Fishing Haida Gwaii: Getting a hook on coho and chinook

By Darrell Oike

Haawa for all the fish caught this week. After a cool, wet Junuary and Julyuary, we had a damp and grey Augtober.

September, finally. Septembers can be brilliantly warm and clear. There are still chinook cruising along the west coast and the coho are staging for their return to their natal streams. The Tlell River is usually in good shape to fish in the early season. A cast spoon, spinner, or fly will entice coho to attack. The Yakoun River will start producing fish soon as will the Sangan, Copper, and Kumdis Rivers.

In the ocean, there are still some big chinook to be caught, but don’t wait too long because by the end of the September, the fish start to thin out and the fall storms begin. Coho are later and can be caught all month off the north coast. Try trolling flashers with hootchies or anchovies to hook these aggressive fish. If they’re jumping, troll a surface lure or for maximum excitement, a bucktail fly on an 8-weight fly rod.

Coho, at times, will cruise along the beaches along the east coast. On a calm day, they will reveal themselves as they charge bait in the shallows. When they are able to be reached from shore, try launching heavy spoons or buzz bombs as far as possible. Hooking a fat silver coho in the surf is hard to top.

Later in the month, coho will start to show up in Skidegate Inlet, and there is a great salmon fishery for those who don’t want to venture out to the west side. A five or 10-minute run from town can get you into fish. They tend to school up and can be ultra-aggressive so be prepared for double headers.

Coming up on Sept. 16 is the Sandspit Rod and Gun Club’s annual Coho Derby. This year will be the 64th year of the event and it runs on four consecutive weekends at the end of September and the beginning of October. Details and exact dates to be announced soon.

There are many options for fishing in September. Have a look in your freezer. Are you set for winter? Just remember, by the time October rolls around, it may be too late. Take advantage of the remaining days of summer and get your lines wet.