halibut fishing season in BC

Halibut Fishing Vancouver Island, BC

Fishing for Halibut in BC

Wondering when and where to head out halibut fishing in BC? Our guides at Eagle Nook Resort have you covered. Check out our latest blog post for some helpful tips and tricks for making your next halibut fishing excursion a huge success.

What does a Halibut Look Like?what does a halibut look like

First off, how do you even know when you’ve got a halibut on the end of your line? You won’t be able to confuse the halibut at the end of your line for any other fish. Halibut are a distinctive-looking flatfish that are brownish on one side, and whiteish on the other.

Because halibut swim sideways, the white side is considered the underbelly side, or bottom, and the brown side is the top side, camouflaging the halibut with the sea bed. Halibut have an elongated, almost diamond-shaped body and a broad tail. They can grow to be enormous, weighing up to hundreds of pounds each. Because they are flat, both of a halibut’s eyes sit on the top side (the brown side) of its face, giving its face a bit of a lopsided, goofy appearance.

Halibut Season in BC

The best time for halibut fishing in BC waters are the spring and summer months, or more specifically, between March and November. Although halibut can be caught year-round in BC, the spring and summer months provide the most consistent results, and the most comfortable conditions for spending days out in the water!

If you’re planning on booking a halibut charter, their peak operational period will align with the summer months. At Eagle Nook Resort, our fishing package rates are in effect from early June to early September.

Best Places to Catch Halibut in BC

For your best chance to catch a halibut in BC waters, head out to Vancouver Island’s West Coast (the Tofino, Ucluelet, Barkley Sound side of the island), or the northern tip of the Island near Port Hardy. Halibut are also found all around the central and northern BC coast. Avoid areas near the lower mainland and south Vancouver Island, where halibut numbers are considerably smaller.

The biggest halibut in BC can be found near Haida Gwaii, or the Queen Charlotte Islands, north of Vancouver Island. However, some of these fish are so big, you’re not legally allowed to keep them!

Your Eagle Nook guides will be able to make sure your Halibut is legal to keep.

If you do want more info, you can find current Fishing Notices related to halibut fishing through the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

Halibut Limits and Sizeshalibut season in bc

As per notice from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, effective April 1, 2019 until further notice, the maximum length for the halibut you can catch and keep in British Columbia is 126 cm (head-on), and the daily limit for halibut is one (1). The possession limit for halibut is either of:

  • one (1) halibut measuring 90 cm to 126 cm in length (head-on), OR
  • two (2) halibut, each measuring under 90 cm in length (head-on).

More information on halibut fishing regulations can be found in the Department of Fisheries & Oceans BC Sport Fishing Guide. When you’re on a chartered fishing trip, your fishing guide will help you with all of these regulations.

Why are there size restrictions for halibut?

Huge halibut are considered ‘catch and release’. Generally speaking, halibut that exceeds the size restrictions are female breeders, helping to sustain halibut populations. These halibut are usually 100 lbs or more – surely exceeding the 126-cm size limit.

Fortunately, you’re not missing much by tossing those large halibut back into the ocean, since they are known to be higher in mercury, and be harder to cook. By regulating the size of the fish we are allowed to keep, halibut populations aren’t as threatened by overharvesting, leaving us all with enough tasty fish to eat.

How to Catch a Halibut

When it comes to fishing for halibut, it’s all about combining the right area with the right bait.

The best seafloor topography for halibut fishing is an elevated, sandy bottom with nearby reefs. Avoid areas with deep holes or dips in the ocean floor. Halibut hang out near the bottom of the ocean at a depth of around 40-80 feet (12–24 m) or more. Your guide at Eagle Nook Resort will take you to the best-known spots around Vancouver Island for halibut fishing. You can either drift with the tide or anchor the boat, as long as you keep your line straight down and loaded with live bait.

As for the best halibut bait, halibut aren’t too picky. Live bait such as herring, salmon or mackerel heads and guts, octopus, cod, crab or live squid are most commonly recommended for halibut fishing. Artificial lures and jigs can also be used. Use combinations of bright colour, luminescence, and movement down below, but avoid anything too jerky. During a chartered fishing trip, a variety of bait and tackle will be provided for you. And remember, the more people you invite on your trip, the more bait below, which hopefully equals more bites for all!

Dropping Your Line

Drop your baited, weighted line all the way to the bottom of the ocean floor and then ease up a bit. Wait for a bite for at least 30 seconds before repositioning your line some more by moving it up and down slightly, or side to side gently. The slight movement of the bait will help spread its scent. If nothing’s biting, give it at least a dozen tries before moving on to another position.

When you do eventually get a bite, don’t pull up to set the hook right away, as you risk losing the fish. Instead, wait a few seconds to allow the halibut to eat the bait, while you let your line lower into the water until the hook is set by the halibut’s own doing. After that, halibut are easy enough to reel up to the surface of the water – just be gentle and don’t rush.

 A Note on Bringing Your Halibut Home with Youhalibut fishing vancouver island

If you’re fishing for halibut in Canada and would like to transport your halibut (or salmon) outside of the country, you can transport the fish to the United States without hassle. There is no special paperwork required, and at Eagle Nook Resort, we include in our packages the portioning, filleting and vacuum packing of your fish. We also provide you with an airline-approved cooler to help keep your fish stay fresh and frozen on your ride home. If you are traveling somewhere outside of the US and Canada, check your destination country’s regulations to see if vacuum-packed frozen fish is allowable.

At Eagle Nook Resort, we provide you with the best high end rods, reels, tackle and bait for catching halibut in BC. If you’re relatively new to halibut fishing, our guides will take the guesswork out of what equipment to use. If you’re a seasoned angler, we’d also love to hear about some of the methods you have found successful. Learn more about what’s included in our Luxury Fishing Packages or call us at 604-357-3361 for any questions, bookings, or inquiries.

 

2019 Fishing, Here We Go!

2019 Salmon & Halibut Fishing Season at Eagle Nook Resort

The fishing season is fast approaching and we’re all busy getting ready for what is shaping up to be a great year. A little less than two months until regular season starts on June 13th and we are looking forward to seeing everyone this summer, and of course… fishing. A lot of exciting events coming down the pipe, with two pre-season fishing derbies, some fresh renos in the resort and the fishing reports look amazing for the season.

We just wrapped up our tradeshow circuit, making stops in Puyallup, WA, Victoria, BC, Abbotsford, BC and Edmonton, AB.  We met and talked to a ton of new guests who we will be seeing soon at the resort, as well as a few familiar faces. We had our new Office Manager/Guest Services Supervisor, Samantha join us for two of the shows. You may recognize her from last season in a Guest Services role, we’re lucky to have her back for round two!

If you were thinking about booking for the upcoming fishing season, now is the time to make your move! The summer is filling up quickly and we have limited dates left. The best thing about being located in Barkley Sound is that fishing is amazing all summer long. In June, many Chinook salmon are in the 25 to 35 pound range. Because these Chinook are preparing for their spawning runs, they avidly attack herring and your fishing lures! Halibut show up in big numbers to feed on the same bait fish, both in Barkley Sound and the offshore rock piles. In July, local salmon begin to show in ever-increasing numbers in the Sound. Some halibut will remain in Barkley Sound, but most will move to the offshore banks and rock piles. In August, salmon fishing explodes as Coho salmon in great numbers join the mix.

If you’re wondering how to get to Eagle Nook Resort, get directions here. And if you want to reach out with some questions, our contact info is here.

Here we go, 2019! Here’s to making this season full of fish, good company and lots of fun.

how to can salmon

How to Can Salmon

Canning Your Catch: How to Can Your Own Salmon

So you want to can your own salmon? Picture this: you’ve spent two full days out on the Pacific Ocean catching tons of salmon and now you don’t know what to do with it all! It’s every fisherman’s dream, and one that is made easier to achieve with a chartered salmon fishing trip with Eagle Nook Resort in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

If freezing all that fish you caught isn’t a possibility, then one option is to try canning your salmon so you can enjoy it days, weeks, or even months down the road. how to can salmon

Here is a step by step guide to canning your own salmon using a pressure canner. For best results, some prior experience using a pressure canner is recommended. This method of food preservation often takes some trial and error – and we would hate to see your precious fresh catch of the day gone to waste!

So, if you’re up for the challenge, here’s how to make canned salmon at home.

Homemade Canned Salmon Recipe

Prep Time: 60 minutes

Processing Time: 120 minutes

You’ll Need:

  • Fresh salmon
  • Sharp knife
  • Full or half-pint canning jars (250ml or 500ml)
  • Pickling salt (optional)
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Pressure Canner

Step 1: Prep the Jars and Lids

Start by preparing and assembling your 250ml or 500ml canning jars. (Do not use 1L jars or the fish won’t process properly or safely.) You can expect to get anywhere from three to six pints per fish, depending on the size of your catch.

To prepare the jars, clean them in hot soapy water and rinse them well. Ensure the jars are cooled off before you fill them.

The jars don’t need to be sterilized, just clean. The pressure canner will take care of the sterilizing.

Toss the lid rings to the side for now but soak the snap lids in hot water until ready to use.

Step 2: Prep the Fish

filleting salmon at eagle nook resortThoroughly clean your chilled salmon after removing its head, tail, fins, most of its scales, and all traces of blood. You can choose whether to remove the skin and bones as well. Left in, however, the bones will soften during the canning process if you add vinegar.

Cut the fish into large enough steaks using a meat cleaver or similar so that you have about one big piece per jar.

Step 3: Add the Fish to the Jars

Fill the jars with the prepared salmon leaving as few air gaps as possible, but leave about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space from the top of the rim. Remove any air bubbles with a wooden or plastic spoon or other type of non-metallic utensil.

If you’ve left the skin on, you can place the fish skin side in, or skin side out, keeping in mind that concealing the skin can result in more attractive jars if you plan on gifting any of your canned salmon.

Step 4: Add Ingredients and Seal the Jars

Add the optional pickling salt and vinegar to your salmon. Use half a teaspoon of pickling salt per 250ml jar, or a full teaspoon of pickling salt per 500ml jar. Never use table salt! You can also choose to add the optional vinegar if desired to soften the bones. Simply use the same measurements as the salt: half teaspoons for half pints, and full teaspoons for full pints.

With your jars now filled, wipe each rim clean with a paper towel dipped in vinegar to remove any salmon oil from the rims. Neglecting to clean your rims can lead to unsuccessful seals, so don’t skip this step. Add the snap lids to the jars and then screw the rings on until finger-tight (do not overtighten).

Step 4: Add Jars to Pressure Cooker

Place the jars on the racks of the canner, leaving enough space for steam to flow around all the jars. If you’re stacking jars, add a rack between layers. Add the required amount of room temperature water as per your pressure canner’s instruction manual.

If you have hard water, a small amount of vinegar can help prevent the water from leaving a white residue on your jars. Lock the pressure canner lid in place.

Step 5: Processing the Canned Salmon

Processing times and appropriate pressures for canned salmon vary by your altitude and the size and style of your canner. In general, for 250ml or 500ml jars in a weighted gauge pressure canner at an altitude of 1,000 ft should be processed for 100 minutes at 10 lb (69 kPa).

For dial gauge pressure canners, or when canning at higher elevations, the pressure needs to be adjusted. Consult the chart in your canner’s manual. If you have a vent canner, allow the canner to vent for 7-10 minutes, following the directions for your brand of pressure canner.

Step 6: After Processing

Once your processing time is complete, turn off the heat and leave the canner alone until the pressure has dropped back to zero and two to three minutes have passed. Carefully remove the lid angled away from you to avoid any steam. Keep jars level as you’re removing them.

Leave the jars to cool for 24 hours, without adjusting or retightening the screw bands. After 24 hours have passed, check to see if your jars have successfully sealed. (Discs will be curved downwards).

Remove the screw bands and fully wipe dry the jars and bands. You can leave the rings off or clean them and add them back on.

Add labels, including the date, to your homemade canned salmon and consume within one year.

Step 7: Forget Canning Salmon and Come to Eagle Nook Resortfresh labeled salmon fillets

Although canning your own salmon can definitely be an experience, sometimes it’s nice to let someone else take care of everything for you.  And that’s what you get at Eagle Nook Resort.  Not only will we do everything we can to make sure you catch your limit of fish each day but our staff will also clean your fish, freeze it and pack it proper so you can take it back home in perfectly sealed, frozen packets.

Here at Eagle Nook Resort our world-class salmon fishing charters come with everything you need to catch enough salmon for the entire family. Learn more about our all-inclusive chartered fishing excursions on Vancouver Island, Canada.

 

 

Our 2018 Season comes to an end

2018 Season review

 

 

And like that, the season is over. This was a record breaking year, which ended with the hosting of an amazing group of 60 from Australian and New Zealand. Thank you to everyone who made this such an amazing season – from guests to our staff.

We have some terrific memories from this season. From an engagement on our back patio, 60th birthday  celebrations, families enjoying some quality time and father/son derby’s.

The chefs continued to wow guests with all their delicious creations, showcasing some of BC’s finest produce and fresh catches, straight from the dock. These are only a few of the amazing meals that our guests got treated to this season.

 The chefs weren’t the only ones who were busy this season, the fishing guides and guest services staff, stayed busy processing all the fish that was caught this summer. We had plenty of chinook, coho, halibut, rock fish and lingcod that hit the dock, with our guests leaving with huge smiles on their face and fish to cook up and reminisce about their amazing time at Eagle Nook.

Fishing

It felt good to have so many Chinook salmon in the mid to high twenties all throughout the summer. Our Australian/New Zealand Group brought in our first Tyee of the season, coming in at a whooping 36 pounds. A huge congratulations to Tyee Rick and Mark for reeling in that beauty.

The Chinook Salmon fishing this year was  above par on numbers and coho fishing was off the charts. Halibut fishing didn’t disappoint either, even though we had to let some monsters go, we reeled up beauties, some up to 50 pounds.

Coho fishing went off the charts in July and August. Letting go of  20 plus coho was just the norm, in hopes to find that nice chinook, which was lots of fun for our guests. Success was also had while waiting on anchor for the halibut to bite, plenty of hatchery coho getting jigged up.

All in all the fishing was great, the guests got that true West Coast experience and the guides had fun!

Next season

2019 is already starting to book up and what is looking like it will be another amazing season! So don’t miss the chance to come and experience everything that Eagle Nook has to offer. We promise it will be a decision you won’t soon forget. Friends will be jealous about what an amazing time you had, they’ll want to come too. Many of our guests can attest, that you’ll have so much fun, you’ll make it an annual tradition.

We hope to see you in 2019!

Fish On!!!!!!

all inclusive fishing lodge on vancouver island

Gearing up for another great season at Eagle Nook

Wow, can’t believe how quickly June has snuck up on us. We are gearing up for what looks like is going to be an excellent and busy season. With our opening weekend on June 14th, we have been busy getting the resort up and ready. We have managed to have a bit of pre-season fun, with our Luckysportfishing Derby last weekend and our Eagle Nook Derby, going on right now. Besides our fantastic staff team already up here, we have also have some incredible groups of people coming up to help us out.

Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Ferraira, John Hill, Steve and Rick Gordon, who have over 135 years of gardening expertise, working at one of the islands most famous gardens, came up to help us set up all our flowers and landscaping.

Gift Shop

Danielle modelling some of our new gear

This year we brought in a whole bunch of new swag in our gift shop. Jan and Danielle were rockstars, setting it all up for us this year.  We have hats, jackets, t-shirts, long sleeved and some artwork and jewelry, we have something for the whole family or a little souvenir to take home to remind you of your time up at the resort.

Luckysportfishing Derby

Thanks to all the guests who made it out to participate in our annual derby. There was lots of fun had and plenty of Salmon caught. It was a close race to take home the trophy this year. A big congratulations to Reklyne for reeling in the Derby Winner at 22 pounds. In a very close second, Scott Munro and his team reeled in a 21.8 pound Salmon, and just behind them in third with a 21.6 pound Salmon, “Jeff” and his crew.

The Luckysportfishing Derby Winner

Eagle Nook Derby

In typical west coast fashion, the Eagle Nook Derby has started off a little bit soggy. None the less, that isn’t stopping them from getting out there to find the big Salmons and bring home the $5,000 derby prize. Julia Raedar is back this year, hoping to defend her title. But she has got some competition with many eager guests hoping to take home the prize and bragging rights.

Still time to book

While opening weekend is just around the corner, there is still plenty of time to come and visit us here this summer. We have some space still available in July and the beginning of August. So what are you waiting for? Come and see us and we will send you home with not only great memories but hopefully also have you reeling in some prize worthy salmon.

We hope to see you this summer!!

The team at Eagle Nook.

Eagle Nook Resort from the water

Eagle Nook for the first time

China Creek Marina

It’s not hard to get excited about spending a summer working at Eagle Nook when you get to see what a magical place it is. A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go up there for the first time and we were lucky enough to have the weather cooperate for us and have a couple gorgeous days. After the short drive to Port Alberni, we arrived at the marina where the sun was shining down on us. Standing on the edge of the dock at China Creek, looking out onto the open ocean, I couldn’t wait to get out there.

Out on the water

Once we got out on the water and started the ride to the resort, the beauty of our surroundings took my breath away. With eagles soaring over head and the occasional seal and otter making an appearance, it made the ride even more magical. Even though I grew up on the island, I sometimes forget, just how beautiful it is and wonder what it must be like for someone coming here for the first time.

Eagle Nook Resort

Pulling up to the resort, it wasn’t hard to see what made it a destination for guests year after year.  The beautiful landscape and pristine waters, full of salmon and halibut ready to be fished, makes you feel relaxed and at home. With not another building in sight and the calmness up there creates the perfect backdrop for an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.  With the picturesque views from the dining room, patios and beautiful ocean views from each room, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the place, which was fitting considering it was Valentine’s Day.

Our Winter Spring Chinook Salmon

Living on the West Coast, we have some advantages, like being able to go out Salmon fishing in February. So of course, when we had the opportunity to go out, we took full advantage. People always ask when the best time to come is, and the reality is, anytime is good. Even in the middle of February, we managed to reel in a beautiful twelve pound winter spring salmon.

With some of August already being sold out, it’s shaping up to be a busy season!! So if you’re thinking of a halibut or salmon trip this summer, give us a call or send us an e-mail! 

We’re available 7 days a week at (250) 880 0636 or info@eaglenook.com. We look forward to seeing you this summer.

A West Coast Winter is on It’s Way…

Hot summer days and long summer sunsets are now a thing of the past on Vancouver Island, but while the fishing season may have come to a close last month things have by no means quieted down for the crew at Eagle Nook Resort & Lucky Sportfishing. After getting settled back into our Victoria office in mid-September, it was right back out to Barkley Sound to finish up “winterizing” the resort and make sure our winter caretakers were well prepared for the cooler, wetter seasons ahead. Since then our general manager, Dan, has been back up a couple times to work on winter maintenance tasks since it’s never too early to start prepping for next summer!

One of the last catches of 2017, a 28 pound Chinook landed right inside the Sound!

A couple of our guides have been out fishing around Victoria and Sidney since returning home as well. While it doesn’t compare to summertime salmon fishing in Barkley Sound, they’ve gotten into a couple nice Chinook each time they’ve been out. They’ll be heading inland this weekend to try their hands at sturgeon fishing in Harrison B.C., and we’re excited to see the results of that trip next week. After sturgeon fishing they’ll be heading on a road trip to meet guests in Alberta and set up fishing trips for next year. It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it!

We’re already booking trips well into 2018 – July and August are booking up quickly, and some dates are already sold out. 2017 was one of our busiest seasons to date, and we’re expecting 2018 to surpass that, so if you’re thinking about a salmon and halibut fishing trip for next year give us a call; we’d be happy to talk about the options and put together a customized package for you!

We’re available 7 days a week at (250) 880 0636 or info@eaglenook.com.

Another great season comes to a close…

It feels like mere days ago we were hosting our first pre-season salmon derby in June, but just like that our 2017 season has come to a close. It was a whirlwind 3 and a half months, with great fishing and better company and it’s bittersweet to see the end of it.

August fishing was consistently good, with nice sized Chinook and Halibut coming back to the dock everyday. Lots of happy guests were sent home with fish boxes so full we could barely seal them shut. Towards the end of the month Coho started to move into the Sound and on days Chinook fishing was slower, Coho more than made up for it. The weather also held out for us, and aside from a few typical “fogust” days at the beginning of the month the sun always managed to burn through and combined with mostly flat calm seas it for some unreal days on the water.

Taking advantage of the August sunshine after a great day on the water

A great Salmon day in Barkley Sound

Our guides also got into some unreal Halibut at the end of the summer, right before the sport fishing closure that came into effect in early September. The biggest Halibut we saw back at the dock was caught September 4th by one of our resort shareholders, Sam, and measured in right at 133cm. A couple of our guides were out “fun fishing” at the end of the season as well and caught a couple nice ones that our staff were happy to split up and take home – one of the perks of the job!

Salmon & Halibut ready to be flash frozen and packed into take-home coolers

We were busy with fishing guests right up until our last day on September 11th, and then after a few full days of winterizing the resort we all headed our separate ways home to winter jobs, travel plans, or just catching up with family and friends. The end of the season is always bittersweet, and after a couple days off we’re looking forward to what 2018 will hold – we’re already taking bookings for next year so give us a call or shoot us an email if a trip to the west coast is on your radar for next summer!

We’re available 7 days a week at (250) 880 0636 or info@eaglenook.com.

Alyssa, one of our guest services staff, with her first Halibut!

 

Fishing Report: August 1st, 2017

It’s hard to believe August is already upon us – our season has been flying by! Over the course of the past few weeks we’ve been able to send our guests home with jam-packed boxes of a variety of fish; halibut, salmon, lingcod and rock fish have been plentiful across the board.

Offshore fishing has picked up substantially, consistently producing our guests Chinook salmon limits each trip. The west coast of Vancouver island including the Ucluelet, Bamfield area will see lots of Coho and they are starting to show. Keepers will top up your daily salmon limits. Bottom fishing has been resulting in some nice above-average halibut in the 50-60 lb range plus lots of great 30 lb fish.  Our guides have also found some new lingcod spots that are producing daily limits of these prized (and tasty!) fish.

We’re back on the water every day so check out our Facebook and Instagram posts for daily updates!

The weather has also been beautiful here at Eagle Nook Resort. The calm mornings are getting us out and back from the fishing grounds in record time.  Once back at the dock our team fillets, portions, and packages the daily catch while guests enjoy Chef Jimmy’s variety of hot dock lunches (the mac and cheese is a definite crowd pleaser).

Once we are back at the dock there’s time to jump in a kayak or on paddle board and enjoy the amazing weather. No one is too young or too old to take advantage of a sunny cruise around Jane Bay.

If you’ve ever thought about a fishing charter in Barkley Sound, feel free to give us a call at 1 (604) 357 3361. We’re more than happy to chat with you about the sport, what Eagle Nook Resort offers, and potential fishing and adventure opportunities with us.

Tight lines!

Summer is in Session

It’s been an incredibly busy first few weeks up in Barkley Sound but things are officially underway and it feels great to be back. Both of our pre-season derbies were successful once again, fishing was good and the company was even better. Eric Scott of Scotty Products caught the first derby winning Chinook fishing with our guide Jeff. The second derby was claimed by Julia Raeder, fishing with our guide Rick; they landed a beautiful 27 pound Chinook to take home the top prize.

IMG_2273

Rick, Kurt, Julia & Floyd with her derby winning Chinook.

It was awesome to see new and returning faces out for both weekends, and we’ve already started reserving spaces for 2018!

Our new staff team are all here now and fully settled in, and we can’t wait to see how the summer unfolds. Their first week up here was a busy one between trail maintenance, dining room training and dock hand procedures, but we still managed to sneak in a wine tasting and even a quick floatplane ride – a few of the perks of working in Barkley Sound for the summer!

IMG_2234

An aerial view of Barkley Sound from our quick floatplane ride.

Our first regular season trip took place over the Father’s Day weekend and it was a great opportunity for everyone to be put through their paces and prepare for the rest of the season. Although the weather wasn’t great over the weekend the fishing made up for it, and we even got a few wildlife sightings in – bears, whales, bald eagles and a brief sighting of a wolf to top it off!

IMG_2277

This guy was scavenging for snacks on our beach last week.

Our summer continues to get busier as it progresses, but we still have a couple spaces in late August and early September if you’re thinking about a fishing trip. We’re booking new trips almost everyday so get in touch with us soon!