Fishing in Desolation Sound

Fishing in Desolation Sound

 

One question we are commonly asked by Cabana guests before they arrive is: can we fish while on tour?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, absolutely you can fish, and many people do so (and are successful as well!)

The long answer to this question is: Yes, but there are some important things you must know before you arrive.

Topics:

  1. What Do I Need?
  2. Where Can I Fish?
    1. Where Can I Legally Fish?
    2. Where is the Best Place to Fish?

 

 

What Do I Need to Fish in Desolation Sound?

Apart from the obvious requirements - i.e. your personal fishing gear (we do not provide any gear for fishing ourselves) - there are a few things you will have to pick up before you arrive.

Guests fishing from a kayak are typically jigging. Any type of jigging lure - such as a Buzz Bomb -are typically fine. Other guests have found a nice rocky point to spin cast off - using either jigs or spinning lures - and have had some success with that. To get some professional local knowledge though, we recommend stopping by Powell River Outdoors on your way through town, and they will be able to set you up with everything you need.

All individuals looking to fish or harvest seafood such as oysters and clams are required to possess a Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence, and carry it with them at all times that they are fishing or harvesting in the ocean.

These licences can be bought easily online at the Department of Fisheries website, and printed out to take with you on your trip. They can also be picked up in person at Independent Access Providers (IAP). Click here for a link to the DFO page where you can download a PDF of all these IAPs for your convenience (Marine Traders, near the Powell River-Comox ferry terminal in Powell River is one of these IAPs).

Prices for Annual Prices of a Tidal Sport Fishing Licence are:

  • $22.05 for Canadian residents
  • $106.05 for non-Canadian residents

If you are coming from out-of-country and only want the licence for a brief period, you can pick up a 5-, 3- or 1-day pass for considerably cheaper than the annual pass.

Additionally, if you plan to catch and retain any species of Pacific salmon, you will need to purchase a Salmon Conservation Stamp ($6 annual fee) and affix this to your licence.

 

Where Can I Fish?

Good question! And one that is necessarily divided into two parts: 

Where am I legally allowed to fish?

Much of Desolation Sound is part of a Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA - see graphic above) which prohibits any fishing activity that impacts on rockfish, lingcod, or their habitat. In practice, this means any fishing with a line from either boat or shore within the RCA boundary. Harvesting shellfish is permitted, as is crab and prawn trapping, as it does not affect these fish or their habitat.

While the waters directly in front of Cabana Desolation Eco Resort is located just within this RCA, if you wish to fish from the shore it is just a short walk around the point from our resort to the north side of Kinghorn Island, which lies outside the RCA and where fishing is permitted.

If you are not staying at the resort, make sure your campsite lies outside the RCA if you are fishing from shore, and that you are paddling outside the RCA if fishing from a kayak. Some of the more popular campsites - such as the Curme Islands - are located well within the RCA.

Secondly, you can try your hand at fishing straight out of the kayak! It is just a short paddle to the edge of the RCA from the resort and permissible waters. Double kayaks are sturdier than singles, so try to convince your friend or spouse to go with you to balance the boat, otherwise make sure you are fully competent with wet exits and self-rescues before venturing forth. It doesn’t take too much for an accidentally caught 25lb salmon to flip a startled kayaker!

Where is the best place to fish? 

This is a subjective question to answer, but simply judging by the healthy and well-fed seal population in Desolation Sound you can be certain that the fish are not scarce!

Just off shore from Cabana Desolation Eco Resort (and just outside the RCA) a current often forms as water rushes in between Kinghorn Island and Station Island right off shore, and this spot is well regarded by local fisherman for rockfish, lingcod and salmon. In fact, in 2015 a guest at the resort bagged a 26lb salmon right here, which was dutifully prepared and served by the cook for dinner that evening!

Another popular area, particularly for salmon fishing, is off and around Sarah Point on the Malaspina Peninsula - about 30 minutes paddle from Kinghorn Island.