Northern Vancouver Island has long been a popular place to catch fish. Some of the original fishing towns from up north are still running as people’s favourite fishing spots. Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Winter Harbour are typically the first places that come to mind, while Telegraph Cove can also offer some great fishing. However, it’s more of a whale watching destination than a fishing one.
Up north, most anglers are going for chinook and coho, as well as halibut thanks to the halibut run starting earlier there than most other places on Vancouver Island. North Island is truly a spot for fishing aficionados, as outside of the small towns and their scenic harbours, there really isn’t much else except the great outdoors. This is a great place to live, sleep and breathe reeling in the big one. Plus, the drive, while beautiful, can be a long one taking up to seven hours from Nanaimo! That’s a lot of dedication for a fishing trip.
There are numerous charters to choose from once you get there, as well as a few remote lodges to take your fishing trip to the next level. Summer is usually the best time to come fishing up north, and the season can start a bit earlier than others, as you want to catch the fish before they head down south to spawn. Besides salmon and halibut fishing, there are plenty of cod around, which can make for a great campfire dinner, too.
Fishing North Island gives you a taste of true, rugged BC beauty. For some, the remote tranquility of it all is exactly what they want from a salmon fishing trip. The strait is also prime whale watching territory and anglers are often treated to the sight of a passing humpback whale, and even the occasional orca!