As we get into the month of June and consider July most anglers in this area are excited about the return of Sockeye salmon to the Somass River system and the migration of Chinook salmon and Coho along the surf line of Barkley Sound and areas close to the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth. The sport fishing along the surf line of the Sound has been very good. Some of the other areas like Pill Point, Tzarus Island, Swale Rock, Kirby and Diplock have been fantastic. Sport Fishing opportunities in Barkley Sound are currently incredible. Sockeye returns are predicted to be approximately anywhere from 350,000 to 500,000 fish. This number is providing for a sport fishing opportunity of up to TWO Sockeye salmon per day. Beginning on the 15th of June the possession limit is expected to be FOUR. The migration of Sockeye to the Somass has started and Cool weather and water temperatures will limit sport fishing until air and water temperatures warm up. Warmer weather will permit the Sockeye to school in Alberni Inlet areas. Sockeye fishing is a great opportunity for everyone and is a very comfortable angling opportunity for people of all ages. The best fishing areas for Sockeye in the Alberni Inlet are from Hocking Point or Nahmint and Ten Mile Point to Lone Tree. Underwood, the Narrows and Cous Creek which should all provide for some excellent angling. Currently the Sockeye are migrating in shallow water and any angler success would be fishing the top twenty-five to thirty feet of water. The best lures are mp hootchies in a bubble gum color or pink-blue or pink-black hootchies or a double tandem or single Black Hook(s).
The runs of migrating mature Chinook combined with some early Coho swimming Vancouver Island’s West Coast as they migrate to the Big Southerly Watersheds should give endless opportunities to sport fishing enthusiasts fishing west coast inshore waters.
Current sport fishing regulations, at the time of this writing, provided by the DFO will allow sport fishing for Chinook salmon within one nautical mile of the coastline until the fifteenth of July. After this date anglers will be permitted to fish offshore waters for Chinook. Pacific Rim areas are often a feeding station to these transient salmon. The islands close to the Ucluelet Harbor mouth and up the coastline to Wya Point and Florencia and the many areas of Barkley Sound often hold vast quantities of bait fish in herring, anchovy, squid and needlefish. To date Sail Rock, Great Bear, The Alley, which are all close to Ucluelet and Barkley Sound locations such as Cree Island, Meares, Kirby, Bamfield Wall, Pill Point, Samatao, and Swale Rock have experienced some very good sport fishing. This trend will continue and become stronger in July and will likely improve two-fold in late July and into early September when the West Coast Vancouver Island salmon begin returning to their natal streams and rivers.
Historically the most common gear and consistent salmon producer when fishing Barkley Sound has been trolling with anchovy behind a variety of flashers. How ever that trend has changed especially in June and much of July over the past couple of years with fish hitting various Herring Aid spoons as well as Skinny G’s, Coho Killer spoons, and a variety of octopus, cuttlefish, and needle fish hootchies. Anchovy teaser head colors that work well are Green Haze, Glow Army Truck, Herring Aid, and Cop Car. Flashers in blue, purple glow, green glow, and chartreuse, with at least a six-foot leader are best. Spoons behind a flasher can vary from forty-two inches to five feet. Hootchie leader lengths behind a flasher are thirty-eight to forty-two inches. Favorite hootchies and needle fish hootchies are the B-84 in the needle fish and also a variety of blue and green hootchies, dark green spatter back, the AORL 12, J-79, Jack Smith, and Purple Haze. The salmon have been feeding on very small herring, and needlefish, around Meares, Austin-Cree, Swale Rock and Edward King. Smaller Spoons if the bait is small have been working very well. In areas around Beale, Whittlestone, and The Bamfield Wall there has been mature squid meaning Octopus hootchies and cuttle fish are working best. The best cuttle fish have been tiger prawn UV, army truck and a variety of white cuttle fish colors.
Halibut fishing in June is in full swing. Many sport-fisher people will either drift, jig or anchor. Halibut will often prefer salmon bellies as well as large herring or octopus. If jigging try a Gibbs Hali Hawg tipped with salmon belly. Lingcod fishing is also relatively good. How ever it is important that a good descending device is on board as any yellow-eye rockfish are to be released.
June of 2022 and the rest of the summer should have some world class salmon sport fishing in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound.
Tight lines and Good fishing,