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Hakai Pass - The Land of Opportunity

By Hugh Partridge, 🕔Mon, Mar 21st, 2011


  


Perhaps the greatest attraction I have to these waters is the opportunity it holds for catching some of the largest chinook salmon anywhere. When I say large, I am not referring to 20 or 30 lb. salmon. What I am talking about here are really big salmon, 40+ lbs.

This is what brings anglers back year after year to Hakai. It is also what kept me coming back as a guide and outdoor enthusiast. During my six seasons of guiding these waters, I encountered the company of numerous anglers who were rewarded for being at the right spot at the right time with chinook salmon that topped the 70 lb. mark. One such angler was able to attract a salmon weighing over 85 lbs., an IGFA record and perhaps the most remarkable fish I have ever seen.

While not every angler will leave having caught one of these giants, the opportunity to catch fish like these is very real, and is what has made these waters so famous.

Located on the central coast of British Columbia and surrounded by thousands of scenic islands and fjords, Hakai Pass is truly a world class destination. Now a marine park, the majestic nature of these islands attracts boaters, anglers, and kayakers alike. White, sandy beaches, interspersed among the islands is home to a gentle west coast surf. The many islands are teaming with both fish and wildlife, and provide a sheltered fishing environment. Remote, accessible only by float plane or vessel, for the avid angler it is often a dream come true. Very few areas off the coast of British Columbia rival Hakai for beauty and the opportunity to intercept characteristically large salmon.

Geographically, Hakai Pass is the 'hub' to many schools of migrating salmon that pass through the area. These various runs of salmon will remain in the pass for often up to a few weeks, feeding on the tide swept baitfish, before carrying on with their journey. Numerous resident bottom-fish also offer great variety for visiting anglers.

Besides the trophy chinook salmon, there are also plenty of other game fish in the area. All five species of Pacific salmon can be caught in this area. Record chinook, coho, chum, and pink salmon have come from these waters. Other game fish included healthy populations of halibut, snapper (yellow-eye rockfish), ling-cod, and many species of rockfish.

Besides the trophy chinook salmon, there are also plenty of other game fish in the area. All five species of Pacific salmon can be caught in this area. Record chinook, coho, chum, and pink salmon have come from these waters. Other game fish included healthy populations of halibut, snapper (yellow-eye rockfish), ling-cod, and many species of rockfish.

The preferred method of fishing for salmon in Hakai, is a variation of the technique called "mooching". This variation to mooching is termed "motor-mooching", and is deadly technique for catching large, selective chinook salmon. It involves the use of a 10 to 12 foot mooching rod, a single-action reel, a 1 - 12 ounce mooching sinker attached to a tandem leader. On the tandem leader is attached a cut-plug herring, that once fished properly, is an excellent representation of a wounded bait fish. When motor-mooching, anglers will switch between trolling dead-slow, and drifting idle with the tide. The erratic motion applied to the bait when motor-mooching, is the result of the varied use of speed. You are essentially triggering a response behavior in the salmon, that attracts them to the easy target of wounded prey. One thing remains consistent however, and that is the slower the speed the better. The very large chinook are lazy fish. They do not attain weights of over 40 or 50 lbs. by expending all their energy.

Many of the favored fishing holes in Hakai Pass are famous to trophy fisherman. The "Gap", the light house at Odlum Pt., and Barney Point are all reputable trophy fishing hot spots. These three fishing spots contain features characteristic of excellent fishing grounds. Gentle backeddies are formed in the lea of protruding points of land. These backeddies provide a feeding ground, and resting area for the migrating chinook salmon. The adjoining deep bodies of water and neighboring kelp beds also provide a safe haven to the chinook salmon against the occasional migrating Orca whales, who seem to also know that big salmon frequent these spots.

Anglers motor-mooch the backeddies of many fishing holes scattered amongst the backdrop of broken groups of islands, in search of the trophies that lay within. The experienced angler will position his boat close to the shore in the backeddy, directly adjacent to stronger tidal waters. In this method, fish are intercepted as they seek shelter from the sweeping tidal currents by moving into these backeddies. The closest body of water to the shore in these backeddies, offers the greatest protection from tidal currents for fish, and is the favored location for very large chinook and also ironically, baitfish.

This light tackle method of fishing offers great sport when matched against these big fish. It is not uncommon to hear of battles lasting well over an hour. The simplicity of the method of fishing, allows angler to easily catch on to this technique. The combination of great fishing and majestic surroundings make Hakai Pass one of those "unique" fishing opportunities for the trophy fisherman. The best fishing months also fall in the same months as the best weather conditions, July and August. If your a serious angler looking for serious trophy salmon fishing, I would not hesitate to recommend that Hakai be placed on your list of options.

Many lodge accommodations are available to anglers wishing to fish the famous Hakai Pass. Most of them offer complete all-inclusive fishing packages, including airfare from major points such as Vancouver and Seattle.

Sunny days and some really big fish! This is what comes to mind when I'm thinking about Hakai Pass. I may be criticized however, for being somewhat biased considering the six years I spent happily guiding these pristine waters.

Regardless, in contrast to the many other saltwater destinations I have fished, it still ranks as #1 on my list of favorites. It has produced more trophy chinook salmon for me, than any other of the many areas I have fished on the coast of British Columbia.

For Lodges in this area:

Joe's Salmon Lodge

Ole's West Coast Adventures


  


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