Fall FishingNovember 20th 2015

It's the 3rd week in November and we are starting to see a definite improvement in our winter Chinook fishery. Last year the Chinook salmon were moving into the bays in early November. This year we are about a week and half behind that schedule. The weather has been sunny, cool and calm. This makes it much more pleasant when we are out fishing on the water.

Our company is targeting mainly English Bay, as the bait balls of herring have been impressive in the bay again this year. More bait means more salmon. These Chinook salmon are looking to grow and they grow at a very fast rate at this stage in their life. The bait this season seems to not only be on the bottom, as it usually is, but we're also seeing nice bait balls that are higher in the water column; sometimes 30 to 80 feet deep in 120 feet of water. This could be because of water temperature and other ocean conditions.  Because of this factor we are seeing some success higher up in the water column. Usually this time of year we fish on the bottom, whether it is 100 or 200 feet deep. The salmon this time of year tend to move a lot. They can change their areas of feeding from one tide to the next and we have four tides a day in this area.  Bonnie Lee Charters specializes in the winter fishery and we have been doing this for 35 years. This factor tends to give our staff an edge in tracking down the fish on different tides.  English Bay, Howe Sound, Tunstall Bay, Hutt Island, Grace Island, these are all areas that we target this time of the year.  English Bay has been the area that we have seen most of our action in lately. We have experienced 5 to 10 fish per charter with 12 to 25 inches being the main size group. Tunstall Bay and Hutt Island have produced some fish but have not fully turned on yet.

Wintertime means clear water and for us, flashers and spoons are our main choice of gear. Most of our tackle is of the glow variety, spoons, such as glow-green, knightrider, small sliver Tom Macs, army truck and chartreuse colours have all worked. In this early season, 3.5-inch spoons work better than 4 inch, as the bait tends to be smaller. Come and see us in our Granville Island office and tackle shop for more precise day-today fishing information.

Crabbing this winter has been fairly good as the commercial crab boat activity has been lighter than normal in English Bay. The commercial crab season is finished on December 1st and this will see our recreational fishing greatly improve. Prawning has been excellent and we have seen catches of over 500 prawns per set. We have had one set of 9 traps produce over 800 spot prawns. Most of the prawns have been of jumbo size.  Give us a call or email if you want a charter. We can accommodate you on short notice.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Fall FishingOctober 10th 2015

We have had exceptional fishing this year. This fall season has been very productive for us with a lot of charters producing fish in the 15 to 35 pound range. The run has lasted longer than it has in the last 5 years. Ten years ago the runs lasted into November and it may be the same this year, only time will tell. 

The Capilano River has been where we have focused most of our attention. The Capilano fishery is a very technical fishery and our staff are really skilled in this area. Anchovy bait has been our main producer. We have been fishing on the bottom as a lot of the salmon are holding deep while they wait to run the river to spawn.  Chinook salmon has been the main fish that we are catching with some Coho and chum salmon mixed in. Fish the green marker in front of the river on the flood tides and the bay and western end of the pool on the ebb tides. Slack tides will definitely work best.

Other areas that have been producing salmon have been the Bell Buoy, north arm jetty, and T-10. The south arm of the Fraser River has also been very good. The main catch has been Coho and chum salmon with some Chinook still around. Some of our charters down at the south arm of the Fraser have produced a dozen or more hook ups. We are fishing depths of 40 to 90 feet. The depths have varied from day to day and on different tides.

We have started to set crab traps with some of our charters and have had some good results with keeper size crab. The commercial crab season will end Dec 1st and this will signal a much more productive fishery for the recreational fishers. Our company specializes in the winter salmon season and we are now starting to target winter Chinook. Stay tuned.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Fall FishingSeptember 5th 2015

After an excellent summer of salmon fishing it looks like the fall fishery is going to be exceptional. The number of Chinook salmon that we have being seeing lately have been very good, with 10 to 25 pound fish being quite common. DFO has predicted a very strong run of Chinook salmon this fall and from what we have been experiencing this looks to be the case. In late August and early September we tend to be at the Bell Buoy area right down to the Sand Heads region. This whole area will produce as the salmon are staging to run the Fraser River to spawn. Along with Chinook salmon we are also catching Coho and late run pinks.

Our guides are using mostly anchovy and glow teaser heads. Hootchies have been working with straight glow and white being our favourites. We are fishing depths of 40 to 90 feet. As we move further into September we will concentrate more on the Capilano River region to target the big white Chinook salmon.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Summer FishingAugust 1st 2015

Lately we have been having great success with the pink and Chinook salmon fisheries. The pink salmon run has been exceptionally good this year with multiple large schools of fish. Many of our trips have been hooking up 10 to 20 fish per charter. We have also seen a decent number of Fraser River red Chinook salmon in the 10 to 20 pound range. Our target area has been mainly the English Bay. In this region West Van, Point Atkinson, and the lower reaches of Howe Sound have been the best places. The Bell Buoy is also starting to produce.

Our staff has been using mainly anchovy and glow teaser heads. Hootchies have also been working with white and straight glow being the main producers. Our staff has been setting their gear in the 30 to 80 foot range. If you want to catch salmon now is the time to go.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Spring FishingMay 1st. 2015

The Chinook salmon fishing continues to be excellent. The Hump area off the south side of Bowen Island has been the place to fish. This fishery has been outstanding with most days seeing hook-ups of 6 to 12 fish per charter. We have also experienced some slower days but these have been few and far between. The tides are important when fishing The Hump. Flood tides tend to push the fish north or east and ebb tides seem to see most of the salmon on the west end or south side of The Hump. Depths have ranged from 65ft to 130ft with 90ft to 120ft being the norm. Run your gear at different depths to find the fish, and then fish those depths. Possibly dropping down as you get later into the day. Being on the water daily helps us follow these trends to determine our guests’ best chances of catch salmon.

Our staff is running a variety of gear. This includes anchovy and herring in glow teasers heads. Hootchies in the green splatter back and white double skirt colours. We are running all 4” spoons such as; Homeland Security, Nightrider, Green-glow and Mongoose. Flashers such as; STS, Matti, Chili Pepper, Purple Onion glow and Green Onion glow are all working.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Spring FishingApril 15th. 2015

Looking back at our winter fishery, it was one of the best we have seen in a decade. Now we are transitioning into the spring season and so far it looks to be exceptional. Our guides have moved out of the English Bay area and have been targeting areas up Howe Sound and the south side of Bowen Island. As of now, we are having a lot of success fishing these locations. The average size of Chinook salmon that we are catching has been larger than normal for this time of year. We are bringing back salmon in the 12lbs to 25lbs range. The average fish has weighed in between 12lbs to 15lbs. These salmon are some of the best fighting and eating salmon of the year. Areas up Howe Sound that are producing are, Defense Island, Hutt Island, Grace Island and Tunstall Bay. The salmon are now on the move, so searching for their location is key. The south side of Bowen Island has come on in a big way. Our staff has been concentrating on The Hump area on the south side of Bowen Island. We have seen some spectacular days with 10 hook-ups per trip being quite normal. The key to The Hump is to find the fish. The ebb tide will push them to certain areas and the flood tide will bring them back. The other main factor that affects this area is that the salmon tend to move through in waves. Some days you hit the wave just right. Depths have been mainly between 70ft and 130ft. We are using 4” spoons such as; Homeland Security, Nightrider, Green-glow and Mongoose. Hootchies that are working are; Green Spackle back and white double skirt. Anchovy and herring have also been producing and we’re running them in glow teaser-heads.  We are still crabbing outside English Bay and it has been very good. The prawning has been exceptional as the closed areas are now open.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Spring FishingApril 1st. 2015

The herring spawn is on the move and so are we. Our guides are still fishing English Bay but we are also concentrating on Bowen Island and the upper parts of Howe Sound. In English Bay, the freighters are still holding fish but we are now fishing mile-markers, Bell Buoy and the entrance to English Bay in much deeper waters. The top of Howe Sound, around Defense Island, produced very well in mid March and there are still some fish there. Tunstall Bay, Hutt Island, Salmon Rocks and the areas around these fishing spots have been the hot spots lately. This requires an 8-hour charter but it is well worth it. Close in on Roger Curtis point has also been good; we are about two weeks away from fishing the waters off   the south side of Bowen.  The key to all these fishing spots is finding the herring bait balls.  We are still fishing mostly near the bottom but the salmon are on the move so they will start to rise in the water column. Our guides are using spoons and hootchies but bait has been our main choice lately. The water is starting to colour so we are using glow patterns in all our gear.

Crabbing is on fire. Traps are set on all our charters. It's April 1st and prawning is now open on all the previously closed areas on the south coast.


Spring FishingMarch 2nd. 2015

Our excellent winter season has continued with stellar salmon fishing. We have experienced consistent catches of Chinook salmon in the 10lbs to 20lbs range. Our water conditions have been exceptional for the fish that frequent our Pacific Northwest waters. The amount of herring this winter has been outstanding and this has brought some of the larger Chinooks into our area. Water temperatures have been around 4c/40f, this is a cold current and the thinking at the DFO is that this cold water has pushed a lot of the larger salmon that normally go on the Westside of Vancouver Island to the inside waters of the Island. These inner waters are on a route that goes right past Vancouver.

Our fleet has mostly been concentrating in English Bay, the Westside of the Bowen Islands (Tunstall and Hutt Island), we will start to go up Howe Sound shortly. The herring are still in full bloom in English Bay. Everything seems to be a month ahead of schedule this year so we will probably start to move off into further waters sooner than expected. The herring spawn will determine our course of action.

In English Bay we are fishing mid-bay to the entrance of English Bay. The mile-markers and the Bell Buoy will start to produce as we move towards April.  Run your gear near the bottom, in depths of 90ft to 165ft.

Tunstall Bay and Hutt Island have both been producing well on the right tides, the Gulf Islands have slowed but this will change as the herring spawn moves. We are starting to run some bait but are using mostly 3.5 to 4 inch spoons. The midnight rider, green glow, and Irish Cream Coho killers will all work well for you. Run everything with flashers.

Crabbing has been off the charts with limits filled on almost every charter. We will start to prawn more starting April 1st, as DFO will open up all the areas that have been closed. This will allow more choice of fishing grounds to target.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Winter FishingFebuary 6th. 2015

We have been lucky so far as our winter has been excellent for both warm, calm weather and the number of Chinook salmon. Throughout January and this first week in February, our boats have been catching numerous keeper size salmon, mainly but not restricted to the 9 lbs. to 15 lbs. range. Last week there was a fish caught in English Bay that was approximately 22lbs, so there is a chance of bigger fish. Along with these larger sized salmon, we are also catching many undersized fish. We catch and release these but they are fun fish to fight. The New Year saw us doing charters in English Bay and over to the Gulf Islands. The area around the Gulf Islands has been producing good catches, with a slight downturn in the numbers as we moved into late January. Both Thrasher Rock and Porlier Pass have been the spots to target. We’re fishing the reefs and concentrating on fishing the bottom (depths of 120’ to 220’). Bait and 4” spoons with a flasher have both been working well.

Lately, English Bay has been the area that our guides have been concentrating on. We have seen some of the best salmon fishing for larger keepers in a decade. These fish are in concentrated groupings and the tides will move them around. It has been a steady winter season, as we fish many days per week so we have been able to stay in touch with the movement of salmon. Look for the shoals of bait and when you find them, stay on them for better results-an ebbed tide will move them westward (freighters area) and flood tides will move them eastward (Capilano area or tight in on Stanley Park). Depending on the depth of water that you are in, set your gear from 90’ to 150’.

Gear to use has varied a little, with 3.5” spoons in English Bay. We are running flashers with everything and glow flashers such as Green Onion, Purple Haze and the original green-sliver flashers are all working well.  Spoons to try are Nightrider, Green-Glow, Kitchen Sink, Homeland Security and Mongoose Striker.

Early February has seen another large push of herring into English Bay. The bait situation has been increasing throughout the winter, with large and early spawning. Harbour seals are popping up, covered in herring spawn from eating it. This phenomenon officially starts the local herring spawn for us. The salmon follow them into the bays and reefs along the coast and this means bigger and more Chinook to catch.

Crabbing has been excellent with full limits on most every charter. We are still prawning even though there are areas that are closed until March 31st. While this has forced us into different spots, we are still finding stellar catches of 300 to 500 prawns per trip.

Come and see us in our tackle shop on Granville Island for more fishing information. We are located on the waterfront across from the G.I. public market.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie


Winter FishingJanuary 2nd 2015

December turned out to be a great month to fish. The fish seemed to roll in at the beginning of December and have just kept coming. This time of year we usually see a lot of undersized Chinook salmon that are mainly catch and release, but this winter most of the fish have been keeper size. We are seeing fish in the 9lbs to 14lbs range. Howe Sound and Bowen Island have been producing well. English Bay has been the most consistent, so this is the area where our charters are mostly concentrating. In the Bay, both the Capilano River to the Pink Apartments and the Freighters have been the most active. We're still fishing mostly on the bottom, at depths of 90 to 150 feet. Lately we're getting salmon higher in the water column, at depths of 70 to 80 feet. The bait balls have been herring in the 4 to 5 inch size, most of the salmon that we have been cleaning have been full of this size of herring.  As we have stated in past reports, the amount of bait that we have been seeing is impressive. More bait means more fish!

We are running flashers with all our gear, 3½ to 4-inch spoons have produced the best. Green/glow, Midnight Rider, Army Truck, Irish Cream and Mongoose (green/sliver) have produced well.

Crabbing continues to improve a lot since the closing of the commercial season. Prawning has been very productive with sets producing 200 to 500.

Tight Lines - Kevin Addie