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Port Renfrew Marina and RV Park Fishing Report

July 15/09 Port Renfrew Marina Report

July 15th, 2009

Marion 41 pound chinook salmon, July 2009

Mid July fishing at Port Renfrew Marina is nothing less than spectacular at Swiftsure Bank. Limit catches of Chinook, Halibut and Coho are the norm. Coho are found in big numbers throughout the area. Chinook in the mid 30 pounds are being caught on plugs and hoochies at depths of 150 to 200 feet.  White plugs seem to be a top choice. The seas have been noticely calm lately with no wind and occasional light fog but as we all know in Renfrew that can change at any time.

Along the shoreline spring fishing is still fair though the good news is that the big springs are showing up. Camper Creek and the rockpile have produced Chinook into the 40 pound range. There were over 15 springs over 30 pounds caught in just the two days this past weekend.

Notable Catches:

  • Ian Batty                 32
  • Marion Randall      41
  • Terry Van Weiren     32
  • Wanye Schiffner      31,  33
  • Nick Laddish           30
  • Phil Rankine            34
  • Mike Styba              38
  • Shane Telford          32
  • Chris Arnold           35
  • Ken Webb                42
  • Rick Bourne            33
  • Kerry Rawlick          39
  • Bruce Cook             35
  • Traci Englot            40
  • Todd White              38
  • Desi Hatchard of Viciousfishcharters 34,  35

Our apologies to any of the notable catches we missed. If you catch a spring 30 or above or any other large catch please let us know in the office so you will get recognition in our reports.  

Halibut barndoors are still being caught by the highliners. Halibut of all sizes keep coming in. One unbelievable catch came to the dock in Duane Issac’s 17 foot Double Eagle. The three anglers had a 161 and two more each weighing in at 100 pounds! How the boat didn’t sink is even more amazing!

Sockeye is rumored to be open possibly this Friday July 17th. We will try to keep you posted and you can call in at the office to get an update. The number is 250 483-1878, or toll free 1 866 565-2354.

Please note: The ATM at our office is still not working. We will be making another attempt to get this problem corrected so until this is done please be advised to bring cash with you as we are a cash only business.  We are not set up for credit cards. We are so very sorry about the inconvenience since we had this machine running all last year and customers began to rely on it and now we don’t have it. Both ourselves and the company we are dealing with are trying everything to correct this issue. Also there is apparently a sign on the Cowichan circle road saying that the gas is closed. We are trying to correct this also since it is not the case. We do have gas, for car, boat and diesel.

Important: Power Supply. Please note that the power Port Renfrew Marina supplies is ground fault and as we all know we get some heavy rain here and it is only one of many things that can cause your breaker to trip. People using power at Port Renfrew Marina do so at their own risk and we cannot be held responsible for the possibility of this happening.  This is particularly important for anyone using a freezer to store bait or food. Please exercise caution.

Bud & Rex

Davey Derby — July 24, 25, 26, 2009

July 7th, 2009

Port Renfrew Marina is pleased to host the 9th annual Davey Derby, July 24, 25, and 26, 2009.  This event offers a great weekend’s fishing, super prizes, as well as a good cause.  The derby is a major fundraiser for Port Renfrew and the Cowichan Valley.

Entry fee is $45/rod, with all proceeds going to charity. 

Below is the thank you letter that the Davey Derby organizers sent to the Port Renfrew Marina.  The letter explains the good that this derby is doing in the local community.

But maybe more importantly….here’s Des Hatchard with the winning fish, a 41 pound beauty!  Good fishing, good times, come on out to Port Renfrew and join in the fun!



The Dave Nicholson Benevolent Fund, its participants, and our associated charities would like to give thanks to the fine people at the Port Renfrew Marina for their kind donation to the 8th annual Davey Derby.

Through your help we were able to raise over $21,000 at last years’ event which was sent out to: the Cowichan Valley Food Basket Society, Chemainus Harvest House, the Lake Cowichan Community Services (Soup Kitchen), Lake Cowichan Food Bank, Cowichan Food Connection (Bread Bus), the CIBC Run for the Cure, Victoria and Cowichan General Hospital’s Neo-Natal Care Units, Cowichan Valley Search and Rescue, the Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society, the San Juan Enhancement Society, Victoria’s Pink Salmon Foundation, and 6 families in the Cowichan Valley area who are were facing difficult financial times through loss of a loved one or serious illness.

You should feel proud that through your continued help The Davey Derby has been able to raise and distribute over $80,000.00 since our inception. This could not have been accomplished without the help of the caring people at the Port Renfrew Marina. Thanks again,

Audie Williams
Derby Organizer

July 4/09 Port Renfrew Marina Report

July 4th, 2009

Port Renfrew Marina is starting to see the season get going. Fishing and crabbing in May was great and we were hoping for the hot streak to continue but things slowed down in June. We are now into July and we are expecting the fishing to pick up for the summer as it usually does. Predictions are for good returns this summer. We have been seeing unusually great summer weather and most days, nice calm seas.

Chinook returns to Port Renfrew Marina continue to be on the quiet side but with steady improvement. The shoreline seems to be fair to average with a few good catches. Spring fishing at Swiftsure Bank is very good with Chinook being caught in the mid 30 pound range. White hoochies at 180 feet is the ticket right now. The past week we have had unusually low tides and we still have some low ones so please check your tide charts.

Coho fishing is great everywhere. Two hatchery Coho are allowed with four possession. Any lure, any depth seems to work. The average sizes are 3 pounds to 8 pounds.

Sockeye may be open around the third week of July. We will try to keep you posted with any updates or new releases.

Halibut fishing continues to be on par with past years and the average size of the “chickens” seems to be a little bigger. The northeast corner and 170 at Swiftsure has been very good.

Notable Catches:

  • Blair Houdayer 26, 27, 27, 28
  • Tom Mawson  34
  • Riley Swansen  23
  • Calvin Kennet  32
  • Eric Eckdahl  26
  • Jordan Bruvold  32
  • Hugh Hamer 28, 30
  • Bob Huber  22, 30
  • Mike Graham  30
  • Terry Van Wieren  22, 25, 29
  • Art Abrahms  31
  • John Rogers of Jolly Rogers Fishing Adventures 30, 22, 24, 23, 20 100 Hali
  • John Wells of Hindsight Charters limit of Springs and  131 Hali
  • Bruce Miller of Millertime Charters 9 Coho, 8 Spring, 5 Hali
  • Mark Perkins of Ace of Kings Charters  4 Hali 50 to 80,  9 Springs
  • Desi Hatchard of Vicious Fish Charters 6 Red Snapper, 9 springs 4 Hali one 99

Dates to Remember: The Davey Derby coming up is July 24,25,26. The Port Renfrew Marina Labor Day Derby is Sept. 5th & 6th. The Coho Derby is to be announced soon.

Please Note: We are sorry that we STILL do not have our ATM machine working. We have tried everything to speed things up but to no avail. We are pressing for a quick repair and hope to have it in operation soon.  Please try to remember to bring cash with you so you won’t run into problems there with no access for getting cash.  Also our phones have been on and off with some working issues so if you have struggled to contact us we are sorry for that inconvenience also. We have done some major changes and we think they are now in good working order. We are also working on getting more picnic tables made and there will hopefully be more available soon.

Wishing everyone a great fishing season and a wonderful summer, please practice safe boating.

Bud & Rex

June 10/09 Port Renfrew Marina Report

June 10th, 2009

Following the fantastic May Chinook fishing Port Renfrew Marina is seeing typical early June results. Quality size big springs are hitting the docks but not in great numbers yet. Spoons and anchovy are what has been working at a depth of 37 feet generally. We have seen 2 springs that have made the over 40 board already this year, one caught June 5 and the other June 6th.

Notable catches of Springs:

  • Is. Outfitters 36
  • Stan Robertson 35
  • Eric Eckdahl 35
  • Luke Bertrand 25
  • Dan Harvey 45.5
  • Keith Cook 42

Keith with a 42 pound spring salmonHalibut fishing is good though the big barn doors are harder to find. The calm seas have helped anglers to catch their limit of chickens, always a nice size for eating. Ken Gillard caught a 70 pound Halibut on June 10th on a coyote spoon and had to net it.  A really amazing story though is on June 9th Randall Pruden and Carl Hien were fishing just west of Camper Creek for springs. They were using Purple Haze hoochies and barbless hooks when they knew they had a big one. It didn’t take very long for them to realize it wasn’t a spring but a Halibut. They could tell it was very big but had no idea it was a 120 pounder! They didn’t have a gaff or spear so they ended up bringing it in with a net! They had to keep bending it to the right shape to get the fish in. How they kept a halibut that big on the line and got it in is what everyone wants to know! Apparently you don’t have to go 25 miles out to sea to get the big ones!

Crabbing is still excellent with everyone catching their limits. They are getting larger and meatier and very sweet. Hard to compare the crab of Port Renfrew to any other crab!

Port Renfrew Marina now has all our garbage cans enclosed in heavy duty chain link fencing to keep the bears at bay. We are hoping this will discourage them for coming into the campground and look elsewhere for food. We are trying to take every measure to reduce the bear activity around the marina so please do your part. Please be careful about leaving fish and food stuffs around your campsite and boat and remove all your garbage to the cans.

Please note: To our complete frustration our ATM is still not working and we are hoping it may be in order by this weekend. If you are planning a trip to the marina soon please come prepared and bring cash. We apologize for any inconvenience and are working hard to get this problem resolved.

For anyone interested the marina now offers a seasonal launch for the boater who doesn’t leave his boat in the water. The cost is $100.00 for the season. Please check the Rates page for any changes in the rates.

If you are a past seasonal customer and haven’t contacted us regarding your spot you will now have lost your claim for your spot. It is assumed you are no longer interested in it. If anyone is wanting a seasonal spot there are still some available.

Bud & Rex

May 24, 09 Port Renfrew Marina Report

May 24th, 2009

The 2009 fishing season is underway at Port Renfrew Marina.Spring salmon fishing has been the best anyone can remember for early May. Last week slowed somewhat as the bait appears to have moved east down the straits. Needlefish is the feed right now so small anchovies and spoons are working well. John Rogers of jolly rogers adventures  has been the hot boat with limit catches daily of springs to 27 pounds.

Halibut fishing continues to be spotty. Some 30 to 60 pound range coming off the lighthouse but the barndoors are not there yet. Calm seas and light winds continue to make fishing quite nice. Although there was a 110 pound and two others in the bigger size caught today.

Crabbing is still spectacular! They are getting harder and so sweet. What a treat.

The road to Renfrew from Sooke is better, it is still bumpy and each year the wear and tear of the seasons takes it’s toll but the worst parts have been repaired.  Be prepared for the small area just past Sombrio part of the road washed away and there is only one lane for about 100 feet.

Please Note:If you are a seasonal customer and haven’t contacted us you will very likely be losing your spot. We have had many new inquiries and spots are going fast so please if you are returning, contact us and let us know.  Sorry for any inconvenience with our new ATM. It has been down and we are working as fast as we can to get it up and running. It should be in a weeks time. Some of you may have noticed there is clearing being done at the marina. We are creating more parking for vehicles and boat trailers and also we are getting chain link fencing with heavy lids to go around our garbage cans to help reduce the bear activity this year at the campground. we have also completed another 100 feet of new dock and are maxed out with dock space. For those of you interested we now have a new feature, it is a Seasonal Launch pass with unlimited launches for the 09 season for $100.00.

Bud & Rex


May,4 2009 Port Renfrew Marina Report

May 4th, 2009

Port Renfrew Marina is now open for the 2009 season.  Things have been busy out there with cleanup and new and old customers bringing in their units for the year. Our new caretakers, Wayne & Gwen Coleman are now out there and have been busy helping us. For those of you who were there last year you will recognize Knut. He is returning this year and will be working for the summer.

Expectations are running high for a great Chinook return and if the last few weeks are any indication we would have to agree. Lots of limit catches coming from the can bouy from 40-85 feet deep on any needle fish pattern. Catches include:

  • Gary Candy   4 spring in the teens to 22 pounds
  • Dave & Gilles   7 springs up to 22 pounds
  • Kerry Rawlick   29 19
  • Desi Hatchard  8 10
  • Glenn Wilson   22 23

Halibut fishing is very good with quite a few in the 80 pound range and a couple even larger. The weather is still a problem this early in the year so leave prepared and informed of sea conditions. 

Crabbing is the best we’ve seen!! Limit loaded traps are the norm right now. Fresh and sweet, the first of the year can’t be beat!

A reminder: if you haven’t confirmed your seasonal site by May 15th you may lose it. There are many new inquiries so please don’t delay and let us know.  Gas and bait are now available 

Please note: We have an ATM machine to help customers with our cash only policy.

Bud & Rex


March 20th Port Renfrew Marina Report

March 21st, 2009

Port Renfrew Marina’s 2009 season is close at hand. Today is the first day of spring and we now have winter behind us. We are all looking forward to having the weather improve and getting things organized and having a good year fishing. It is going to be great to see all the people that we have grown to know and like at the marina, sharing fishing stories around campfires.

Halibut limits will continue at 1 a day with a 2 day possession.

Chinook outlook is very positive. The Columbia System is expecting a huge return which could provide us with another unbelievable July fishery.

No predictions on the Coho stocks as yet.

Crabbing at the marina area has been very good this March and should continue in to June at least.

Port Renfrew Marina has acquired new caretakers this year. Noel and Pat Atkin have moved to Duncan and our new caretakers are Wayne and Gwen Coleman, long standing Port Renfrew Marina campers. Wayne and Gwen are great people and will certainly be a big help with us getting up and running this year. They have great energy and look forward to helping out. We will also have Knutt Haensel returning to help out in the office and around the marina.

A reminder to ALL past seasonal customers that you have until May 15th, preferably sooner to confirm you site from last year or it may be occupied. Failure to contact us will be assumed you aren’t returning so please make sure to e-mail or call us.

Note: The road from Jordan River to Port Renfrew is in horrible shape. If you are towing your rig in we would recommend you consider coming in through Lake Cowichan. Also a reminder that we only deal in cash but we now have a ATM cash machine for customer convenience. The marina will have gas and diesel as of May1st.

Port Renfrew Marina donation to Emergency Center At the close of last year in October we were inquiring as to how our bear attack victim, Blaine Pharis was recovering and he told us he is doing quite well all things considered. He explained how the trauma center was such a big part of his recovery and we discovered that the hospital is in the midst of fundraising to build a new and more comprehensive unit. It was at this time that we at Port Renfrew Marina decided it would be a worthwhile cause to make a donation to it in the marina’s and Blaine’s name.  We made a donation of $1,000.00. The hospital needs $2 million for emergency equipment and to date has raised $513,000.00. Anyone interested in making a donation can contact the Victoria Hospitals Foundation at 250 414-6688.

Looking forward to seeing old and meeting new customers at the marina this season,

Bud & Rex

Oct.16 Port Renfrew Marina Report

October 17th, 2008

Port Renfrew Marina’s 2008 season is over and each year seems to go by faster and faster. We closed officially Oct 14th. It was a pretty smooth year other than the terrible bear attack on Blaine Pharis. We managed to get more docks built which were snapped up early in the season and the new area for seasonal boat trailers was filled quickly. For next year we are hoping to expand that area and hopefully make more room for camping and build a small amount of dock space which at that point will max us out for usable dock area. For those of you who met Knut, our new guy in the office, he will be returning next year to help us out again.

This year saw some of the best Halibut fishing in recent years with lots of “barndoors” hitting the docks. The largest on caught was 197 pounds caught by Kevin McKenna followed by a 186 caught by John Rogers of Jolly Rogers Fishing Adventures, and many more.

Chinook fishing was very slow after the August rains, ending what proved to be a disappointing season in general especially since this area in Renfrew is known for being predictably hot.

Coho fishing never did pick up although at the beginning the signs seemed promising but unfortunately they never panned out.

The good news is the San Juan Enhancement Society hatchery got their 1 million eggs and report a very strong natural spawn in the system. Lets hope that following years will show signs of that.

Oct.14th was the marina’s closing date so please be aware and make sure you have come for your boat and or unit and have settled up your business for the season.  For seasonals please remember that you must contact us before May 1st 2009 to confirm keeping your spot, otherwise it will be assumed you are not returning.

We look forward to seeing all our customers again in the coming year and we wish all of you a safe and happy winter.

Bud & Rex


Oct.3 Port Renfrew Marina Report

October 4th, 2008

Port Renfrew Marina held its annual Coho Derby this past Sept.27th and 28th. Fishing was a lot like this past season has shown us and unfortunately was slow. This didn’t stop 398 optimistic fisherman to show up and try their luck. Weather conditions were excellent, warm, dry and with calm seas. There were approximately 30 Coho brought in over the two days with most of them in the 12 to 17 pound range. The 20.5 pound winning Coho was caught on Saturday and held up through the final weigh in at 1:00 Sunday.

Jason Armstrong won the $7,880.00 prize money.

Coho fishing should improve till closing, Oct.13th as they usually show up in Oct though the weather could become a problem for boating.

One bright note is the Chinook return to the San Juan River system. The hatchery easily got the one million eggs they were hoping for. They also report a very good natural spawn with possibly 5000 fish in the river. Great news!

Please Note: Port Renfrew Marina will be closing for the season on Oct.13th. Please make sure you arrive in time to remove your boat and or unit before that date unless you have made arrangements for storage. Storage must be arranged with management and Noel. Please take note that in the next month we will be revising and posting a new rates page.

New Caretaker: This winter will be Noel and Pat’s last year with the marina and they will be moving on with their retirement. The marina is looking for a caretaker to fill in. Please contact us if you happen to know someone who would fit this position, details can be discussed with anyone seriously interested.

Bud & Rex

Sept.22 Port Renfrew Marina Report

September 23rd, 2008

Well, what a summer it has been…. now it is officially fall and fishing at Port Renfrew Marina is still the slowest in recent memory. While we had the occasional burst of good fishing, for the most part it has been slower than anyone can recall.

Chinooks seem to have disappeared after Labor Day and have not returned. In previous years we would have almost doubled the fish over 4o pounds caught all summer in the first two weeks of Sept. This has not happened.

Coho fishing has been very slow and, though it is still early, as late Sept. and early Oct are prime time. Again there have been days when little showed on the docks and then a day when some nice ones appeared. Some are coming in from the 300 foot to 500 foot depth range. The popular lures are mostly green hootchies and coyote spoons. There are Coho out at the Chicken Ranch at Swiftsure and other spots if you have a boat capable of getting out there and are willing to put in the time. We are all waiting to see if the Coho move in and fishing picks up.

  • Notable catches of Coho:
  • Chris McCrea                                          16
  • John Wells of Hindsight Charters     14, 15, 17
  • apologies to others that caught Coho of a good size and names were missed.

The good news is Halibut fishing continues to be reliable and strong at the Swiftsure Bank. For the most part the fish are on the smaller side but there are obviously still some big ones out there. See photo of Allen Nickel with his 142 pound Halibut.

Update on the Bear incident: We are pleased to report that after seeing and speaking with Blaine Pharis that he is on the mend and doing quite well all things considered. We are happy to say that he got first class care from the start with David Pope who is an advanced life support paramedic and his mother, Cindy Pope both of whom were right there to step up and care for him. In the hospital he was cared for in the burn and wound unit and got top notch care with a plastic surgeon there for consult. At last report we have heard he is doing well and recovering from his injuries. Happily, he isn’t letting this stop him from continuing his fishing adventures.

Important Dates: Port Renfrew Marina’s Coho Derby is this coming weekend, Sept.27th and 28th. The cost of entry is $20.00 a rod and it is “Winner Take All” Last years winnings was $9,800.00. A reminder also that Port Renfrew Marina will be closing on Oct. 12th this year. Please be sure to settle up all business and take home your unit and boat unless otherwise arranged.  Also for all our seasonal people please be sure to remember that May 1st is the deadline for confirming your spot for the 2009 year. It is very important that you contact us with this information so you don’t lose your priority.

Caretaker’s position: Port Renfrew Marina will be losing our long standing caretakers Noel & Pat Atkin over the last 12 years. They are planning to move on in the late spring to be closer to family and spend more time truly retired. Port Renfrew Marina will be looking for a replacement caretaker and if you know of anyone that may be interested please have them contact us. Details of what the position requires can be discussed then.

Bud & Rex