Fishing at Pedder Bay – A General Guide
Pedder Bay offers excellent year round opportunities for a good variety of game fish plus tasty bottom fish and crab. Largely sheltered from prevailing summer winds, Pedder Bay itself offers excellent salmon, halibut, crab and bottom fish opportunities all less than 10 minutes from our docks.
Here’s a little more information on the how to’s of fishing in our area to help you understand what’s biting when….
1. Chinook (King) Salmon – Available year ‘round.
- Winter Chinook, October to April are typically 5 to 15 lbs, and are caught usually in either Pedder Bay near the can buoy or in Whirl Bay. Winter Chinook are typically found pretty close to the bottom in 100 to 200 feet of water. Winter Chinook are aggressive feeders and can be caught on spoons, hootchies and bait usually trolled behind a flasher using a downrigger to get down to the depths required.
- Summer Chinook, May to September range from 10 to 45 lbs. These fish are usually more selective than winter Chinook and are most often caught closer to the surface in depths ranging from 40 to 120 feet. Effective lures include bait (herring & anchovies), spoons and hootchies trolled off a downrigger about 4 to 7 feet behind a flasher or dodger for bait, 36 to 45 inches for spoons and 24 to 36 inches for hootchies. Inside Pedder Bay, and only about 5 mins from our dock we have a very productive Chinook fishery based on using metal jigs like Stingsildas, Point Wilson Darts, Gibbs Minnows and Zingers.
- Bag limits for Chinook are two per day with hatchery only restrictions in the early season (March – July) in some years.
2. Coho (Silver) Salmon – July – November.
- Coho Salmon typically start to show up in catchable numbers in mid to late July with sizes ranging from 4 to 7 lbs in the early season. These fish are usually caught incidentally to the Chinook fishery, but in some years can be found in good numbers out in the tide lines in the middle of the Strait and can be specifically targeted. In most years, anglers can only retain hatchery marked Cohos until October 1st but hatchery fish make up a large percentage of the catch. Spoons, hootchies and bait will all catch these aggressive fish. The trick is usually just finding them, getting them to bite is not a problem.
- The bigger “Northern” Coho usually start to appear in good numbers by the end of August and peak in late September. Ranging from 7 to over 20lbs, these aggressive, hard fighting fish are found from the shoreline out to the middle of the Strait, usually associated with tide lines. Depths range from literally on the surface to as deep as 150 feet so changing depths often and running multiple rods are recommended until you find the fish. Bait, hootchies, plugs and spoons all account for their fair share of Coho but trolling quickly compared to Chinook fishing is usually required.
- Bag limits are typically 2 per day with hatchery only restrictions often in place. Check regulations before heading out.
3. Pink Salmon – July –Sept.
- Every odd numbered year (like 2013!), vast numbers of Fraser River bound Pink salmon converge on Juan de Fuca Strait in the mid summer. Starting in early July, and peaking in late August these scrappy, tasty salmon range from 5 to 7 lbs and offer almost non-stop action.
- Perfect for family fishing outings, pink salmon will bite almost anything as long as it’s pink. These fish are perfect for introducing children to the sport of fishing due to their abundance and willingness to bite.
- Pink salmon can be caught from the surface down to 100 feet but usually in depths of 25 to 75 feet. They are a favourite with fly fishermen, and can also be caught on jigs and cast spoons.
- Bag limits are 4 per day.
4. Sockeye Salmon – July – Sept
- Sockeye salmon typically show up in the area in mid to late July, and can be caught in to the first week of September.
- Usually found farther out in the straits along the 2nd or 3rd tide lines in depths from 45 to 120 feet. Look for jumpers and fish there.
- Small pink hootchies or spoons slowly trolled 12 to 36 inches behind a pink or red flasher work best for sockeye.
- Check for bag limits and openings prior to heading out.
1. Halibut – Feb – Dec.
- Pedder Bay has excellent halibut fishing from March through to the end of September.
- The 2013 bag limits are one fish per day per person with a possession limit of 2. The maximum size for halibut is 126 cm for the first fish and 83 cm for the second fish in the possession limit.
- Halibut are found as close as 5 minutes from our docks with most of the best spots located less than 20 minutes.
- Depths range from 100 to 300 feet, always right on the bottom.
- Halibut are fished either by anchoring or drifting. Picking days with small tidal fluctuations and slow currents (less than 1.5 kn max) is critical. You can’t effectively fish halibut in our area with big currents.
- Bait on a spreader bar or jigs are the preferred methods. Bait includes whole mackerel, extra large herring, octopus and squid. One or two lb weights are the norm.
2. Other bottom fish – All year depending on species.
- Ling and rockfish seasons typically run from June to Sept. Check for openings and bag limits.
- Cabezon, flounder, greenling, open all year.
- Depths and locations vary depending on species, but bait or small jigs work best in depths ranging from 25 to 200 feet.
- Bag limits vary by species – check regulations.
3. Crab – all year.
- Dungeness and Rock crab are found close to Pedder Bay Marina in sheltered waters 12 months of the year.
- Depths typically under 50 feet.
- Bag limits are 4 per day for each species. Dungeness crab must measure at least 165 mm across the widest part of the carpace, and Red Rock crab must measure 115 mm.