Saturday, 17 December 2016

Lookin' Good Salmon Outlook for 2017

2017 is shaping up to be a good bet for salmon fishing, especially chinooks , and especially larger chinooks. It's not just me saying that.
Jeremy Maynard , whom I count as friend and fellow fishing guide, posts a blog which is informed by his deep connections in the management and politics of Pacific Salmon. I'm Chair of the Campbell River and District Fishing Guides Association and a rep on the local Sport Fishing Advisory Committee, so I see Jeremy there, too, and that let's me see about 2% down the road that he is on.  I'll have to nag him to be less modest and list his many appointments and experience on his website.  It is always worthwhile to read his blog :

An extraction from his very comprehensive recent post reads;
" One of the important signs for the coming year from the past is that many salmon that went to sea in 2013 did well (age-4 chinooks and chums in 2016) so there should be good numbers of age-5 fish in 2017. It could be the best season in a while for larger chinook salmon both on the west coast and around the inner south coast where these fish may be encountered – Tyee Club fishery participants take note! "

 I am excited about the summer to come and I hope you are, too. Chinooks are our main targets through the year . As to other species, this will be the high alternate year for pinks, sockeyes should be good for part of the season, and chums are expected to be good,  Cohos may be similar to this past summer with retention for hatchery cohos only, but all else is very favourable.

I'll be sharpening some bigger hooks.

(  This fish earned Shamra the award for largest Tyee caught by a woman. We squeezed rowing into our spare time when we could, and this was a highlight of the year for both of us.  And, by the way, Jeremy guided the winning largest fish of the Tyee Club season at 36.5 pounds. )

Email or phone to get on the calendar.

Friday, 16 December 2016

baby its cold outside

Some of the snow has gone in the sunshine, but it is still cold.  Mt. Washington ski resort is on that peak above Campbell River, in the middle of this picture. It's a great start for the ski season, and this kind of real winter is good for salmon by stocking snowpack in the mountains for summer runoff to fill creeks and rivers. 

 The hummingbird appears occasionally on warmer days. 

snow in the Cove

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Linea, the whale calf

I contacted Jackie Hildering, " The Marine Detective ", and she was able to identify a couple of these Humpback Whales that came into Quathiaski Cove , from photos on my blog post Nov 17.   
This is Linea, the calf, never far from her mother, Maude ( ID # BCY0027 ).  Linea is probably only about ten months old. 
 Apparently there are five Humpbacks in the near neighbourhood. We are seeing Humpbacks all through the year now, but they are unlikely to be staying through the winter, instead, individuals leave and arrive at various times. 

Take a look at Jackie's site / for terrific photos and content about all sorts of marine life. She is presently studying Humpback Whales and providing public education and outreach presentations. 

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Rainbow in Tyee Pool

What a sight this morning !  The end of the rainbow at the mouth of the Campbell River, the Tyee Pool. 

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Three Humpback Whales in Q Cove

This morning three humpback whales came right into Q Cove. I heard the first blow from inside the house, as it blew right in front of my boat tied to the dock.  That would have been the best picture. 
I took these photos from the porch and then walked down to the dock.  The top photo has the stern of the neighbours boat in the foreground. 

You know you are only seeing a small part of these immense animals, less than the tip of an iceberg. 

What at first looked like one whale turned out to be two very close together, a mother and calf.  You can see that there are two, if you look closely in the next photo and the last one. So there were two together and another large one opposite in the bay, making three.  

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

First snow on the mountains, and other photos from the porch today

The first snow is on the mountains, and you know what that means. The seasons are changing, and spring is coming , and then summer.  We,  you and I . need to plan ahead better to schedule our dates to get the accommodation of choice, and fit my schedule. That's not really a sales pitch so much as a fact to work with. 

 The following are several photos taken from the porch in Quathiaski Cove today.  In the distance are the mountains of Vancouver Island , with the shore of the south end of the Tyee Pool of Campbell River lower on that opposite side, and in the near view the docks of some homes in Q Cove.  

 The birds are chasing herring into the shallows again this morning. I am interested in the birds, but my main interest is how they fit into the ecosystem with salmon, as shown by how they act on the herring.  What showed again today is good news for the vitality of the ocean locally. 

Today the cormorants came right into the shallows , whereas in other days they seemed to push the herring into shallow water but usually stayed themselves out in deeper water, while the mergansers chased the herring into merely inches of water. The mergansers make the most disciplined line , or at least the most obvious surface strategy, to push the herring ahead of them.  The intense hunt lasts for about an hour and moves back and forth along this shoreline. 


The boat at midday, the birds have dissipated, and then sunset over Vancouver Island.  

Monday, 14 November 2016

Extreme flows

Today is break in a series of extreme rain storms. We had just learned that the count for the returning chinooks to the Campbell River was pretty darn good, but the high and fast flows could be trouble for those spawning salmon, and damaging to the fragile eggs of other species if the gravel is disturbed or worse, washed away. The coast changed from near drought conditions, to excessive rain when the season changed.
 This photo is Elk Falls , which is most impressive to see from the suspension bridge. In Campbell River town , residents in the low areas have been sandbagging in anticipation of flooding.


November seabirds herd herring

 The diving birds, cormorants, loons , but mostly mergansers, are regularly herding herring into the shallows of Q Cove , and when they get them cornered the gulls get a feast as well. This show looks like a good indicator of a healthy herring stock living locally, and hopefully a good local winter chinook population . 
 November is usually the slowest month for salmon fishing because the last of the mature salmon of the year, Chums, are arriving at their home rivers, and the next year crop of Chinook salmon is just about to get into the winter pattern. 


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

November winds and whales

November brings more frequent winds. 

 The humpback whales are still here in November, which is new , compared to recent decades. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

more sea lions and chums in Q Cove

This year has had an extraordinary return of Chum salmon, the biggest in decades.  Just looking out on the water in Q Cove , I've seen occasional jumpers and finners, late in the run and after almost all of the commercial fishing is finished. The seiners had a massive haul last week, and still there are lots of fish. 

 A sealion or two has been cruising inside the Cove , and catching  chums regularly. This isn't a spot you'd expect to look for chums. The sealion thrashes his catch on the surface and the seagulls come in for loose scraps. 

 Note that there is a seal ( in the third photo ) keeping an eye out for a bite. The sealion seems to be able to catch these salmon , while the seal cannot.  That is the way it looks. 

For more information on the numbers relating to the chum run, see Jeremy Maynard's blog /.  Jeremy gives the deeper background information about salmon resource management and sport fishing, and is always worth reading.