Saltwater fishing at its best

Salmon bellies are another great bait for feeding the halibut

With the Kitimat River spilling out its usual muddy waters this time of year, we ventured out onto the salt and the many channels and islands off the Pacific north coast.

Taking our vessel to the village of Hartley Bay, we marveled at the wonders of the migrating salmon and halibut, and got to see the ever popular and explosive displays of the returning humpback whales.

The Hartley Bay area offers a fisherman many options as the salmon highways intersect and the fish disperse to their home waters, which could be as far as California!

With the salmon come the bottom feeders like the flavourful halibut, or as they are sometimes called, “the chicken of the sea”. If you have ever eaten halibut you’ll know it’s a delicious fish.

Halibut like the sandy bottom of the ocean floor and if you can read your charts, look for these flat areas and drop down.

A common bait is herring, as many herring are in the area getting eaten by the salmon.

Salmon bellies are another great bait for feeding the halibut.

Limits for halibut is one per day, in possession two, all with slot sizes to protect the large females from the frying pan. Having a tape measure, or even better, a seamstress tape as the rust from exposure to salt water will devour your tape measure.

Your halibut must not exceed 133cm in length and your second fish cannot be over 83cm, so prepare to catch and release if you get into a pile of migrating halibut.

Along the islands are rocky shelves that are home to rockfish, of which there are many types in the Pacific Ocean.

Jigs in a variety of colours attract these colourful fish, which are fun to catch as the action can happen as soon as the hook touches the jagged rock faces.