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Fishing Hot Spots, Tips & Tactics - Shearwater

Fishing Hot Spots, Tips & Tactics - Shearwater

Nestled in the heart of British Columbia, the tranquil marine resort of Shearwater has a rich history, having been acquired from the airforce back in 1947. Located 322 miles north of Vancouver's south terminal, this charming community offers a unique getaway for travelers seeking serenity. It's conveniently situated just three miles away from Bella Bella and boasts its airstrip. You can also access this idyllic retreat via a BC Ferry from Port Hardy.
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Shearwater's prime location in calm and protected channels makes it a haven for those who tend to get seasick. Moreover, its proximity to various species of fish ensures a rewarding experience for anglers. The resort's southern islands, like Spider Island, overlap with the northern territory of Hakai Pass, located just 30 miles to the south.
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Summer is the perfect season for fishing enthusiasts. The remote location provides early access to the salmonid runs, with pristine rivers teeming with Dolly Varden, steelhead, and cutthroat trout. But the fishing fun doesn't end with summer. Shearwater remains open year-round, allowing you to enjoy winter fishing and land those elusive lunkers.
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All five species of salmon - chinook, coho, sockeye, chum, and pink - can be found at Shearwater. These migratory fish grace the central and southern coast watersheds during the summer and fall months.
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The large chinook salmon arrive early in the year, with impressive specimens weighing between 30 and 50 pounds. Sockeye salmon, weighing around 5 pounds, provide another early summer treat. Unlike other areas where pink salmon runs occur biennially, Shearwater welcomes these eager 4-7 pound salmon every summer from early July to August 7.
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Coho salmon make their debut in early July, with schools of 10-12 pound fish appearing in waves. This continues until September 21, with some growing as large as 20-22 pounds. With conservation measures in place, coho fishing prospects look promising.
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A second wave of large chinook arrives in early July, and these majestic fish continue to make appearances until September 15. These chinook are known to reach up to 55 pounds, destined for the Wonnock, Kilbella, and Chuckwalla Rivers. 
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Chum salmon invade the area from July 15 to September 7, with late August fish averaging a significant 15-20 pounds. Anglers who appreciate a thrilling fight will relish the experience of reeling in a chunky chum salmon.
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Cutplugging with 7-8" cutplugs, matched with ultra-sharp 5/0-6/0 hooks, is the preferred method for salmon. Halibut and bottom fish are not as selective, with whole herring rigged on a 2/0 treble hook and 5/0 single, along with 12 oz of weight.
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Hootchies, like the purple and blue, blue and white, and white options, work well on a 30" leader with a Gibbs or O’ki flasher, especially for coho. For pink and sockeye, a Gibbs T-10 flasher and mini pink hootchies (2.5") at 30' on the downrigger are the go-to choices.
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Spoons, such as the Lighthouse Big Eye AWC Wonder spoon, prove effective for coho and chinook.
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Shearwater offers two types of fisheries: summer fishing for all salmon species and structure-related fishing for halibut, lingcod, and other bottom fish. Anglers can enjoy rocky reefs and gravel shoals for bottom fish or venture into the channels and islands for salmon.
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Shearwater boasts numerous salmon fishing hotspots, including Tinky Island, Cape Swaine, Ivory Island, Cousins Inlet, and Barba Point. These locations change with the season, keeping anglers engaged throughout the year.
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For bottom fishing, Shearwater is a true gem. Purple Bluff, located 15 miles southwest of Shearwater, is a hub for halibut, with some weighing between 40 and 60 pounds and occasional giants reaching 150 pounds. Seaforth Channel and Deadman's Island have reefs that house rockfish and 30-pound lingcod, often found in water as shallow as 30 feet. Further south, Cultus Sound is home to the flatties and lingcod in 80-150' rock piles, making it a must-visit destination for avid anglers.

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