Fishing Report (May 2019)

We are approaching a new Saltwater Sport Fishing season. With the many changes that are occurring in British Columbia and in regard to sport fishing regulations for anglers it seems that the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound will be two of the areas that sport fishing will continue as it historically has in past. Chinook and Coho fishing in Barkley Sound right to the surf line will continue, at this time, throughout the 2019 summer months with limits of two Chinook and two Coho salmon. The West Coast Vancouver Island returns of Chinook and Coho salmon in 2019 are expected to be historically “very high”. This is very good news for anglers and for the community of Port Alberni. Sockeye fishing in the Alberni Inlet is not quite as prolific as it was looking just a few short months ago. The early season forecasts are predicting that Sockeye returns to the Somass River system will be from Four Hundred Thousand to Four hundred and thirty thousand pieces. With the current environmental conditions Sockeye Fishing for sport anglers should get underway by Fathers-Day Weekend in the Alberni Inlet. Possession limits if all goes well to the fishery plan will be possession limits of two sockeye salmon per day. Usually Sport Sockeye fishing continues through July followed in early August by Chinook and Coho fishing. The Chinook and Coho opportunities in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound in August and early September should be spectacular.

May is the month that most sport fishermen prepare their boats and gear for the anticipated sport fishing season. It is also the month that most get out on the water and enjoy their first sport fishing opportunities in saltwater locations. In May, the migrating “early summer Chinook” head toward the big watersheds to the south swim down the coast close to the beach. Barkley Sound (Area 23) is one of those areas along the rugged coast line of British Columbia that has water which is very well protected and sport fisher people have opportunity to fish pretty much 12 months of the year.

With improved weather conditions and the change in winds, it's also when offshore halibut fishing opportunities intensify. In May we will concentrate on Halibut fishing which will intensify as these fish migrate to the sandy bottoms of the close by banks out on the offshore areas.

Barkley Sound is full of bait fish which range from needle fish, herring, and anchovy. With these sources of food in “Area 23” waters good-sized schools of salmon swim into the area and feed heavily on these rich nutrient sources. Sometimes, the salmon will rest and gorge themselves for days before continuing the journey to their natal rivers and streams. Often May and early June will see good-sized schools of salmon lingering inside the surf line areas like Cree Island, Austin Island, and Meares. Edward King Island and Kirby Point are two other great sport fishing locations. Depending on the bait sources these migratory salmon can come right to Swale Rock and as far as Pill Point to feed on the bait fish before heading back to the open ocean. Early-season salmon are usually in water ranging from 80 to 130 feet. A variety of spoons in chrome and favorites like cookies and cream, Irish cream, and a few of the 3-inch needlefish spoons and the chartreuse and white glow will work very well.

Anglers normally have the best success around the Ucluelet Harbor Islands and in Barkley Sound using anchovy in chartreuse, green glow, green haze, and purple haze Rhys Davis teaser heads behind either green, blue, or purple hotspot flashers. Four-inch and three-and-a-half-inch spoons in Irish cream and cookies and cream, gold and silver gold star spoons, and needlefish, especially the b-149, are all excellent choices on the troll.

Trout fishing (rainbow & cutthroat) in the two big lakes—Sproat and Great Central—are very productive in the spring months. Gear fishermen in the spring often use Flatfish wiggling plugs while fly fishers will cast, or troll the dark purple carrie fly, the black woolly bugger, or the crystal hair black leach.