How to read a Herring Fisheries Bulletin
I think the herring spawn is harder to predict than the weather. Every fisherman has their personal recipe of science and local knowledge to try and guess when and where the herring are going to spawn. Many believe that it will happen around the full moon. Big weather events seem to break the schools up, but it sure seems like the spawn often happens during or right after storms. To find out what science says, we can look at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada bulletins.
To get to the search page, use this link. It often shows an error for short periods. When you get through, you need to enter the area and fishery. The bulletins normally come out shortly after lunch. Today we got three notices before 2 PM. I am still learning how to decipher these bulletins, but i will share what I look at.
On the bottom of the bulletin is the ROE TEST CODE that helps you understand what all the numbers mean.
ROE TEST CODE:Date;Location;roe yield;fish size;males:females;#1-#2-#3-#spawned-#juvenile;(roe weight gm:fish weight gm)
What I look at is the location of the biggest schools and the roe yield, which is expressed in %. The % tells how ripe the fish are and determines when Fisheries will open areas for commercial fishing. Fishing won’t start until the % is over the amount determined by Fisheries. This is around 10%, but I don’t know the actual numbers. The fish move around but the biggest schools of herring are currently reported to be just outside of the Comox Bar.
The paragraph at the bottom of the bulletin summaries the data. It will soon start to give information gathered from the air, which can see where the fish are spawning.
Comox Harbour Charters has a herring trip booked for March 2nd and will announce public trips for when the weather and spawn align.