The 2020 summer sport fishing season has come to an end for most saltwater sport fishing locations in mid and West Coast Vancouver Island locations as well as the many other saltwater angling areas around the rest of the scenic Province of British Columbia. The weather during the fall in the Pacific Rim areas has been unbelievable. There has been ample rainfall to help the migration of the returning salmon to their spawning grounds. There have also been many wonderful sunny warm afternoons in many parts of the west coast and Barkley Sound sport fishing areas. Right up to the beginning of November those very keen anglers have been able to enjoy the last salmon fishing opportunities for 2020 in many local rivers and also saltwater locations where there have been ample Coho and Chum salmon which are still migrating to their natal streams, creeks, and rivers. The East Coast of Vancouver Island has had some excellent beach Coho fishing. There has been some very good Chum sport fishing in Brown’s Bay which is close to Campbell River. The Chum fishery is very popular and the nineteenth annual derby was held and was termed the “Covid-19 non derby”. Three hundred tickets were sold for this fantastic charitable event which is often the last fishing “derby” on Vancouver Island each year.
Chinook and Coho salmon returning to the many streams, creeks, and rivers have been excellent to date. The return of Somass River Chinook salmon stocks up to the 23rd of October were at 38,582 pieces. Included in this number is 38,304 Chinook escaping through Stamp Falls and 278 escaping in the Sproat River. Coho returns have remained at a very “Low Status” with a total of 15,644 Coho returning with 12,013 to Stamp Falls and 3,632 to the Sproat River. Chinook and Coho will continue passing through the counters until early December.
Barkley Sound areas and those areas close to the Ucluelet Harbor had mediocre fishing in the later part of September and into October. Wya Point was likely one of the best spots as were a few areas offshore. The Big Bank was on fire for many days with plenty of hatchery Coho dominating the sport fishing in rather shallow water for several days. In Barkley Sound the best fishing during the Fall months was the Bamfield Wall, Fleming Island, and Swale Rock.
Now that we are into the month of November most sport fisher persons only have fond memories of the 2020 season and look forward to the 2021 sport angling season. Hopefully the Sockeye fishery in the Alberni Inlet becomes what it historically was. Chinook returns to West Coast Vancouver Island in 2021 should be relatively good and we are hoping that the Coho returns get back to at least forty to fifty thousand to the Somass River system and also excellent returns to the many streams located in the rest of West Coast Vancouver Island. One very important positive is that Ocean conditions have been favorable over the past year. The mortality rates have been lower. Food sources for salmon stocks in the North Pacific Ocean have been relatively good. The sport fishing season in 2021 on British Columbia’s West Coast should be very exciting with plenty of opportunity for everyone.
Stamp River Fall Fishing
For those fisher persons that know the Stamp River the sport fishing especially for Chinook during the fall has been very good. Sport Anglers and also guides who are taking guests out on the river have been having some great success. There has been enough rain to keep the river at a reasonable level for salmon migration. Those on the river will likely continue to fish for the late Chinook and Coho coming into the system but will also begin to fish for Fall Steelhead. This time of the year is normally a fantastic time for fly fishing enthusiasts. Fly fishing usually occurs on the Stamp River from mid October to about the 20th of November. The best fly fishing to date for those on guided trips in jet boats or for those walking has been the Lower and Upper River. Entering the river close to the gun range or driving out to Service Road which is just off Hector Road and walking to Dolan’s Pit is another terrific fishing spot when the water levels are at a normal level. The key is finding an area where the water is not moving too quickly. The river has had just over 15,000 Coho migrate into the system. This migration should continue into December. The Coho in the Lower River have been fresh and very bright and are averaging eight to twelve pounds. The best method of fishing Coho salmon has been conventional using roe, spinners, blades, and the Gibbs Coho spoon. The late Chinook and Coho are in a natural spawn and are dropping their eggs. With the fresh egg drop the Steelhead have become very active as they search for loose eggs. Fly Fisher persons can of course use a variety of flies of choice. Anglers who are wishing to fish conventionally can use gooey bobs, or wool that is white, pink, or orange. Other popular areas to fish when water conditions are normal are Stamp Falls Park, Eagle Rock, Black Rock, Moneys Pool and the Slide Pool. The Stamp is still referred to as a very healthy river system and is fishable twelve months of the year. There is still plenty of time for Coho salmon fishing and of course Fall Steelhead.
Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet
The 2020 fishing was quite good in both the Sound and Inlet. There were more Sockeye that returned to the Stamp River than originally forecast. This made for a sport fishery of two Sockeye salmon per person per day at the beginning of July. The Chinook fishing in the Inlet and also the Sound was great for many up to the end of the Labor Day Weekend. The return of Chinook salmon to West Coast Vancouver Island was very strong in 2020 and 2021 should be similar. Coho were termed “Low Status” and it is unclear what the 2021 season in terms of returns will look like. One of the best sport fisheries and enjoyed by all in the Inlet is Sockeye fishing. It is a great family fish and is fantastic for all ages. Sockeye Fishing when numbers are high in terms of returns can last from mid-June through until the beginning of August. Most years Chinook Fishing historically gets well underway by the tenth of August and continues through until Labor Day.
There have been some wonderful fall days on the water in Barkley Sound, areas around Ucluelet and for some as far away as the Big Bank and South Bank. There were many wonderful afternoons that were gorgeous with great warmth from the sun and water that was magically smooth. The sport season has dramatically ended but a few anglers took opportunity to search for some of those late Coho in the Sound and some also fished for Chum Salmon in the Sarita Bay area.
We look forward to another Fantastic Sport Salmon season in 2021. In late May, June and July we will target the migratory salmon headed to the southerly watersheds to the south. In late July, August and September we will target returning West Coast Chinook and Coho.
We offer great day trips in the Inlet, Barkley Sound, and West Coast offshore fishing. WE ALSO OFFER FANTASTIC lodge accommodation where people take opportunity to experience extended trips in Barkley Sound, West Coast, and offshore for sport fishing. Take advantage early and organize one of these extended trips for the summer of 2021. These trips are often for three or four days and nights. You will not be disappointed. Join us in a comfortable and fun environment in the 2021 summer from early June through early September.