2018 Alberni Valley Labor Day Salmon FESTIVAL (Sept. 1st to Sept. 3rd 2018)
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 at this time. Derby Headquarters for the 2018 Derby is at Tyee Landing. The official weigh-in center will also be at Tyee Landing which is very close to Harbor Quay and Fishermen’s Wharf. There is a total of over $55,000 in prizes for those anglers participating in the Salmon Derby. The largest salmon landed is valued at $15,000. Daily prizes each day are $5,000 for first prize, $2,000 for second prize and $1,000 for third prize. All contending derby fish are to be weighed in at Tyee Landing. Other weigh in centers for qualifying hidden weight prizes are China Creek Marina, Poet Nook, and Mckay Bay Lodge in Bamfield. The cost per Rod is the exact same as 2017 at $50.00 per rod fished. From this $50 there is a donation of $10 given to local enhancement. The Derby for 2018 should be a great success. Returns for Chinook and Coho salmon are above average. Chinook returns to the Somass River system for 2018 are approximately 85,000 pieces. Twenty percent of the run is five year old fish which means that there is the chance for some Chinook to come in at the forty pound mark.
The Alberni Valley and all of Barkley Sound has been experiencing very warm and dry weather conditions during the summer months. The Chinook and Coho will need fresh water before entering some of the smaller streams and creeks. There has been a very limited number of migrating Chinook and Coho into the Somass system. There has been some excellent fishing for anglers in Barkley Sound locations.These salmon that have recently reached the waters of the Sound will migrate up into the Alberni Inlet and will hold until there is ample rain to allow the salmon to continue their final journey to their spawning grounds. Some salmon will remain in Barkley Sound will hold outside the many streams and creeks located in the area. The Chinook and Coho in Barkley Sound will continue to feed heavily and will be eager to bite the variety of lures put out by the many anglers.
The best salmon fishing currently is in Barkley Sound. The Alberni Inlet has had some good days of fishing. There has been some commercial fishing at the beginning of this current week which has slowed the sport fishing opportunity. The Inlet will fill with fresh salmon in the coming days. Weather conditions are forecast to continue to be dry. The ample Chinook and Coho at Swale Rock, Harbor Entrance, Pill Point, and the Bamfield Wall should continue as new salmon come in from the ocean. The Bamfield Wall has become a little more consistent over the last week. Pill Point, Swale Rock, Meares, Cree and Austin Island and Harbor Entrance have all had very consistent sport fishing over the past two or three weeks. The salmon in the sound have been feeding very hard around tide changes. The Chinook and Coho have also been active between tides. 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 Teaser Heads seem ideal and for many is working the best. Cop Car, green haze, purple haze, army truck glow and bloody nose have all been working. Leader lengths from five and a half to six feet behind gold, green, or burgundy flashers with a gold or mirror face are working very well. The AORL 12 hootchie and the spatter back and Halloween hootchies 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 very encouraging. There will be many boaters on the water. Safety precautions are always of importance.