Fishing Report (June 5, 2015)

     It is now the beginning of June and the weather is terrific on the West
Coast of Vancouver Island. In fact the weather has been so fantastic one
would say that it is incredible. But there is one problem which is concerning
and that is that much of the West Coast is very DRY and many rivers are low
in water. The Weather scenario might sound great but for conservation
reasons it is not GOOD. Low river conditions can play havoc with returns of
West Coast Vancouver Island salmon. Currently Sockeye Salmon are
returning to the Somass River in good numbers. The Somass however is at
low historic levels.
     Along with the current fantastic weather conditions the salmon fishing
has been consistent close to Ucluelet Harbour and offshore Ucluelet. Ucluelet
is a very small community located on the extreme west coast of Vancouver
Island British Columbia. The salmon fishing was very good through the May
Long Weekend but has slowed down in the last ten days. We are awaiting the
next flow of transient salmon headed to the BIG Watersheds to the south.
Salmon fishing in various surf line areas of Barkley Sound has also been quite
good but has slowed down considerably. The early sockeye salmon has
already started their long return from somewhere in the North Pacific to the
Somass River in fairly good numbers. There has been great catches by many
sport fishermen camping at the China Creek site and local sport fishermen
from the Alberni area. With the good weather and high afternoon
temperatures the Sockeye Migration is already slowing down as the water
temperature in the river and the Alberni Inlet are currently very warm. This
scenario will develop a very good Sport Sockeye season in the inlet a little
earlier than normal.
     Salmon and halibut fishing on the west coast as mentioned has slowed
down over the past ten days. Local sport and guide fishermen are awaiting the
next push of salmon. The increasing sport fishing opportunities as we now
move into June is very evident by the large number 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 the Alberni Inlet and Barkley
Sound or are travelling out to the west coast to fish close to Vancouver
Island’s rugged coastline or in offshore locations.
     The 2015 sport salmon fishing season in Ucluelet, Barkley Sound, and
the Port Alberni Inlet is forecast once again to be terrific. In fact this year is
predicted to be once again one of the best seasons for sport fishing for those
targeting Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon. On the west coast the early
summer 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 forecast to be a very large mid summer Chinook return to
southern watersheds. Chinook and Coho numbers returning to the Columbia
River and Bonneville dam where numbers of returning salmon have been
recorded since 1938 are predicted to be quite high once again. The Sockeye
fishing in the Alberni Inlet should be extremely good. The return to the
Somass River is currently assessed at seven hundred thousand to one million.
The early run has already been migrating into the Somass River. Don’t miss
out on a fabulous 2015 sport salmon fishing year in the Alberni Inlet, Barkley
Sound, or inshore offshore Ucluelet-Tofino.
Port Alberni Inlet
Barkley Sound
     The Sockeye sport fishery in the Alberni Inlet has been open since the
first of May. Limits are four per person per day. That number should remain
the same throughout the season. Sockeye usually school in the Inlet when the
water of the Somass River and the Inlet warms to 18 degrees Celsius. When
there are big numbers of Sockeye entering the system the schools will hold in
the inlet for the salmon ahead to push into the river. The river water and the
water of the Inlet is warming considerably. With very little snow in the
nearby hills the water has already warmed to over eighteen degrees celsius.
The Sockeye that are currently in the system have migrated from Barkley
Sound and into the Inlet and are swimming in fairly deep water. Those sport
fishermen out fishing for Sockeye have had good success in the China Creek
area. The slide and up to Ardens have been relatively good. The warm
weather conditions have developed a fairly decent Sockeye salmon sport
fishery over the past week. It is often safe to say that June 15th is the time to
start fishing Sockeye but that rule of thumb is different this year. Some
individual sport fisher persons have already had opportunity to land limits of
Sockeye. Sport guides and individual fishermen will find good numbers of
Sockeye Salmon 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 Barkley 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 into the Sound to feed on the very rich resources of bait fish.
Over the past week Austin Island has had some decent sport fishing as has
Vernon Bay. The key to land a few nice Chinook is perseverance. 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 130 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 sport fishermen
have been using a variety of spoons, plastic, and bait. The best spoons have
been the four inch green and blue nickel coyote spoon behind a green glow
hotspot flasher. The four inch Irish Cream spoon, cookies and cream and
silver glow have been working behind a chartreuse hot spot flasher. The 155
needlefish hootchie has also been very good. Anchovy in a green UV teaser
head, army truck and also in chartreuse have been hot at various times. Many
of the salmon have been in the low to mid teens with a few at twenty pounds.
We are expecting the fish to get bigger with the arrival of the mid-summer run
which will get underway in the latter half of June. This run of migrating
salmon should have a good number of four and five year olds. Barkly Sound
should be a hotbed for fishing this summer especially in surf line 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 season 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. This thought is something to consider when
thinking about and organizing sport salmon fishing this summer. 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, Lighthouse Bank, and Long Beach have been excellent choices for
sport fishing. The largest salmon have been averaging twelve to eighteen
pounds. The largest landed to date by guides and guests hit twenty-six pounds
landed at Sail Rock. This Chinook which like many of the other salmon was a
hatchery fish and hit a needlefish hootchie. There was a report of a thirty-one
pound Chinook at Great Bear. The fish out at the inner and outer South Bank
have been close to the bottom between 130 and 160 feet. The best lures to
date have been a T-Rex hootchie and 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 work 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 2014 sport salmon fishing season in Port Alberni and the west coast
is shaping up just as has been forecast----TERRIFIC!!!! There should not be
disappointments this summer. Of course there are highs and lows but the high
days will definitely out do any lows.
Somass-Stamp River
     The Stamp River is one of B.C.’s healthiest river systems. The salmon
fishing this year will open on or about August 26th with what is forecast to be a
better than normal season. This however will be depending on the river and
the amount of water in the system. 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. Fishing for Sockeye along the banks will begin very