The month of June has now rolled in and one would think that with the cool damp weather the West Coast has received over the past weeks that it was still late February or early March. However on the bright side the salmon fishing has been pretty good close to Ucluelet which is located on the extreme west coast of Vancouver Island B.C. The fishing in various outside areas of Barkley Sound has also been recently quite good and the early sockeye salmon have already began their long return from somewhere in the North Pacific to the Somass River in fairly big numbers. There have been a few third hand reports that some avid sport fishermen camping at the China Creek site have already had some luck picking up a few sockeye in the Nahmint-Franklin area in 25 to 30 feet of water. Also an area in Barkley Sound, Vernon Bay has had some great Sockeye fishing. If the stories are true these fish would have been more than likely in a big school but moving quickly towards the fresh but very cool waters of the Somass River. The salmon and halibut fishing on the west coast has been consistent over the past few weeks. The great fishing in local hotspots is very evident by the increase of vehicles on local roads and highways towing a variety of sport fishing boats. Many fisher persons are either fishing the scenic and pristine waters of Barkley Sound or are travelling out to the west coast to fish close to Vancouver Islands rugged coastline or on those in between very nice days, which should become much more frequent, to salmon fish offshore.
The 2011 sport salmon fishing season in Ucluelet, Barkley Sound, and the Port Alberni Inlet is forecast once again to be terriffic. On the west coast, the early season run of chinook which are currently migrating down the Vancouver Island coastline and stay fairly close to the beach will soon peak and will be followed by what is supposed to be one of the biggest mid summer Chinook returns to southern watersheds. Coho numbers this summer are expected to be much better in 2011 and of course this being an odd year the Pink Salmon run is looking like numbers will be extremely high. The Sockeye fishing should be extremely good. The early run has already been swimming into the Somass River with expectations of a possible record run.
Port Alberni Inlet
The Sockeye sport fishery has now been open for approximately two weeks in the Port Alberni Inlet. Limits are two per person per day. Sometime in June we are expecting the limits to be pushed to four per person. Sockeye usually school in the Inlet when the water of the Somass warms to 18 degrees celsius or when there are big number of Sockeye entering the system the schools will hold in the inlet for the salmon ahead to push into the river. The river water is still very cold and with the all of the snow still in the nearby hills it will take some time for the water to warm up. The Sockeye that are currently in the system and have come into Barkley Sound and the Inlet will swim in fairly shallow water. Those out fishing will probably during the next couple of weeks have the best success fishing the Nahmint-Franklin area, the narrows, and perhaps Cous Creek or right in the Port Alberni Harbor trolling from 25 to 35 feet or even at 20 feet. The May and early June weather in 2010 was not quite like this year but conditions were still relatively cool and fairly good Sockeye fishing got underway by approximately the 13th of June. It is often safe to say that anytime between the 15th and 20th of the month the sport fishing gets well underway. We are hoping that by mid month the weather pattern will have changed and conditions in terms of air and water temperatures have warmed up. Sport guides and individual fishermen will find that the salmon will be best found at hotspots such as Cous Creek, Dusmuir Point, the China Creek Wall, the slide, and the narrows. Sockeye are attracted to color and having six or even eight flashers hooked to the deep line is not unusual. The most popular lures for Sockeye are the mp 2 and 16 also the bubblegum colored mp 15 hootchies. Leader lengths are best at 22 to 27 inches behind a green or red glow hotspot flasher.
The Salmon fishing in Barkely Sound especially out at surf line locations has been also relatively consistent over the past few weeks. Many areas have had big bait balls which will bring those migratory Chinook swimming close to the beach come in and feed. Effingham has had some good fishing as has Vernon Bay and Alan Point. Bamfield areas such as Kirby in the morning and Edward King later in the day and also the Wall have reported some nice fish being landed by guides and sport anglers. The best results have been fishing from 80 to 120 feet depending on location but it is important that you are fishing where there is bait. It seems that choice of lure really does not seem to matter as many have been using a variety of spoons, plastic, and bait. The best spoons have been the four inch green and blue nickel behind a green glow hotspot flasher and the needlefish 155 hootchie has also been very good. Anchovy in a green UV teaser head and also in chartreuse have been hot.at various times. Many of the salmon have been in the mid to high teens with a few in the low twenties. We are expecting the fish to get bigger as the mid summer run which will get underway in the latter half of June will be predominately four and five year olds. Barkly Sound should be a real hotbed for fishing this summer especially out in surfline locations.
Ucluelet is often referred to as Vancouver Island’s premier salmon and halibut sport fishing destination. Like Barkley Sound the waters inshore and offshore from the Ucluelet Harbor offer some world class fishing. The water is very rich in bait fish (sardines and needlefish) which the salmon feed on throughout the spring and summer months. The summer salmon fishing seems to be changing. August and early September were often considered peak times for Chinook and Coho sport fishing. With the high numbers of transient Chinook salmon passing along the west coast of Vancouver Island from April to August it often seems that the peak of the seaon is in the month of July. This is not to say that Chinook sport fishing does not continue in August and September. Coho which were often referred to as the number one sport salmon along coastal fishing locations in B.C. are a major highlight in late August through September. The Ucluelet fishing has been very consistent over the past few weeks with some good fishing out at the inner and outer South Bank. Mara Rock, Great Bear, Sail Rock, and The Alley which are all very close to the Ucluelet Harbor have also been excellent choices for sport fishing especially on those days where the weather has not co-operated for boats to get out a little offshore.. The largest fish landed over the past 10 days in inshore locations was a thirty-five pound Chinook at Sail Rock. This Chinook which like many of the other salmon was a hatchery fish and hit a needlefish hootchie. Most of the Chinook Salmon have been averaging sixteen to twenty-two pounds in the inshore and offshore locations. The fish out at the inner and outer South Bank have been close to the bottom between 130 and 160 feet. Guide Al has done extremely well on salmon and halibut with his largest hali for guests at forty-five pounds. The best lures to date have been a T-Rex hootchie or an iridescent Turd and also a few different spoons in brass/copper or four and five inch blue and green nickel. Other guides and sport anglers have had great success using needle fish hootchies behind a flasher. The needle fish will hide in the sand and on tide changes will come up to higher levels which creates a very good salmon and halibut bite. If trolling and using anchovy it seems that a green or red glow hotspot flasher with a green or army truck rhys davis teaser anchovy head with six feet of leader are working well. One important thing to remember is that during the season the food sources often get bigger and when using spoons and plugs the sizes should increase as the bait does.
The 2011 fishing season in Port Alberni and the west coast is shaping up just as has been forecast. There should not be disappointments this summer. Of course there are highs and lows but the high days will definitely out do any low days.
The Stamp River is one of B.C.’s healthiest river systems. The salmon fishing this year will open on August 25th with what is forecast to be a better than normal season. Retention at the moment is forecast to be two Coho and two Chinook. The season begins with river anglers using wool, spinners, and plugs. The bait ban should be lifted on the 15th of September. For those that enjoy Steelhead fishing there are three runs of Steelhead in the Stamp. Summer and Fall Steelhead and then later in late November the Winter Steelhead begin to show. October and November are perfect months for summer and fall fish. The Steelhead actively feed during the natural spawn of the salmon in the river which is during October and well into November. There is plenty of opportunity to fish the Stamp but all arrangements for trips that are guided should be organized very early in the summer or late spring.