Chinook opening day started with a bang! I have not seen that many fish around Gabriola this time of year since the early 1990’s. From the Flat Tops through Whalebone there were huge bait schools with loads of Chinook feeding on them. I literally did not talk to a single person that fished from the 15th through the 17th that did not do well. We concentrated on the Grande, and Whalebone, fishing from 85 to 135 feet of water depth. There are tons of undersized fish, mixed in with legal Chinook in the 6 to 15 pound range. I am loving seeing the smaller fish also, as it looks so good for the future. We were using Lemon Soda, Kripple K, Cookies and Cream spoons, and T-Rex hoochies, and all fished well. The bait is freshly hatched herring, about two inches long, and the Chinook are just gorging on them. I wonder if the limited commercial herring fishery contributed to the up surge? The fish are of various flesh colours, from red, to dark marbled, light marbled, and white.
Jennifer Schmaler won the North Shore Derby with a 16.41 pound fish. She won $800 for her efforts. Brad Vick placed second with a 15.71 pound Chinook, and took home $600. There were only 28 entries, 10 coming from Gabriola. Thanks to Derek Hardy of North Shore for hosting the derby!
Prawning is still excellent, but the huge tides swept away a few traps on the weekend. Remember to put 20 pounds of weight in your traps, or bye bye!