2016 Alberni Valley Labor Day Salmon FESTIVAL
Labor Day weekend is upon us and that means it is Salmon Festival weekend in Port Alberni. The Derby takes place on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with fishing beginning each day at 6 am. The derby will close on Labor Day Monday at 3 pm with final weigh-in occurring at or before that time. Derby Headquarters and the official weigh-in center will once again be Clutesi Haven Marina located on River Road. There is $55,000 in prizes for those people participating in the Salmon Derby. With this is mind there are plenty of prizes to go around for everyone.
The Alberni Valley and all of Barkley Sound has experienced rain fall over the past few days which has helped many of the migrating salmon swim much more quickly to their natal streams, creeks and rivers. Fresh Chinook and Coho are moving from the vast Pacific Ocean into Barkley Sound. The salmon that have recently reached the waters of Barkley Sound will migrate fairly rapidly up into the Alberni Inlet. The water in much of the Inlet and also Barkley Sound is not stagnant and has cooled down dramatically which help the salmon to migrate a little more quickly. The Chinook and Coho will also be a little more eager to bite the variety of lures put out by many anglers. There are currently plenty of Chinook and Coho Salmon in the system.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced that there is a decrease in the Chinook run size returning to the Somass River System. The original forecast of one hundred and twenty thousand Chinook returning to the River system has been cut in half to approximately sixty thousand.
The best salmon fishing currently is in Barkley Sound. The many salmon that were in the Alberni Inlet have moved into the River system. The Inlet will fill with fresh salmon in the coming days. Weather conditions are forecast to improve and warmer air is in the immediate forecast which will slow the salmon migration. This will also be very true of the salmon down in Barkley Sound locations. The ample Chinook and Coho at Swale Rock, Harbor Entrance,Pill Point, Assets Island, and the Bamfield Wall should hold for a few days. The Bamfield Wall has been inconsistent for the last ten days. Pill Point, Swale Rock, Harbor Entrance and Assets have all had very consistent sport fishing over the same amount of time. The salmon in the sound have been biting and feeding very hard around tide changes. The Chinook and Coho are also very active between tides. The same scenario has been true for those fishing in the inlet. The salmon are in fairly shallow water in Barkley Sound and also the Alberni Inlet. Fishing between thirty and fifty feet has not been uncommon. The best lures in the Alberni Inlet are the O-2, 0-15, 0-16, spatterback and AORL 12 hootchies. Anchovy in the Inlet is also working. In Barkley Sound anchovy in a variety of Rhys Davis Teaser Heads seem ideal and for many is working the best. Leader lengths from five and a half to six feet behind gold, green, or burgundy flashers with a gold face are working very well. The AORL 12 hootchie with 38 to 42 inches of leader behind a burgundy and gold flasher or a kinetic flasher is ideal for Coho in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet.
Entries for this year’s Salmon Festival Derby have been remarkably encouraging. There will be many boaters on the water. Safety precautions are always of importance.