Back from the weekend on the Island. The real purpose of the trip was work/social related but a good proper grad student gong show isn't mutually exclusive with some fishing time, particularly when travel expenses are covered by the University. Moneys river didn't disappoint, beautiful water, and a real sense of posterity fishing the waters once frequented by titans of our sporting heritage. The fishing was slow on account of a lack of rain, and the water was quite and low and clear. The river is fairly sizable, but this time of year it seems to me it doesnt much matter. If that water has been low and falling without substantial rain for nearing two weeks, odds are pretty slim on finding fresh fish.
I did however find some really great water which I plan on fishing again, possibly for summer fish as well. May not happen this year but I will return. I also explored a couple of smaller rivers, one of which was a complete bust and another which was quite the discovery. Water was low and gin clear, but I can easily imagine after a couple of days of hard rain, fresh fish pushing into the boulder filled pools just above tide. Could be very interesting. Felt like I'd stepped back in time fishing that one. Walking in through a grove of old growth Cedar, Doug Fir and Hemlock I was all of a sudden at tide water, no humans in site. Only the geese, swans and mergansers. Could be a very interesting little spot indeed. Unfortunately these little rivers are about as unamenable to the traveling angler as physically possible. Difficult access, coupled with very short windows of fishability mean that the odds of me ever being in that area when conditions are conducive are quite low. Always nice to have an ace in the hole though for when Moneys River is too high and the rain wont quit.
I did catch one fish, a hatchery kelt. I must have some bad Karma going because three of the last four fish I've landed have been kelts, two of which were hatchery kelts. Considering I didn't catch a single kelt last season thats really something. Most seasons I catch a couple but rarely this early in the season, early kelts this year are likely the result of warmer water leading to early spawning. Hatchery kelts are troubling for obvious reasons. The last thing wild steelhead need is hatchery fish spawning in the wild. I normally harvest every hatchery fish I catch but couldnt bring myself to kill them if I'm not going to eat them. After holding the fish for sometime I decided to let it go and hope a sealion took advantage of my momentary benevolence towards a tired hatchery fish.
Bamfield is a sweet spot. Good people and good scenery. Its like taking a step back in time. Half the town is only accessible by boat. There are two stores that serve staples, beer, snacks, a few groceries. Throw in the fact that there is a major university research center there and you have a recipe for a pretty cool little town. A friend of a friend hosted us for a fantastic dinner of fresh caught Halibut at his place overlooking Barkley Sound. He and his girlfriend pay 600$ a month to rent a two bedroom house on a bluff overlooking the water. Sounds like a decent life to me....