April 20th, 2008
Doug Lindores

Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing 


 April is now here and the many winter storms on the west coast of beautiful Vancouver Island are decreasing.  There have been some solid high pressure systems build off the coast which have naturally settled west coast Vancouver Island waters.  Guests from many areas of the globe have already taken advantage of many good weather days and have fished our Seafood Safari out of Ucluelet and Barkley Sound which is located twenty miles down the Port Alberni Inlet when leaving the marina located in Port Alberni.

     Vancouver Island is known for its fantastic salmon fishing.  Many species of salmon return to various creeks, streams, and rivers during the summer and fall months which, gives opportunity for anglers to fish from April or perhaps earlier until the late fall.  Winter Chinook are often sought in the late winter and the very early spring months followed by the millions of migrating salmon swimming down the west coast of Vancouver Island.   Sockeye salmon usually show up in areas like the Port Alberni Inlet in June.  By the end of July most Vancouver Island locations have the beginning of the Chinook return, which are followed by Coho in September and October.  Many areas also have excellent Pink Salmon and Chum Salmon returns also.

The Chum salmon fishery especially in Browns Bay near Campbell River and Sarita Bay located in Barkley Sound is a lot of fun as these fish which average twenty pounds are very scrappy.  Vancouver Island also has an excellent sport halibut fishery which begins often in April.  The halibut usually begin their migration from the deep water (1,000 feet) into shallower water (200 feet) in mid May.  During the summer we often do our salmon-halibut combos out of the Ucluelet-Tofino area.


      The WEST COAST of VANCOUVER ISLAND has much to offer.  Not only is there excellent fishing but the scenery of the rugged coastlines is breathtaking.  Barkley Sound is a wonderful area to explore.  One could spend days exploring the many islands and also investigating the many small inlets and coves.  The village of Bamfield is a wonderful place to visit year round but the summer months are absolutely spectacular.  Ucluelet and Tofino are two of the busiest spots on Vancouver Island during the summer.  Much goes on in these two places.  Currently people are not only visiting the many shops and boutiques but many are whale watching as the Gray Whales are passing along the coastline making their way to the Beaufort Sea.  The Whale Festival begins in mid March continuing into mid April and is featured by the “Chowder Chow Down.”  Currently Slivers Charters is offering the SEAFOOD SAFARI.


Preseason Summer Forecasts Port Alberni and Barkley Sound

      Many Chinook and Coho return to Barkley Sound and the Port Alberni Inlet beginning in late July.  The return consists of wild and hatchery fish.  The wild salmon return to the many streams and creeks situated in the geographical area.  The hatchery return is mostly to the Somass River system and Robertson Creek Hatchery.  The preseason forecast suggests that 50,000 Chinook will return in 2008 which is a slight decrease from the 2007 return.  This number of course does not take into consideration the many wild Chinook returning to the Somass and the many streams located down the Port Alberni Inlet and out into Barkley Sound.

The return of Chinook into the area will be composed primarily of three and five year olds.  There are many indicators that have provided data that the four year old return coming from the 2004 brood experienced low marine survival.  This is the main reason for the decrease in returns.  However there is a good number of surplus Chinook coming which is good news for the sport fisherman.  Bag limits will continue to be the same.  The limits in place for 2008 are two Chinook per day per person with four in possession in both the Port Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound.   Coho returns should be very good in all areas.  Limits in Barkley Sound will continue to be two per day with four in possession per person.  The Port Alberni Inlet will continue with a limit of four Coho per day with a possession limit of eight.


       The current preseason forecast for sockeye salmon is not as good.  The preseason outlook is showing a return of 150,000 Somass Sockeye which return to Great Central and Sproat Lakes.  The Henderson River return is also predicted to be low.  The Sport Fishing Advisory Board and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will announce that there will be absolutely no fishing for sockeye salmon in Area 23 during the month of June.   If returns look higher than what is  predicted and the count of returned Sockeye into the system during May and June is high there may be opportunity for a sport fishery in early July.  Slivers Charters is currently booking June and July trips for Barkley Sound where there is great fishing for the many migratory salmon making their way down the coastline.  These fish come in and feed on the ample and rich bait fish found in the calm waters of Barkley Sound.


Current Fishing

Port Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound


       The Port Alberni Inlet reopened the sport prawn fishery on April 1st.  The fishing for these luscious prawns has been magnificent.  There were a few days at the beginning of last week that were difficult to maneuver a craft up and down the Inlet around the China Creek area because of the great number of traps.   Most individuals were getting a half a bucket to a bucket of prawns on each set. There is not any salmon fishing currently in the Inlet.  If the Sockeye numbers remain low then the first opportunity for salmon fishing in the Port Alberni Inlet for the sport fisherman and salmon fishing guides will not be until the first week or week and a half of August.   By this time there should be a good number of Chinook salmon for charter groups and individual sport fishermen.  The Chinook fishery usually continues strong into mid September and is followed by a very good Coho run.   Predictions as mentioned earlier look good for Coho.

       Barkley Sound has been hit and miss over the last couple of weeks.  Guides have had some success in Mayne Bay, Swale Rock, and Meares.  Guide Al had six feeder springs all weighing 7 to 9 pounds at Meares last week.   The fish were in 80 to 120 feet of water.  A green needle fish with 42 inches of leader behind a green hotspot flasher was working very well as was anchovy in a green or clear teaser holder.  The day at Meares was Als’ best day as guests had opportunity to play a dozen fish and also pick oysters and fish for prawns and crab.  The ocean side of Swale Rock and Big Bear which can be considered a part of Barkley Sound

have had some of the biggest fish weighing up to fifteen pounds.  There has been a herring spawn but the return was not that great.   The fish have been feeding on needlefish and shrimp.  When one finds the bait one will find the fish in good numbers.

       The City of Port Alberni will once again be hosting the Labor Day Salmon Festival.  The Port Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound will be very busy as many anglers world-wide will attempt to catch the big one.   Last year there were $48,000 is prizes.   The biggest salmon of the weekend is worth $7,000.  The Salmon festival is a good way for many to end their summer fishing trips. 



        Salmon fishing on the West Coast of Vancouver Island has picked up dramatically.  Our Seafood Safari which just begun has been excellent.   Guests had some wonderful days on the water last week.  Prawns, Crab, oysters, and salmon have all been part of the Safari and guests have enjoyed their after fishing barbecue meals immensely.   Guide Mike has had some great success with Salmon fishing just off the lighthouse and Great Bear.   Fishing has also been productive in Mayne Bay and around Meares and Swale Rock.  The lighthouse produced the best fishing last week with guests one day playing and bringing to the boat six Winter Chinook weighing eleven to fifteen pounds.  Great Bear and Mayne Bay have had some similar results but the fish have been smaller.  The fish off the lighthouse have been sitting in 80 to 90 feet of water and have been hitting a four inch cop-car coyote spoon with a five foot leader behind a green or red hotspot flasher.  A green/blue needlefish with a 42 inch leader behind a green or red flasher has been dynamite.  At Great Bear the needlefish has also been very productive.  Most of the salmon have been seven to nine pounds in that area.  The fish we have been picking up have been full of shrimp.  There have been some very large bait balls which is a great sign.  The salmon fishing should begin to pickup now.   We have been keeping our prawn and crab traps out and using salmon parts to attract the crab and prawns.  People have really enjoyed getting out of the boat and become involved in some oyster picking.

       The summer outlook for salmon and halibut fishing looks extremely good.  We are expecting good runs of Chinook and Coho migrating down the coast at various times of the year.   Currently the daily limit on Chinook or Coho is two.  The daily limit on halibut is one and will become two in June. 


Stamp River Steelhead

        The Steelhead fishing over the past The picture is of guide Rollie with guest Alex and his dad Glen who is not in picture.  This was Alexs' first ever winter steelhead.  Alex is from Saskatchewan The steelhead was picked up on the Stamp River close to Port Alberni B.Cfew days has really picked up.  Three guides over the past few days each have hit an average of twelve fish daily with the winter steelhead being very fresh with sea lice still attached.  Prior to this, guides were getting two or three hits per day.  Both the Lower and Upper Stamp have been hot.  Bait has been excellent below the bucket.  In the Upper River guides have had guests casting spoons and have been hitting some beautiful steelhead in the ten pound range.  We are hoping this fishery can fish strong and continue for another two weeks.


For more information


Doug Lindores

Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing


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