The summer months are quickly moving by and the salmon fishing in many areas of Vancouver Island just seems to be getting better as we move closer into mid-August. The salmon fishing in Barkley Sound and the West Coast out of Ucluelet and Bamfield for Chinook, Coho, and Pink Salmon has been extremely good. Unfortunately the Alberni Inlet Sport Sockeye fishing has dried up. There were three or four good weeks of unexpected sport fishing which was very much a success. The Chinook and Coho on the surf line and the various banks are beginning to become a little more abundant and larger by the week. Many of these salmon continue to be migratory fish moving to destinations or watersheds well to the south. We are expecting some of the salmon returning to Pacific Rim rivers, streams, and creeks to appear by the second week of August. This should in fact help develop a much stronger sport fishing opportunity considering that the returns of Chinook and Coho to West Coast Vancouver Island are above average and will be mixed in with the migration of salmon to the south. August and the early part of September should have fascinating sport fishing out on offshore waters, most of Barkley Sound, and the Alberni Inlet. The Alberni Inlet is expected to have a good return of Chinook and Coho. Usually by the 15th of August good numbers of these Chinook begin to show in Inlet areas close to China Creek and the Port Alberni Harbor.
Port Alberni Inlet
The sport fishing in the Port Alberni Inlet for Sockeye has pretty much slowed to a stand-still. The sockeye return forecast was to be approximately one hundred and seventy thousand. Returns through the counters by the end of June reached well above that number. On July first sport Sockeye fishing opened and on July eighth the per day catch limit jumped to four. The total escapement to Sproat and Great Central Lakes to date is approximately two hundred and seventy thousand. The catch by all user groups is close to one hundred thousand with sport fishing landing close to thirteen thousand. The Chinook return to the Somass system should begin with salmon showing in good numbers in Inlet areas by the 15th of August. Pre-season forecasts are showing above average returns of Chinook returning to the terminal area of Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet. Most of these fish will be returning to the Robertson Creek Hatchery. The age class of this year’s return is predominately in the forecast issued four and five year olds. With this in mind there should be a good number of Chinook in the twenty to twenty-five pound class and some weighing over thirty pounds.. Coho numbers are expected to be above average. 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 years. We should see Somass-Stamp River Coho begin to show in Barkley Sound close to the middle of August and peak during the second week of September before moving into the inlet.
Parts of Barkley Sound have had some good fishing through June and July and the first few days of August. However if one were to sum the fishing up the word “inconsistent” could be used. The fishing at times has been wonderful and has often been followed by a lull. Meares or Effingham Island, Austin and Cree have been very good and have provided the most consistent sport fishing to date with good Chinook and Coho 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 resourced bait fish. Chinook have been in 70 to 120 feet of water and have been averaging from the mid-teens to a few in the mid-twenties in terms of weight. The Coho have been in twenty-five to eighty feet of water and are gorging themselves putting on a pound a week and are currently averaging eight to ten pounds. Most of the salmon continue to be migratory fish moving to watersheds to the south. Recently there has been a few West Coast Vancouver Island salmon landed. We are expecting the local salmon to begin to show in abundant number almost now. This is not to say that some Somass Chinook and Coho have not already arrived as 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, Coho killers, 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. In Coho Killers the Herring Aid, Cookies and Cream and Kitchen Sink have all been good. The bait in the area has been small so the smaller spoons are currently recommended. If using anchovy have at least a six foot leader using teaser heads in army truck glow, purple haze, green haze and cop car. 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 terrific sport salmon fishing right into mid-September in all of Barkley Sound.
There has been some good fishing but again in an “on and off” situation close to the Ucluelet Harbor. The best fishing however has been out on the Big Bank with the Rats Nose, the egg, and the gully providing some of the best overall opportunities. The salmon have been in the midwater and also in the sand at the bottom with the halibut. Halibut and salmon have been really consistent on the Big Bank. 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. South Bank like Barkley Sound has been on and off. Hootchies and Spoons have been working. The Sonora, Blue Meanie, Jack Smith and the white mini Turd have all been working very well. Some sport fishermen are using bait and having great success but like Barkley Sound bait is not essential. Over the past week those guests using our guided boats have been landing Chinook salmon that have started to get a bit larger with a few Chinook getting up to the twenty and twenty-five pound weight class. Sport fishermen in their own boats have also been landing some bigger fish. The hatchery Coho offshore are also getting up and over the ten pound mark with a few fish in the low to mid 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, B.C. as they have been spending weeks during their long migration feeding constantly on bait fish.
The saltwater sport fishing in 2017 has been relatively good 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 Alberni Inlet by mid-August. If you are thinking of a fishing trip there is still time to organize. August and the early part of September is a great 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 good with Chinook returns being above 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 so organize early so there are no disappointments.
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