MAY 1, 2021
Vancouver Island is a majestic geographical area of tall coniferous forests and breath-taking scenic views of rugged terrain and coastlines battered by winter storms. There is not only a continuous display of rugged coastlines but there are also wonderful exquisite and secluded beaches with pristine calm water in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet. Not only does the West Coast of British Columbia have these unbelievable landscapes but the salmon fishing in many areas is nothing but “World Class”. This is one of British Columbia’s only areas that anglers have an opportunity of landing a twenty pound salmon twelve months of the year. Fishing is just like the weather and in May and June it really does start to heat up. The Salmon fishing for Chinook salmon in May and June in Barkley Sound can be very consistent. During the spring months large schools of salmon, mostly Chinook, will swim into Barkley Sound and feed on the rich quantities of bait fish before continuing their long journey to the large watersheds to the south. Plenty of quality salmon linger around the surf line and anglers have excellent opportunities of landing some nice sized salmon at a variety of hotspots such as Cree Island, Austin, Meares, Sail Rock, Edward King, Beale, Kirby Point, Swale Rock and of course the many islands just outside the Ucluelet Harbor mouth. Coho salmon which are migrating down the West Coast become more frequent in mid-June and come into Barkley Sound and feed heavily on herring and needle fish.
The Spring months are a wonderful time to sport fish in the many locations of Barkley Sound. The many areas to fish can still be relatively quiet and peaceful as the boat traffic is not like the summer months. July and into early September are often very busy with many anglers taking advantage of their summer holiday time to come to one of the world’s best kept secrets.
The Alberni Inlet historically offers some spectacular Sockeye salmon fishing in June. Predictions for 2021 are showing rather low numbers of Sockeye Returning back to the Somass River system. With 350,000 to 400,000 Sockeye forecast to return retention for sport anglers from May 1st through June 14th 2021 there will be two sockeye per day for those fishing the Alberni Inlet to the surf line. On the 15th of June a new regulation will come out with regulations depending on early returns allowing a possibility of retention of four Sockeye per day. With the current environmental conditions Sockeye Salmon fishing for sport should get underway by Fathers-Day Weekend. There has been a relatively large snow pack and if the water in the Somass River remains cold the Sockeye will not school. When the Inlet water warms up the Sockeye begin to School in good numbers. The Salmon usually school from Cous Creek out to Nahmint and Franklin River. The Sockeye in the Alberni Inlet in June will predominately sit in forty-five to sixty feet of water. As the water warms the salmon will swim to deeper water. Sockeye hit shorter leader lengths from eighteen to twenty-four inches behind a variety of flashers. The best lures are mp 15’s, the pink and blue, and pink and black Sockeye Hootchies. The Key to Sockeye fishing is having up to six or even eight flashers.
The early fishing in Barkley Sound has been sporadic. Some anglers have had some success along the Bamfield Wall and into Scotch Bay. The front of the Bamfield Harbor Mouth has had some anglers have some success. The Best fishing to date has been around Ucluelet Harbor Mouth, the Islands and the Red Can. Great Bear and the Red Can has had fantastic Chinook sport fishing for salmon from ten the eighteen pounds. A variety of three-inch spoons and anchovy in chartreuse, glow army truck and clear teaser heads have been working very well.
The trout fishing in May and June is often extremely good. The sockeye smolts as example leave Sproat and Great Central Lakes and travel out through the Somass River. This smolt migration wakes the trout up and using flat fish and Kwikfish that resemble smolts in the frog and rainbow patterns work really well when trolling. If fishing from the various banks use power bait fish.
Tidal water fishing in 2021 for Chinook salmon and Coho should be very good. Pre season forecasts for these two species returning to West Coast Vancouver Island are good. The migratory Chinook number are expected to be average or better.