News from Oscars in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada - part 1



Submitted by Lee Mac

Dylan sang "I feel a change comin' on" and this is exactly what we are seeing on the coast in terms of chinook regulations for this summer. If you hadn't heard, the DFO announced May 30th that there would be major regulation changes for the retention of chinook in areas 1-6 (North Coast).  Unfortunately the DFO lumped these regulation changes in with a notice about the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) population. This not only gave the impression that the sweeping changes we are seeing on the north coast have something to do with the SKRW population, but made a confusing notice that much more convoluted.  I've attached a link to the DFO announcement but I will try and simplify it as it pertains to those of us who fish out of Kitimat and Rupert.

In short what you need to know is:

  • Daily limit out of Prince Rupert from June 1st - June 15th is one (1).
  • Daily limit out of Prince Rupert from June 16 - July 9th is zero (0) – NO RETENTION.
  • Daily limit out of Prince Rupert from July 10th - July 31st is one (1).
  • Daily limit out of Kitimat June 1st to July 31st is one (1).

All possession limits are twice the daily limit.

Here is a link to the DFO notice:

Now that I've covered the regulation changes, we can get on to the actual report!

Things have been looking good out on the coast this past week.  We've seen a few windy days, but guys have been able to get out for the most part and get some lines wet.  We are still not seeing huge numbers of fish roll in, but what we are seeing is pretty typical for this time of year.  Chinook fishing has been good for the past week with a lot of mid-teen size fish landed.  Like I said last week, we have seen a lot of smaller bait fish around so a presentation that mimics those bait fish is ideal. A flasher and hoochie can be very effective this time of year. A smaller size spoon can also be very effective and options like a Coho Killer or the Gibbs G Force are a great choice. 

Halibut fishing has been good to start the year.  Remember that when targeting Halibut you should be looking for flat shelves with a sand/gravel bottom anywhere from 150-250-ft deep.  These areas should be fished on a slack tide or drifted over as the tide starts to run.  Oscars has lots of different options when jigging/drifting for halibut so stop by and have a look, you won’t be disappointed.

There have been good reports of rockfish and ling fishing over the past week with some very nice ling landed. I find that the best eating fish are in the 10-25lb range so if at all possible, let the bigger ones go. Like Halibut, these bigger ones are the breeding females so throw them back to make sure that we can preserve the stocks for everyone.  One thing you should always have on board is a descending device, but I'll get into that a little more next report.

Crabbing and prawning remains good.  We have seen the commercial prawn opening take a bit of a toll on the stocks, but with a little persistence anglers can still be successful.

As always, stop by Oscars before your next trip out to the salt for tips, tricks and any gear you may need. Until next week.....tight lines!


Stillwater fishing is starting to heat up even if the general air temperatures are staying pretty chilly during the day.  A lot of smaller lakes in the region have finished turnover and have a warm water surface temperature (12-15 degrees Celsius) which switched on the aggressive feeding trout in particular. Lots of fun pan-size trout are aggressively taking a leech fly patterns either on sinking line or even on floating line with about 10-12ft leader/tippet combo. Even though these fish aren’t particularly huge, they hit in numbers and ferociousness, bending your 4wt rod and putting on an aerial show.

Up here in the Skeena area, fishing out by Houston on various lakes have been pretty successful by fly fishing on a belly-boat or shore casting with ultralight tackle. The northern pikeminnow has been pretty aggressive on the fly both in Tyee Lake outside of Telkwa and on Round Lake within the last week.

Even though the smaller lakes have been fun, the bigger lakes like Francois out by Burns is becoming a more active feeding fishery. Several 30cm+ lake trout have been pulled of Francois Lake within the last two weeks and it seems to be just getting better. Both Tchesinkut Lake and Francois Lake are great lakes for rainbow and char fishing with rainbow reaching up to 15lbs and char about 30lbs on the heavier end.


This week’s featured lake is Chapman Lake which is about 30 minutes north of Smithers situated right by the beautiful Babine Mountains Recreational Park. For those who are not familiar with the lake, it is considered to be a good producer for Lake Char, aka, Lake Trout (up to 8lbs), resident Cutthroat and resident Rainbow Trout (up to 2-3lbs). This lake is best on spinning and trolling tackle, but can be done on the fly near the Fulton River inlets, mostly in early spring and in the fall. This lake can be accessed off the Babine Lake Rd around kilometer thirty-four marker. There is a provincial camp ground on the west side of the lake and beautiful cabins you can rent on the east side of the lake (Aspen Bay Cabins). You can also rent boats at the Aspen Bay Cabins if you don’t have your own or don’t want to pull it up on the gravel road.

This fishery has been pretty hoping this last week for Lake Trout. Water levels have come down from about a month ago, helping the lake warm up and kick-start the bite. Mike and Jenna Delany have been successful using a Ruby Eye Wiggler to pull in multi-pound, healthy looking lake trout. With the cool weather and the recent full moon (this past Tuesday); fish activity should be pretty good for the start of the Stillwater early summer season.

For more information on the lake, come and chat with us in the shop. For more information on the Aspen Bay Cabins, check out:

The Fishing Report can be found here: