The month of August is now here and it is the month that we should see some of the biggest Chinook and Coho appear on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Barkley Sound and the Port Alberni Inlet. The Chinook fishing to date around Ucluelet-Tofino and the outer and also inner areas of Barkley Sound have recorded good catches of Chinook and Coho salmon by many pleased sport anglers. The Chinook salmon have mainly been in the low to high teens with some in the low to mid twenties. The Coho have averaged six to nine pounds. The last Saturday and Sunday of July however a big change was witnessed with a couple of salmon in the mid thirties to low forties which were landed by guests on guide boats a few miles outside the Ucluelet Harbor. There have been plenty of Coho around the various areas ranging from six to nine pounds. The Coho do average a huge gain of a pound a week at this time of year as they head for natal rivers and streams. By mid August many of the Coho should weigh ten to fifteen pounds. The Inlet fishing for Sockeye has not been as consistent as many would have hoped. The late spring snow and poor cool rainy weather has really played havoc with the migration of the Sockeye salmon as they have really pushed hard for the Somass River and have headed straight to the two major lakes where they will sit until late September before spawning. Barkley Sound inshore and offshore areas have had some relatively good fishing. Kirby Point and Meares, Austin and Cree Island had been the hot spots of Barkley Sound for well over a month but have cooled down over the past four or five days. Areas such as Ecoole, Pill Point, Vernon Bay and Diplock have had some good fishing with Chinook up to twenty-eight pounds over the past week. August and September are looking like excellent months for some of British Columbia’s two prominent sport fish, Chinook and Coho, which should be in great numbers in all of our west coast fishing areas.
Port Alberni Inlet
High and cool water running out of the Somass River have really hampered the Sockeye sport fishery in the Port Alberni Inlet. It has been a very disappointing sport Sockeye season. Things got underway very in the early part of the season. The week of June 18th was hot as some of the early Sockeye schooled up in the China Creek area which helped create a great sport fishery. The week of July 16th was also very good but the weeks in between and after has been very poor even though escapement through the counters into Great Central and Sproat Lake has been very high on a daily basis. The Somass River Sockeye forecast has also been downsized this past week to 800,000 from almost one million. With a run size of what is now forecast the escapement should be 375,000. To date 314,650 Somass River Sockeye has migrated to either Sproat or Great Central Lakes. The counters at Great Central dam are currently seeing six hundred to eleven hundred fish pass through daily on average. The Sproat fish way on average has a daily count of 350 as a low to a high of 2,200 sockeye. The water temperature at the Sproat River fish way is 20 degrees C but at Great Central it is 16 degrees C. The flow is high and the migration is not at all being hampered due to poor water conditions. Nature definitely has played a role in the Alberni Inlets sport Sockeye fishery. We do however look forward to the Chinook season that most often gets underway in the inlet waters by mid August. The forecast is for a good number of five year old Chinook returning to the Robertson Creek Hatchery. This means we should have a fairly decent return of salmon in the mid thirty pound range.
Barkley Sound has had some very consistent sport fishing since early June. Kirby Point, Meares Bluff, Sail Rock, the Bamfield Harbor and Wall, and Austin and Cree Island have all been extremely good for Chinook and Coho salmon. These spots have cooled off during the past week but inshore areas such as Pill Point, Swale Rock, Diplock, Ecoole, and Swiss Boy have all picked up the slack and have had some terrific sport salmon fishing. Meares and Kirby have had a lot of small Chinook salmon ranging from six to thirteen pounds and Coho averaging five to eight pounds. The salmon have been on average in fifty to one hundred and thirty feet of water and have been taking four inch coyote spoons with green and blue nickel and silver glow working extremely well. A variety of other green three and a half and four inch spoons have been working as has as a variety of white, green and blue-green hootchies. August and early September is most often a fantastic sport fishing time in the Sound. The migratory flow is still quite high as salmon continue moving down the west coast of Vancouver Island headed to well over one hundred water systems with the Columbia and Sacramento watersheds being two of the largest. The migration allows many of the salmon to take some time and feed on the rich resources of bait fish found on the surf line and inshore areas of Barkley Sound. With many of the local Chinook and Coho returning to their natal streams, creeks and rivers the usual hotspots in the vast and very scenic waters of the sound fill with good numbers of Chinook and Coho. The next six weeks should have some excellent sport fishing opportunities.
Ucluelet (West Coast)
The offshore and inshore waters out of the Ucluelet Harbor have been relatively good for a lot of small Chinook and normal sized Coho. June and July saw several landings of Chinook in the eight to fifteen pound range with a few fish in the twenties and thirties. The Turtle Head, inner and outer Southbank, the wreck, long beach, the lighthouse and inshore areas such as Sail Rock and Beg Island have had some great fishing opportunities. Recently a few larger fish have showed up out on the various banks. The Starfish produced and few nice sized Chinook as guides helped guests land a few salmon in the low forties and very high thirties over the last few days. Guides and sport anglers are beginning to move away from smaller spoons and hootchies and are beginning to troll with larger six and seven inch plugs. Hootchies that are still recommended are in white and also the green spatterback and the T Rex. The spatterback has been very good and is often a great standby during the month of August. The Coho have been quite plentiful in many areas. The fourteen mile or better known as The Chair has had huge schools of Coho holding in the water from twenty to one hundred and sixty feet. The numbers out on this bank have been incredibly huge. Anglers are reminded that hatchery Coho can be kept but all wild are to be carefully put back into the water. There is also a good number of Fraser River Sockeye offshore which must be released. Halibut fishing has been quite good to this time. Long Beach, Jenna Reef, and the Big Bank have been three of the best areas. Guides have done well on the troll, anchoring down, or just using jigs. There have been some nice halibut in the fifty pound range over the last number of weeks.
The Ucluelet Ladder Derby has had a good number of Chinook salmon weighed in. In July the biggest fish was recorded on July 17th and weighed thirty-six pounds one ounce while second place was a thirty-four pound two ounce fish. The winning fish in June was twenty-nine pounds two ounces. August is often the time for the biggest fish and there should be some weighed in at forty plus pounds.
The months of September and October are incredible for those interested in river fishing. We are expecting Chinook, Coho and Chum salmon fishing as well as fall Steelhead to be fantastic in 2012. There are only a few jet boats in the river and they are booked very quickly. Don’t delay to arrange your guide Stamp River Fall fishing.