The Sooke area is the beginning of a salmon fishery that stretches from Sheringham Point on the west to Sidney, BC on the east. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Sooke offers world class salmon angling that can rival any place on the West Coast.
Sooke offers almost a twelve-month fishing opportunity, with the slowest months being October and November. Even then, chum and early blackmouth offer opportunity.
The fishing calendar year for Sooke begins in December with the arrival of winter blackmouth. These immature Chinook are attracted to this area by the schools of herring and candlefish that move in to spawn. The sports anglers in the Sooke area often catch their limit within an hour at this time of year. This fishery is usually good into May.
Mature Chinook – In early May, the first of what the BC anglers refer to as Columbians begin to show. These are thick-bodied Chinook in the 30 to 50 pound range. Columbians were formerly thought to be Chinook from the Columbia River just dipping in to feed. However, tagging studies revealed that they are early Fraser River returns. These fish continue to pass by in good numbers until the middle of July.
As the “Columbians” run begins to disappear, the fall Chinook begin to arrive and the fishing continues without skipping a beat. The last of the Chinook runs usually have passed by the end of August.
Coho – The Coho are abundant in July, August and September. Due to British Columbia’s programs to restore Coho runs, check the regulations, as they will change with season updates. The Coho in the Sooke area in July and August are for the most part 5 to 9 pounds. In September the big, fat, hard fighting fall Coho in the 10 to 20 pound range show up. These runs of Coho can continue into early October.
Humpies – The Humpies run on the odd year. Since these are a mixture of Fraser River and Washington stock, the number of salmon can be tremendous. Humpies arrive in August and limits (4 each day) are easily achieved by even the beginning angler.
Halibut – Halibut are available in the Sooke area at all times of the year. The only month halibut fishing is closed in this area is January. The peak halibut fishing is February until June and then slows. The halibut usually are in the 10 to 30 pound range, but several are caught every year in the 70 to 150 pound sizes.
Area 1 – Sheringham Point – A short westerly run from Sooke Basin brings you to Sheringham Point. The lighthouse at the point easily identifies this area. Fish the west side of Sheringham on the outgoing tide. Winter blackmouth are usually deep, in the 90 to 150-foot depths.
The Columbians and fall Chinook are usually caught quite close to shore, sometimes in 20 to 30 feet of water.
Coho are in the rips further off shore. A back eddy forms on the outgoing tide at Sheringham. Get in line with the other boats in the area and work this area. Don’t troll against or across the paths of the other anglers. The first hour on the incoming tide is good to the east side of Sheringham Pt. Fish the 100 to 120 foot depths.
Anglers casting from shore with Buzz Bombs and jigs often take Chinook off this point.
Area 2 – Otter Point – The first point to the west of Sooke Inlet is Otter Point. Spring and early summer Chinook fishing can be quite productive here and as a result often quite crowded. Otter Point is best fished on the outgoing tide.
Area 3 – Possession Point – This is the start of a long troll with a lot of water and possibilities of fish anywhere along the beach. Possession Point is just to the east of Sooke Inlet. Often Chinook lay at the edge of the kelp beds. Troll from Possession to Donaldson Island (usually called Secretary Island by locals). Stay close to the kelp beds and fish all the west side of Secretary Island on the outgoing tide. On the incoming tide move to the east side of Secretary Island.
Area 4 – This area is best trolled from Secretary Island down to Beechy Head. Moochers can work the edges of Secretary Island and do quite well. Beyond there, however, is trolling water.
This area should be trolled for winter blackmouth in the 90 to 150 foot depths, staying within the bottom 20 feet of water. Summer Chinook will lay quite close to shore.
Coho will be along the rips anywhere from close to shore out into the middle of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
On the odd numbered years, humpies will be everywhere.
As you move towards the west side of Beechy Head, the bottom comes up abruptly and many a downrigger ball, including some of my own have been left here.
The east side of Beechy Head is a good place to fish on either tide and often has an excellent evening bite.
Boat Launches and Camping
Sooke Harbour Marina (250) 642-3236
Sunny Shores Marina (250) 642-5731 Gas is available here for boats.
Sooke Harbour is very shallow in the middle of the bay. Stay close to shore and follow the channel markers.