The small British Columbia community and marine
resort of Shearwater, formerly purchased from
the airforce in 1947, lies 322 miles north of
Vancouver's south terminal. Three miles from Bella
Bella, the resort operates its own airstrip and
may also be accessed by BC Ferry from
protected channels and access to all species of
fish make this a good bet for the seasick-challenged
among us. Its southern islands, for example, Spider
Island overlap the northern territory of
Hakai Pass situated 30 miles to the south.
Summer fishing is influenced by: remoteness of
location which provides early access to many runs
of salmonids; rocky bottom structure for bottom
fish and halibut; and, also many pristine freshwater
rivers filled with
Dolly Varden , steelhead and
cutthroat trout . As an unusual feature, the
land-based resort also offers both marine accommodation
and fishing aboard its 45' charter boat, the Pacific
fishing is also available as the marine resort
is open year round to land the lurking lunkers.
Annual Cycle of Runs
All five species of salmon may be found at Shearwater:
. All five species are migratory fish, appearing
as mature animals in summer and fall months homing
in on a variety of central and southern coast
Large chinook arrive early in the year. Thirty
to 50 pound white springs from Bella Coola and
the Dean River filter through from May 15 to June
Good numbers of 5 pound sockeye provide another
early species from June 21 - July 21.
Unlike other areas of the province where pink
runs occur every second year, Shearwater sees
its share of these eager 4 - 7 pound salmon every
summer from early July - August 7.
first coho arrive in early July as waves of 10
- 12 pound fish. Successive schools descend on
local hotspots until September 21 with fish growing
to a truly gargantuan 20 - 22 pounds for the McGloughlin
River spawners. During the catch-and-release summer
of 1998, 2100 of these beauties succumbed to anglers'
offerings in the best coho fishing experienced
in years. With commercial trolling curtailed and
other conservation measures in place, coho fishing
can only improve in coming years.
A second wave of large chinook begin arriving
early in July and continue shouldering through
until September 15. These are the fabled Rivers
Inlet chinook to 55 pounds destined for the Wonnock,
Kilbella and Chuckwalla Rivers. Of 369 chinook
landed at Shearwater Resort in 1998, the average
weight was a handsome 28.5 pounds.
Chum invade the area from July 15 - September
7. Destined for Ocean Falls and Jenny Inlet, late
August fish average a very large 15 - 20 pounds.
True afficianados of our finny friends will know
that a chunky chum in flight provides a truly
savourable ballistic experience.
Providers in this Area:
on an Annual Basis Bait:
As with other remote fishing areas, Shearwater
supplies all tackle. Cutplugging with large 7
- 8" cutplugs sliced perpendicularly from dorsal
to ventral surface with a 30 degree bevel from
lateral to lateral side produces a slow, flip
roll. Matched to ultra sharp 5/0 - 6/0 Gamakatsu
hooks in a double sliding hook arrangement on
a 6' leader, cutplugs are trolled with down riggers.
Halibut and bottom fish are not as choosy.
Whole herring rigged on a 2/0 treble, 5/0 single
and 12 oz of weight slip into the deep from 6
½' ugly Sticks and Penn 309 levelwinds sporting
80 pound Tufline and 60 pound leader.
Try the purple and blue, blue and white and, for
coho, white on a 30" leader to a Hotspot flasher.
The army truck pattern produces later in the season.
For pink and sockeye try a small red Hotspot flasher
and tiny pink hootchies matched to red Gamakatsu
hooks, 30' on the downrigger.
Large Tomic 357 and dark green 7" plugs. The rule
is: big plug, big fish. Spot springs on the sounder
(often 30 - 55')
The Luhr Jensen mother of pearl spoon fished all
on its own works wonders with coho and chinook.
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Strategy and Specific Fishing Areas
Shearwater has two types of fisheries: summer
fishing for all salmon species; and, structure-related
fisheries for halibut, lingcod and other bottom
fish. In addition, two distinct fishing opportunities
present thenmselves: fishing the rocky reefs and
gravel shoals for bottom fish, and fishing the
channels and islands for salmon.
The salmon fishing hotspots are many in number
and difficult to summarize (which, of course,
is a boon to fishermen). All spots, including
Tinky Island, Cape Swaine, Ivory Island, Cousins
Inlet and Barba Point present excellent opportunities.
The salmon move with the season and anglers troll
after the fish. Early in July, Dryad and Idle
Point often prove the hotspots, followed in midsummer
by Cultus Sound and German Point. Later in the
season, White Point, Codville Lagoon and Port
John come into their own.
Bottom fishing hits a level of brilliance found
in few other remote locations. 15 miles southwest
of Shearwater, Purple Bluff holds great numbers
of halibut in the 40 - 60 pound class, with occasional
fish rising to 150 pounds. Seaforth Channel and
Deadman's Island have reefs where rockfish and
30 pound lingcod may be taken as shallow as 30'.
Further south, Cultus Sound stacks the flatties
and ling in the 80 - 150' rock piles.