June is a wonderful month for salmon sport fishing in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet. Many anglers enjoy fishing the areas of Barkley Sound not only because of the wonderful salmon fishing opportunity but also because of the breath-taking scenic views of rugged coastline. June is a month unlike July and August when there are fewer fisher people on the water making fishing conditions much more relaxing. The Alberni Inlet can be quite the opposite in June when most years there are big numbers of sport boats fishing for Sockeye Salmon. The 2023 sport fishing season will see boat traffic in the Alberni Inlet as Sockeye migrating back to the Somass River system are expected to be relatively high. Pre-Season forecasts are predicting about 600,000 returning Somass River Sockeye. As of May 1st sport fishermen fishing tidal waters are able to retain four Sockeye salmon per day. There will be many test fisheries with detailed reports regarding any change in returning numbers. The Sockeye will move through the fish ways and sit in either Sproat or Great Central Lake for the summer months before moving into the various streams to spawn in the fall.
The West Coast Vancouver Island 2023 Chinook return looks relatively strong. The 2023 forecast return for Stamp River Chinook to the terminal areas of Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet is very similar to the last few years. These returns have been historically high. The West Coast returns usually begin to show in numbers along the surf line of Barkley Sound close to the end of July. With a very healthy return the sport fishing in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet should be “first class” with some very nice sized salmon in the mix during late July and into early September.
Salmon fishing during the spring months in Barkley Sound and the area close to the Ucluelet Harbor has been consistent. Anglers have targeted transient Chinook salmon headed to the big watersheds to the south and also local feeder Chinook. Barkley Sound has ample rich nutrient bait fish which bring the fish migrating down the coastline into rest and feed heavily before continuing their lengthy journey. June is also a month when the first migrating Coho are in the Sound and surf line locations. Coho Salmon feed aggressively and often gain a pound per week before reaching their natal streams in the early fall. Chinook and Coho limits in Barkley Sound are currently at two per day. It is advised that anglers check the current fishing regulations for retention of marked or unmarked Coho salmon
Often the best salmon fishing during June is along the many surf line areas. Cree and Austin Islands, Sail Rock, Great Bear, Meares, Swale Rock, Edward King, the Bamfield Wall and Beale and can produce some excellent Chinook weighing from the mid teens to the mid twenty-pound range. The Bamfield Wall, Swale Rock and even as far in as Pill Point have fantastic fishing opportunities for Chinook Salmon and Coho that can often average six to eight pounds. Some of the current years best sport salmon fishing has been around Austin, Meares and Swale Rock. The salmon in June are feeding heavily as they do have a long journey in their migration to their natal streams, rivers and creeks. Many Anglers will use anchovy in a variety of different colored teaser heads. The best teaser head colors are usually chartreuse, green haze, army truck glow, cop car, Glow, and purple haze. Needle fish hootchies, octopus and cuttlefish hootchies in green, white and even blue and white colors are excellent choices. The salmon close to Bamfield have been feeding heavily on squid and bigger herring. White hootchies in Octopus or cuttlefish have worked well. Spoons in a variety of colors and in the three to four-inch size are also a wonderful choice. Herring Aid, Bon Jovi, green-nickel, and the no bananas spoons have been terrific around the Bamfield area. Many anglers who have been fishing Meares, Austin, Sail Rock, and Cree have found a variety of spoons as the best lure. For some the Coho Killers in Cookies and Cream have worked well for salmon in the eight to twelve-pound range and fishing from sixty-five to ninety feet. Others have done well on skinny G spoons especially in the Herring Aid and spoons as small as the two-inch Silver Night Herring Aid. Those who have had great success around Swale Rock have been fishing on the front side of the rock from 100 to 135 feet.
Halibut fishing in June can be very productive. Fisher persons anchoring out will use Octopus, salmon bellies, and sardines. Others will back-drift and use Berkley Grubs.
2023 will be a great sport fishing year in Pacific Rim Areas. Sockeye, Chinook and Coho opportunities with the predicted returns make for the possibilities of a fantastic sport fishing year.