Kayak Fishing Camp-Out: Bunsby Islands | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Trips
Sunset at Bunsby Islands Photo: Steve Thomson

Fish these isolated islands in British Columbia

The only way to reach Big Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is by boat. After making the crossing from Vancouver Island, there are no roads and no people. While the islands are isolated, they provide safe harbor from the open Pacific making the reefs, bays and inlets fishable in almost any weather. There are no campsites or hiking trails, but popular stops are marked with driftwood. Ocean currents curving up from the south keep the weather warm and wet, cloaking the mountainous islands with a dense rainforest. The islands are surrounded by kelp forests that host calicos and halibut while schools of salmon work the open water. 

Discover the trip of a lifetime with the Rapid Media Paddling Trip Guide

CAMPER: Rob Lyon, pro guide, outdoor writer, www.lyonexpeditions.com. 

ACCOMMODATIONS: 

MILD 1 2 3 4 5 WILD
Free and wild without roads, regulations or facilities. 

ACCESSIBILITY: 

CAR CAMPING 1 2 3 4 5 EVEREST BASECAMP 
Paddle miles across open ocean. Survive the breakers to camp in the dense forest. 

POPULARITY: 

TOURIST MECCA 1 2 3 4 5 TOTAL ISOLATION 

Attracts thrill seekers and adventurers. 

TARGET: Coho salmon, ling, black rock bass and halibut. 

TACKLE BOX: For salmon, a 9-wt fly rod with 15-pound leader. Troll bucktails or cast flies to working schools of salmon. To target rock bass, use a medium-action conventional outfit. A medium-heavy combo will handle larger soft- plastics for halibut and ling. 

METHOD: For salmon, troll with tandem Canadian bucktails or cast streamers to bait balls. Season is July through September. Look for fish schooling at river mouths in late season. Black rock bass, kelp greenling, calico bass and quillback hide in kelp forests. Halibut and ling lie below waiting for a big jig. Use lighter conventional gear to work jigs in the upper water column for bass or drop a heavier jig to the bottom for halibut and ling. 

LAUNCH: Leave from Government Wharf in Fair Harbour, the last outpost before the marine park on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Paddle six hours to the Bunsbys, or catch one of the motherships that leave from several area ports. 

CAMPING KIT: Serious wilderness camping requires a lightweight three-season tent. Bring water or filter from streams and rivers. Medium- weight sleeping bag. 

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT: A good tarp. Use it as a quick shelter or to catch rainwater. Expect strong storms and plan to be hunkered down for a couple days. 

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