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Fishing Information

Fishing Seasons and Limits:

What to do with your catch:

  • When we return to the dock, your catch is expertly cleaned and bagged for you. Do you like your fish fileted, steaks, smoked, canned, or vacuum packed? Whatever your preference, we can cater to your needs. Don't hesitate to ask for what you want.
  • St. Jean's Cannery is a popular choice -- you drop off your fish at the depot in Sooke or Nanaimo, St. Jean's will pick up, process your fish, and mail it to you wherever you are. No need to worry about travelling with fish.

Port Renfrew Fishing Articles:

Halibut Fishing out of Port Renfrew and Swiftsure Bank

Halibut is closed for fishing in January, to allow for spawning. In the first few months of the season, you will find large fish more often. The females have laid their eggs out in the deep and have headed in closer to shore to rest and feed. This is when you will see large halibut 60 to 200 plus pounds coming into the local marinas around Port Renfrew. Hindsight starts fishing for these large beasts in March, although weather can play a role in Port Renfrew at that time.

In late May and early June, we start to see halibut move in all around Swiftsure Bank. This is when fishing goes nuts. With such a large biomass of halibut moving onto the Swiftsure Bank, we had days when our clients where catching all of their halibut while trolling for salmon with plugs or spoons -- what a blast!. These halibut were taken on salmon gear trolled around 100 to 160 feet deep with the bottom being 200 or deeper. One 80 pounder was caught at 60 feet depth fishing in 160 feet of water. These smaller halibut, averaging 18 pounds in July and Auguest, make for great eating.

Over the summer you can also go fishing for a larger Halibut, as John knows a few spots where the summer halibut can be 30 to 70 pounds. Fishing for these larger summer halibut can take more time, although with a few drifts we can normally tell if it's going to happen that day or not.

Port Renfrew's Famous Coho (Silver) Salmon

The West Coast of Vancouver Island is the best place to find the scrappy fighting Coho salmon. When fishing out of Port Renfrew for Coho salmon we find them in large schools around Swiftsure Bank. Coho can be found most days from June until October feeding on the surface. Coho feed on krill in the mornings then move on to larger feed like herring later in the day. In fact, they can be very difficult to catch in the morning unless you use flies or very small spoons -- sometimes frustrating when we find ourselves in a middle of a large school 10 miles or more long. The Coho can be boiling around the boat for miles and will not take just any gear. If not using the correct gear you will find out how picky these fish can be, with your incorrect gear trolling through thousands of fish without a hit. 

But when using the correct gear the action can be non-stop, and that’s the way we like it! As the season progresses the Coho can grow by as much as a pound a week. When you catch one you can see why, they are shaped like a football. By September these Coho can regularly be 10 pounds or more. We catch very large Coho in Port Renfrew in September and if you fish in Port Renfrew's Coho Derby you will usually need a Coho over 20 pounds to take first prize. The derby is in late September or early October, and by then you can usually keep four Coho inside the Port of San Juan (Port Renfrew's Harbour). Largest Coho landed in Port Renfrew is just over 29 pounds.

Chinook (King) Salmon Fishing in Port Renfrew

Fishing Canada can be one of the most exhilarating fishing vacations you could ask for, especially here in Port Renfrew. While on your Canada fishing trip, join us in Port Renfrew to feel the adrenalin that Chinook salmon can produce. Chinook Salmon (Kings) will strip line from the reel with ease, and trying to stop the Chinook from its run before it is ready will nearly always end in the score: Chinook-1 Angler-0. The play of the mighty Chinook brings anglers from all over the world to experience the fishing Canada has to offer.

Canada fishing trips for Chinook salmon vary from location to location; here in Port Renfrew we are blessed with the opportunity to fish Chinook that are still in the prime of their lives and also Chinook that are nearing their natural spawning rivers. These fish will move up and down the coast with the tides giving anglers an opportunity to catch them on both flood and ebb tides. Location is key. Fishing in Port Renfrew offers anglers offshore fishing for Chinook as well as a shallow water fishery along the coastline. Both fisheries contribute to the fantastic fishing that Canada’s West Coast is known for.

When fishing Port Renfrew's coastline, you will find the Chinook fight hard in the shallower water. The flasher in front of their face can make the Chinook take outstanding first runs.

Chinook Salmon fishing offshore can be in one word -- outstanding. While on your Canada fishing trip here in Port Renfrew you will see why our offshore fishery is so popular with anglers. Offshore Chinook are very bright and clean salmon as they are not near their natural spawning rivers. For offshore fishing we use Gibbs-Delta Flashers, Rhys Davis bait, and G-Force spoons by Gibbs-Delta & Silver Horde.

We also catch what we call Ivory Chinook (ivory flesh) -- this has to do with their diet, leaving a higher content of healthy Omega 3 fat. These Ivory Chinook fight hard, some say they are the best fighting salmon out there, maybe because their diet of herring, anchovies, and squid, rather than krill and shrimp, makes them work harder for their food. Not to say that red flesh Chinook will not take an easy meal of herring or anchovies -- they will, but your bait must look injured.

On your Canada fishing trip to Port Renfrew here on Vancouver Island you have many options on fishing for Chinook. Let me know what you are looking for on your Canada fishing trip and I can tailor your Canada Fishing trip towards your wants.