choosing the right lure for halibut fishing

Best Bait for Halibut

Understanding the Different Bait and Lures for Halibut

Using the right bait and lures at the end of your line is essential when it comes to catching groundfish like halibut at great depths.

Below is the Eagle Nook Resort team’s round-up of the top halibut fishing baits and lures we recommend trying on one of our chartered halibut fishing trips on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

This post is for anyone who has ever wondered, “What bait works the best for pacific halibut?” If you’re brand new to halibut fishing, start with our guide to Fishing for Halibut in BC.

Halibut Bait

When it comes to catching halibut, live bait is best. Fortunately, halibut are not picky eaters, which leads to a wide variety of live bait to choose from. Here are some of the best halibut baits to use:

Salmon Bellies

To a halibut, salmon smells and tastes delicious! When the incredibly tough salmon skin is left on, salmon scraps are very durable, so they tend to stay on your line for quite awhile. Any part of the salmon will do, especially the white-skinned belly meat. Puncture the skin side of the salmon first using a circle hook. Then, puncture it once more through the flesh and back through the skin, leaving you with a double-threaded belly strip. The salmon will be on there so securely, you’d need a knife to remove it!

Salmon Heads

Using salmon heads for halibut bait is a great way to use up every part of a salmon. Small heads of Coho, Chinook, or Pink salmon are best. If the heads are too big, a halibut might not be able to fit the whole thing in its mouth, which would make the bait less effective. Rig a salmon head to your sharpened circle hook by piercing the snout at the upper and lower lip so you’re essentially threading the mouth closed.


Squid is another great halibut bait. You can use either fresh or frozen squid, and either whole or in pieces. Squid is a lot softer than salmon so it does tend to get nabbed by critters other than your target species on the way down to the ocean floor. To prevent this, use two hooks in tandem, and add either thread or dental floss for reinforcement.


Octopus is a great halibut bait because it has a tough, rubbery texture that helps it stay firmly on your hook. It’s not as readily available as salmon, but it does the trick quite well! Double-hook the octopus as you would a salmon belly and that’s it! Be careful your octopus isn’t too big though, as this could lead to lots of nibbles but no bites.


Herring is irresistible to halibut, making it a good halibut bait. Large size herring are best, but the cost of large herring can start to add up. Another thing to look out for with herring is that it is a soft fish, making it easy for non-target species to rip off your line on its way down to greet the halibut. There are some tips and tricks to keeping herring on your line, however, including brining it in pure salt for a few days to harden it up, or stuffing it in a bait bag.

Bait Bags

One trick we have seen is the use of homemade “bait bags” in which softer live bait, such as herring or chopped fish scraps, is balled up inside of nylon or pieces of mesh produce bags from the grocery store. The bait bags are tied off with a thread, and should be about the size of a golf ball.

Bait bags can be used alone, or they can be stuffed into a hoochy, where they will be concealed but still leave a strong scent trail. They can even be frozen for later use.

Halibut Bait Tips & Tricks

Halibut aren’t too picky about what type of live bait you use. In addition to the baits mentioned above, Pacific mackerel, Pacific grey cod, anchovies, sardines, clam necks, shrimp, prawns – you name it – can all be used. Halibut have also been known to bite at baits that haven’t originated from the ocean, such as raw beef, pork, and chicken. Some anglers even use freezer-burnt fish and meat. Doing so is a great way to put otherwise inedible human food to good use!

To have the best halibut bait at the end of your line, always ensure:

  • it’s rigged securely
  • it puts off a good scent trail
  • your line is weighted enough to get to the ocean floor with the bait intact.

If your bait is too soft or too small, not hooked properly, or your line is sinking too slowly, there’s a good chance your bait will get yanked off by other sea creatures like snails, starfish, crabs, and dogfish.

Likewise, if your bait is too big, such as a lengthy octopus tentacle (exceeding 8-10 inches) a halibut can nibble away at it without actually clamping down on your hook.

Pro Tip: Not catching big enough fish? Try increasing your hooks to a slightly larger circle hook and using larger bait like salmon heads.

Best Halibut Lures

Some of the lures for catching salmon can be used for catching halibut, provided they are combined with live bait and don’t create too much movement or razzle dazzle in the water (halibut prefer calm waters and are more attracted to scents than they are flashy, jerky motions, so spoons and flashers aren’t recommended).


Jigs work especially well for halibut because they are weighted. The lead weight (sinker) of the jig usually comes with a hook molded right into it – perfect for adding your live bait. The lead weight is sometimes covered with a soft rubber or silicone body and might come with an artificial fish head, sometimes tasseled, sometimes not.

Rite Angle Fishing Products and Gibbs Delta makes many excellent halibut jig lures. For example, the Rite Angle Double Glow Mexican Flag, Halibut Spin N Glow White, Double Glow Pink Skirt and from Gibbs the Gibbs Delta Mud Raker, Gibbs Delta Jigalu, Gibbs Delta Big Eye Glow Jig, and Gibbs Delta Bio X Scent are all great lures to start with.

There are thousands of jigs on the market, and thousands of ways to prepare your own jigs. For example, pipe jigs made of copper pipe are a fun DIY project. The pipe creates a bit of noise while emitting a subtle electrical charge that seems to attract fish.

Artificial Squid

Soft-bodied artificial squid are popular halibut lures – but these aren’t your average hoochies. They are actually much larger and come with additional features. Some to choose from include soft iron squid lures, which closely resemble real squid, and Fat Squids, which are soft plastic artificial squids that glow and are about the size of your palm!

Pro Tip: Use a Ziploc bag to “marinate” your artificial squid in the scents of your live bait.


Soft plastic bodied PowerBait Grubs by Berkley are effective halibut lures because they are filled with scents and have specially designed crescent-shaped tails that wiggle just enough in the water to attract but not spook halibut. Eight-inch Grubs are recommended. These lures are biodegradable and available in more than a dozen colours.

Chartered Halibut Fishing in Barkley Sound, BC

During a chartered halibut fishing trip offered through Eagle Nook Resort, we provide you with a wide selection of halibut baits and lures, as well as everything else you’ll need to catch halibut on the West Coast of BC, including circle hooks and lead weights. You can also bring your own tackle with you if preferred. Check out or list of what to bring on our chartered fishing trips to learn more.

The world of halibut baits and  lures can be an overwhelming place if you are just starting out with the sport. A halibut fishing charter like the ones we provide on the West Coast of Vancouver Island can be a great place to start. The passion and knowledge of our experienced guides serve as a great introduction to halibut fishing as well as salmon fishing.

Call Eagle Nook Resort at 604-357-3361 to book your next fishing trip, or learn more about our salmon and halibut chartered fishing packages.

Best Lures for Pacific Salmon

Best Lures for Pacific Salmon

Understanding the Different Types of Salmon Fishing Lures

Using the right lure at the end of the line can significantly increase your chances of catching salmon. So why not use all the different types of salmon lures to your advantage? We’ll show you how!

Below is the Eagle Nook Resort team’s round-up of the top salmon fishing lures we recommend trying on one of our chartered salmon fishing trips on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

This post is for anyone who has ever wondered, “What salmon lures work the best for pacific salmon?” If you’re brand new to salmon fishing, start with our guide to Fishing for Salmon in BC.

Spinnerssalmon lures - spinner

Spinners, which are also sometimes referred to as spinnerbait, come in many different designs, but they all essentially have one or more reflective metal blades that spin around freely as it is reeled in or trolled through the water.

Why they work: The appearance and motion of a spinner or spinnerbait is designed to resemble a small fish, which lure the salmon in. Spinners vibrate when they move in the water, and these powerful vibrations alert salmon to their presence. This is especially helpful in murky waters – which salmon love.

Plugsbest salmon lures - plugs

Plugs, which are solid, rigid plastic lures that are painted with reflective paint to resemble fish, especially herring, are another effective salmon lure. Wobbling and cut plugs are even more effective, with a wobbling plug consisting of two pieces connected by a hinge, and a cut plug being a floating plug typically used in downrigger fishing.

Why they work: A solid plug that resembles a food source draws salmon in, and on a wobbling plug, the two pieces of the plug flutter as they’re being reeled in, which creates a vibration that also attracts salmon.

Flashersbest salmon lures - flashers

Flashers are long, shiny rectangular panels, usually made of plastic with a metallic adhesive, or just plain metal. When they move in the water, they create a visual cue and vibrations. Flashers are larger than you’d think, with the large ones being 11 inches long. Flashers are typically used at depths below 50 feet.

Why they work: To an untrained salmon’s eye, flashers resemble an adult salmon swimming rapidly, almost as if it’s a salmon who is attacking its prey. This signifies to nearby salmon that there might be food present, and they swim on by to check things out for themselves – inevitably finding your bait and biting.

Flashers are often used with lures that don’t move on their own in the water, such as hoochies on a short, heavy leader line. So, if you’re already using plugs or spoons, a flasher isn’t as necessary. But  when you’re using a hooch and need to add some movement to your line, a flasher is perfect for this purpose.

Hoochiesbest salmon lures - hoochies

Hoochies are squishy, brightly coloured plastic lures that have ‘tentacles’ and are meant to resemble small squid. They are bright and colourful and come in a wide variety of colours, sizes, and styles. They usually come several to a pack and are unrigged, so it’s necessary to add your own hooks and flashers.

Why they work: Hoochies are colourful and lightweight, making them easy to pack around and work with. Fish like them because they are brightly coloured and look like a tasty treat at the end of your line.

Scents & Dyesbest salmon lures - scents_dyes

The most serious salmon anglers add scents to their artificial lures to better their chances in the water. Bottled scents from the tack shop come in flavours like anchovy and herring and in the form of gels, oils, and pastes.

Why they work: Scents work by stimulating a fish’s appetite, but more important, they mask the human smell an angler leaves behind when they are casting their lines.

Of course, if you’re using live bait, a bottled scent isn’t necessary. In this case, more and more anglers have been adding dyes to their live baits – getting the best of both worlds: the scents and flavours of live bait and the colourful attractants of artificial dyed plastics.

Spoonsbest salmon lures - spoons

Spoons are shaped like – you guessed it – the popular kitchen utensil. The only difference is they are a little less round and little bit longer than your average soup spoon. They come in several sizes and colours and have a hook on the end already, so they are relatively straightforward to use.

Why they work: The oblong, concave shape of the metallic spoon lure reflects light and moves randomly – wobbling instead of spinning is best. They resemble small baitfish when used correctly.  Try and match the size of spoon you are using to the size of baitfish your target salmon species would likely be looking for, given the time of year.

Jigssalmon lures - jigs

Jigs are a unique fishing lure as they are a somewhat of a “mix-and-match” option. Jigs consist of a lead weight (sinker) with a hook molded right into it that is covered with a soft rubber or silicone body. A separate shaped head is also attached, which is usually tasselled. Jigs come in thousands of variations, including size, shape, weight, colour, and materials used. They take some trial and error to get to know how to use them well.

Why they work: Jigs move vertically in the water, rather than horizontally like spinnerbaits. The lead sinker allows your line to get to the fish near the bottom of the seabed.

Live Bait

Salmon aren’t too discerning when it comes to live bait, so go ahead and load up your lines with anything from roe, anchovies, herring, worms, minnows, leeches, insects and shrimp. If you’re new to live bait, Eagle Nook guides can show you some techniques for loading up your line with live bait so it looks lifelike in the water.

Why they work: Rather than the artificial lures listed in this post, which mimic a fish’s prey, live bait is actual fish prey. It’s smellier and messier than artificial, but it works, especially when you’re aiming to attract fish from far and wide and when timing is of the essence.

Chartered Salmon Fishing in Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada

At Eagle Nook Resort, we provide your group with a wide selection of baits and lures, as well as the high-end rods and reels you’ll need to catch pacific salmon on the west coast of BC.

Review our list of what to bring on our chartered fishing trips for more information.

The world of salmon lures can be an overwhelming place for anyone just starting out with the sport. A salmon fishing charter like the ones we provide on the west coast of Vancouver Island can be a great place to put all the above information into practice. Our experienced guides are passionate about sportfishing and extremely knowledgeable about the area. They will not only supply you with the best equipment for our local area, they will also show you how to use it all if you need the assistance.

If you’re a seasoned angler, we’d love to hear what works for you when you’re out salmon fishing as well as halibut fishing.

Learn more about our salmon and halibut chartered fishing packages, or call us at 604-357-3361 to book your fishing trip.

fishing for salmon in british columbia blog image

Fishing for Salmon in BC

Salmon Fishing Vancouver Island BC

The West Coast of Vancouver Island, BC is known around the world for its salmon fishing – both freshwater and saltwater. And sometimes the staff here at Eagle Nook Resort in Barkley Sound feel like we are in the centre of it all, based on all the fish we see being caught during peak season!

Wondering what types of pacific salmon are most popular in BC? Our guides at Eagle Nook Resort are here to help. Check out our latest blog post for some helpful tips and tricks for making your next salmon fishing trip a huge success.

Salmon Species in British Columbiacatching salmon in the pacific northwest

Let’s start with a quick overview of the different types of salmon found in BC waters. There are five types of pacific salmon that are resident to the region, including Chinook, Chum, Coho, Sockeye, and Pink.

  • Chinook Salmon are the largest and the most prized of the pacific salmon. Many seafood lovers agree they taste the best, making them the most highly sought after and most heavily regulated of the pacific salmon. Peak run is from June to August.
  • Chum Salmon are the second largest of the pacific salmon. They are highly abundant but do not taste as good as chinook so are a little less desirable. Peak run is from October and November.
  • Coho Salmon are a bit more aggressive than the other pacific salmon, making them a bit of a satisfying challenge to catch for some anglers. Peak run is from August to September.
  • Sockeye Salmon are medium-sized salmon that also taste great, especially in sushi. Peak run is from July to September.
  • Pink Salmon are the smallest of the pacific salmon and the easiest to catch, making them a target for beginner anglers. However, they don’t taste that good, so they aren’t worth keeping. Peak run is from August and September.

If you’re new to fishing, review a pacific salmon identification guide before heading out on your next trip. Being able to accurately identify the species of fish you catch is essential to staying within your daily catch limits.

Where Do Barkley Sound Salmon Come From?

Barkley Sound near Ucluelet on Vancouver Island’s West Coast, and home of Eagle Nook Resort, is situated in the migration path of millions of salmon. All five resident species of salmon pass through Barkley Sound from early spring until late fall.

The salmon in and around Barkley Sound are migrating south to freshwater lakes and rivers from Southeast Alaska, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and northern British Columbia. They’re on their way to the Stamp River, the mighty Fraser River, other local BC streams, or further south to Washington, Oregon, and California rivers.

One major helper of salmon populations in the region are Vancouver Island-based fish hatcheries, particularly the Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery in Port Alberni and Thorton Hatchery in Ucluelet.

Lifespan of Pacific Salmon

Pacific salmon are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater and then migrate down streams and rivers to the ocean where they grow into adult fish before migrating back to the place they were born to reproduce (spawn).

Because salmon expend so much energy migrating and spawning, adult salmon don’t have energy to return back to the ocean, so most adult salmon die after spawning. At this point they become a food source for other life forms in the ecosystem.

Salmon Season in BC

In British Columbia, anglers enjoy an abundance of both freshwater and saltwater salmon year-round, with the most fish being caught from May to November.

The salmon fishing season in BC correlates with the migration schedule of salmon, known as the salmon run. The various pacific salmon all have slightly different seasonal salmon runs, as noted above.

Again, the top prize is the chinook salmon, noted above as being the tastiest. Due to their popularity and population numbers that ebb and flow, chinook can be tough to come by, but not if you’re with an experienced fishing guide who can take you to the best spots.

Timeline of Saltwater Salmon

  • January – Juvenile chinook salmon in the 6-15 lb range are slowly making their way from freshwater to saltwater, mainly around the inshore islands and inlets of Vancouver Island.
  • March – Offshore fishing opportunities for larger salmon increase as the weather begins to improve and juvenile fish have had a chance to get larger.
  • June – By June the first runs of Coho Salmon start showing up, both offshore and in the shallower protected waters of Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds.
  • July and August – Offshore salmon fishing is in full swing. Maturing Chinook Salmon have reached appropriate lengths to be caught and consumed. Coho populations are abundant as well.
  • September – Chinook Salmon stock tapers off while strong runs of maturing Coho Salmon in the 8-14 lb range return through Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds on their way to their home streams to spawn.
  • October – The saltwater season has all but wrapped up, with strong returns of Chum Salmon mixed in with the late Coho runs.

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

How to Catch Salmoncatching salmon in the pacific northwest

A great time to pursue salmon is on a slightly overcast day when the water isn’t too clear. The sunnier it is, the deeper and less active the salmon will be.

Catching salmon can be done a number of different ways. For offshore salmon fishing, trolling with a downrigger or planer is a favoured technique and will help you reach depths of 100+ feet – perfect for chinook who are deep water fish. Drift fishing and mooching with in-tact live bait are also popular methods of salmon fishing if you are looking for a slower presentation of the bait.

Live bait like fish eggs (roe), anchovies, herrings, sardines, or artificial lures are also essential. You can also experiment with big spoons, jigs, hootchies, spin ‘n’ glows, and flashers – any variety of glow, holographic, silver, or gold flasher will do. Scents can be helpful in masking human odours on artificial lures but are not entirely necessary.

When trolling off a boat, ensure you’re combining your bait with a razor-sharp hook (barbless hook only!) to effectively pierce the salmon’s thick jaw. DFO regulations make it illegal to use barbed hooks, use multiple hooks on one line, or to intentionally foul hook (snag a fish anywhere but its mouth) salmon in BC.

Read more DFO sport and recreational fishing guidelines to make sure you’re fishing by the rules.

Rods for saltwater trolling of salmon range from 8 to 11 feet, and are most commonly used with at least 300 yards of monofilament fishing line with a test of around 25 or 30 lb. Note that chum fight the most when being reeled in, so a heavier rod, reel, and line for this type of salmon are recommended.

At Eagle Nook Resort, we provide you with the best high-end rods, reels, tackle and bait for catching saltwater salmon on the West Coast of BC.

Salmon Limits and Sizes

In Canada, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) regulates the amount of salmon people are allowed to keep (retain) and adjusts these limits as required, based on current and anticipated salmon populations. For the 2019 salmon fishing season on and around Vancouver Island, DFO regulations are as follows (subject to change):

Size Limits

  • All retained Chinook and Sockeye must measure 30 cm or more from tip of nose to tail fork.
  • All retained Coho must measure 25 cm or more.

Daily & Possession Limits for Salmon in BC

At any given time, the total possession limit of salmon per licensed angler onboard is eight, of which no more than four can be Chinook/King salmon.

  • Chinook Salmon: Daily limit of 2, possession limit of 4
  • Coho Salmon: Daily limit of 4, possession limit of 8
  • Chum Salmon: Daily limit of 4, possession limit of 8
  • Pink Salmon: Daily limit of 4, possession limit of 8
  • Sockeye Salmon: Daily limit of 4, possession limit of 8

Annual BC Salmon Limits

The total annual limit for chinook salmon is 10. This number is down from 30 – a decision made by the DFO in spring 2019 to support the long-term viability of the salmon. You must immediately record in ink on your license all chinook you keep.

If you book a chartered fishing trip with Eagle Nook Resort, our fishing guides will help you adhere to these regulations. This is just one of the many advantages of our fishing tours. Learn more about what’s included in our Luxury Fishing Packages.

Bringing Your Salmon Home with You

Another advantage of chartering with Eagle Nook resort is that we include in our packages the portioning, filleting, and vacuum packing of your freshly caught salmon. We also provide you with an airline-approved cooler to help keep your fish stay fresh and frozen on your ride home.

fresh labeled salmon fillets

If you’re travelling outside of Canada, you can transport your salmon to the United States without any special paperwork required. 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.

Chartered Salmon Fishing in Barkley Sound, BC

Ready to start fishing? If you’re new to salmon fishing, our guides will supply you with the best equipment for our local area. If you’re a seasoned angler, we’d also love to hear about some of the methods you have found successful, for salmon fishing as well as halibut fishing.

Learn more about our salmon and halibut chartered fishing packages, or call us at 604-357-3361 for any questions, bookings, or inquiries. Note that Eagle Nook Resort is almost fully booked for summer 2019, but there are still a few spaces available in July and toward the end of August. Or, book into the 2020 season now and have your choice of dates for next year!

Salmon Fishing in Barkley Sound is OPEN

2019 Salmon Fishing Season is Upon Us

It’s 2019 and the West Coast fishing season is off to another great start, with Lucky Sportfishing at Eagle Nook Resort.

It’s almost July already, and the Eagle Nook team is assembled, excited and ready to help our guests enjoy a bucket list Pacific salmon and halibut fishing experience off Vancouver Island’s beautiful west coast.

Eagle Nook’s owners and guides support sustainable fishing practices.

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)

The ACRDP is a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) initiative that promotes collaborative research and development activities between the aquaculture industry and the department. Eagle Nook teams with the DFO researchers to collaborate for research on fish health and

fisheries and oceans canada

ecosystem interactions. The first objective of the program is sustainability to ensure Optimal Fish Health and the second objective is Environmental Performance. Supporting research that will enhance the overall sustainability of the aquaculture operations in BC while ensuring economic viability with optimal product quality.

Salmon Sport Head Recovery Programsalmon head recovery program - eagle nook resort

We are responsible operators and work working closely with the local DFO by participating in the Salmon Sport Head Recovery Program. By collecting and turning in salmon heads we are contributing necessary information to allow for continued sport fishing opportunities. In some cases, certain hatchery stocks are used to indicate the health of other stocks in the area. Tag recoveries not only help to indicate that stocks are healthy, but also that stocks of concern could be improving.

Off Season Suite Upgrades

Our returning guests will notice that we’ve made some upgrades to our rooms.

Dan and Jeff are not just pretty faces!

2019 eagle nook room renovations2019 eagle nook room renovations 3








They rolled up their sleeves and worked with our renovation crew to install new flooring in all the guest rooms in the resort. They did fantastic work! The new floors look pretty darn good.

A Bigger, Better Gift Shop

eagle nook resort gift shop - lucky sportfishing clothing line

We have relocated and expanded our gift shop. Stop by and check out this year’s new swag, including Lucky Sportfishing hats, beautiful jackets as well as short and long-sleeved shirts. Be

sure to also take a gander at our selection of west coast artwork, jewellery and souvenirs.

Our gift shop has something for everyone!


Lucky Sportfishing Derby

Thanks to all guests who participated in 8th annual Lucky Sportfishing derby!

The derby was lots of fun and plenty of salmon were caught. It was a close race, but one lucky fisherman finally took home the trophy. We’d like to offer a big congratulations to Matt

2019 Lucky Sportfishing Eagle Nook Derby Winner

Harmeson and Gerry Gassner for reeling in the derby winner, at 21lbs. In a very close 2nd place with a 19.6 lb Chinook was Ben Thornber from Slegg Lumber, Jamie George and Brad Wetherell. Just behind them, in 3rd place was Tim Harrisons group with John & Jake Grympa landing an 18.2 lb salmon.


Eagle Nook Derby

Our guests asked, and we answered!

Due to overwhelming demand, Eagle Nook Resort created a second Salmon Derby for our guests. Now in its 4th year, the Eagle Nook Derby was held on June 8th and 9th. Friday saw a little rain, but Saturday was full of sunshine and salmon. All 10 of our boats were out on the Barkley Sound, with fishermen looking to catch the “big one” and reel in a $5000 prize.eagle nook resort 2019 derby winners

eagle nook resort 2019 salmon derby winners







While there were plenty of salmon caught and everybody took home boxes of salmon fillets, there could only be one big money winner. Congratulations to Dick Bezlin and Ken Rand for taking 1st place with a 20.4lb fish.  Ed Anderson took both 2nd  and 3rd prize with 18,2 and 17.2 Chinooks!

Book Your Summer Adventure Now

Eagle Nook Resort is now booked for most of the summer but if you give us a call, we’ll try our best to accommodate your group. There are still spaces available in July and toward the end of August, so hurry and pick up that phone before they’re all gone!

Come and see us for your summer adventure, and we’ll send you home with some fish, great stories and wonderful memories. Whether it’s your first trip out with us or your 10th, the friends and memories you’ll make here at Eagle Nook will last you a lifetime.

See you this summer!

The Team at Eagle Nook.

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.


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.









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 We look forward to seeing you this summer.