaining! See Presentation location map at; 621 Island Highway, Campbell River.

 Jackie is education director and a researcher for MERS,  Marine Education and Research Society.  She is also " The Marine Detective " and has a fascinating blog with amazing photos from both on the surface and diving . 

Don't Bite !

I was pulling a spoon through the water, standing on the dock, just seeing how it swims, when an otter zipped out after it. I reflexively jerked my rod up and the spoon out of the water before he could grab it. It startled me actually, coming out from under my feet. I don't know if he would really bite down on it, but he was about to get his nose right up close. 
I do spend quite a lot of time just messing around with tackle. I often bend spoons , adjusting how they behave. I mess around a lot with plugs too. It is a relaxing meditative time for me and I can use it for a quick break. Also this winter, a small lingcod came up from the bottom in 30 feet of water and grabbed my plug. 

Here are three different spoons. The big Stuart spoon gives a strong beat, like a beating heart, when rowing for Tyees. The middle is a Clendon Stewart, made for a slow motorboat troll speed. Those two are No. 8s and it seems that spoons of that size are no longer being made. The last is a No.7 Wonder spoon,which will fish at medium to faster speeds. I liked the obituary of an old timer from up coast that said the man would only fish with a brass No. 7 Wonder spoon.  These are all old designs that have survived from among the scores of designs that have come and gone, because they work. 

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Monday, 9 February 2015

Fishing Guest House for a Good Cause

 As a part of a fundraiser for Sunday Dennis, a Quadra-raised and loved young mother of three, with treatable brain cancer, Eric Peterson is offering the following;

Seven nights in a waterfront guest house, with a dock,  at April Point, Quadra Island, overlooking Phyllis Island and Discovery Passage.  Accommodates up to  6 people comfortably. A fabulous gathering opportunity.

Included are four donated 5hr fishing trips, two from me and two from our friend, guide Eiji Umemera .
Also included is a professional massage.
Available dates are for most of April and the month of October. See the auction website for more information.

It has been an amazing experience to see the community support that has come forward. The link below will give a bit more background .

There are many and various items on the fundraising online auction, from services to artwork, sculpture, and much more.
For those of you interested in fishing, there are several B+Bs with offerings, and our mutual friend Scott Laird is offering a 5 hr fishing trip, as well.


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Orcas rubbing in shallow water

There was an extraordinary sight recorded on Youtube a few days ago. Orcas, also called Killer Whales, came into shallow water on a pebble beach on one of the nearby Discovery Islands to rub themselves. The fellows taking the video are standing on the shore mere steps away. Amazing video. Take a look.

Jackie Hildering , ( The Marine Detective ) says these are identified as the A42s, a family of "Northern Resident" Orcas which consists of the mother and four offspring.  The very big fin is a male, her son. 
 " Resident " really means summer resident, and these "Northern Resident" Orcas set up summer camp in Johnstone Strait north from Campbell River and nearby waters where the migrating salmon are funneled into the narrow Straits. They do range around, and are rare to see around here in winter. These Orcas are fish eaters and biologists report that they prefer chinook salmon to other fish. 
 I had assumed that these Orcas in the video at this time of year must be Biggs ( Transients ) that eat marine mammals. We have been seeing may more Biggs type in recent years. But Jackie says that the " Residents" do appear occasionally here in winter and feed also on halibut and rockfish. I am skeptical that there are enough of the bottom fish locally to sustain these animals without a lot of salmon too . At any rate, there must be a lot of fish of whatever kind to satisfy these big warm-blooded appetites . 

Getting very close to Orcas disturbs them, or their prey, and viewing them requires following strict distance and direction guidelines which are now being enforced as law.  So, it is especially fortunate for these fellows to be on the beach when the Orcas come so close to them, almost to their feet.

( The photo above of a "Northern Resident" was taken by me while fishing this past July.) 

For more about Biggs/Transient Orcas, especially about hunting dolphins, and links to videos, see my post " Orcas and Dolphins "  including a favourite link to a you tube video of Orcas corralling Pacific White-sided Dolphins in Hyacinthe Bay, Quadra Island.

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