Fish We Target >>
While on a fishing charter around Vancouver Island, you can expect to hook into several different species of fish. Depending on the area we are fishing and the time of year, certain species may be more available than others. The main species of salmon we fish for most times of the year are Chinook(Spring or Kings) and Coho(Silvers). Don't hesitate to ask us what species of salmon and other fish are in the area you want to book at the time you would like to take a charter. Below is a good summary of the fish species you may encounter on your trip with Unreel Fishing Charters on Vancouver Island.
Chinook Salmon AKA Spring, Tyee and King
The Chinook salmon is the biggest, most highly sought after game fish that are pound for pound the strongest fighting fish in the ocean. These fish can weigh up to a massive 70lbs, with most caught in the 3-30lb range. When you first hook into a chinook salmon, be prepared to hold on to your rod tight as they will start fighting right away. Its not uncommon for these fish to go on "runs" where they can pull out hundreds of feet of line from your reel in seconds. This is what makes the chinook salmon so fun to fish for. These fish are so powerfull even the smaller ones have to be played properly otherwise you risk snapping your line. A 15 plus pound fish can break a 30 pound fishing line no problem if not played properly. Chinooks are often known as springs in B.C. Those over 13.5kg (30Lbs) are called Tyees, and in the U.S., Chinook are called king salmon. Chinook return to streams to spawn as early as three to as late as eight years. Black gums and a silver, spotted tail distinguish the chinook from other salmon species. Chinooks have lightly spotted blue-green backs and they can live three to seven years. The biggest chinook caught on record in B.C. weighed 57kg.
Coho Salmon AKA Silver and blueback
Coho Salmon are bright silver, hense their nickname "silvers" with a metallic blue dorsal surface. They have white gums with black tongues. They have wide silver-coloured tails and a few spots on the upper portion of their bodies. Coho usually live for three years and grow very fast in their final year and can weigh between 1kg and 13kg.
Pink salmon are the smallest of the Pacific salmon. They usually weigh about 2kg, but can rarely reach over 5kg. Pinks are more abundant in southern waters in odd-numbered years and northern waters in even-numbered years. They have small scales and a tail covered with large oval spots. Unlike the other salmon species, the tail of a pink has no silver in it. In the ocean, pinks have spotted backs with silver bodies and live only two years.
Sockeye salmon are considered by most to be the best tasting of all the salmonids. Sockeye salmon weigh between 2.2 kg and 3.1 kg but can reach up to 6.3 kg. They are almost toothless, silver-blue with numerous long gill rakers and prominent, glassy eyes. They are slim and the most streamlined of the Pacific species, they can live from four to six years.
Chum salmon resembles sockeye, but are larger. Chum weighs about 4.5 kg to 6.5 kg, but they have been known to reach as much as 15 kg. They have silvery sides and faint bars. The tail has silver in it and the base is narrow and they can live three to five years. Most people will can or smoke chum salmon and they are usually only caught from September to October.
Halibut are the biggest flatfish species in British Columbia. Often referred to as "white gold" because of how expensive their meat can be. Halibut are the most targeted bottom fish on the west coast. Found on the bottom of the ocean, halibut are fished for at depths from 100 to 450 feet deep. At these depths bringing one up from the bottom can be an exciting heart pounding experience. Larger Halibut are often referred to as hogs or barn doors as that's what it feels like reeling up a large Halibut. Smaller Halibut are referred to as chickens. Females are bigger than the males and can grow up to 266 cm long and weigh over 500 pounds. The biggest males will get up to 140 cm and 130 pounds. They are black, brown or mottled dark green on the dark colored side and , and white on the other. They have a large mouth with teeth and the tail is broad and slightly forked.
Lingcod are large predatory fish with large mouths with numerous sharp teeth. Female lingcod can grow as big as 152 cm, although males rarely get bigger than 100 cm. Lingcod live both offshore and inshore. They tend to take on the mottled coloring found in their environment and can be different shades of brown, green or grey on their sides and back. Sometimes referred to as the ugliest fish in the sea.