Campbell River, like Port Alberni, prides itself as the Salmon Capital of the World. At one point in time, this may have been true, although the fishery outside of Campbell River has seen some decline over the years. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still experience some great fishing at this mid-Island destination, though!
Campbell River is a great place to fish for chinook and coho salmon, as well as the other three remaining types of Pacific salmon. Plus, it is an incredibly scenic destination with the serene waters of the strait being hugged by beautiful, snow-capped mountains. While most anglers want a big chinook to brag about, some of the best fishing in Campbell River happens during the chum run in October! Chum salmon range from 5-20 lbs and are feisty fish. They can fool you into thinking they have given up at the boat and then suddenly turn and make your reel scream!
As far as the fishery making a comeback, legendary areas like Stuart Island do seem to be improving, especially with restrictions placed on the commercial fleet. Campbell River is a great fishing destination thanks to its accessibility – you can arrive to great fishing by both road and air. Another bonus is that there is no churning groundswell like west coast areas and other open ocean destinations. That means that even those with sensitive stomachs or who are prone to sea sickness can come fishing in Campbell River.
Summer is the best time to come fishing and Campbell River has an incredible number of areas to fish! A word of caution: If you decide to fish Seymour Narrows, the water flow can exceed 15mph. Definitely hire a guide, and listen to instruction. Many lives have been lost there, but the Narrows can be an awe inspiring trip. As to where to find the fish, Cape Mudge can be a good place to start. Try to plan your approach so you are fishing with the current, and at a good speed. Dogfish can quickly become a headache, so trolling quickly is of the essence. Another favorite is the famous Tyee Pool. Named for the famous Tyee Club at Painter’s Lodge, early morning and dusk can provide that king salmon you’ll always remember. If you aren’t sure where to fish, follow the charter boats. They make their living catching salmon, so they are usually right.
Chinook can be caught year-round in Campbell River, so even if you’re around in January and February, an eager angler can still fill the freezer. The best part about fishing in the winter is that you don’t have to compete with other boats out on the water! While the summer months may get a little crowded in the popular spots such as “The Hump”, winter fishing can be cold, serene, and effective. Winter springs seem to have a higher fat content as well, making their flesh tasty and perfect for BBQ. Shelter Point, Willow Point, and Cape Mudge are popular areas during the winter season.