One of the three legendary Nirvanas of sport fishing fame
- along with Langara Island and Rivers Inlet -
Hakai Pass merits its accolade as 'the most beautiful
remote wilderness fishing area in all of British Columbia'.
Located 417 km north of Vancouver, Hakai Pass sits among a
vast group of rocky islands facing the open Pacific Ocean.
Arranged at time of booking, float planes fly clients from
Vancouver's South Terminal to resort doorsteps. All hooked-on-fishing
anglers owe it to themselves to ply these waters at least
once in their current lifetimes.
Adventure Members serving this area:
Winter fishing is influenced by waves of feeder chinook that
begin nosing into local bays in October. So thick are their
numbers that Buzz Bombs elicit strikes nearly every cast.
Alas, the fishery remains untapped; due to Hakai Pass' remote
location, lodges presently close for business in the winter.
Summer fishing is influenced by first access to runs of salmon
arriving fresh from the ocean bound for the Rivers Inlet basin
and southern rivers. The IGFA World Record 85.5 lb chinook,
taken on 20 lb test line, took the hook in August 1987. However,
bigger monsters lurk the deep; commercial fishermen landed
a 126 lb
chinook off Cape Calvert in recent years.
Be prepared to wear out your arm with 20+ fish days. And fishing
in this area can only keep on improving. In an innovative
move, local resorts opened a hatchery at Shotbolt Creek in
Rivers Inlet 10 years ago, beefing up an already impressive
run of 50 - 60 lb chinook.
Cycle of Runs
All five species of salmon may be found in the Hakai Pass
coho , sockeye,
pink . As this is a summer-only fishery, all species appear
as mature animals in summer and fall months making a bee-line
to spawning beds. Chinook also appear as resident winter feeders,
but angling pressure is slight.
October 15 - May 15, winter feeder chinook inhabit the shallow
waters of local bays feeding on vast schools of herring. In
June, feeder and white-fleshed chinook may top 38 pounds.
June also brings the first of the summer runs to Hakai Pass.
En route to the Fraser River early in the month, southern
sockeye intermingle with their Bella Coola River cousins as
the month progresses.
Tyee chinook fishing (chinook exceeding 30 lbs) begins in
July and peaks in the third week in August.
July coho average 9 - 15 lbs. During August and September,
their size increases to a truly impressive 15 - 25 lbs. Various
coho runs converge - from local Rivers Inlet rivers to as
far south as the Columbia River in Oregon. In August, bright
chrome chum vie with coho and pink for the angler's cutplug.
Blistering is the only word that justly describes the run
of a 20 lb chum in full flight.
on an Annual Basis Bait:
Since all gear must be brought in by float plane, virtually
all lodges supply and use bait. The typical setup is a large
6 - 7" cutplug herring rigged in a tandem hook arrangement
with a 4 - 6 oz banana weight, 12 - 20 pulls behind the boat.
Guides are strongly recommended as Hakai Pass is a vast area
and motor mooching reaches a high level of finesse.
Bottom species prove sympathetic to offerings of herring fished
4' from a spreader bar and a 16 oz weight.
Not currently utilized, however, the Army Truck and white
patterns suggest themselves as good first bets.
Not currently utilized, however, any typical 5 - 6" Pacific
plug, for example, the 602, 302 or 500 should produce.
Not currently utilized, however, a Coyote spoon should produce
early in the season and a red Krippled K later in the summer.
Not currently utilized, however, local schools of black bass
in kelp beds on the west side of Calvert Island present the
possibility of non-stop action for flyfishermen using green
Clouser Minnows. Early in the season, Koeye River opportunities
exist for steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden.
Drift Fishing: If
you can finagle a winter trip through a lodge owner, stand
on the dock and resolutely fling the simplest drift fishing
lure of them all: the white Buzz Bomb.
Overall Strategy and Specific Fishing Areas
Pass has two types of fisheries: structure-related fishing
for salmon; and, bottom fishing for halibut, lingcod and red
snapper. The endless numbers of surf-breaking rocks, underwater
shoals and wilderness islands make for more opportunities
than can be summarized easily.
Salmon fishermen concentrate on Odlum Point, where salmon
first touch Calvert Island at the entrance to Hakai Passage.
While virtually all points and headlands on the Passage produce
salmon, make sure not to miss The Gap and Barney Bay. Further
afield, Spider Island, some 20 miles to the north west, provides
exceptional action tight to the kelp bed on the wall.
All species of salmon press through high in the water column.
Consequently, feed more than bottom structure influences the
summer catch. Feed is pushed dramatically by tide curling
around reefs and rocky points. At 12 - 20 pulls, a tug on
the end of the line far more commonly indicates contact of
the fishy kind than the rocky kind.
Bottom fishermen can literally catch 15 - 25 lb red snapper
all day long. Intermingled with these googly-eyed creatures
are toothy-mouthed lingcod to 40 lbs. Try the 40 - 200' shoals
in West Bay, Airocobra and Dublin Point areas.
For the halibut inclined, 'butts' to 100 lbs lure themselves
from right under the dock. More conventional locations would
include West Bay and shoals off the broad mouth of Hakai Passage.
Look for the unending surge of ocean swell and find the ridges
where the territorial fatties reside.