SALMON CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
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Since it’s inception the salmon sport industry in British Columbia has grown immensely, and yet no other community on the coast has been able to stand up to the reputation the Campbell River has for it’s consistent runs of Pink Salmon, Coho Salmon, Chinook or Tyee Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Chum Salmon and Steelhead.
The fishing in the waters of the Discovery Passage and the Georgia Strait is generally good all year round but it is the massive summer runs of the world’s largest Chinook salmon that make these waters so famous.
The same tidal conditions that bring the salmon to these waters also make it dangerous for the novice fisherman so it is our suggestion that you hire a professional guide to take you out on our waters, they know where the fish are and they know exactly what kind of tackle to use to afford you the fishing vacation of a lifetime.
Campbell River is the Salmon Fishing Capital of the World
by Larry E. Stefanyk of Island Fisherman Magazine
Campbell River on Vancouver Island is reputed worldwide as the “Salmon Capital of the World” This is neither an idle boast nor a Chamber of Commerce hyperbole; it’s simply a fact. Just as it’s a fact that other West Coast destinations enjoy periods of plenty while migratory runs pass through their respective areas, and a few have admittedly larger fish on average. Nevertheless, none can match the easily accessible, year-round salmon fishing available at Campbell River, nor come remotely close when it considering the historical significance this vibrant, cosmopolitan city has played in the field of recreational fishing.
As realtors love to expound, only three things count: location, location and location. Such is the case with Campbell River, for it’s located on the upper Strait of Georgia, a major year-round feeding ground for immature Chinook (which can weigh up to 30 pounds).
It’s also dead centre in the Inside Passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland. All five species of salmon migrating southward through the Inside Passage must swim though Johnstone Strait, which splits at Chatham Point — north-east into Nodales Channel and southward into Discovery Passage. The latter have a fairly straight run of about 50 km to the south end of Quadra Island, but those on the eastern route have a maze of islands, channels and passages before them. Some head for Bute Inlet and others to Toba Inlet, but most continue southward until eventually joining the Discovery Passage fish at the lower end of Quadra Island for a final binge of feeding prior to continuing onward. And all of this takes place within easy running distance of Campbell River.
In addition to being on the southward migration route for all five species of Pacific salmon, the Quinsam River Hatchery adds greatly to annual returns of Chinook, coho, pink and chum salmon.
While the term “tyee” — a Chinook weighing a minimum of 30
pounds — is use generically up and down the coast, there is only one Tyee Club of British Columbia in the world, and it has been located at the Campbell River’s mouth since 1924. It’s the world’s most exclusive fishing club, for membership can be earned only by catching a tyee within a specific area, using specific tackle, during a specific time frame. The official tyee season begins on 15 July and ends on 15 September, unless otherwise altered by the club itself or by Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Campbell River offers accommodations that include rustic BC Forest Service campgrounds near the outskirts, fully serviced RV parks, bed-and-breakfast operations, a range of motels and hotels, and several fishing resorts. Most have fishing packages, or can make arrangements for visitors to fish with the area’s skilled, well-equipped guides. Visiting anglers who bring their own boats will find several launching ramps are available. Many arrange for moorage at a marina for the duration of their stay.
During spring, summer and fall, anglers can be seen casting from various beaches and breakwaters with light tackle and fly rods. Early in the season they are seeking sea-run cutthroat trout, but starting
around July they switch to pink salmon that are returning to their rivers or streams like the Campbell/Quinsam system. Shortly afterwards, coho join the mix, which keeps everyone busy until well into fall. In the meantime, late-season anglers are still battling those tackle-punishing chum salmon until November.
Yes, Campbell River definitely deserves its title of Salmon Capital of the World.