The 2016 summer saltwater salmon fishing season is here with many sport fishermen already salmon fishing with success on the Pacific Rim waters for the past few weeks. The 2016 salmon forecasts for salmon migrating to the big watersheds to the south and also returns to West Coast Vancouver Island rivers’ and streams look extremely favorable. Many individuals have considered the past few sport fishing seasons as extremely good but the 2016 predictions of transient and local returns especially for Chinook and Sockeye salmon are looking phenomenal. Chinook returning to the big river systems in Washington, Oregon and California are expected to be fantastic. The systems with big returns are predictably the Columbia River, Sacramento River and the Klamath River systems. These transient salmon from late April through August migrate just outside Ucluelet, Bamfield, and beautiful Barkley Sound. Barkley Sound holds huge quantities of rich bait fish as do the many banks off the Vancouver Island West Coast that hold these migrating salmon which normally feed heavily before continuing their long migration. Returns of West Coast Vancouver Island Chinook hatchery fish are forecast to be more than double the average returns. These salmon begin to show along the west coast and into Barkley Sound in early August and peak from mid August into early September. Salmon fishing on the surf line and inner portion of the sound will be excellent through the late spring and all of the summer months as these waves of salmon make their way to their natal river systems. Many of the transient and local returning salmon will be predominately four year olds which means there will be opportunity to land some good sized Chinook in the upper twenty to low thirty pound range. Some of the early summer run Chinook have showed up along the Barkely Sound surf line and the islands outside the Ucluelet Harbor. A large wave of salmon should begin to occur in the second half of May. The early salmon usually migrate relatively close to the beach in May and then along the various sandy banks off the coast in in the summer months. Salmon fishing in the out and inner portion of the sound should be very good through the late spring and all of the summer months as these waves of salmon make their way to their natal river system. To date a low number and Barkley Sound until mid May. The salmon usually migrate fairly close to the beach in May and then along the various sandy banks off the coast in the summer months.
Sockeye Salmon returns to the Aberni Inlet this year will not likely be that of the 2015 returns which was absolutely incredible. Returns this year are looking historically good. The pre season forecast is for eight hundred thousand to one million. There has been suggestion that by mid season due to many indicators that the run size could be upgraded. The Sockeye Sport Fishery usually gets underway by mid June and is a fabulous opportunity for families and al avid sport fishermen of all ages.
The summer of 2016 looks absolutely phenomenal in terms of sport fishing opportunities. Those fisher persons that prefer open water or for those that enjoy areas that have protection from prevailing wind patterns the saltwater salmon fishing no matter where individuals decide their destination on Vancouver Islands west coast, the opportunity to land a Pacific salmon from six pounds to thirty-five pounds should be a dream come true.
Port Alberni Inlet
The Alberni Inlet is currently very quiet. By mid June however there will be plenty of excitement as sports boat travel the inlet in search of Sockeye Salmon. The returns are expected to to be very good. Environmental conditions are excellent. The sockeye should begin to school in the Inlet in early June. Water conditions should be relatively good for a decent flow into the Somass River and also because of a low snow pack the warmer river and inlet water will likely slow the migration down. Early in the season the Sockeye travel in relatively shallow water but will move into the deep as the air and water temperatures increase. Water temperature of eighteen degrees and above normally slow the migration down. Normally good Sockeye Sport fishing can contine from mid June to the first week of August. Sockeye fishing is a lot of fun and is a great time for families to get out on the water and take part in one of British Columbias best sport fisheries. Sockeye like a slow troll and are attracted to the boats with lots of color in the water fairly close to the boat. Most experienced Sockeye fishermen will have six to eight flashers in the water. Most of the lures are on a short leader from eighteen to twenty-eight inches in length behind a red or green glow hotspot flasher. Sharp hooks are very important as the sockeye gum structure is very soft.
The early transient summer run of Chinook and Winter or feeder Chinook fishing in Barkley Sound has been off and on during the last few weeks The feeder chinook will always be found wherever the bait is found. Feeders are just what they are termed as these hearty salmon feed heavily especially on tides changes. Austin Island, Village Reef, Vernon Bay and Swale Rock have had some good days with Chinook up to seventeen and twenty pounds but on average a lot of the salmon have been ten to thirteen pounds. The salmon have been a mix of transient and feeder Chinook. Anchovy in Rhys Davis green glow and chartreuse teaser head holders have been working as have a variety of coyote spoons with the three and three and a half inch Irish Cream being productive. The green splatter needle fish hootchies and blue and silver gold star spoons have recently been the best lures. Meares and Austin Island from ninety to one hundred and twenty feet have both been fairly with the best fishing opportunity on the tide change when the bait rolls in. Closer to Bamfield, Cape Beale, Whittlestone and the west side of Edward King down to Kirby Point have been very consistent for those sport fishermen out on the water. However like the west side of Barkley Sound an area can be hot one day and completely dead the next. The salmon have been in 140 feet of water but up against the rocks closer to Edward King the feeders have been in twenty-five and thirty-five feet of water. Bait is important if fishermen are to find the salmon. Army Truck Hootchie, needle fish hootchies in blue and green, Irish Cream and Army Truck spoons in smaller sizes, have all been working well. Cape Beale and the protected side of Folger Island have also had some relatively decent Halibut fishing. When the weather has been good the three and seven mile and an area called the chair has produced some salmon and halibut catches off the bottom.
The summer fishing opportunities look more than fabulous for Barkley Sound and the surf line and of course offshore waters. The big numbers of Chinook that will migrate down the Vancouver Island coastline will produce some very good fishing opportunities for local fishermen and of course guides and their guests.
Ucluelet offers magical salmon sport fishing and it is one of those places that one can have opportunity to land a twenty pound salmon twelve months of the year. The salmon fishing continues to be relatively consistent close to the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth. There have been some nice sized clipped Chinook bound for distant rivers. The first big wave of migratory fish will show up in the middle of May. We are expecting some great fishing out on the various banks. Usually in May the fishing will be closer to the Harbor with good spots being The Alley, Beg Island, Great Bear, Mara Rock, Sail Rock and the Red Can to name a few. As we get into June however the hotspots will become the Turtle Head, Inner and Outer South Bank, the Wreck and perhaps for some out as far as The Big Bank. Recently The Alley, Sail Rock and Great Bear have provided some good fishing with limits being bagged on Chinook salmon. The Spatter Back Hootchie and needle fish hootchie in blue, green and a bit of silver have been working very well There have been a few nice fish taken at South Bank that are migrating and these fish have been in the mid teens and have been taking smaller coyote spoons. Green Nickel and Knight Rider have been working fairly well behind a green or red glow hotspot flasher. Needle fish hootchies and army truck hootchies have also been working well with 42 inches of leader behind a flasher. By the middle of this month we should really start seeing the migratory push and by June there will be plenty of tales about the numbers of salmon in the nearby waters and the big one that got away. This will definitely be the year that anyone that desires to land a Pacific salmon will have a genuine opportunity to have this dream come true.