Queen Charlotte Strait Fishing Trip
After Tofino we made plans with my buddy Kai whom I met in New Zealand to go on a 2 week adventure on his fishing boat. We planned for a 2 week "man" trip out on the open seas complete with fishing, guns, alcohol, and good vibes. The six of us met in Port Hardy on the north side of Vancouver Island to begin our adventure.
First we had to stock up with a $600 grocery bill plus a massive list of booze and brew for 6 guys to survive for 2 weeks. Then we hopped on the Kai's fishing boat and traveled across the Georgia Strait to the West Coast of the Mainland to Strachan Bay where Kai and his dad built up a couple floating cabins complete with bunks, a kitchen, an outhouse with a view, and an outside heated shower. The only way to get to this part of the coast is by boat or air. Kai's dad runs a charter business out in the rain forest to house loggers, tree planters, and forestry engineers for longer periods of time while they work. We only stayed here for a couple nights while we waited for the weather to get better so we could go fishing off other parts of the coast. During the downtime we enjoyed drinking, fishing, shooting skeet, and playing cards.
Finally after a couple chill days at Strachan Bay it was time to head out to where the real fishing is. On the way out we hit a zone called the Quado which can only be fished during tide changes, for about 10 mintues when the water is fairly stagnant. In this area, 7 different channels funnel through one inlet (the Quado) from all different directions in and out during tide changes which creates some wild water flow. Boating through here during this time is dangerous and will the cause the boat to get tossed in multiple directions at out. The jig fishing here proved fruitful as a couple 14 pound ling cod were caught. Hello dinner! Now off to Skull Cove when the weather cleared.
About 20 years ago, Skull Cove was used as a grey whale research facility for a couple years but was soon dismissed as it did not have many whales. The research group built a couple sleeping cabins on the island and an area with a fire pit for cooking and then left it all. To get to land we had to anchor in the cove and pump up the jet boat and use it with no engine and paddle to shore with all of our sleeping gear and food and alcohol. After getting settled it was time to take the fishing boat out and do some trolling.
With Kai's experience here, he knew we had to boat out to Bremmer Point to fish. Within a week at Skull Cove all of us had pulled up at least one fish each. The edible fish we caught included Spring Chinook Salmon and Halibut. We also caught Red Rock and Dungeness Crab in the traps we laid. Right off the shore were the largest mussels we've ever seen, mussels shells larger than 12 oz beer cans. Since there is no civilization near here and so much water flow through this area, the mussels could extract lots of food and nutrients from the water and make them so grow to ridiculous sizes. We ate like kings that whole week! We had to freeze a lot of fish to take home. After such good fishing in this zone it was time to go to the Wakeman Sound were it is known for good sport fishing of Steelhead.
The Wakeman River is what draws us to the Wakeman Sound which boasts fly fishing for Steelhead which are very difficult to catch. With a small amount of Steelhead in the river this early in the season it will create good sport for catching and releasing. We tied up next to a barge in the Wakeman Sound as this is another big area for logging. Most of us slept in a tent on shore while a couple stayed on the boat. Our original plan was to take the jet boat we had with us up the river to get to the fishing zone. However, we had another stroke of luck with Kai's dad knowing some the loggers. The loggers we're done with that area so they let us use their ATV to access the logging roads next to the Wakeman River. Our days consisted of driving 10 to 20 km on the logging roads to get to the different fishing zones and pallet fires at night to warm the bones and cook the food. With Kai and Mike being the veteran fly fisherman and having the necessary gear, they were the only ones skilled enough to land a Steelhead each throughout the week. I caught a couple little Cutthroats but it wasn't anything compared to the Steelheads. Next time we'll have waiters, fly rods, and heavier test line for the 15 plus pound Steelheads. As the trip came to a close it was time to head back to Campbell River where Kai lives for the summer when not on a boat. I'm so stoked we got to experience this fishing trip and had some success to eat the freshest seafood!
After over 6 weeks in British Colombia, it was time to finally work our way South towards the States. We briefly stopped in Victoria to stay with our friend Troy and then crossed on the ferry to Port Angeles, Washington. Its been real Canada!!
Written by: Brian Stenerson