It is early June and weather conditions for most of the 2016 spring season have been terrific on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. With this in mind a lack of rainfall is not environmentally good. The salmon fishing has been relatively consistent close to the Ucluelet Harbor and also offshore Ucluelet. Ucluelet is located on the extreme west coast of Vancouver Island British Columbia. The area is often referred to as the highway of migrating salmon. The fishing in various surf line areas of Barkley Sound has been off and on during late May and early June. The early sockeye salmon have already started their long return from the North Pacific to the Somass River in fairly good numbers. There has been a few Sockeye landed by sport fishermen in the China and Cous Creek areas. With the good weather and higher afternoon air temperatures the Sockeye Migration will slow down as the water temperature in the river and the Alberni Inlet warm up. This will possibly help the Sport Sockeye season get underway in the inlet a little earlier than normal. Salmon and halibut fishing on the west coast have 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 of the fishermen are either fishing the scenic and pristine waters of Barkley Sound or are travelling out to the west coast to fish close to Vancouver Island’s rugged coastline or in offshore locations.
The 2016 sport salmon fishing season in Ucluelet, Barkley Sound, and the Port Alberni Inlet is forecast to be terrific. In fact this year is predicted to be one of the best seasons in many years. 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 the mid summer Chinook returns to southern watersheds. West Coast Vancouver Island Chinook returns will be predominately four year olds. The returns are expected to be more than double the historic numbers. The Sockeye fishing should be extremely good. The return to the Somass River is predicted to be approximately one million in early season forecasts. Don’t miss out on a fabulous 2016 sport salmon fishing year in the Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, or inshore offshore Ucluelet-Tofino.
Port Alberni Inlet
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 Alberni 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 is warming up and with very little snow in the nearby hills it will not take much for the Somass the desired temperature. The Sockeye that are currently in the Inlet are swimming in fairly shallow water. Those sport fishermen out fishing will ideally during the next few weeks have the best success fishing the Nahmint-Franklin area, the narrows, and perhaps Cous Creek or right in the Port Alberni Harbor trolling at twenty-five to fifty feet. The mild spring weather conditions will help fairly good Sockeye fishing get underway by the 15th of June. It is often safe to say that this is the time to start fishing Sockeye. We are hoping that by mid month sport anglers are landing limits of Sockeye. Sockeye are attracted to color and having six or even eight flashers hooked to the downriggers is not unusual. The most popular lures for Sockeye are the mp 15( bubblegum), the pink and blue, and pink and black mp 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 mediocre over the past few weeks. Many areas have had big bait balls which will bring those migratory Chinook swimming close to the beach to feed on these rich resources of bait fish. Over the past week Effingham, Austin Island, and Cree have produced some nice salmon. Bamfield areas such as Kirby in the morning and Edward King later in the day and also the Bamfield 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 three and a half inch green and blue nickel coyote spoon and also an Irish Cream behind a green glow or chartreuse hotspot flasher. The 155 needlefish has also been very good. Anchovy in army truck, green haze, green UV, and also chartreuse in a Rhys Davis teaser head have been hot at various times. Many of the salmon have been in the mid to high teens with a few up to twenty-five pounds. We are expecting the fish to get bigger as the mid-summer run of Chinook get underway in the latter half of June. This run of salmon will have a good number of four and five year olds. Barkly Sound should be a hotbed for fishing this summer especially out 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 consistent over the past few weeks with some good fishing out at the inner and outer Lighthouse Bank and also Long Beach. Mara Rock, Great Bear, Sail Rock, and The Lighthouse which are all very close to the Ucluelet Harbor have been choice selections for sport fishing on those days where the weather has not co-operated for boats to get out a little offshore.. The largest salmon have been averaging twelve to eighteen pounds. The fish out at the inner and banks have been close to the bottom between 130 and 160 feet. Guides have done extremely well on salmon and halibut with the largest hali for guests at forty-five pounds. The best lures to date have been anchovy and a few different spoons in the three and a half inch size. Green nickel, Irish Cream and Cookies and Cream have been working well. 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 increases.
The 2016 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.