Sonora’s Fishing Report – July 27, 2018
We have had the best weather in July, with tons of sunshine and warm days. The Salmon fishing has been a mixed bag, with some really productive days and big fish around, and some slower days too. The consistent weather has kept the Phillips River water levels and a steady, relatively low level, and we are starting to see some nice chrome pink salmon move into the system. Eco tours have been fantastic, with pacific white sided dolphin, bald eagles, Steller sea lions, humpback whales and the occasional small pod of orcas spotted on our tours.
Saltwater Salmon Fishing
Mike & his guest with their monstrous 47 pound Chinook Salmon!
May and June 2018 turned out to be some of the best early fishing that Sonora Resort has seen since we started tracking our fish catch here in 2005! We were quite surprised when the great fishing slowed a little bit at times in July as we expected it to remain consistent. We have had periods of really great fishing though, and there have been some really nice big fish around! Sonora guide Mike caught a 47 pound Chinook at the Pizza Hut on July 18th and we have had a handful of Tyees in the 30 pound range on our Tyee board this month as well. Some of our guests have selected to have their big beautiful fish made into a “Gyotaku” Japanese- style fish print by a local artist, Eiji Umemura. This way you can have a gorgeous memento of your fish, and eat it too!
We are starting to see some Pink salmon and Coho salmon come into our usual fishing holes as well. The pinks are small, but are a great fish to take home for the BBQ, or to send to St. Jean’s cannery for smoking or canning. In our area, we can only keep Coho if they are hatchery-marked (missing an adipose fin), but these feisty chrome fish are exciting to catch and release. In August we will have an opening to keep wild Coho in Bute Inlet, so this will make for some fun light tackle fishing opportunities, if they show up in good numbers!
Freshwater Fishing on the Phillips River
Fishing guides, Kait & Kyle about to release a nice bright Pink Salmon caught on the a muddler minnow pattern fly
Even-numbered years are typically strong in Pink Salmon numbers at the Phillips and we are starting to see several pinks making their way up the river. These trout-like salmon weigh 3-7 pounds and are a blast to catch on our lightweight Sage XP fly rods! We typically use 6 weight rods, but will switch over to 8 weight rods as the Coho and occasional Chinook salmon make their way into the river. The pinks that we are seeing now have just come into the river, so they are chrome bright and feisty! Once the salmon show up, the trout become a little tougher to find with a fly rod, as they are pushed out of their usual spots in the river. We still manage to find the occasional bull trout or cutthroat trout though! All fishing is catch-and-release at the Phillips River.
With the warm weather all month the river levels have dropped to a relatively low level and have stayed low consistently. It’s too low to take our jet boat upriver, so we are currently using our van along the logging roads and hiking into our fishing holes. Guests should be prepared for some longer hikes to access the best water! The best fishing has been in the lower 5km of the river, but it’s also nice to take a drive into the upper to check out the waterfalls, scenery and look for some wildlife.
Eco Tours & Local Wildlife
Pacific White Sided dolphins cruising in the wake of a boat
Our guides and guests have been on the water constantly over the past few weeks, with lots of Eco tours, visits to Blind Channel on West Thurlow Island, and trips up the Phillips River valley. We have been seeing a fair bit of the pacific white sided dolphins, who have been playing in Denham Bay and Nodales channel often. The dolphins are always a treat to watch as they leap out of the water and sometimes approach the boats to surf the wake.
July and August are some of the best months to see marine mammals nearby Sonora Resort – we have had a couple of encounters with the orcas at the bottom of Bute Inlet, and we have seen the humpback whales frequently just south of the resort. We are so lucky to be situated in an area with so much animal activity! The whale watching regulations changed recently this year and all boaters must stay at least 200 meters away from all marine mammals. It is still pretty incredible to see massive humpback whales feeding and playing from any distance though!
The steller sea lions have started to re-appear in the Gillard Islands and have been spotted feeding on salmon passing through the nearby passages. We will start to see more of the sea lions through August, and Grizzly bear season is only a few weeks away!