Alberni Inlet / Barkley Sound / Ucluelet
Fishing Report - Port Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, West Coast (Ucluelet), Somass-Stamp River System, September 8th 2014
by Doug Lindores - Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing
We are now into the month of September and not only has there been some great salmon fishing in the Port Alberni and Pacific Rim regions but the weather is sensational with sunny skies and afternoon temperatures from seventy-five to eighty-five degrees farenheit. These temperatures have made fishing in Barkley Sound and offshore areas out of Ucluelet fairly comfortable and very summerlike for those anglers seeking the big late summer Chinook and the ample Coho found in many of the great fishing spots in the area. The salmon are currently migrating to their natal rivers, streams and creeks which will create a fantastic fall fishing opportunity in the Stamp, Nahmint, and Sarita River systems.
The first few weeks of September not only includes great Chinook and Coho Salmon fishing but it is also the time of the biggest salmon derby. The forty-third Port Alberni Labor Day Weekend fishing derby just wrapped up. Over two to three thousand ticket entrants participated this year with local Port Alberni angler Ray Ursel winning the derby with a thirty-seven pound Chinook which he landed using anchovy in an army truck Rhys Davis Teaser Head on the Saturday morning of the long weekend at Wittlestone which is between the Bamfield Harbor and Cape Beale. This big fish won Ursel and his group $15,000 for biggest fish of the day and also the prize money for biggest salmon of the derby. On Sunday the largest Chinook salmon was hooked by Leon Kossabar. The 25.9 pound salmon won him $5,000. Bill Goorts of Port Alberni was Monday,s big winner of $5,000 with his 34 pound Chinook. The biggest fish of each day was worth a cash prize of $5,000.00 while second place was $2,000.00 and third place winners each day won $1,000.00. The derby also awards several hidden weight awards.
We are looking forward to some great salmon fishing during September. Barkley Sound and areas close to Ucluelet, China Creek (in the Alberni Inlet), and Bamfield should have some great Chinook and Coho fishing.
Port Alberni Inlet / Barkley Sound
The fishing in the Inlet for Chinook and Coho got underway about mid August. The salmon pushed into the Upper Inlet and Harbor Mouth areas quite quickly but really have not held for long periods of time. Currently there is a good push of Chinook and Coho headed for the Somass and Stamp River systems and Robertson Creek Hatchery. The best fishing is now taking place in the China Creek and McTush areas. The Chinook and Coho from the beginning of the season until this date have been hitting anchovy in a variety of Rhys Davis Teaser Heads. Army Truck, Green Haze and Purple Haze have been the best teaser heads. The 0-15 and 16 and the AORL 12 were both working well for the first ten days of the season. Currently those fisher persons using an mp 16 and also a dark green spaterback hootchie are having some success. The salmon in the first half of the morning are found in the top forty feet of water with some of the biggest Chinook that are being landed found in the top twenty-five feet. Most of the Chinook and Coho have been quite bright. Most sport fisher persons are having the best success on Coho salmon and are having a couple of Chinook salmon hit most mornings. Every other day there seems to be a new school of salmon moving into the Alberni Inlet that are almost chrome in color. We are expecting the first half of September to continue to have some good salmon fishing. Coho are becoming quite dominant for many anglers and guide guests to land. The weather at this time of year can play a major role. If early fall rains occur the Chinook and Coho will make their way into the Somass River very quickly which will deteriorate the Port Alberni Inlet fishing. The weather for the next week is forecast as clear and sunny.
Barkley Sound salmon fishing has been quite consistent over the past few weeks. Wittlestone, Cape Beale, Assets, and areas along the Bamfield Wall have been producing some great Chinook and Coho catches. The salmon are running in the top fifty feet of water and are hitting bait in a Rhys Davis Army Truck and Green Haze Teaser Head. A few hootchies, in green, mainly the spatter back and T Rex plus a few different four and five inch coyote spoons are also working. The watermelon and cop car four inch coyote has been very prominent along the Bamfield wall for Coho. Diplock and Pill Point have been off and on. The Port Alberni salmon Derby had some excellent entrants from the Pill Point area as a few Chinook over thirty pounds were weighed in from this great location. September salmon fishing in Barkley Sound can often be very good especially for big Coho that are making their way to their spawning grounds. The Coho are still actively feeding in the sound and can often be swimming in shallower water. Shortening leader lengths and trolling a little faster can result in better catches. Weather change in September can often hurry the salmon along to their natal streams and creeks. The long term forecast is looking extremely good.
West Coast fishing has been a little slower over the last week. It seems some of the big Chinook that are coming to West Coast Vancouver Island areas are coming close to the beach. Some fishermen are fishing the Red Can and Lighthouse which are both close to the Ucluelet Harbor and are having some success. The big bank and Rats Nose continues to be very good for Coho and smaller Chinook. The halibut fishing has also been fairly good up to Long Beach and the inner Lighthouse.. Halibut retention is now two per day. South Bank and Long Beach over the last week have had some good fishing for Chinook in the high teens and low twenty pound range. The fish are taking spoons from the four inch coyote to spoons up to six and seven inches. White hootchies and also halloween and green spatterback are working quite well especially for Coho that are ranging from ten to sixteen pounds. It should be noted that Coho limits offshore are only at two per day and must one hatchery and one wild.
Salmon fishing got underway on the 26th of August on the Stamp River. There has already been some excellent catches of bright Chinook and Coho. The salmon should begin entering the system in very high numbers beginning the week of September 8th. On the 10th of September water will be released from Elsei Lake which should really help pick the Stamp River fishing up. The peak is usually sometime during the third week of this month. Good Chinook and Coho fishing should continue into October. October is often an excellent month for Coho and fall or summer Steelhead. For good results anglers should use wool, spinners and spin n glows. We are expecting some great returns of Chinook and Coho and with fairly high numbers of Steelhead already in the system there should be a fantastic fall fishery in the world famous Stamp River. The best fly fishing opportunities begin around the 10th day of October.
Port Alberni Salmon Festival
The Port Alberni Salmon festival and Derby takes place during the three days of the Labour Day weekend.
The West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia has much to offer. The West Coast is a beautiful area of the world with its rugged but scenic coastline outlined by snowcapped mountains in the background. Ucluelet and Tofino both found on Vancouver Islands coast are located south of Clayoquot Sound, which is full of beaches, islands and rainforests. The Pacific Rim National Park (Long Beach) is located in the area and has grown into a very popular tourist destination with oceanfront resorts, hotels, motels, lodges, campgrounds, quaint cafes and restaurants and even art galleries. The Pacific Rim National Park is a paradise for surfers and beachcombers. There are large rolling waves and miles of pristine beaches.
Ucluelet is nestled in a small harbor, which is dominated by surf and sandy beaches on the west and rainforests on the east. The area has fantastic walking and hiking trails. The Rainforest Trail, Lighthouse Trail and the sands of Big Beach are areas people can roam for hours. Hi-Tin-Kis Park has spectacular views that people worldwide come to admire.
During the winter Ucluelet and Tofino offer spectacular Storm Watch opportunities. Many of the luxurious resorts, which are scattered along the coastline, offer this as part of their packages from November until early March. March and April often finds visitors watching the migration of Gray Whales, which are passing along the coastline making their way to the Beaufort Sea. The Whale Festival begins this year on the 17th of March is featured by the “Chowder Chow Down.” The festival continues into mid April.
Ucluelet and Tofino provide some of the best salmon and halibut fishing in the world. The coastline between Ucluelet and Tofino is a feeding and spawning destination of some of the West Coast of British Columbia’s largest runs of chinook and coho. The months of May, June July August and September are considered prime time for sport fishing inshore and offshore. The sport fishing industry is provided with vast amounts of coho, chinook, pink salmon and halibut that are migrating outside the doorstep of Ucluelet.. All of the fish follow the thick balls of bait which most often are herring, sardines, needlefish, squid and krill.
The Ucluelet Sport Fishing season gets underway when the wather changes into early spring. The winter often displays battering storms and huge surf, which makes it most difficult and of course dangerous for guides and sport anglers to get out to the fishing grounds. However, during the winter there are some days that one can fish for winter or feeder springs close the Ucluelet Harbor and Barkley sound. The winter season is also a time when individuals have opportunity to fish for Dungeness Crabs, prawns, oysters, clams, and some rock fish. Late February, all of March, and the early part of April often have feeder chinook close to the Ucluelet Harbor and inner surfline of Barkley Sound. Slivers Charters Salmon sport Fishing and other guide services will normally fish Begg Island, Mara Rock, Great Bear, the Red Can, Sail Rock and even South Bank during this time of year. Most of the salmon are feeder springs and can range from 8 to 25 pounds. Most guides and local anglers use a variety of lures. Anchovy is often he best bait choice all year and is rolled behind a Rhys Davis Teaser Head in white, green, purple haze, or pearl. Hootchie choices are often glow whites, purple haze, or various blue green white colors and army truck. Various Coyote and Titan Spoons work well also. This year watermelon has been very good along the whole coast as have silver spoons. During the year there is some bottom or rock fishing. The lingcod season opens April 15th. Halibut fishing most years become more fishable in May and can be combined when fishing for the various salmon species migrating down the coast. During the summer months some guides will troll for Halibut and Salmon at the same time. The Halibut are found at the bottom hiding in the sand and the salmon are found in mid water.
During the summer months Ucluelet provides some of the best salmon and halibut fishing in the world. The area has continuous and very consistent fishing due to the migration of salmon which are headed to their spawning grounds. Whatever summer month one decides to fish there will not be disappointment as there is always fish inshore or offshore.
People often ask “what should I bring if I am coming to Canada’s West Coast to fish and explore. Of course bring a camera to take all kinds of pictures. Binoculars are also a great idea. Bring Rain Gear and rubber boots. Most of the guide boats have extra rain gear on board but this is not provided when hiking in a rainforest or walking the beach on an early drizzly foggy morning. Be prepared for sunshine and warm days especially later in the morning and the afternoons. The West Coast is a place to be totally prepared for all weather. Dress in layers. There is a saying “Its easy to dress down but not up”. If you do not have the correct warm clothing ones day can be miserable to start. It is important to have coolers to take catches home. If flying most airlines now want people to have a correct airline container, which are available on the coast. People can also be prepared to have their catch sent directly to their home as St. Jeans located in Ucluelet will ship directly after our guides have prepared your catch for shipping.
Canada’s West Coast of Vancouver Island is a fantastic area to visit. Those who live in the area take it for granted. This area of the world has a lot to offer and is still undiscovered by many. It is part of super natural B.C. Take some time and come to visit and yes come fishing as this is the place to be in the summer of 2007.
Salmon Returns November 8th, 2006
Port Alberni is fortunate enough to have a very healthy river system and hatchery (Roberson Creek Hatchery). Chinook and Coho return to the Hatchery and Sockeye return naturally to the river and then to Sproat and Great Central Lake. From the lakes the sockeye move out to tributary streams and then spawn.
- Chinook 43,000 return as of October 15th. Numbers may have reached 55 to 60,000 by now as many late fish have arrived.
- Jack chinook 1,000 This number is low and will probably see a low return in three year olds in 2007. Four, Five and Six year olds should be strong in numbers.
- Adult Coho 11,000 Low in return but enough for hatchery program.
- Jack Coho 6,142 Great numbers which should give us a very healthy return of adult coho in 2007. These Adult returns should be back to normal in 2007.
- Adult Sockeye 137,000 return through the counters. Not a strong return as the early prediction was almost 800,000.
Sport fishing for salmon
The Alberni Inlet and the Barkley Sound offer year round fishing at its best. Springs, often referred to as
Black Mouths, start showing up in the Barkley Sound in the middle of March. These feisty fish stay and
feed in the Sound on the bountiful herring and anchovy that are spawning in the area. These fish range
from 5 to 25 pounds and as active feeders provide action filled days for the fishermen.
SPRING AND SUMMER
This season offers a great opportunity for fishing for many different species of salmon. In May, the
Springs are still in the Barkley Sound and the early running Tyees are beginning to appear as they begin
their migration up the Alberni Inlet. This season provides excellent fishing for Springs, Tyee and also the
famous Sockeye. The Sockeye are the best eating salmon and run in our area is huge. In late June and
July, the Sockeye start running up the Alberni Inlet in huge quantities. In 1987, there were an estimated
750,000 Sockeye that came up the Alberni Inlet. You can imagine the success rate for anglers! The
Sockeye run continues through August.
SUMMER AND FALL
The months of July, August and September yield the largest fish of them all - the magnificent Tyee or
Chinook Salmon. These fish range from 15 to 70 pounds on average size. At this time of year, the salmon
are within 15 minutes of the inner harbour and the Coho are running as well.
FRESH WATER FISHING
January, February and March is the winter run of Steelhead in the Ash, Stamp and Nahmint Rivers and of
the Cutthroat in China Creek. April and May are good months for Steelhead and Cutthroat in Nahmint and
Sproat Lake and for Rainbow Trout in Great Central and Loon Lake. June is the start of the best months
for the middle of resident runs of coastal Cutthroat in most lakes including Sproat and Great Central Lake.
October, November, and December, Rainbow and Cutthroat season ends. The Steelhead season begins in
china Creek. All year Trout can be caught in McBride and View Lakes, Brown Trout in Cameron Lake and
Rainbow and Cutthroat in Cameron Lake.
Port Alberni Tourism