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Top Fishing Charters in Sooke

Fishing in Sooke

You can spend your time in Sooke fishing for some of the most sought after game fish in British Columbia. Perched at the southern end of Vancouver Island, this small harbor town is the perfect place to land a big catch.

Within minutes of leaving the dock, you can hook into massive Halibut, Lingcod, Dungeness Crab, Trout, and five species of Pacific Salmon. The best part is, you can indulge in this fishery year-round (and believe us, you’ll want to).

With a variety of Sooke fishing charters to choose from, it’s easy to get a taste of this world class fishery for yourself. The only question is, will you be hungry enough to eat all that fish at the end of the day?

Known For

A fishing trip in Sooke takes you into the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. This aquatic border between British Columbia and Washington State measures 10-18 miles wide, and you will find many species swimming here as they make their way out to the Pacific Ocean and back.

Fishing in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca gives you access to all of BC’s favorite saltwater species, almost always close to shore. Your captain will take you to one of many productive fishing grounds near the coastline, along a stretch known as “the west side” which stretches from the Race Rocks lighthouse near Metchosin all the way to Jordan River on the northwest coast of the island.

Popular Sooke fishing spots along this stretch include Possession Point (a 5 minute run from the dock), Trap Shack (a 10 minute run), Otter Point (15-20 minutes), Sheringham Point (25-30 minutes), Point-no-Point, and Jordan Point (45-60 minutes).

Salmon
You are likely to hook into Chinook Salmon anytime while fishing off the coast of Sooke. This species generally ranges from 15-60 lbs, depending on the time of year.
 
To make the most of the Salmon fishing BC is famous for, try casting lines sometime between May and October. Chinook enter their peak season in May, and some of them reach well over 30 lbs by July (these brutes are known locally as “Tyees”). You will find plenty of trophy Chinook while fishing to the west, at Otter Point or Sheringham Point.
 
Coho Salmon, the hardest fighting of all the varieties, appears in July, followed by Sockeye, Pink, and Chum Salmon in late summer and autumn.
 
Halibut
You'll always find Halibut in these waters; depending on regulations, however, the season may not open until April in some years. Fishing for this speiecs is at its peak until June and stays strong well past September. Fishing for this species might take you 45-60 minutes west of Sooke, to the fishing grounds of Point-no-Point and Jordan River (weather permitting).
 
Halibut here can reach well over 100 lbs, with the occasional 200-pounder thrown in. You are likely to see bigger Halibut in spring and early summer when large females move close to shore to feed. Bear in mind that regulations only allow you to keep smaller Halibut, usually weighing about 65-70 lbs or less. This is just as well, since 10-20 lb “chicken” Halis are the tastiest ones, anyway!
 
Other Bottom Species
Sooke Halibut are accompanied by a number of other delicious species on the seafloor, including seasonal Lingcod and a year-round supply of Crab and Rockfish.
 
You might start catching Lingcod as early as April, but your chances are best from June through September. Female Lings can reach up to 100 lbs in size. Perhaps their most exciting attribute is the fact that some Lingcod turn a magnificent turquoise blue color.
 
You are likely to see a number of anglers in Sooke fishing for Dungeness and Red Rock Crab, as well. It’s not uncommon for captains to set a few traps on the way out so you can reel in a scrumptious appetizer to complement whatever entree you bring home for dinner.

Getting Here

There are a number of ways to reach Sooke if you’re traveling from out of town. Just a 40 minute drive from Victoria, it’s easy to make your way to Sooke by car or public transit. You can even cycle along the Galloping Goose Trail if that’s your speed.

If you’re traveling from Vancouver or cities along the coast of Washington State like Seattle, Anacortes, or Port Angeles, you can reach Victoria by ferry boat before driving to Sooke. Float planes can also bring you directly to Victoria Harbour. Depending on your method of travel, it might take 3-5 hours to reach Sooke from Vancouver or Seattle.

Once you arrive, you’ll have Sooke’s magnificent fishing right at your fingertips. Most local fishing charters are based at the Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina. From there, it’s only a matter minutes before you’ll have lines in the water.

Sooke Fishing Charters

Private fishing charters in Sooke range from 350-900 CAD, depending on the length of the trip and your target species.

Standard half day trips last from three to five hours and come with a price tag of 350-400 CAD. These charters allow you to fish for anything that’s biting near shore at the time, including Salmon, Halibut, Lingcod, Rockfish, and Crab. A full day trip is about 700 CAD.

You can also choose from a variety of charters designed specifically to give you the best of BC Salmon and Halibut fishing. Sooke Salmon fishing charters cost 500-650 CAD for a half day trip and 800 CAD for a full day.

Halibut fishing charters typically last six hours minimum, since it can take more time to reach their fishing grounds. A six hour Halibut trip costs around 600 CAD and a full day trip is usually 800 CAD.

If you simply can’t make up your mind, fear not—the captains in Sooke have got you covered. You can enjoy a full day of Salmon-Halibut combo fishing for 720-900 CAD.

Some Sooke charter operators run exclusively in summer to take advantage of BC’s Salmon season. Others continue to run trips during winter for winter Chinook and Crab fishing.

Rules and Regulations

All recreational fishers age 16 and older must carry a fishing license.

Tidal water fishing licenses (saltwater) are administered by the Canadian federal government. Non-residents can purchase a tidal water fishing license online for as little as one day (7.35 CAD) or an entire year (106.05 CAD, prices subject to change).

Non-residents can also buy a British Columbia freshwater fishing license online for one day (20 CAD) or one year (55 CAD, prices subject to change).

If you intend to catch and keep a Salmon, you must also purchase a Salmon Conservation Stamp (6.30 CAD).

You may also be required to buy a Conservation Surcharge Stamp for other species, regardless of whether you intend to keep your catch or not.

Size limits and bag limits apply to many fish species in British Columbia, and these regulations can change year to year. The Halibut season may close at the start of the year to allow for spawning, and can sometimes close to harvest again later in the year in an effort to keep the fishery balanced.

You can stay up to date on local regulations online. Or choose from any number of Sooke fishing charters to make sure you have a local guide who can help you follow regulations properly.

Fishing Styles

Trolling for Salmon
Trolling is the main technique used to target Salmon in Sooke. You will also see local fisherman “mooching” for Salmon, a slow version of trolling which involves keeping a weighted line and rigged bait at a 45-degree angle, several feet off the bottom.
 
Frozen bait and artificial lures both prove effective, depending on your target species and the time of year. One of the most common lures used for Salmon fishing in British Columbia is the hoochie, a squid-like artificial which is always fished with a flasher. Hoochies come in several sizes, the most common choices being “squirt” and “hoochie.”
 
Chinook are privy to Anchovies, though squirts and hoochies are also likely to entice smaller Chinook swimming in water 120-150 feet deep.
 
Coho feeding near the surface of deep water will take spoons and hoochies. Pink and Sockeye Salmon might also respond well to this method in later summer months.
 
Bottom Fishing for Halibut
Bottom fishing may sound simple, but a lot of insight goes into hooking a Halibut hundreds of feet below. Your captain is likely to choose a spot with bottom structure, somewhere in nearshore water 200 feet deep or less.
 
Fishing for Halibut calls for strong rods and heavy tackle, usually 70-90 lb test line (sometimes up to 100 lb test line depending on conditions). You might also rely on a fighting harness to help you reel in the biggest fish.
 
Octopus is the best bait you can use, though herring and plain jigs will also get the job done. Bouncing a jig head with a neon skirt and a piece of octopus will help you land a bigger Halibut.
 
On occasion, you may also catch a Halibut while deep trolling for Salmon.
 
Freshwater Fly Fishing
For more great fishing in Sooke, try casting a few lines in the local river. A very popular fish to target on fly in Sooke River is Chum Salmon, which makes an entrance around October. You will also find a few resident Trout throughout the year.
 
For Chum, you can use an 8-weight rod and a sink-tip floating line. You may also want to bring a poly nymph tip to help you locate the fish zone. If you cannot get right up to the fish zone, use a fly with a bead head and allow the slow-moving current to carry your fly downstream.
 
It’s a good idea to have a 15 lb test leader, since Chum are very toothy (also called “dog” Salmon for this reason). Use pliers to retrieve your fly.
 
You can try using flies in various colors. Green works well on some occasions, while purple and pink or combinations including these colors work well on other days. You might also have luck with egg-sucking leeches.
 
Local fishermen recommend hooks in size 2-6 on sunny days, and larger hooks for rainy days.
 
If you plan on releasing your catch, be sure to land it in the water and not on shore, since this is the best way to ensure their survival.
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Sooke Fishing Seasons

At this time of year, temperatures are around 40°F, so be sure to bundle up! If you’re bold enough to brave the cold, you’ll enjoy fishing for feeder Chinook Salmon in the strait, along with Rockfish and Crab.

You might see large Halis moving in close to shore at this time of year, but the Halibut season won’t begin for another month or two. In the meantime, you can continue fishing for small Chinook and tasty Crab.

Temperatures are still in the 40’s (°F), but offshore game fishing is about to heat up! In some years, you may even be able to head west for Halibut by now. 

In April you'll start to see a lot more opportunities on the water, including Halibut, Lingcod, and larger Chinook. The weather in Sooke is warmer than ever, making this a great time to fish!

Come May, everyone is looking to get in on the fishing scene. Halibut, Lingcod, Crab, and Chinook are all on the menu. Keep an eye out for Tyees and be the first to bring home a 30+ lb Salmon this year!

Coho are on the scene, giving you a chance to add this hard-fighting fish to your checklist. When you’re not wrangling a Coho or a Tyee, you can bottom fish for Halibut and Lingcod.

Salmon lovers rejoice! Pink, Chum, and Sockeye are starting to show up, not to mention the Coho are at their biggest (up to 18 lbs). You’re now more likely to reel in a Tyee than ever before. 

If you didn’t get out on the water yet, now is the time. Temperatures are in the high 50’s and every species of Pacific Salmon is biting. You can still take advantage of the Halibut and Lingcod seasons, too.

In some years, the Halibut and Lingcod fishing might start slowing down the end of September. But this is still a great time to fish for Salmon, or to find out what’s biting in Sooke River.

This could be your last chance to experience Sooke fishing to the fullest, while lots of Salmon are still to be found offshore. Fly fishermen can head to the river for a chance to catch some Chum. 

Many Sooke fishing charters stop running at this time of year, but you’ll still find a captain ready to head out for some winter Chinook and Crab fishing. Or head to the river and hone your fly fishing skills. 

Fishing in low season has its perks: the waters are less crowded and charter rates are lower! Brave the cold and grace your holiday table with a freshly caught Dungeness Crab or some tasty winter Chinook.

Sooke Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Sooke

"Great captain"

Jeffrey Galin fished with VIP Fishing Charters Sooke (VIP) on June 12, 2018

Be happy if you catch but not upset if you don't

"Full day with Travis "

Pita Ramirez fished with Reel Life Charters on May 31, 2018

To book with Travis it was the best fishing charter I've been on so far!!

"Perfect "Gone Fishing" Day"

Kim Mackenzie fished with Warrior Fishing Charters on September 14, 2017

Amazing day with no crowding at prime locations and beautiful weather!!

"Successfully Trip with Captain Luc"

Bill Smith fished with VIP Fishing Charters Sooke (VIP) on August 21, 2017

We are not experienced fisherman so not much advice. Find a good guide and dress warm.

Top Targeted Species in Sooke

Halibut

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Coho)

Crab

Nearby Fishing Destinations