The summer of 2018 is fast approaching. Fisher men and women are preparing for another fantastic saltwater season with excitement and enthusiasm. Anglers like many others see May as the month that is full of “promise” for the summer season to come. May is that month when there are many cool but mostly sunny days out in Barkley Sound, those areas along the surf line, offshore waters, “when weather and any winds are low”, and areas close to the Ucluelet Harbor mouth. This is the time of year when there are many more boats out on the water than what people actually think. Locals from Port Alberni, Bamfield, Ucluelet, and others from various Vancouver Island communities motor by boat out to the Sound to take advantage of the excellent weather and the pristine, protected and calm water of beautiful and scenic Barkley Sound. Fishing in the Sound and along the coast is often very productive as there are often some bright and very chrome Feeder Chinook in the eight to fourteen-pound range. These winter Chinook are really feisty and very hard fighting. They are in deep water and the flesh is very deep red in color. There are also many migratory Chinook in the mix as the early summer run of salmon headed to the big watersheds to the south begin to show in relatively good numbers. Some of these salmon are ranging in weight from fifteen to twenty-five pounds. The Alberni Inlet in May is very quiet but many local anglers are gearing up with their red and pink gear in anticipation of Sockeye fishing which historically gets underway by mid-June. Sockeye fishing is a wonderful family fishing event for all ages.
The winter and early spring feeder Chinook fishing has been productive for those fisher people who have ventured out on the water during the late winter and early spring. The Bamfield Wall, Sanford, the Trevor Channel Whistle Buoy, Vernon Bay, Mayne Bay, Swale Rock, and the Canoe Pass area have all had some great Feeder Chinook fishing days. The previous mentioned areas as well as Cree Island, Meares, Sail Rock, Kirby Point, and Edward King are excellent salmon fishing locations as we get into the Month of May.
May is the month that the “early summer run” of Chinook are migrating to the big watersheds to the south and swim down the coast line outside of Ucluelet and the surf line areas of Barkley Sound. As mentioned May historically has plenty of Winter springs in Barkley Sound and the Bamfield area. Kirby Point up to Edward King and also the Whistle Buoy all the way down to the Bamfield Wall have these hard fighting Chinook sitting normally in one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet of water. A variety of spoons tend to be the most productive. Spoons in chrome and also cookies and cream and Irish cream are very productive. Bait is also an excellent choice but if there are a lot of small undersize Chinook in the area that anglers are fishing then spoons or hootchies are definitely the way to go.
The migratory Chinook salmon sit out on the various offshore banks and also come into many areas of Barkley Sound and feed heavily on the rich resources of bait fish. The bait fish are needlefish, herring and pilchards. Some of the best gear to use at this time of year inshore and offshore is three and a half and four inch coyote spoons in green and blue nickel, green glow, Irish Cream, and silver horde. The best plastic is the white AORL12, green spatterback, army truck, and a variety of blue and green needlefish hootchies. If fishing on the troll in Barkley Sound with hootchies fish in deeper water from 100 to 140 feet with a leader of 40 to 44 inches behind a green glow or a chartreuse hotspot flasher. Bait is often a favorite choice with anchovy in a green haze, purple haze or chartreuse Rhys Davis Teaser Head with six feet of leader behind a glow hotspot flasher or various UV patterns. The Chinook are not terribly fussy in May as they are feeding heavily especially on the tides. The best fishing is often “where the bait fish are located”. Find the bait and you will find some nice Chinook Salmon. May is a fantastic salmon fishing time with beautiful weather conditions.
For those avid halibut fishermen May is the month that the halibut migrate from the deep into the shallows. The various banks offshore have plenty of halibut by Mid May. Often areas around Bamfield and Swale Rock inshore are very good. This is the time of year that some of the larger halibut are landed. Fishing halibut before and during the slack tide is a great time. Trolling the bottom or using drift jigs on the bottom can be most effective. Many individuals will use very large herring, salmon bellies, and octopus for bait. Some will use a spreader bar with large spoons or a Mudraker. All can be very effective methods of fishing Halibut.
In the Stamp/Somass Rivers the Steelhead fishing has slowed down. There can still be a few Steelhead around but one has to put in time. In May the water is often very clear in the river. The best lures are often small Jensen eggs or small corkies in rocket red.
As the weather warms in May the trout fishing does improve. When fishing in various streams and rivers only single barbless hooks are permitted. The two large nearby lakes which are Sproat Lake and Great Central Lake are usually quite productive in the early and mid- spring months. There are often some very nice cutthroat and rainbow trout. Fly fisher persons usually are casting or trolling a crystal hair black leach or a variety of artificial lures that resemble small fry as the trout are often feeding on small Sockeye fry.
It is May and it is time to get out on the water. Good Luck and Tight Lines.