July is a wonderful month for sport fishing in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley sound. The area begins to fill with travelers and various anglers world-wide. The Alberni Inlet is an area during July where sport Sockeye fishing historically flourishes. Sockeye Salmon numbers returning to the Somass River are forecast to be from five hundred to six hundred thousand pieces. The current retention level for sport fisher persons is two per day. It is still unclear if this number will change on the first of July. The early results to date have been phenomenal with many anglers limiting. Over the next few days there will be a variety of test fishing which may indicate a new run size. With the current environmental conditions Sockeye Sport fishing could (if permitted) continue into late July. There is still plenty of snow in the mountains which has created a fairly steady flow of cool water which attracts the Sockeye to the River. How-ever the area did have peak air temperatures over thirty degrees Celsius for several days. These higher temperatures have helped the temperature of the river water and the inlet water rise substantially. The rise in water temperatures have slowed the Sockeye migration and the Sockeye are schooling out in the inlet.
Barkley Sound had terrific Chinook fishing during the month of May. The last couple of weeks during the month of June the Sound has had not only fantastic Chinook fishing but there have also been some great migrating Coho up to seven and eight pounds. The “early” and mid- summer run of migratory Chinook headed to the big watersheds to the south have been fantastic. Barkley Sound has had ample amounts of rich nutrient bait fish which are bringing the salmon in from offshore waters to feed. The surf line areas such as Austin and Cree Island and inshore areas along the Bamfield Wall, Swale Rock, Pill Point, Ecoole and Diplock have been excellent locations for some of those chrome Chinook and Coho making their long journey to their natal rivers and streams.
Port Alberni Inlet
Anglers have the best opportunity to land Sockeye when they school in big numbers. This historically occurs when the water temperature in the Somass River and Alberni Inlet hits seventeen and eighteen degrees Celsius. The Sockeye school from Cous Creek out to the Nahmint Franklin area. With the projected outlook for Sockeye returning to the Somass River being around five hundred and fifty thousand there should be a fantastic opportunity for some wonderful Sockeye fishing. On May 1st Sockeye fishing opened in the tidal waters of the inlet. The retention is currently at two Sockeye Salmon per person per day with a two-day limit of four per person.
The Sockeye in the Alberni Inlet are currently sitting in thirty to fifty feet of water and as the water warms they will swim down into deeper and cooler water. Sockeye hit short leader lengths from eighteen to twenty-five inches in length behind a variety of hotspot flashers. The mp2, mp15, pink and blue, pink and black, and “Black Hooks” with all seem to work very well for most sport anglers. Sockeye are attracted to the boat by color. Many sport fishermen will often have eight to ten flashers behind their boat. Four to six of these flashers are referred to as dummy flashers and the other four with hootchies or “Black Hooks” of choice. The Sockeye are currently averaging three to seven pounds. Sockeye are the number one commercial salmon. They are wonderful for summer barbeques and when vacuum packed properly last the winter for those special occasions.
Sockeye fishing is a wonderful fishing opportunity for the whole family. It is a fun fishery for young and old. Don’t miss out on this opportunity in the Alberni Inlet in late June and July of this 2018 sport fishing season.
Barkley Sound and Ucluelet
The salmon fishing in Barkley Sound has been just magnificent. The best fishing has been out on surf line areas. The islands close to the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth, Meares, Austin, Cree Island, Kirby Point, Edward King and the Bamfield Wall during the past few weeks have experienced some hot Chinook and Coho sport fishing. Areas close to the Ucluelet Harbor that have had a few fantastic fishing days are Great Bear and Sail Rock. The inner and outer South bank and Long Beach have had some of the transient salmon create some good sport salmon fishing opportunities. Florencia and Way Point have been two hotspots as of late. The salmon coming into Barkley Sound have been hitting small three- inch spoons. The herring aid, cookies and cream and Irish Cream as example have been hot behind a variety of flashers. Anchovy in green glow, army truck, and green haze Rhys Davis Teaser Heads have been working. There are a lot of undersized Chinook and Coho making it rather painful in terms of the amount of bait one can go through. The best advice is to fish with the spoons mentioned or ones of choice. Needle fish hootchies and hootchies in green (spatterback), blue and white have worked well. Small Coho Killer spoons in the cookies and cream and white pearl have been working very well. A few guides have done very well with the army truck glow hootchie and the cuttlefish J-79. The Sonora cuttlefish, Jack Smith, and Blue Meaney Hootchies have been very good out on the banks. We are looking forward to some great sport fishing opportunities during July and August in Barkley Sound, the Alberni Inlet and offshore. The numbers of transient Chinook and Coho headed to the big watersheds to the south are forecast to be average or just above average which should provide some very excellent sport salmon fishing.