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#441 AllseeingEye

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Posted 24 January 2024 - 09:05 AM

Love that store.

Never fails, not even once. Broke my $50 sunglasses just before we left the country, so took a rip into town to run final errands and find a new pair. London drugs, nada. MEC? Sure, some $300 cycling ones. I even went into the new consignment outdoor store, Grove.

Maybe sunglass hut, wherever that is? Nevermind, walked into Robinson’s, had the exact pair I wanted. Same brand as the ones I broke. $60 and on my way. They had three different brands on display; cheap, middle (me) and the ones in the locked case… didn’t even ask about those.

 

Super knowledgeable staff; Matt (manages the fishing section upstairs) and I believe is also now co-owner of the store, and Zak are known all over the island for their fishing expertise especially where fly fishing is concerned. I doubt anyone on this rock into fly fishing especially does not know who these guys are. Excellent people, will never steer you wrong. All their gear is top notch and the prices are competitive.



#442 Matt R.

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Posted 24 January 2024 - 06:44 PM

I don’t get sunglasses.

I’ve never owned a pair in my life.

My pupils get smaller if the sun is out. Doesn’t everyone else’s eyes work the same?

I’ve never owned any other type of glasses or optical aids either. I’ve never experienced any drop off in my visual perception.

It’s the air on salt spring, makes me squinty.

Funny thing though is that if I’m actually IN the sun, I won’t wear them. Dread getting those tan lines! Mostly for driving or relaxing on a patio.

Edited by Matt R., 24 January 2024 - 06:45 PM.


#443 AllseeingEye

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Posted 24 January 2024 - 07:15 PM

Good sunglasses are critical for us when on the water be it salt or freshwater but especially when fishing the rivers. For the best UVA/B protection and glare reduction I have one pair of MD Charlton brown lens and a second pair from the same manufacturer with green lenses. They're about $250 which is very reasonable given the quality of the glasses. They are definitely needed as we can easily be on a river from 5am to late afternoon therefore, protection aside, really good sunglasses are important if you are standing in the middle of a river trying to spot fish which is where glare reduction is factored in.



#444 Matt R.

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Posted 24 January 2024 - 07:16 PM

Tan lines, no thanks.

#445 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 24 January 2024 - 07:50 PM

It’s the air on salt spring, makes me squinty.

Funny thing though is that if I’m actually IN the sun, I won’t wear them. Dread getting those tan lines! Mostly for driving or relaxing on a patio.


One time I was driving into town. Just got over the Johnson street bridge. It was wet ground but sunny sunrise. The sun was just coming up. It screwed me right up and I actually had to pull the vehicle over and get my bearings. That’s my only bad sunshine encounter.

#446 AllseeingEye

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Posted 11 March 2024 - 02:00 PM

Was out on the Cowichan river yesterday on a scouting trip with a couple of the posse, checking out the general river conditions, which I'm happy to say are looking great.

 

Lots of water volume in the system right now, we followed the usual road route west from Duncan along Riverbottom got out of the truck and wandered over to Sandy Pool which was seeing some action just as we were there (looked like a nice cutthroat trout).

 

We continued along Riverbottom past Stolz Pool campground, Mayo Falls, and 66 MIle Trestle, getting out at all of them briefly checking the water clarity and levels before driving right down the pullout to Skutz Falls and having an extensive walk around that area including the fish weir and ladder. Saw a few guys drift fishing - which really is the ideal in order to access the entire river - as well as several others just kayaking the system enjoying the day.

 

The broader ecosystem including the surrounding forest looks very healthy for now, although as expected there is virtually no snow whatsoever on the nearby mountains and hill; that is very worrisome for when the hot weather arrives. In all likelihood that will mean very low water levels are in the offing unless we get a tremendous drenching in the spring and/or an unusually cool summer which doesn't seem likely..

 

Snapped a few pics, attaching a couple here, one of Skutz falls proper, the other including the falls and the fish ladder in the background where I caught an enormous brown trout about a year ago in a pool just above the ladder. When conditions are right its a great place to drop a line as the fish tend to pull up and rest in that pool both before and after tackling the falls.....

 

 

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#447 Mike K.

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Posted 11 March 2024 - 09:02 PM

I don't think there's much snowpack on those hills, typically. Having camped that area almost every winter for over 20 winters, it's a gamble whether or not you'll encounter snow on those low hills, at this time of year. And if you do, it's usually only a few inches or there'll be a dumping, then it'll melt quickly as spring arrives.


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#448 AllseeingEye

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Posted 12 March 2024 - 08:28 AM

Oh no question the surrounding hills around the river aren't high enough to generally receive huge volumes of snow; my point mainly is that if the mid-long range river forecast for an especially dry/warm year pans out, river levels - which at various times last spring/summer/fall were so low we could cross at several points where there was literally no water in the system and our boots weren't even getting wet - then we can almost certainly expect a repeat this year, if not worse.



#449 Mike K.

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Posted 12 March 2024 - 03:11 PM

It'll be ok ASE.

Our bigger problem is the ever increasing number of gates blocking access to back country areas, because people are setting up camp, causing chaos, then moving on without taking their garbage with them. It's not good, and it's going largely unnoticed by the general public until their favourite spot is blocked by a new gate.


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#450 AllseeingEye

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Posted 12 March 2024 - 03:24 PM

For the most part we can thank Mosaic for that. I imagine increased gates will primarily impact the camping/backwoods moto crowd. For prime fishing spots we can always find access to rivers such as the Salmon, Conuma, White, Adam and Eve etc.



#451 Mike K.

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Posted 12 March 2024 - 03:28 PM

Yes, the northern rivers are not under the domain of Mosaic, but there are problems up there as well. I've noticed more and more gates appearing. It's concerning, as the public fought so hard in the 60s and 70s to open those areas to the public. It's such a shame that in the span of a few years, so much access has been taken away.

 

If you head up to Fairy Creek, the legacy of those protests are ...gates. Thank you, all.


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#452 AllseeingEye

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Posted 12 March 2024 - 08:30 PM

Yeah I feel for the mom and pop + kids groups just looking for a place to camp within 2-3 hours of the south island; for us if we want to fish the aforementioned rivers from Sayward north we'll now bunk at a motel - we have our go-to accommodations in Black Creek/Saratoga Beach, Campbell River, Sayward and Pt Hardy - and from there we study the logging road maps particularly in the higher country beyond Sayward, do some on the ground recon and always manage to find river access, usually quite remote often where we have the entire ecosystem or stretch of river to ourselves.

 

Even if they acquired timber and cut block rights in the area - which fortunately they have not to date, Mosiac could gate the Salmon river from here to next year and we will still get river access because the terrain for our entry point is not remotely conducive to installing a gate. Ditto for the White, Conuma and Eve rivers. Unfortunately its the average rec users from Parksville south who are the ones really impacted by that (gate) practice. Of course that demographic can also opt if they wish to pay Mosaic for the privilege of staying in one of the fourteen campsites they own and manage - the Caycuse, Old Mill and Kissinger campsites being among the better known of these.

 

North and west of Cowichan Lk., virtually running in a straight line from Pt Renfrew across the island just to the west of Nanaimo, Mosaic maintains a series of gates which are mostly closed; those include the Kapoor, Lens, Nitinat, Widow and Jump Mains; the North Shore and Nanaimo Lakes gates are the only two offhand I am aware of in that region that are continuously open.


Edited by AllseeingEye, 12 March 2024 - 08:31 PM.


#453 Mike K.

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Posted 12 March 2024 - 08:37 PM

I find myself venturing to the north Island now as well. The south is getting crazy busy. The Circle Route to Cowichan might as well be a camping no-go zone now if you want a decent spot (or any spot!), it’s so overrun with people. COVID was the turning point, the area was discovered when young folks couldn’t venture further afield.
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#454 AllseeingEye

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Posted 13 March 2024 - 06:02 AM

Yup basically we don't do 'overnights' anywhere south of Campbell River.

 

As our group ages and health/mobility becomes more of an issue - no more pulling off the logging road to find access then bashing through dense rain forest hiking five kilometers to the river (walking a hundred meters on flat unobstructed terrain still works though :) - a couple of us are batting around the idea of buying an RV. We will still pitch tents on some provincial backcountry camping areas on the Conuma and other similar rivers well beyond Gold River because the average camper won't make the effort to get to them, they tend to be the domain of hard core fishing/camper-types. Those sites of course have little more than a space to park your vehicle, with only the barest of amenities which is fine for us.



#455 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 23 March 2024 - 10:09 PM

Beached orca in B.C. dies despite life-saving efforts

'It's kind of like I lost a relative," said a local involved in the rescue effort


https://www.cbc.ca/n...-dead-1.7153861

Edited by Victoria Watcher, 23 March 2024 - 10:09 PM.


#456 Victoria Watcher

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 07:50 AM

Conservationists try to help orca calf after its mother dies in beaching near Zeballos

 

Orca appeared to be hunting when ebbing tides beached her.
 
 
 
I thought we were supposed to leave wildlife alone?

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#457 AllseeingEye

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Posted 25 March 2024 - 09:09 PM

Someone recently asked me about that unicorn of sports fishing - the steelhead. I know people who've fly and gear fished their entire lives from the Nicola Valley to the Skeena to Squamish to the entire length and breadth of VI and come up "bupkis". Nada. Zip. Zero. Hasn't happened. I've hooked precisely two steelies and managed to land one which is not a bad record considering. Took several years just to find a steelhead and finally hook the first one. In our group of five the total steelhead count is four fish hooked three landed (and ALL released naturally!), spread out over about 60 years of mostly fly fishing.

 

We primarily fish DFO Region 1 (Vancouver Island) and Region 2 (Lower Mainland) but it was actually Region 3 Thompson-Nicola Valley where I bagged and landed my one and only steelhead on a tributary off the Lillooet River. That's it. In large part the difficulty in catching these fish is the fact much of their traditional fishing habitat has been impacted and degraded by everything from over-fishing, to crap forest and other industral i.e. agriculture practices, warming waters due to a shifting climate - name the usual suspects and they are all certain to have played a role in the decline of these beautiful fish.

 

So a few hints and tips....and remember this information is based on personal experience, the experiences of others I've fished with or talked to on a multitiude of river systems combined with *opinion* - and therefore based not on science but strictly on what I've heard and observed and experienced first hand.

 

First the great debate on "when" is best to go for steelhead. Of my two steelies one was hooked an hour after first light, the other in late morning. Based on my observations IMO 90% of steelhead seem to be hooked/caught between ~ 8am and noon. The thought that you must be on the water at first light or at least in the first hour after sunrise does not correlate to my experiences seen, heard and also read on many online fishing forums.

 

A few things to consider beyond the timing - above all you MUST fish close to the river-bottom, no ifs, ands or buts. You're wasting your time otherwise. Personally I do my first drift/cast where I confirm the water depth and move the fly/lure/bait up a few inches from there. Ideally you want the fly/lure/bait within ten inches or so of the bottom. Fish will hold in all types of water, but generally it is the deeper sections of any river that hold the most fish. Any drastic changes in the bottom, i.e "holes", are also hot spots for steelhead.

 

In general and this may seem obvious but you'd be surprised how many people overlook what seems to be too obvious: fish areas often where you've seen fish caught! The Campbell River is a great example of this, as is the Vedder in the Fraser Valley. That's why when the fishing is hot both rivers are jam packed with anglers. Note the Vedder to this day is so bad we gave up on it as fishing there is literally shoulder to shoulder and where actual fights can and do break out. In spite of attracting anglers from all over the world the Campbell River thankfully remains gernaerlly very civil and a pleasant place to fish.

 

Steelhead tend to hold in the water table in the same locations depending on water depth. I love to find (3 to 5 feet) semi-deep tail out sections of the river/bottom while actively walking along the river. Even better if they have large boulders as fish coming upstream in fast flowing rivers like the Campbell love to hang out in the slack water behind those big rocks before tackling the fast moving current. Have confidence in what your using to catch these fish; again purely IMO ghost shrimp is one of the best baits for steelhead; I think my second choice would be plastic worms - steelhead love worms. And especially spring steelhead.

 

My favourite here is a 4" bubble gum and hot pink worm, with chartreuse tail rigged backwards (tail up). Imitation prawns, beads and various yarn setups - hard to go wrong with pink or white yarn - are also provden very effective. Make sure your're checking the tip of your hook for sharpness! Carry a hook sharpener with you, something I can't stress enough.

 

Over time I find myself fishing less in the early months of the season. Probably something to do with getting older and feeling the cold more than I used to :).

 

Mid February until the end of March is when our group starts fishing hard which is indeed the case now. Later when the weather warms a bit we venture to Region 2 (the Cheakamus and Squamish systems especially) and region 3 (Lillooet) rivers. As mnetioned the Lillooet is the site of the only steelie I managed to actually land which didn't surprise me as the nearby Thompson River historically had one of the greatest steelhead runs in BC. Sadly its been virtually decimated for all the reasons I mentioned earlier, in spite of repeated attempts to regenerate it.

 

Similarly here on VI/Region 1 there were historically some tremendous steelhead runs which have likewise declined. They are still here in smaller numbers of course, but you need to do your research and find out for yourself where the best locations are. I will say this: if you are willing to work for them Harris Creek has a local steelhead population but that requires some physical work to gain access to that part of the system. You definitely won't just park the car hop out and drop a line :).

 

On one trip in 2022 we went to the Conuma River - most islanders have to look it up having never even heard of it never mind actually seeing that grogeous river in person - specifically to fly fish for big chinook. We found them easily enoough and easily limited out. We also found lots of bears too, including one memorable up close and personal encounter for me with an enormous male. What we didn't expect one day exploring a small tributary off the Conuma were......steelhead. A bunch of them just sitting in the still current behind a large rock on a very remote section of river hardly anyone fishes. We decided to leave them alone hoping they were a sign of a healthy population not well known by many. "Hopefully".

 

Above all don't get discourtaged: remember you cant catch what's not there. Nine times out of ten whatever run you fish will have no steelhead in it. That's just reality hence the requirment for you to read up on the latest reports and really do your homework in advance of getting out onto the river(s). Its tough but don't get discouraged, your efforts will eventually be rewarded. Once that first steelhead comes your way - and you experience the thrill of one of the great fighting fish out there - you will experience a lifelong passion that never goes away.


Edited by AllseeingEye, 25 March 2024 - 09:11 PM.

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#458 AllseeingEye

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Posted 22 April 2024 - 07:25 AM

Get the b*****s - both the bass and whoever introduced them to this ecosystem: honestly, humans.....dumbest creatures on the planet. Sigh....

 

https://www.timescol...er-lake-8627288



#459 UDeMan

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Posted 22 April 2024 - 08:29 AM

This is the perfect time for the Vibrant Victoria small mouth bass eradication fishing tournament. First prize is a ride in Mike's truck.
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#460 Mike K.

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Posted 22 April 2024 - 11:07 AM

Get the b*****s - both the bass and whoever introduced them to this ecosystem: honestly, humans.....dumbest creatures on the planet. Sigh....

 

https://www.timescol...er-lake-8627288

 

What is it with Masons hating humans so much?  :confused:


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