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Angling for the big one

More fishermen can be seen trolling the waters near Nanaimo. - KARL YU/The News Bulletin
More fishermen can be seen trolling the waters near Nanaimo.
— image credit: KARL YU/The News Bulletin

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is forecasting a strong pink salmon run for Nanaimo, providing good recreational fishing opportunities.

Andrew Thomson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada South Coast B.C. area director, said estimates aren’t done for every pink salmon run but there are indicator systems and the department has seen strong pink salmon runs in other river systems on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

It seems as if there have been favourable ocean conditions and there has also been an abundance of fish in the approach areas to Nanaimo, he said.

“At the moment, we’ve got pink salmon returning to both the Millstone River and into Departure Bay as well, and so we’ve opened up for recreational opportunities for pink salmon,” Thomson said. “We’ve seen pink salmon return strong in other areas and so we expect a good strong return as well for pinks in the Nanaimo area and that’s why the fishing opportunity’s been offered.”

James Sandifer, an avid fisherman, heard that pink salmon were making their way through Nanaimo’s waterfront and has been taking advantage for a few days.

“I’ve caught a total of five, two [Monday], one [Sunday] and now two,” Sandifer said Tuesday. “I find the best fishing right now is during the high tide. It pushes the fish more in close in to the river mouth and it’s just easier fishing instead of having to go further out into the water.”

Mike Screaton said the salmon are spawning and getting ready to run up the Millstone and brought his family up from Ladysmith to take advantage, just like the year previous.

“Last year was good, it was awesome. I came out and scouted yesterday, saw lots of guys catching them and I’ve seen a lot of guys catching them already [Tuesday], so it’s supposed to be getting better every day that goes by,” he said.

Screaton’s sons Bradley and Brayden both said they both had high hopes for their yield.

“I want to catch a really big one, I hope,” said Bradley, with Brayden hoping for the same.

Thomson said there is a limit of four fish per day for pink salmon until the end of September.

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