News from Oscars in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada - part 6


Fishing Report, July 5, 2018


Submitted by Lee Mac

Well we are back at it after a week hiatus and there is good news and bad news.  Good news is that it's only 7 days until the Chinook retention closure in Prince Rupert is over. Bad news is that the fishing has been a bit slow for salmon down the Douglas Channel. The wind has been good over the past week which has allowed anglers to get out to their favorite offshore spots. This has meant some good ground fishing while anglers wait for the salmon closure to end.

In Rupert we have seen some really good days for salmon over the past week.  We have seen a few more Coho starting to show up around Dundas Island and salmon anglers have been getting their fix on these silver bullets. There is still a bunch of Chinook around so expect to catch a mixed bag.  Remember that Chinook must be released for another week.

We have had reports that an anchovy in a helmet has been producing very well.  I spoke with one angler who had run out of bait so tied on a Brads Super Bait cut plug. He reported that their hook-up rates were very similar to running bait and he would highly recommend trying one out.

Salmon out of the Douglas Channel has been a little slow over the past week.  We have seen a few fish boated, but those anglers catching them have had to run a long way down or put in some work. Places like Money Point and Turtle Point have been producing the odd fish, but not with the consistency that we like to see. 

If you go for about 45 minutes to an hour without a bite, try changing your rig up. Having a good selection of spoon, hoochies and bait on board is essential when the fishing is tough. Salmon can be picky sometimes with what they are keying in on.

Ground fishing on the coast has remained consistently good.  We have seen some nice halibut hauled in over the past week. When fishing for halibut, remember to look for flat shelves in the 150-250ft depth range for increased chances of success. I find when chasing halibut that I try to target a structure containing a gradually sloping bottom that is off a point. 

If the tide and wind are going in the same direction you can also try drifting over an area.  This gives you an opportunity to cover some distance and search for fish instead of anchoring in one place and letting them come to you. Normally I will anchor up while on slack and then when the tide starts to run, pull the anchor and drift with the tide until the shelf starts to drop off. 

Inshore rock fishing has picked up with the recent salmon closures. This can be a lot of fun for adults and especially kids when the salmon fishing is slow.  When targeting inshore rockfish, I like to use light gear and jigs in the 2oz to 6oz range. These rockfish are amazingly plentiful on our coast and can be found on pretty much any rocky bank or pinnacle. I normally start targeting in much the same manner I fish for ling cod.

Find a shallow pinnacle or rocky outcropping and drift off it, starting in about 15ft of water. I will normally drift off until I’m in about 150ft of water and then go back again. Remember that pulling fish out of deeper water can be hard on them so having a descending device on board is a must. Oscars has a great selection of jigs to choose from so stop by and pick some up before your next trip.

Prawning and crabbing has been good. We are starting to see the prawn numbers rebound from the commercial opening in May. When prawning, remember to drop your prawn traps in about 200ft to 300ft of water. Check them about every 2 hours and if there is nothing in them, move spots.  Prawning can involve a lot of trial and error, but keep at it.

One piece of advice I can give is make sure you have an anchor (10lb lead ball) between your last trap and your float. Your line and float will move around with the current and drag the ball around with them. This will let your traps stay were you put them as prawns will not enter a trap that is moving around the bottom.

We will be on the water all of next week so I'll be back with another report the week of July 15th. Until then......tight lines.


Lakes are holding steading with some good trout fishing. The smaller lakes are productive, especially in the evenings. Irrigation Lake, Klinger Lake, Hidden Lake and Helen Lake around Houston have been fishing well on the fly in the evening. The cutties have been taking leech patterns (purples and black in colour) and starting to take the dry fly (Adams and stimulators).

Gear fishing on these lakes can be successful as well, in particular small spoons and spinners. The fish in these lakes are typically on the smaller side, but when biting they are aerial specialists trying to shake off the lure or fly.

Francois Lake and the lake district out by the Burns Lake area has been fishing slow, but is starting to warm up for gear fishing. Jigging and trolling has been successful within the last week with many people targeting lake trout.

The lake trout on the east side of Francois Lake are legendary behemoths with a recorded 29lb lake char at the Birch Bay Resort. This lake is best fished and explored by boat, looking for normal structure that lakers like. It is best to use a downrigger setup when hunting for structure.


Rivers in Region 6 are starting to heat up with the summer hatches (mayflies, stone flies). Even though these hatches are considered a week or two late by normal standards, the rainbow trout are starting to put their feedbag-on, both on the Fulton River and the Stellako River. This past week, when staying at the Stellako River Lodge, we had good success with stimulators and Adams flies in the early morning or dusk.

If you are lucky enough to float the river on a pontoon or inflatable kayak, you can cast towards the seam lines for the best success. The water level is still a little higher than we would like to see this time of year, but the rainbows are starting to get aggressive with the release of the summer hatches.

If rainbows aren’t your thing, you can head down to the Kitimat River for some Chinook salmon. Like other rivers in the area, the water is still a little higher than we would like to see for this time of year, but the Kitimat is the only place where you can retain one Chinook salmon under 80cm per day from July 1st to July 30th. Before going out, come talk with us in the shop or check the DFO site for the most up to date fishing regulations.