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Fishing Tips

Everyone needs fishing tips! Even experienced fisherman! We have seen anglers struggle with the basics, even the simplest things as knowing how to propertly troll among other boaters or deal with jelly fish on their line....

Got Jelly Fish on your line?

Don't you just hate it when you pull your gear up and find Jelly Fish all over your swivels and lure? Did you know you can clean off your gear in a matter of seconds? Just use dry Paper Towl! It comes right off! Be warned, if you're using Anchovies, you still might need to change it because the scent of Jelly Fish can be absorbed into the anchovy and salmon will smell it from a mile away!

Where to start fishing?

When you find a spot to start fishing, pay close attention to other boaters. Never stop next or in front of another fisherman. It's a big ocean and you won't make any friends doing that! If you start further ahead of them, remember that you're going to be busy for the next few minutes getting your boat and gear ready for the water. In that time, boats can catch up to you and again, other fisherman will be frustrated that you didn't put more consideration into your starting position. Usually the shorelines are busier than the outside, so if you start further away from shore and once your gear is in the water, you can start moving into the crowd when you have room to do so.


There are many things to consider when trolling to make your fishing experience a positive one. Following some basic rules and being respectful of other fisherman can go a long way. When you arrive to your fishing location, the general rule is that everyone should be trolling in the same pattern (clockwise or counter-clockwise). This way everyone has the opportunity to fish both the shoreline and further out. When fisherman hug a spot, typically the shoreline and quickly turn back to run the shoreline again in the opposite direction, it can cause confusion and tangle-ups.

Consider other fisherman when making your decisions. If you have boats approaching you, give room for them if you can. Turn your boat to give others a good idea to where you're heading. If you flip and flop back and forth, the boaters in front of you won't know which direction you're going and it will frustrate them. Fishing is about having fun and it can turn bad real quick for the inexperienced drivers out there!

When you hook into a fish!

When you're playing a fish, you should turn your boat into a non-trolling position (side ways) and come to a complete stop. This makes other fisherman aware that you have a fish on and you require additional space. Anyone else on board should wave or yell at boaters who are coming towards your boat to get their attention. Do not hold your fishing net until the fish is getting ready to come in. Holding your net often indicates that you will be netting your fish soon and fisherman will turn towards you. It is recommended to turn your engine off if it is safe to do so, assuming you won't have to chase your fish down or move your boat to position it between the fish and other boaters who aim towards you. Turning off your engine not only helps because fish do react to sound and loud noises, which results in them fighting more and putting more pressure on your gear. It also makes it easier for whoever is on net duty. Nothing worse than fisherman who continue to troll while trying to net a fish! Not only do people lose more fish this way, but it also frustrates other fisherman who are trying to avoid you and you're driving all over the place. It is also recommended to pull up any additional gear to avoid tangle-ups. We know it's hard to do that when the bites on and the other guy wants a fish too, but people lose a lot of fish and more often than not, it's because there was other gear left out.

When someone near you has hooked a fish!

When you're trolling, you need to be aware of other rods almost as much as your own. If and when another fisherman is playing a fish, it is important for you to stay clear of the boat, regardless of what direction their fishing rod is facing. People often make the mistake and believe its fine to troll near them when the fishing rod is facing another direction. In Nootka Sound, you can hook into some of the largest salmon in the world. Many times a rod will indicate that a fish is running in one direction, but in fact the fish has turned and is running to another direction, possibly towards you. It's called Darting and the big slabs do it all the time! When fishing a busy location and someone near you has hooked into a fish, sometimes you can't turn away because there is no room (other boats or land). The best thing you can do in this situation is to slow down and bring up your downrigger. It might seem like a difficult decision to make when the bites on, but imagine if you were playing the fish. Would you want someone to tangle with you? or worse, have your line get cut off by someones downrigger wire? Do the right thing! Who knows, maybe you'll catch a fish when bring up your gear!

When to clip your gear to your downrigger!

When clipping your line to the downrigger, you should be aware of your surroundings and of any voltage problems that your boat may have. If there are a lot of fisherman in the area, you will want to keep your gear closer to your boat to prevent tangle ups. If you have a lot of room, you should consider sending your gear back approximately 60-90+ feet to limit any negative charges from your boat. If your boat is known for sending off high voltage, you may want to consider purchasing a Black Box to control how much voltage is released or change your downrigger wire to braided line.

Where to fish?

If you haven't looked at our list of Hot Spots, you might want to take a quick look. If you're looking for more information, you should pay attention to the ocean surface for bait balls, groups of birds and watch your sounder or the shoreline for any indication of reefs and dropoffs. Salmon like to hang around areas that have a strong tidal flow because salmon know bait fish are often swept along with the current. Salmon also like to find areas that have lower temperatures and usually reefs or dropoffs have that.

When to go fishing?

Deciding when to go fishing is often one of those big questions. The early morning bite usually is the most important, but if you get up too early, you might find yourself taking an afternoon nap through the biggest bite of the day. You will want to fish just before the tide reverses (slack tide) because the salmon will come out of hiding and feed on bait that was previously swept around by the current. When the current picks up again, you will want to fish with the current and explore any areas that salmon might attempt to find shelter. The best time for fishing is when the moon is half full and the tides are at a minimum. The reason for this is because the tides are the biggest during a new and full moon. When the tides are more active, salmon use up more energy fighting the current and will spend a lot less time feeding. Depending on the length of your trip, chances are you will be fishing every chance you get. It might be important to know that the wind picks up inside Nootka Sound just about every day around 10:00 am, so if you're in a smaller boat, you will want to take advantage of the early morning calm waters.

What Depth?

There is no perfect depth and everyone has their own favorites. People often yell out their depth, but that doesn't say how heavy their downrigger ball is, how fast they are trolling, or how far back they clipped their line to the downrigger, all of which affect the actual depth of your lure. If your downrigger counter says 45 feet, that doesn't mean your lure is at that depth. If you're not catching anything, it's good to adjust your depth and see if you can improve your luck. Adjusting your speed is also good. There is a saying and it still holds true. If you aren't catching anything, troll faster! Back to depths, our favorites for salmon fishing range between 27-40 feet in the early morning and as deep as 120 feet later in the day.


Jigging is often overlooked in Nootka Sound unless you go offshore fishing for halibut or bottom fish. What people don't realize is that the Inlet does in fact contain an abundant amount of bottom fish, including halibut. If you're having a difficult time catching salmon while trolling, you might want to consider jigging for them as you could catch a number of different fish. You just need to avoid high winds and currents! otherwise you'll be drifting all over the place. Later in August, jigging can be a lot of fun down towards Moutcha Bay and other areas where salmon hang around while they wait to go up the river. If you're going to be drifting, you will want to position yourself so that you drift into deeper water. If you drift into shallow water, you will hookup real quick with the bottom.

Where to go jigging?

Deciding where to go jigging is actually quite easy. You will want to watch your sounder for reefs or dropoffs, anywhere between 60-220 feet. You will also want to pay attention to the shoreline rock formations as they often indicate what the bottom nearby will do. If you see bait balls, you will want to position your boat on the edge of them and start jigging. Anglers often make the mistake aiming right for the center of the bait balls where you're forced to compete with thousands of other bait fish. You want your gear to appear as if its wounded and has left the bait ball. You should also pay attention to other fisherman and out of respect for trollers, you should a find a location that doesn't interfere with their trolling pattern. Don't bother asking other fisherman where to go jigging because you won't get a straight answer, with good reason. If a jigging hole gets wiped out, you have to find another spot, so chances are, people won't want to tell you their favorite spots.

Tired of losing your fish to seals?

If you have a big fish on and you don't want to lose it to a seal, you have options you probably never thought of. Granted, you could ruin your gear in the process, but if it's a tyee and you really want to land it, you could try this technique used by professionals! Have a small rag with a clip, attach a small weight (1 lbs or so) and dip the rag into something smelly that seals don't like. Some people use ammonia, but that can be very dangerous and we don't recommend it. Clip the rag to your line and send it down. In theory, it should slide down to your swivels at your flasher and dangle there. The smell should reach the seal and distract it enough to release your fish. Any smell will like attach itself to your line on the way down, so the time it takes to replace your line, you probably could have lost the fish and started catching fish again!