The 2022 summer sport fishing season has basically come to an end for MANY saltwater sport fishing locations around British Columbia. The weather in many of the Pacific Rim areas has been simply unbelievable until this time. British Columbia has been under a High-Pressure Zone with day time temperatures well above normal. British Columbia does need rainfall as many of the streams and creeks which are the spawning grounds for salmon are simply dried up. In the Pacific Rim area, the salmon seem to be holding without a lot of distress and are waiting on the season’s first rain.
Some avid sport fisher persons who had not put their boat to sleep for the winter took advantage of the early great fall weather and spent some wonderful sunny days with gorgeous warm afternoons in Barkley Sound up to Mid-October fishing for Coho returning to their natal streams. The Coho fishing in the Sound in September and October was fantastic. The Bamfield Wall and up to Brady’s Beach has had terrific sport fishing as did Sanford and areas around Swale Rock. The Coho have averaged from ten to fifteen pounds and have been in very shallow water which made for spectacular sport fishing.
Chinook and Coho salmon returning too many of the streams, creeks, and rivers have been very good to date even with the drought conditions on the West Coast. The return of Somass River Chinook salmon stocks up to the 17th of October are just over thirty- thousand. Adult Coho migrating through Stamp falls are at approximately twenty thousand. The numbers of Chinook and Coho salmon passing through the counters are quite high. The peak numbers per day usually occur in late September and into October. It is fantastic to see that the Chinook and Coho returns are excellent which helps develop a natural spawn in the river system. The drop in the river water temperature and the high discharge of water over the last few days has definitely helped the migration of the salmon to their natural spawning grounds.
Currently a few areas in Barkley Sound continue to have some mediocre especially along the Bamfield Wall, the backside of Fleming Island, Pill Point and Swale Rock. The offshore fishing continued to be quite good through September with some great Coho and feeder Chinook fishing out at the Rats Nose, the Dinosaur, Southbank, and Big Bank. Hatchery Coho on the outside waters dominated.
The 2022 Salmon Festival in Port Alberni was a success. The derby occurred from September 3rd through September 5th. The first-place winners for each day won $5,000. Winners were Scott Clydesdale on day one with a 26.2 pound fish. The day two winner and also winning extra $5000.00 with the biggest fish overall was Justin Mckay with a 27.1 pound salmon. The day three winner was Bob Matlock with a 21.6 pound salmon.
Now that we are past mid-October most sport fisher persons are looking forward to the 2023 sport angling season. Hopefully any early indicators are favorable for next year. In the Port Alberni Inlet for example the returning Jack Sockeye during June and July of 2022 to the Somass system were above average. A high return of Jacks often reflects the following years run size. Sockeye returns in 2023 hopefully will be of average or better and create a wonderful sport fishery for the number one commercial Pacific salmon. Ocean conditions have been very favorable for all five salmon species. The mortality rates have been lower. The food sources for the salmon stocks in the North Pacific Ocean have been good. The sport fishing season in 2023 on the British Columbia West Coast should be very exciting with plenty of opportunity for everyone.
For those fisher persons that know the Stamp the sport fishing for Coho and Chinook during this fall has been very good. Guide anglers have been doing a great job to date for most of their guests. The Stamp was a tricky to fish because the water levels have been at record lows making the salmon migration a concern. Hopefully some October rain will dramatically change this. Many of the guides at some point will continue fishing for salmon but will also begin to fish for Fall Steelhead. This is the time of year when historically the fly fishing for fall Steelhead is fantastic. The fly fishing most years occurs from the mid of October into the first ten days of November. Guides are hoping to salvage some of that great fly fishing for later in the month. The river has already had close to 25,000 Coho migrate into the system. There is often a continued migration of Coho right into December. The Coho in the lower river have been fresh and still very bright. Most of the Coho landed are from 8 to 15 pounds. The best method of fishing Coho has been conventional using spinners, blades, and the Gibbs Coho spoon. The Steelhead in the system should become very active as they search for loose eggs during the natural spawn. Fly fishermen can of course use flies of their choice but anglers who are wishing to fish conventionally can use gooey bobs, or wool that is white, pink, or orange. Some areas to fish are Stamp Falls Park, Eagle Rock, Black Rock, Moneys Pool, and the Slide Pool. There is still plenty of time for Coho salmon and Fall Steelhead sport fishing. Winter Steelhead fishing begins in December and continues into late April.
Lake Fishing-Great Central Lake
The water in Great Central Lake is cooling down which is creating a great fresh water sport fishery. A few trout but mostly Cut Throat are being landed by those few anglers that fish this massive and most beautiful lake. With the water cooling the various creek mouths are excellent spots for the fish to be hiding. Fishing structure is best and using a variation of flatfish especially the Michael Jackson is an excellent choice. Great Central is also excellent this time of year when the salmon spawn is occurring. If fishing areas other than the creek mouths using a big gang troll or a Luhr Jansen and Cowichan spoon attractor are perfect. Great Central is a wonderful place to fish with little interference from other fisher persons.
Port Alberni Inlet Barkley Sound
The sport fishing in the Alberni Inlet was relatively good in 2022. Sockeye fishing turned out to be okay when the water warmed up in the last part of July. The Chinook and Coho fishing up to the Labor Day Weekend Derby was quite good. After that time things slowed as the salmon coming into the inlet were interested in hitting the river. The 2023 season looks very promising. The indicators for early season projections of Sockeye salmon are good. Sockeye fishing most years lasts from mid-June into the first week of August. It is a wonderful family fishing trip and is a wonderful sport fishery for those from five years of age to ninety-five. The Chinook returns in 2023 could very well be high in returns. Most years the Chinook fishing gets underway by the 15th of August and limits per angler per day is two. We will be looking forward to that sport fishery as well as Coho next August and September.
The afternoons in Barkley Sound have been gorgeous with great warmth from the autumn sun and water that was just magically smooth. The sport season has dramatically slowed down but with some perseverance a few anglers have had opportunity to land the last stragglers of the incoming or migrating Coho. Two anglers had a great time also in the Sarita Bay area with Chum salmon up to seventeen pounds. The Coho have been hitting shorter hootchie lengths from 32 to 38 inches. The best hootchie colors have been purple haze, jelly fish, AORL12 and the green spatter back. Anchovy for Coho has been excellent behind a purple gold flasher and six feet of leader. Glow Army Truck and Cop Car teaser heads have been excellent choices. We offer FANTASTIC LODGE accommodation and are looking at extended trips into Barkley Sound for the summer of 2023. Take advantage and organize your fishing trip into Barkley Sound and offshore early for a 2023 sport fishing adventure.
Ucluelet (West Coast)
Ucluelet is one of those areas along the British Columbia West Coast that has opportunity every month of the year to get out on the water inshore, or offshore, or into Barkley Sound and fish for salmon and bottom fish. For many months of the spring summer and early fall there are huge numbers of migratory salmon swimming their way to natal streams, creeks and rivers to the south. These salmon are right outside Ucluelet’s backdoor and they stop on the various banks to rest and feast on herring and sardines. The salmon are usually in relatively big numbers and create a great sport fishing opportunity throughout the years more favorable months for anglers. There is also a good number of local salmon that feed close to the beach on the rich resources of bait fish. Each and every year there is a return of different salmon species to local streams and rivers that extends from mid August until early November. The fishing out of Ucluelet this year did not disappoint. Some of the years best sport fishing was very close to the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth. We are expecting the summer of 2023 to once again be very good out on the various banks and inshore outside of the Ucluelet Harbor.
WE have been organizing our three and four day and night LODGING for 2023. Join us in a comfortable and fun environment next summer from early June through early September.