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 into the month of August. The salmon fishing in Barkley Sound and the West Coast out of Ucluelet and Bamfield for Chinook and Coho has been extremely good. Unfortunately the Alberni Inlet Sport Fishing for Sockeye during the second half of June and the month of July was uneventful as the returns to the Somass River were very low. The Chinook and Coho sport fishing on the surf line and all the way to Swale Rock and Pill Point has been absolutely fantastic. Many of the salmon during the month of July have been migratory salmon moving to the big watersheds well to the south. Some of the early West Coast Vancouver Island Chinook have been showing up during the last week of July on the outer edges of the sound and also in locations such as Kirby, Fleming, and Swale Rock. We are expecting the Chinook salmon returning to Pacific Rim rivers, streams, and creeks to appear in abundance over the next few weeks in many Barkley Sound locations before they make their way up into the Alberni Inlet. With the big returns of Chinook and Coho forecast to West Coast Vancouver Island a very strong sport fishing opportunity should be in order considering the continued migration of salmon to the southern watersheds. August and the early part of September should have fascinating sport fishing in most of Barkley Sound, and the Alberni Inlet. The Alberni Inlet is also expected to have a very large return of Chinook and Coho as these salmon migrate into the Somass River system. 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 salmon was completely closed in early July. The Chinook return to the Somass system should begin with salmon showing in good numbers in Inlet areas by the 10th of August. Pre-season forecasts are showing well above average returns of Chinook returning to the terminal area of the 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 old salmon. 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 and the Somass River.
Parts of Barkley Sound have experienced some fantastic fishing through June and July. July was a fabulous month in Barkley Sound as there were plenty of Chinook and Coho coming into the sound and feeding heavily before continuing their long journey to their Natal streams and rivers. Meares, Austin Island, Cree, and especially Swale Rock 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 50 to 100 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 a whopping 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 higher numbers in early August and peak during the last ten days of the month. 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 sport fishing out in Barkley Sound it is ideal if sport fishermen have 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. Hootchies and cuttlefish however in white and green have been by far the best lure. The bait in the area has ranged from squid, anchovy, mature herring and as of late newly hatched herring. 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 fabulous sport fishing as returns of Chinook salmon to West Coast Vancouver Island are forecast to be between eighty to one hundred and ten thousand. With the late summer run of migratory salmon and local salmon returning to their natural streams and creeks there should be some “First Class” sport salmon fishing right into mid-September in all of Barkley Sound.
The Alberni Inlet should experience some excellent sport fishing in August. Usually the best salmon fishing opportunity begins mid-August but with big returns expected to the Somass River system the sport fishing may very well get underway well before August 15th. Many areas in China Creek and the Alberni Harbor will be heavily fished by many anglers world-wide. The larger O-15, O-16, and O-2 red and pink colored hootchies are very popular lures. Also the dark green spatter back, AORL 12, white glow and army truck are very popular. Bait is often a sure bet especially at the beginning of the season.
The Alberni Inlet and much of Barkley Sound will be very busy at the end of August and the first few days of September as the Port Alberni Salmon Festival will take place on August 31st and September 1 and 2. Tyee Landing will once again hosting the big event.
The saltwater sport fishing in 2019 has been fabulous from the surf line into various Barkley Sound locations. We are expecting the inshore areas of Barkley Sound as well as the Alberni Inlet to pick up even more 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 travel to the Alberni Valley area.
The Stamp River September and October salmon fishing should be unbelievable again this fall. Coho returns are looking extremely good and Chinook returns are expected to be well 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.