13 Fishing Charters
Top Fishing Charters in Victoria
Top Fishing Charters in Victoria
Fishing in Victoria
Fishing in Victoria
Cast a few lines and it doesn’t take long to realize that there’s nothing quite like the fishing Victoria BC has in store. Here, anglers can enjoy some of the best weather on Vancouver Island, along with calm, protected waters and a year-round fishery. One thing that makes Victoria so special is the fact that you can hook into all of British Columbia’s most popular game fish here—even in the dead of winter. In fact, winter is the most productive season on this corner of the Island, so bundle up and come aboard for Halibut, Salmon, Dungeness Crab, and more!
As one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest, Victoria is well known for its rich history. Many are drawn to the Victorian-era architecture and opulent gardens, while others are inspired by the history of the Songhees First Nation and their deep connection to this land.
The fishing here is just one more reason why many make Victoria their go-to destination. No less than 5 species of Pacific Salmon call these waters home, with various runs and peak seasons throughout the year. The most sought-after species is Chinook Salmon, which you can find in great abundance from October through May.
Almost as popular is the local Halibut, which are known to exceed 200 lbs on occasion. You can catch this fish all through winter (provided the season is open), but the best time to catch Halis is in April. Add to that a hefty supply of Crab, Lingcod, and Rockfish, and it’s no wonder why this city has captured the imagination of anglers the world over!
Victoria Fishing Spots
From Oak Bay to Port Renfrew, there’s no shortage of fishing charters Victoria has to offer. The main Victoria Harbor and the Oak Bay Marina are the most common points of departure, both of them just minutes away from some of the best fishing grounds.
Many captains will take you into the greater Victoria area, as well, possibly as far as Metchosin and East Sooke on occasion. In summer, some of them move west to Port Renfrew to catch the Salmon season there. Wherever you set sail, you can be sure that superb fishing is right around the corner. We’ve selected just a few of the hottest fishing spots in Victoria to give you a taste of it all.
Oak Bay and the Oak Bay Rocks beyond it are two of the most productive fishing spots right off the coast of Victoria. Fishing the bay between November and May will produce winter and spring Salmon, while anchoring near the rocks will bring you tasty Halibut. Many tend to overlook this area early in the season, so you might have the place all to yourself. Be mindful that fishing out here, in strong currents and water 200 feet deep, requires some skill. Fishing with a local guide is highly recommended, especially if you’re fishing this area for the first time.
Albert Head is one of the best-known hot spots around here, and with good reason. Located southwest of Victoria along the coast of Metchosin, these fishing grounds are rife with Halibut and Rockfish starting in February. You can also target the winter and summer Salmon runs here. Fish between November and May for the winter Chinook or from May through September for a chance to catch Coho, Sockeye, Pink, and Chum Salmon, too.
If you turn away from the shoreline at Albert Head and follow a straight line southeast, you’ll hit Constance Bank. Drift fishing and anchoring here in winter will put you on some fantastic winter fishing for Halibut in 60-300 foot water. Of course, there’s winter and spring Salmon here, too.
The banks and shoals around Race Rocks make up yet another one of the most popular fishing spots Victoria has on its doorstep. Anglers typically start fishing here in February when the Halibut season opens (but this can change from year to year). The action picks up momentum all the way through May as summer Salmon enter the scene, while fishing for Halis stays consistently strong through fall. Anchoring and fishing with heavy tackle is the best method to use out here. Ship traffic and conservation zones can pose complications, so you’re best off when fishing with a local guide.
...And Much More
Turn west at the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island and you’ll run headlong into “the west side.” This stretch of productive water extends more than 30 miles, all the way from the Race Rocks lighthouse to the Jordan River past Sooke. As you head toward the Pacific Ocean, prime fishing season shifts from winter to summer with every extra mile. Charters set to explore the greater Victoria area will take you to Whirl Bay, Otter Point, Swiftsure Bank, and many other destinations on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island.
Victoria Fishing Styles
While bottom fishing for Halibut and Rockfish you might anchor or drift, depending on conditions such as current, bottom structure, and depth. Slow trolling is also effective over a seafloor with a mixture of sand and gravel. Common baits range from jigs and octopus to hoochies (a squid-like artificial).
Trolling is the primary method used to catch Salmon. Anchovies, spoons, and hoochies all prove effective depending on the species and conditions. Chinook tend to favor Anchovies while Coho and other species respond well to spoons and hoochies.
You’ll often see anglers in BC “mooching” for Salmon as well. This method of deep trolling involves slowly pulling a weighted lure at a 45-degree angle, several feet above the seafloor.
It’s also common to catch Coho along the surface of deep water offshore by trolling a bucktail fly--a specialized technique around Vancouver Island known as “bucktailing.”
Need to Know
Anglers age 16 and older need to purchase a tidal water fishing license for saltwater fishing (7.35 CAD, price subject to change). You are responsible for bringing your own license, even when boarding a Victoria fishing charter. You will also need a Salmon Conservation Stamp (6.30 CAD).
While many species reach their peak season in Victoria during winter, they may not always be open to harvest. The season for Rockfish and Lingcod typically opens in spring, while Halibut season can open as early as February or as late as April. Seasonal closures, size and bag limits, and other regulations are subject to change annually.
Victoria Fishing Seasons
Victoria Fishing Seasons
Average temperatures are between 40 and 47°F at the start of the year, but great fishing awaits those who are willing to brave the cold! Set sail near shore and bring back Chinook Salmon and Dungeness Crab.
February is one of the best times to cast lines in Victoria. If the Halibut season is open, head to the rocky shores of Albert Head, Race Rocks, or another local hot spot and have it!
Things are heating up around here, with average temperatures reaching up to 52°F on some days. The Halibut bite is strong and the action is getting more intense by the week as more Salmon start to arrive.
There’s no end in sight when it comes to great fishing in Victoria! The seasons for Lingcod and Rockfish will open soon if they haven’t already, while Halibut and winter Chinook are still giving anglers a run for their money.
May marks the start of the summer Salmon season. Over the next few months, resident Chinook will be joined by Coho, Sockeye, Chum, and Pink Salmon. As always, you can count on local Halis to keep you busy.
Victoria may be known for its winter fishery, but that doesn’t mean things in summer are slow. Set sail for Albert Head and reel in everything from Halibut and Rockfish to any kind of Salmon!
Temperatures soar as high as 68°F by the middle of summer—perfect weather for fishing! Get in on the summer Salmon season or hook into Halis and Rockfish any place from Oak Bay to Race Rocks.
If you’re a Salmon fanatic, you couldn’t pick a better time to be on the water here in Victoria. All five species are yours for the taking! Anglers seeking variety of a different kind can still catch, well, everything else.
Spend autumn in Victoria and you’ll be spoiled for choice. Temperatures range from a balmy 53-65°F, while all the local species are still bustling about below the water’s surface.
Fishing charters in many ports around Vancouver Island will be heading out for their last hurrah, but the ones in Victoria are just getting started! Everything is on the menu here, from Crab and Rockfish to Salmon.
You can catch the tail end of the summer Salmon run in November, or hook into the winter Chinook as they enter their peak. If the Halibut season doesn’t close early, you can still enjoy fishing for this delicacy and more.
Spend a little time fishing in Victoria this holiday season and bring home a Chinook Salmon, Halibut, Lingcod, or Dungeness Crab to grace your table and impress your guests!