Prawning in Nanaimo

Between Piper's Lagoon and Neck Point Park in Nanaimo

 Since prawning is open year round (in most areas always check the BC Sport Fishing Guide to learn of possible closures in your area) my dad and I decided to brave the unpredictable winter weather and head out just off of Neck Point Park to drop some prawn traps. 

 There are actually 6 species of shrimp/prawns that thrive off the British Columbia coast, but we were after the largest of the species; the local spot prawn. Large females can exceed 23 cm in total length! You can tell a spot prawn by 3 distinct white horizontal bars on their head area and two white spots on their first and fifth abdominal segment. Prawns are male in their second and third year, then becomes female in the third or fourth year, eggs can be found on the underside of their abdomen Oct - March. For conservation purposes it is suggested that these egg bearing prawns be returned to the ocean.

the local spot prawn with it's distinct white stripes on the head
You can catch prawns via traps, ring nets or spear while diving. The daily limit for prawns is 200. You must obtain a licence in order to fish for prawns. A fishing licence is $21 annually which covers all fin fish, except salmon which requires an additional $6 salmon stamp.

A typical ring net prawn trap with bait holder in the middle
You can use a variety of things for bait, fish heads/guts, crab & prawn pellets, or even wet canned cat food. On this particular day we used a combination of canned cat food and a few pellet in each trap. 

Prawns generally thrive in more rocky areas so you want to avoid dropping on muddy bottoms. A sonar system is needed! Sometimes you can even see the cluster of prawns on the bottom! You're looking for between 200ft and 400ft as far as depth goes.

Prawns are the best with some garlic butter! Happy fishing!


Anonymous said…
this is amazing! I had no idea it was this accessible. Thank you for sharing, these prawns are the absolute best!
Anonymous said…
This is so fabulous! Thank you for sharing this , spot prawns are my favorite and I thought they were out of season.

s. said…
Thanks for your comment Colleen, happy prawning!
Anonymous said…
do you need a boat to do this? or can you cast the traps off the shore?
s. said…
Since prawns like the deep dark depth, you will need a boat! You need to drop traps at least 250 ft

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