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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

Newb here from Salt Lake City, UT. My buddy and I are planning a trip to Port Hardy in early August 2008 for a 10 day trip with our 14 foot fishing boat. We are young (sort of) and aggressive, yet very safe. We'd like to possibly make a run from Port Hardy north to Calvert and Hunter Islands to camp and fish. We realize it's a long way and will require some gutsy navigating, but we're up for the challenge. As a side note: We were told we were crazy to take it out on Lake Michigan, yet we did, it worked very well (even in rough seas) and we were successful in catching many salmon.

That being said, we would like to do the same in BC and are looking for any kind of insight possible into routes, fishing spots, camp spots, methods, etc etc. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Well, your about to take on the big bad ocean, Lake Michigan is big but....lacks tides and the kind of conditions you can and WILL encounter on the West Coast of BC. For one thing you dais you want to camp and fish, well look at the bag limits, are you catching and releasing every thing or are you going to kill some? Where and how will you keep them? You can only take a small amount of salt ice etc. Your in a 14 footer, you may want to rethink things??
If you do go, I recommend a VHF and a back up, travel early morning before some of the major blow hits ( usually later ) Theres just to much to say to some one about being prepared.
I highly recommend you to do your home work, a sat. phone might even be a good idea. Give some one precise info about where and when you are going and comeing back .....oh and Good luck.....get a bigger safer boat, any 14 footer is a tad small for the area mentioned for any length of stay.
Be safe.
H/T
 

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I have fished the Port Hardy area for many years and am very familiar with the area around River's Inlet, Calvert Island area as well.....Before I say you are absolutely nuts, let me say this you are absolutely nuts! :eek:
The waters from Port Hardy accross the strait to Port Progress is over 22 miles,and possible early in the morning on a good tide and no fog. Then you will have to head north to Allison Harbour then north along Smith Sound. At this point you are vulnerable to the open Pacific and it is not uncommon to encounter 10- 20 ft. seas and a change in weather in just a few hours. They do not call this area the "graveyard of the Pacific Coast" for nothing
You will have to run north for 18 -20 miles then bear left over to Calvert.
The "Inside Passage" is not so "Inside" and it is very succeptable to very fast changes of weather, fog and conditions that make many of our long time Mariners cringe.. I think doing this adventure in a 14 foot boat with all the nav. equipment, fishing gear and camping gear etc. would be very foolish.
That being said, if you send me a personal message, I can tell you of a few spots/islands around Port Hardy that you can camp on and be 5 min. away from some of the best fishing on the coast. Overall, August is the best month of the year and you will have no problem catching plenty of salmon in the area..The entire area around Port Hardy is sparcely populated and fishing pressure is light..You only have to go a few miles up or down the coast and you will be VERY isolated, yet only a 1/2 hr. run from the 'Port, something I would STRONGLY recommend...........Ortho 8)
 

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Sunny Shores marina in sooke has camping, a pool and mini-golf :happy: (take the boat in there all the time for a quick 18 O0)...... and some specatular (on par with Hardy) Spring fishing in August, plus the coho and Halibut (between doggies) But well suited to that kinda of boat.
Fish the area regularly if ya need any info..........

Up there a good quick blow can throw up a 6-10ft chop quick and slap that on a 5-15ft foot cross, or same swell.... have fun ;)

Gunna run out the west May long weekend but we're in a 40ft troller.... (with stabies) and we'll probably feel the salty mist
 

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Dude if you don't have the right equipment to make the crossing you will more then likely become statistics. I'm not trying to scare you but this aint the great lakes. I have made this crossing a few times but with the help of a guide from the Oweekeno band from Rivers Inlet to show me the tricky spots and I was in a 22' Bostan Whaler Outrage and still I took a pounding. Unless you guys have all the right maps, GPS, radar and in something bigger then a 14' boat stay around Port Hardy. Like Ortho said lots of good fishing around the top end of the Island. If you want open water to fish drive up to Winter Harbour, its much safer.........
 

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I live on the inside coast and am hesitant to take my 14' boat out of sight of the boat launch. Taking it on this run is absurd.

What kind of power do you have on it? Can your boat even hold enough gas to make the long stretches?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all of the feedback so far...keep it comin.

Our boat has a 25 hp 2 stroke with a 2.5 hp kicker.  We can carry about 45 gallons of fuels and can average around 7 - 8 miles per gallon.  So it has a max range of about 180 miles, although we'd never push that limit.

Just for a little more background on boating experience, in my late teens and 20s I worked in Antarctica, Chile, Argentina, Greenland, Russia (Barents Sea/Bering Sea), Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand driving Zodiacs for expedition ships, primarily on Russian Icebreakers.  Needless to say I have seen the roughest seas and weather in the world.  I have literally logged thousands of hours on 14 - 16 foot Zodiacs with regular landings (often requiring stern landings) on extremely high energy (8 - 10 foot surf) beaches in sub-freezing water.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not gloating, just assuring you all that I'm not inexperienced in this arena.  When I said I'm a newb, I meant a newbie to this board.  We frequently take the boat to Lake Powell on 40+ mile trips.  While Lake Powell is certainly not the ocean, you would be surprised what it's capable of producing in a wind storm, and what we've put the same boat through.

All of this being said, I certainly have learned to listen to locals and veterans to gain as much knowlegde, insight, and warning as possible.  Therefore I appreciate all of the feedback and input.

I guess I'm left wondering how all of the kayakers can regularly row up and down the western coast of Vancouver Island and end up relatively unscathed.  I understand that a kayak has different seaworthy qualities, but you still can run into the same types of risks as in a fishing boat.  After the feedback on this thread, I'm certainly leaning toward staying closer to Port Hardy, i.e. staying in and around the Queen Charlotte sound.

As far as fishing gear is concerned, we are planning on bringing an assortment of 8 - 12 weight fly rods as well as mediumand heavy action spinning gear.  4" - 8" saltwater spoons, jigs, crankbaits, and chuggers/poppers (our boat has downriggers).  Any other advice on gear/tackle?

Thanks
 

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As others have stated, and I touched on, I think your crazy, BUT fill your boots..... or for that matter even your boat. Not to say it can't be done, it has and will be done by others. Your not traveling with another boat, your not familiar with the area, ( reefs, pinnacles, etc. ). As others have said you may become another statistic. Just be safe and wait until later in the year when the fish are migrating through the Pt. Hardy area and camp on a local island. If you do your first choice adventure, if wish you well, think about wearing survival ( DRY ) suits. Oh and an electronic satellite location device for your next of kin.
H/T
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As I said in my last post, we're leaning toward staying around Port Hardy now. I had to ask the question and I got solid feedback.

So early - mid August is not the best time to be fishing in the Port Hardy area?? Quote: Just be safe and wait until later in the year when the fish are migrating through the Pt. Hardy area and camp on a local island
 

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jcommerce....

At that time of the year.....fishing all depends on when and how the "runs" are doing.

Now....having said that from someone who has boated and sailed around Van Island (literally have sailed around it).......can you bring the Coast Guard from Salt Lake so that our tax dollars don't have to save you? Not trying to sound like an ass or discourage your journey............but given where you have "boated" I still don't think you realize where you are going. Tides/reefs/pinnacles/cruise ships/freighters.....I wish you guys well but please don't end up calling for help from CFB Comox. We have too many indivduals up here and NOT from here that try some stupid things and all hell breaks loose.

Let me illustrate one that hits especially close to home.....

This one was one of my old roomates who is a HARDCORE athlete but screwed himself........

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/serv...010/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2007/10/08/kayak-death.html

That accident happened within sight of the Vancouver/Whistler highway.


I realize the "great salt lake" is "salt water" but this is a whole new ball game.

Call the US Coast Guard to accompany you if you don't mind??
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pippen, please read my last 2 posts.

1)  I wouldn't call Elephant Island or South Georgia (see Drake Passage) just simply "boating".
2)  I've now said twice that we're planning on staying in the Port Hardy area.

Why am I still being criticized?  I've tried to take the advice and alter "plans" accordingly.  Are you saying we shouldn't go at all?

p.s. - those articles are eye opening though, the area demands respect and humility.
 

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Absolutely, springs, coho if there is an opening, pinks, you likely will not be allowed to kill sockeye. On our coast it's not common to use crank baits as you mentioned.
Herring and anchovies and squid are the main stays for pacific salmon. That said, artificial lures like hootchies, spoons and plugs will catch you fish. Fly fishing for salmon is becoming more popular but requires a ton of practice and locating fish near the surface can be a problem, look near kelp beds, reefs etc. Follow, Cod Fathers charter outfit out of Pt. Hardy they do ok on finding fish. If you can Down riggers are a great help to get you to where the fish are, also you can rig up your lighter fly rods with a flashtail or streamer fly off the release clip (good fun). I'm a bait guy first, herring and chovies, spoons, hootchies and plugs after that. Visit your local dedicated tackle shop to see how we do it compared to the great lakes. The use of flashers and dodgers is huge out here for trolling along with strong med. to heavy action 8 to 11 foot rods with single action reels ( most fun ) but level winds can be used. Go heavier still, get a halibut rod and reel setup, bag some hallies and red snapper, ling cod they are all great eating.
Good to hear your staying in a safer area.
H/T
 

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J....

my apologies as I read the first few posts and then kind of skimmed through the rest.

I will tell you this much........you are visiting a beautiful area up there and without crossing the strait you will have lots of fishing opp's for salmon, hali's and bottom fish.

As far as areas to camp etc you may want to try this forum ( http://www.sportfishingbc.com/forum/ ) as there are more guys/gals from the island (Van Island) who may be able to shed some insight as to camping spots etc.

One thing to bear in mind....August can be foggy.

If you don't mind my asking......why Hardy, specifically?
 

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As shown in the articles even a protected area like Howe Sound needs its due respect. I don't know too much about the North Island area but Iknow Howe Sound very well and even it can throw you surprises. Round the north tip of Bowen Island in realative calm and all of a sudden that Squamish wind throws wave action that any car topper would fear. I can only imagine the North Coast would be multiplied by 100%.....Long and short of it all is local knowledge is huge. Make sure your gear (including boat) are suitable and then increase that suitability 10 fold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks guys, I'm kind of freaked out now, but we'll play it safe. If any signs of wind or other weather kick up, we always bail into shore immediately. We will have VHF, GPS (with BC topo), Nav lights, life jackets, etc etc.

Pip - The reason we've been eyeing Port Hardy and the northern part of the island, is because it's furthest from the major population bases of Vancouver, Sea/Tac, etc. It also seems to be the closest area to open the Pacific while still maintaining the protection of the main island. Just seems to be a beautiful area, fishing hub, and great area for boat fishing and camping. We're not 100% committed to just this area, but it's kind of what we've settled upon. Always open to other ideas though.
 

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J....

I hear ya. It is beautiful up there. If you are towing your boat up you may want to look at some areas on the West Coast of Van Isle as well........the protected inshore areas. ;) That coast can be VERY unforgiving in bad weather and you can feel as though you may as well go to Japan vs back to the island. Depending on how far you wanted to drive there are absolutely stunning areas if you head up to the Central Coast of BC....ie Bella Bella/Bella Coola area AND as a bonus......those areas can have some great fishing not to mention the scenery is absolutely stunning. Another area to perhaps "investigate" would be Desolation Sound and the "Inside Passage". Absolutely beautiful area to explore.....the water can be much more "forgiving" although the fishing is not "as great" as it is up North Island. However we have had some great days fishing basically at the sound end of Johnstone Strait and around the North and west side of Stuart Island.
 

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Hey JComm.............No one is doubting your expertise, but you will have made a wise choice to camp and explore the Pt. Hardy area and maybe take a drive over to Winter Harbour on the NW corner of Van Isle. It's a pretty easy drive and you can pull the boat and launch there without any problem.
There are a couple of other things to keep in mind. Because of the ruggedness of the west coast, there is oftetn "no where to go" as the coastline is extremely rocky and unforgiving. With a following sea, you will likely get thrashed on the rocks. First class marine charts of the area are mandatory. Fog is almost always a problem in the area in August so a good compass is also mandatory.
Fishing in the Port Hardy area and Winter Harbour should be good. You will have plenty of coho around,pinks and springs (some big ones in the 30-40 lb. range will likely be in the area).
Lots of bottomfish and the Halibut fishing east of Masterman Islands can be really good. As mentioned previously, check with the local guys and hand around the docks later in the afternoon. I have sent you a pm with additional info
....Ortho 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Pippen said:
Depending on how far you wanted to drive there are absolutely stunning areas if you head up to the Central Coast of BC....ie Bella Bella/Bella Coola area AND as a bonus......those areas can have some great fishing not to mention the scenery is absolutely stunning.
We have looked at this and have found that ferry access is the best way to get a vehicle and boat here. Other than the ferry, what is the route and estimated distance from Vancouver?
 

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From Vancouver to Bella Coola is roughly 1000 km. East on the # 1 to Cache Creek, go straight thru the town and now your on Hwy 97. head to Willy's Puddle {Williams Lake} and turn left on Hwy 20 and keep on it till the road ends and your in Bella Coola.
 

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high tide said:
Absolutely, springs, coho if there is an opening, pinks, you likely will not be allowed to kill sockeye. On our coast it's not common to use crank baits as you mentioned.
Herring and anchovies and squid are the main stays for pacific salmon. That said, artificial lures like hootchies, spoons and plugs will catch you fish. Fly fishing for salmon is becoming more popular but requires a ton of practice and locating fish near the surface can be a problem, look near kelp beds, reefs etc. Follow, Cod Fathers charter outfit out of Pt. Hardy they do ok on finding fish. If you can Down riggers are a great help to get you to where the fish are, also you can rig up your lighter fly rods with a flashtail or streamer fly off the release clip (good fun). I'm a bait guy first, herring and chovies, spoons, hootchies and plugs after that. Visit your local dedicated tackle shop to see how we do it compared to the great lakes. The use of flashers and dodgers is huge out here for trolling along with strong med. to heavy action 8 to 11 foot rods with single action reels ( most fun ) but level winds can be used. Go heavier still, get a halibut rod and reel setup, bag some hallies and red snapper, ling cod they are all great eating.
Good to hear your staying in a safer area.
H/T


Jcommerce, did you happen to go to the ISE show in SLC in March? You may of seen us as we had a booth there...if you need any help with info for Hardy area, give me a PM.

Cheers,
David
 
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