Alberni Inlet / Barkley Sound / Ucluelet
Fishing Report - Port Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, West Coast (Ucluelet), Somass-Stamp River System, August 5th 2014
by Doug Lindores - Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing
The summer months are quickly moving by and the salmon fishing in many areas of Vancouver Island just seems to be getting better and better as we move into early August. The salmon fishing in surf line locations of Barkley Sound and the West Coast out of the Ucluelet Harbor for Chinook, Coho, and now some Sockeye Salmon have been extremely good. Unfortunately the Port Alberni Sockeye sport fishing has not been what it should have been. The Chinook and Coho on the surf line and the various banks are getting bigger by the week. Most of these salmon continue to be migratory salmon moving to destinations or watersheds well to the south. We are expecting some of the salmon returning to nearby rivers, streams, and creeks of the Pacific Rim and Alberni Valley regions to appear by the second week of August. This should in fact develop into an even a much stronger sport fishery for Barkley Sound and the west coast of Vancouver Island.. All of August and the early part of September should have fascinating sport fishing out on the coast and also most of Barkley Sound. The Port Alberni Inlet is forecast to have an abundant return of Coho Salmon. Chinook returns are forecast to be of a normal number. Numbers returning to the Robertson Creek Hatchery are forecast at thirty to forty thousand. Usually by the 15th of August good numbers of Chinook begin to show in Inlet areas close to China Creek and the Port Alberni Harbor followed later in the month by Coho salmon. The Coho sport fishing in early September should be phenomenal. Many of the Coho by this time of year will range from ten to fifteen pounds. August and September sport fishing is forecast to be extremely good.
Port Alberni Inlet / Barkley Sound
The sport fishing in the Port Alberni Inlet unfortunately has been almost non- existent for the past seven to ten days. The sockeye return forecast was downsized from 1.6 million to 1.1 million. For the Somass River system 1.1 million Sockeye is still a fantastic return. Sockeye returns to Sproat and Great Central Lakes are approximately 350,000 with 260,000 returning to Sproat Lake and only 90,000 adults returning to Great Central Lake. The estimated catch by all of the fishing groups which includes First Nations, Seine, Gill Net, and recreation to July 31st is approximately 680,000. Sport Fishing only has accounted for 16,500 of these salmon.
The Chinook return to the Somass system should begin with salmon showing in good numbers in the Alberni Inlet areas by the 15th of August. Pre season forecasts are showing approximately thirty to forty thousand Chinook returning to the terminal area of Barkley Sound and the Inlet. Most of these fish will be returning to the Robertson Creek Hatchery. Approximately twenty-five thousand spawners will be needed meaning that there will be seven to fifteen Chinook available for harvest. There is a good number of four year old Chinook returning. With this in mind there should be a good number of Chinook in the twenty to twenty-five pound class. Coho numbers are expected to be abundant. Coho returns to the Pacific Rim and the many creeks and stream tributaries of the Somass system through conservation have become very strong over the past decade. We should see Somass-Stamp River Coho begin to show in Barkley Sound during the last ten days of August and they will move up into the Inlet during the first week of September. We are looking forward to some fantastic sport Coho fishing throughout West Coast Vancouver Island during the latter half of August through mid September.
Parts of Barkley Sound have had incredible sport fishing through June and July and the first few days of August. The best areas however have been close to the surf line. Swale Rock, Vernon Bay and Pill Point have been on and off with Swale Rock being the most consistent. Meares, Austin Island, and Cree Island have been by far the best for sport fishing with good Chinook and Coho Salmon fishing The salmon have been out in the deep water on the low tide and often on the flood move in towards the rocks and feed on the huge quantities of rich resources of bait fish. Chinook have been in 80 to 120 feet of water and have been averaging from the mid teens to lower twenties in terms of weight. The Coho have been in twenty-five to fifty feet of water and are gorging themselves on bait fish putting on a pound a week and are currently averaging eight to ten pounds. Most of the current salmon continue to be migratory fish moving to watersheds to the south. We are expecting the local salmon to begin to show relatively soon. This is not to say that some Somass Chinook and Coho have not already arrived. There have been some fairly early returns to the Somass system over the past ten days. When fishing the waters of Barkley Sound it is ideal if sport fishermen have some anchovy on board. To this date anchovy has not been essential as the salmon have been hitting various coyote spoons and hootchies behind glow and kinetic flashers. In Coyote spoons, silver glow, lime green, green and blue nickel, watermelon, and cop car have all been working. The various whites (AORL12) and greens and blues in hootchies have had some great success over the past two weeks. Anchovy should have at least a six foot leader and the army truck, purple haze, UV green and bloody nose Rhys Davis Teaser Head have all been working well. A few sport fishermen are using a variety of six inch plugs and tomic spoons with or without flashers. These have been working only when the bait fish are big in size. We are expecting Barkley Sound to have some continued great salmon fishing. With the late summer run of migratory salmon and local salmon returning to their natural streams and creeks there should be some continued terrific sport fishing right into mid September in all of Barkley Sound for Coho and Chinook salmon.
Areas right outside the Ucluelet Harbor and as far as the Big Bank or shallows and up to Portland Point which is close to Tofino have all had rather phenomenal sport fishing from the late spring right up until now. The lighthouse bank, inner and outer south bank and the turtle head have turned on over the last seven to ten days. The Rats Nose on the Big Bank has been very good most of the summer. Closer to Ucluelet Florentia Bay and the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth were extremely hot for Chinook salmon in the twenty pound range right through until the twenty-third or twenty-fourth of July.. Most of the banks have had plenty of bait fish. The migratory salmon have been feeding heavily in the many offshore Ucluelet areas. When bait fish are in the different areas during the summer months the sport fishing is normally extraordinary. The inner and outer south bank and the turtle head have seen most sport fishermen fishing in the fifty foot level down to almost the sandy bottom at 135 to 150 feet. Hootchies in the brown turd, white turd and the light green spider back turd have been working very well. Coyote Spoons and a variety of five and six inch Tomic plugs and spoons when fishing shallower water seem to all be working relatively well. Some sport fishermen are using bait and having great success but like Barkley Sound bait has not been essential. Over the past week the Chinook salmon have been getting bigger as there are many more in the mid twenty pound range being landed by guests on our charter boats. Sport fishermen in their privately owned boats have also been landing a few bigger fish. The Coho offshore are also getting up to the ten pound mark with a few Coho Salmon in the low teens being landed. August and September are really exciting months to be on the water. These are the two months that bigger Chinook and Coho begin to arrive along the west coast of Vancouver Island as they have been spending weeks during their long migration feeding constantly on bait fish.
The saltwater sport fishing in 2014 has been fantastic on the surf line and offshore west coast Vancouver Island locations. We are really expecting the inshore areas of Barkley Sound to pick up as well as the Port Alberni Inlet by mid August. If you are thinking of a fishing trip, this is the year, and August and the early part of September is the time to come.
The Stamp River September and October salmon and summer steelhead fishing should be unbelievable again this fall. Coho returns are looking extremely abundant with Chinook returns being average. For those that enjoy fly fishing the 10th of October right through until mid November is often the best time. Space for guided trips in the river during the fall is very limited. Fisher People looking for guided trips should organize early so there are no disappointments. Good fishing to all and be safe…..
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