We fished on February 24th, and there seems to be a transition in the pattern happening locally. We bottom bounced the Grande to Whalebone area in 160 to 180 feet, then tried shallower depths on the return run. There was very little showing on the fishfinder, so I cruised out into the 250 to 300 foot depths. We hooked and released a few Chinook here, and kept one plump eight pounder, fishing at 135 feet on the downriggers. We were using Killy MaGee and Mongoose spoons. This led me to believe that the herring are staging early this year for their spawning run. I am curious if fishing our April/May water depths of 600 to 800 feet might be productive now. There is going to be major movement of fish and bait this month, so exploring different zones is almost imperative, as the herring proceed from deep water to spawn in the shallows, then return to the deep. The Sea Lions and Eagles are certainly gathering for this annual extravaganza!
We were visited by D.F.O. Nanaimo doing a license, barbless hook, fish retention check. I was quite happy to see them, as visits are infrequent. They were very pleasant, and we naturally passed all their requirements. Clyde did mention that there had been many barbless hook violations locally, and that the fine is $500 for using barbed hooks. Apparently, they run a nylon stocking across your hook, and if it pulls, you’re in violation. I only use barbless hooks, and encourage you to do the same. Especially with The Silver Horde spoons, as the hooks on them are garbage straight out of the pack. Buy 3/0 Siwash barbless for 3 1/2 inch spoons, 4/0 for hoochies, take the old hook off, and replace it with a barbless hook. Crimping can be accomplished with a barbed hook, but you have to roll the pliars several times to get to a true barbless condition. Easier just to replace the hook. As Clyde said, you can buy a LOT of barbless hooks for $500! Incidentally, when you replace the hook on a spoon, make sure the point of the hook is aligned with the convex (down) side of the spoon, or your spoon will swim incorrectly.
I didn’t bother going to Thrasher to prawn, as it wasn’t worth the effort last trip.