The summer months are quickly moving by and the salmon fishing in many areas of Vancouver Island just seems to be getting better and better as we move into early August. The salmon fishing in surf line locations of Barkley Sound and the West Coast out of the Ucluelet Harbor for Chinook, Coho, and now some Sockeye Salmon have been extremely good. Unfortunately the Port Alberni Sockeye sport fishing has not been what it should have been. The Chinook and Coho on the surf line and the various banks are getting bigger by the week. Most of these salmon continue to be migratory salmon moving to destinations or watersheds well to the south. We are expecting some of the salmon returning to nearby rivers, streams, and creeks of the Pacific Rim and Alberni Valley regions to appear by the second week of August. This should in fact develop into an even a much stronger sport fishery for Barkley Sound and the west coast of Vancouver Island. All of August and the early part of September should have fascinating sport fishing out on the coast and also most of Barkley Sound. The Port Alberni Inlet is forecast to have an abundant return of Coho Salmon. Chinook returns are forecast to be of a normal number. Numbers returning to the Robertson Creek Hatchery are forecast at thirty to forty thousand. Usually by the 15th of August good numbers of Chinook begin to show in Inlet areas close to China Creek and the Port Alberni Harbor followed later in the month by Coho salmon. The Coho sport fishing in early September should be phenomenal. Many of the Coho by this time of year will range from ten to fifteen pounds. August and September sport fishing is forecast to be extremely good.
Port Alberni Inlet
The sport fishing in the Port Alberni Inlet unfortunately has been almost non- existent for the past seven to ten days. The sockeye return forecast was downsized from 1.6 million to 1.1 million. For the Somass River system 1.1 million Sockeye is still a fantastic return. Sockeye returns to Sproat and Great Central Lakes are approximately 350,000 with 260,000 returning to Sproat Lake and only 90,000 adults returning to Great Central Lake. The estimated catch by all of the fishing groups which includes First Nations, Seine, Gill Net, and recreation to July 31st is approximately 680,000. Sport Fishing only has accounted for 16,500 of these salmon.
The Chinook return to the Somass system should begin with salmon showing in good numbers in the Alberni Inlet areas by the 15th of August. Pre season forecasts are showing approximately thirty to forty thousand Chinook returning to the terminal area of Barkley Sound and the Inlet. Most of these fish will be returning to the Robertson Creek Hatchery. Approximately twenty-five thousand spawners will be needed meaning that there will be seven to fifteen Chinook available for harvest. There is a good number of four year old Chinook returning. With this in mind there should be a good number of Chinook in the twenty to twenty-five pound class. Coho numbers are expected to be abundant. Coho returns to the Pacific Rim and the many creeks and stream tributaries of the Somass system through conservation have become very strong over the past decade. We should see Somass-Stamp River Coho begin to show in Barkley Sound during the last ten days of August and they will move up into the Inlet during the first week of September. We are looking forward to some fantastic sport Coho fishing throughout West Coast Vancouver Island during the latter half of August through mid September.
Parts of Barkley Sound have had incredible sport fishing through June and July and the first few days of August. The best areas however have been close to the surf line. Swale Rock, Vernon Bay and Pill Point have been on and off with Swale Rock being the most consistent. Meares, Austin Island, and Cree Island have been by far the best for sport fishing with good Chinook and Coho Salmon fishing. The salmon have been out in the deep water on the low tide and often on the flood move in towards the rocks and feed on the huge quantities of rich resources of bait fish. Chinook have been in 80 to 120 feet of water and have been averaging from the mid teens to lower twenties in terms of weight. The Coho have been in twenty-five to fifty feet of water and are gorging themselves on bait fish putting on a pound a week and are currently averaging eight to ten pounds. Most of the current salmon continue to be migratory fish moving to watersheds to the south. We are expecting the local salmon to begin to show relatively soon. This is not to say that some Somass Chinook and Coho have not already arrived. There have been some fairly early returns to the Somass system over the past ten days. When fishing the waters of Barkley Sound it is ideal if sport fishermen have some anchovy on board. To this date anchovy has not been essential as the salmon have been hitting various coyote spoons and hootchies behind glow and kinetic flashers. In Coyote spoons, silver glow, lime green, green and blue nickel, watermelon, and cop car have all been working. The various whites (AORL12) and greens and blues in hootchies have had some great success over the past two weeks. Anchovy should have at least a six foot leader and the army truck, purple haze, UV green and bloody nose Rhys Davis Teaser Head have all been working well. A few sport fishermen are using a variety of six inch plugs and tomic spoons with or without flashers. These have been working only when the bait fish are big in size. We are expecting Barkley Sound to have some continued great salmon fishing. With the late summer run of migratory salmon and local salmon returning to their natural streams and creeks there should be some continued terrific sport fishing right into mid September in all of Barkley Sound for Coho and Chinook salmon.
Areas right outside the Ucluelet Harbor and as far as the Big Bank or shallows and up to Portland Point which is close to Tofino have all had rather phenomenal sport fishing from the late spring right up until now. The lighthouse bank, inner and outer south bank and the turtle head have turned on over the last seven to ten days. The Rats Nose on the Big Bank has been very good most of the summer. Closer to Ucluelet Florentia Bay and the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth were extremely hot for Chinook salmon in the twenty pound range right through until the twenty-third or twenty-fourth of July. Most of the banks have had plenty of bait fish. The migratory salmon have been feeding heavily in the many offshore Ucluelet areas. When bait fish are in the different areas during the summer months the sport fishing is normally extraordinary. The inner and outer south bank and the turtle head have seen most sport fishermen fishing in the fifty foot level down to almost the sandy bottom at 135 to 150 feet. Hootchies in the brown turd, white turd and the light green spider back turd have been working very well. Coyote Spoons and a variety of five and six inch Tomic plugs and spoons when fishing shallower water seem to all be working relatively well. Some sport fishermen are using bait and having great success but like Barkley Sound bait has not been essential. Over the past week the Chinook salmon have been getting bigger as there are many more in the mid twenty pound range being landed by guests on our charter boats. Sport fishermen in their privately owned boats have also been landing a few bigger fish. The Coho offshore are also getting up to the ten pound mark with a few Coho Salmon in the low teens being landed. August and September are really exciting months to be on the water. These are the two months that bigger Chinook and Coho begin to arrive along the west coast of Vancouver Island as they have been spending weeks during their long migration feeding constantly on bait fish.
The saltwater sport fishing in 2014 has been fantastic on the surf line and offshore west coast Vancouver Island locations. We are really expecting the inshore areas of Barkley Sound to pick up as well as the Port Alberni Inlet by mid August. If you are thinking of a fishing trip, this is the year, and August and the early part of September is the time to come.
The Stamp River September and October salmon and summer steelhead fishing should be unbelievable again this fall. Coho returns are looking extremely abundant with Chinook returns being average. For those that enjoy fly fishing the 10th of October right through until mid November is often the best time. Space for guided trips in the river during the fall is very limited. Fisher People looking for guided trips should organize early so there are no disappointments. Good fishing to all and be safe…