Fish, Fur, Fowl: ‘Lucky’ Area 7 open for retention

By Ed Oldham

Area 7 opened Friday for the retention of two hatchery Chinook and some real promising reports have been coming in. There are definitely quite a few fish in the area to be caught — you just have to find them.

Lopez Flats is a popular area that can consistently produce fish. I like this area because it is not terribly deep and if you follow the 150-foot contour, you are bound to find some fish. This area is also a centrally-located point to hit some of the other popular spots.

Thatcher Pass is just a stone’s throw away from the flats and it too can produce some nice fish. Anglers should look for bait balls and target them, and birds are your best friends. You will see them flock on the surface feeding and the salmon will be just underneath them.

If Thatcher is a bust then move to the next spot, Decatur Island. I have not had a lot of success here but I know many anglers who have. Once again, this area is just a skip away from Thatcher Pass and the same rules apply — look for the bait balls.

If the weather permits and you can get out to San Juan Island, then I would recommend trying your luck at Eagle Point. This is a very popular place and can produce larger fish than those you’d find around Decatur Island or Thatcher Pass. Here you can intercept some big Chinook on their way north to the Fraser River. This will become even more popular with anglers as the season progresses.

As for gear, spoons are my favorite. I personally like the coyote spoon in three-inch size, trolled about 32- to -40-inches behind a green flasher. You might also try army truck, cop car and green-glow colored spoons. A lot of anglers will troll as close to the bottom as they can and I do this as well, but I will also move it up in the water column if I am marking fish on the fish finder.

Cut plug herring is another popular rig. This time of the year, the dogfish are not as thick as they are in the summer months and this makes for a better fishing trip not constantly having to reset your rig after a dogfish takes your herring.

Hootchies are still a go-to lure for many anglers. I like the green spatter backs and when I have them, I like to use the purple haze as well. You will want to put these closer to the flasher, though, as it will give them more action.

A few years ago, I went on a guided trip out of Victoria and the guide would be constantly changing either the troll speed or the troll depth. His logic, and it made sense to me, was that salmon aren’t as attracted to something that moves in a straight line at the same speed. I have since incorporated this tactic and have had increased success. I also like to zigzag when space permits. This is just another tool to add to the bag of tricks.

If things are slow, I would change something about your presentation. You never know what new or rediscovered technique you might find. I know that I have caught quite a few fish doing something different than every other boat on the water. You know when you found something that works when the other boats start to crowd you in.

If the weather is decent this weekend, I would recommend getting out to the islands and giving it a go. I might even see

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