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Top Fishing Charters in Nanaimo

Fishing in Nanaimo

When you’re in need of the ultimate Salmon showdown, there’s no better place to go than Vancouver Island. And where better to begin than Nanaimo? Just a two-hour ferry ride from Vancouver, this town is the perfect mix of civilization and wilderness. The city life is full of diverse events and festivals, while the mountain forests of central Vancouver Island lie only a few minutes away. Nanaimo has long been the underdog of the area when it comes to sportfishing, but the locals know that this place has amazing Chinook Salmon fishing year round.

What to Expect

Chinook Salmon is the main star of the show, being the most consistent and biggest species in the area. You’ll usually target them by drift fishing with a weighted line or trolling with planer boards and downriggers. Chinook Salmon is an aggressive, feisty, and tasty trophy worth fighting for. But if you really want a challenge on a higher level, get into the Tyee Club – this prestigious membership is earned by catching a Chinook over 30 pounds.
Salmon follow migration patterns, which makes their timing and route very predictable. The early run starts at the end of June, when they pass right in front of Nanaimo. The peak season lasts until the end of October, which is when you can catch all types of Salmon, including Coho, Sockeye, Chum, and Pink. Being right on the Strait of Georgia pass, Nanaimo gives you the chance to catch all this without traveling far.
But it’s not all about Salmon. Crab fishing and prawning are great year round, especially during winter. You also have great chances of catching Halibut, the main prize of bottom fish, especially in the spring and summer. Don’t let Lingcod’s monstrous looks discourage you from targeting it, as its white meat is a true delicacy. 

Need to Know

Fisheries in Canada are divided into areas, each with their own regulations. Nokomis falls under area no. 17 – make sure you’re familiar with the current rules before heading out on the water since these can change every year.
All locations in British Columbia require a valid fishing licence, which you can get online from the Canadian National Recreational Licensing System. If you want to keep some Salmon you catch, you’ll need to include a Salmon Conservation Stamp.
The Nanaimo fishing scene offers great trips for both novices and experienced anglers, you just need to decide how long you want to stay on the water. After an exciting day of fishing, treat yourself with the famous three-layered Nanaimo Bar trail and try one of the local craft beers!
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Nanaimo Fishing Seasons

January is great for crabbing and prawning. At this time of the year, Chinook Salmon feeds aggressively, although they are not big in size.

This is still the peak season for crabbing and a favorite family activity. It’s best to start early, especially near piers.

March marks the beginning of peak Halibut season. Besides fishing, you can also enjoy the Nanaimo festival and celebrate the end of the winter with locals.

With Chinook Salmon still growing and feeding aggressively, you can expect some great fishing action. Halibut and Crabs are still good targets.

May brings something new to the table – Lingcod! You might not like the look of their faces, but you’ll surely enjoy their meat. Reel one in and see for yourself!

June brings an interesting mix of Chinooks – this is when both “feeders” and mature fish start migrating in from the north!

Slowly, all types of Salmon start to show up. There’s also the Marine Fest with lots of fun activities to try when you’re not fishing. Does a bathtub race sound interesting enough?

This is the peak season for almost every type of fish you can catch in these waters. Lots of mature Salmon are in the area and you’ll find some big specimens to catch.

This is the time to become a member of the Tyee Club and catch a 30-pounder! The water is bursting with mature Salmon everywhere. In the evening, enjoy Longwoodstock, Nanaimo’s music festival.

Early fall sees the arrival of  Chum Salmon. Other Salmon species are still high in numbers but their peak season is slowly coming to its end.

Aggressive “feeder” Chinook show up again and dominate the area until the end of April. Chum Salmon is still great to target.

Crabbing is at its peak during winter, so drop some traps and try your hand at catching some. Chinook Salmon fishing is great, as always.

Nanaimo Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Nanaimo

"June fishing trip"

Charles C. fished with Reel Time Fishing Charters Nanaimo on June 12, 2018

Do the homework and book with a reputable company

"5 hour trip"

Michael J. fished with Reel Time Fishing Charters Nanaimo on September 15, 2017

It was a fun trip we caught ling cod and yellow eye and crabs

"Full day with Todd Jennings."

Ron E. fished with Highroller Charters - Nanaimo on May 3, 2017

Come prepared to fish and for all kinds of weather.

"Full day trip with captain Todd"

Todd M. fished with Highroller Charters - Nanaimo on April 30, 2017

Be patient and persevere, the fish are there

Top Targeted Species in Nanaimo

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Coho)





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