Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound and Ucluelet
AREA REPORT June 2019 Written by Doug Lindores
Vancouver Island is a majestic geographical area of tall coniferous forests and breath-taking scenic views of rugged terrain and coastlines battered by winter storms. There is not only a continuous display of rugged coastlines but there are also wonderful exquisite and secluded beaches with pristine calm water in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet. Not only does the West Coast of British Columbia have these unbelievable landscapes but the salmon fishing in many areas is nothing but “World Class”. This is one of British Columbia’s only areas that anglers have an opportunity of landing a twenty pound salmon twelve months of the year. Fishing is just like the weather and in June it really does start to heat up. The Salmon fishing for Chinook salmon and also some early Coho in Barkley Sound can be very consistent during June. In June large schools of salmon, mostly Chinook, will hang around Barkley Sound and feed on the rich quantities of bait fish before continuing their long journey to the large watersheds to the south. Lots of quality salmon linger around the surf line and anglers have excellent opportunities of landing some nice sized salmon at a variety of hotspots like Cree Island, Austin, Meares, Sail Rock, Edward King and Beale.
June is also a wonderful month for sport fishing in the Alberni Inlet. The many areas to fish can still be relatively quiet and peaceful in respect to the number of anglers on the water during July and August. The Alberni Inlet historically offers Sockeye salmon fishing in June. Predictions for 2019 are showing rather low numbers of Sockeye returning back to the Somass River system. With 350,000 to 500,000 Sockeye forecast to return to the Somass system retention for sport in June will be two sockeye per day with a two-day retention limit of four per person. With the current environmental conditions Sockeye Salmon fishing for sport should get underway by Fathers-Day Weekend. When the Inlet water warms up the Sockeye begin to School in good numbers. The Salmon usually school from Cous Creek out to Nahmint and Franklin River. The Sockeye in the Alberni Inlet in June will predominately sit in forty-five to sixty feet of water. As the water warms the salmon will swim to deeper water. Sockeye hit shorter leader lengths from eighteen to twenty-four inches behind a variety of flashers. The best lures are mp 15’s, the pink and blue, and pink and black small hootchies. To date approximately 4,000 plus Sockeye salmon have escaped into the Sproat and Great Central Lakes. The greatest percentage of these fish have gone into the Sproat.
Barkley Sound fishing during the first seven to ten days of June has been extremely good. Most areas of the Sound have been producing Chinook salmon averaging eight to thirteen pounds. However there have been several Chinook in the high teens up to the mid twenty-pound range. The largest Chinook to date was landed on the Bamfield Wall and came in at a whopping Thirty-eight pounds. Coyote, Coho Killer, and Gold Star Spoons and a variety of hootchies have been working the best behind green and blue flashers. Some Kinetic flashers have also been working well. Green and blue Nickel, Herring Aid, Cookies and Cream, and Maverick have been some of the favorite spoons in the three and a half to four-inch size. White and green colors in hootchies have currently been by far the best when using plastic lures. Some individuals have been using blacks and blues in terms of colors and have had some great success. Leader lengths when using hootchies are best at forty-two inches fishing at depths of eighty to one hundred and twenty feet deep.
The trout fishing in June is often extremely good. The sockeye smolts as example leave Sproat and Great Central Lakes and travel out through the Somass River. This smolt migration wakes the trout up and using flat fish and Kwikfish that resemble smolts in the frog and rainbow patterns work really well when trolling. If fishing from the various banks use power bait fish.
Tidal water fishing in 2019 for Chinook salmon and Coho should be very good. Pre season forecasts for these two species returning to West Coast Vancouver Island are extremely good. The migratory Chinook number are expected to be well above average and hatchery Chinook forecasts termed West Coast Vancouver Island are forecast also to be well above average. This has been recently termed as a year with the highest return of salmon in many years.
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MAY 2019 DOUG SLIVERS CHARTERS SALMON SPORT FISHING
We are approaching a new Saltwater Sport Fishing season. With the many changes that are occurring in British Columbia and in regard to sport fishing regulations for anglers it seems that the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound will be two of the areas that sport fishing will continue as it historically has in past. Chinook and Coho fishing in Barkley Sound right to the surf line will continue, at this time, throughout the 2019 summer months with limits of two Chinook and two Coho salmon. The West Coast Vancouver Island returns of Chinook and Coho salmon in 2019 are expected to be historically “very high”. This is very good news for anglers and for the community of Port Alberni. Sockeye fishing in the Alberni Inlet is not quite as prolific as it was looking just a few short months ago. The early season forecasts are predicting that Sockeye returns to the Somass River system will be from Four Hundred Thousand to Four hundred and thirty thousand pieces. With the current environmental conditions Sockeye Fishing for sport anglers should get underway by Fathers-Day Weekend in the Alberni Inlet. Possession limits if all goes well to the fishery plan will be possession limits of two sockeye salmon per day. Usually Sport Sockeye fishing continues through July followed in early August by Chinook and Coho fishing. The Chinook and Coho opportunities in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound in August and early September should be spectacular.
With improved weather conditions and the change in winds, it’s also when offshore halibut fishing opportunities intensify. In May we will concentrate on Halibut fishing which will intensify as these fish migrate to the sandy bottoms of the close by banks out on the offshore areas.
May is the month that most sport fishermen prepare their boats and gear for the anticipated sport fishing season. It is also the month that most get out on the water and enjoy their first sport fishing opportunities in saltwater locations. In May, the migrating “early summer Chinook” head toward the big watersheds to the south swim down the coast close to the beach. Barkley Sound (Area 23) is one of those areas along the rugged coast line of British Columbia that has water which is very well protected and sport fisher people have opportunity to fish pretty much 12 months of the year.
Barkley Sound is full of bait fish which range from needle fish, herring, and anchovy. With these sources of food in “Area 23” waters good-sized schools of salmon swim into the area and feed heavily on these rich nutrient sources. Sometimes, the salmon will rest and gorge themselves for days before continuing the journey to their natal rivers and streams. Often May and early June will see good-sized schools of salmon lingering inside the surf line areas like Cree Island, Austin Island, and Meares. Edward King Island and Kirby Point are two other great sport fishing locations. Depending on the bait sources these migratory salmon can come right to Swale Rock and as far as Pill Point to feed on the bait fish before heading back to the open ocean. Early-season salmon are usually in water ranging from 80 to 130 feet. A variety of spoons in chrome and favorites like cookies and cream, Irish cream, and a few of the 3-inch needlefish spoons and the chartreuse and white glow will work very well.
Anglers normally have the best success around the Ucluelet Harbor Islands and in Barkley Sound using anchovy in chartreuse, green glow, green haze, and purple haze Rhys Davis teaser heads behind either green, blue, or purple hotspot flashers. Four-inch and three-and-a-half-inch spoons in Irish cream and cookies and cream, gold and silver gold star spoons, and needlefish, especially the b-149, are all excellent choices on the troll.
Trout fishing (rainbow & cutthroat) in the two big lakes—Sproat and Great Central—are very productive in the spring months. Gear fishermen in the spring often use Flatfish wiggling plugs while fly fishers will cast, or troll the dark purple carrie fly, the black woolly bugger, or the crystal hair black leach.
Tight lines and Good Fishing
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It has been a relatively long and very wet winter season in Central and West Coast Vancouver Island. Some big winter storms with wind have battered the coast in inland areas especially in December and January. Spring and Summer are just around the corner and we can hopefully expect weather conditions to improve and allow for some productive fishing days out on the water. 2019 looks to provide good opportunity for sport fisher people targeting Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, and it being an odd year, pink salmon. The Chinook numbers should remain stable with some of our area streams and rivers improving in returns. The Coho mortality rates are down and they are increasing in return numbers to local water systems in late August and September. Sockeye returns to the Somass River system should be average and much better than what occurred in 2018.
It is a new year and hopefully some new and wonderful sport fishing opportunities will fall upon us in 2019. As previously remarked the Spring, summer and fall of 2019 are looking very favorable for Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye Fishing in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound. These two areas of the West Coast will provide for ongoing sport fishing with reasonable retention limits. Chinook and Coho numbers in 2019 returning to West Coast Vancouver Island Rivers and Streams should resemble the fantastic returns that we witnessed in 2017 and 2018. Sockeye salmon returns to the Somass River should be average or perhaps just a little better than average. Approximately 200,000 Sockeye returned to the Somass River system in 2018. This was a very low return of what is termed the “Number 1” salmon of the five salmon species. This did not provide for much of a sport fishery. The early season forecast for Sockeye is not yet established. More data will be provided as we get closer to late April.
The horrific stormy winter weather on the West Coast and inland Vancouver Island has prevented a lot of winter Chinook fishing in Barkley Sound. The sport fishing during most of the winter in 2019 can be described as “slow”. Weather conditions will abruptly change in March and April and allow opportunity for some warmer air temperatures which should allow for some productive fishing days out on the water of the Sound and the various islands outside the Ucluelet Harbor mouth. March provides the first of many salmon fishing derby’s in this area. The first weekend of March in 2019 is the annual Sproat Loggers Derby. This Derby is hosted out of Poett Nook located at the bottom end of the Bamfield Wall in Sarita Bay. This early season derby has had Winter Chinook in the mid twenty-pound range weighed in as derby winners. The Sproat Lake Winter Chinook Derby has been attracting well over four hundred entrants over the last few years. This derby usually marks the beginning of the salt water angling season in this Vancouver Island area. The derby has many outstanding prizes for those many entrants that travel from afar to take part. There will be plenty of information online regarding the derby. Entrant tickets are usually available at the Gone Fishing store locations.
Winter Chinook fishing has been slow through the winter months. That being said the weather has not cooperated. Some local anglers in Bamfield and Ucluelet do get out on the water on a nice winter afternoon or morning. The feeder Chinook fishing should improve dramatically if the herring spawn is as fantastic as it has been over the last few years. For those sport angling people getting out on the water there have been a few afternoons where there are some feeders in deep water right in the Bamfield Harbor mouth, Scotch Bay, the Bamfield Wall, Whistle Buoy, and the stretch of water from Kirby to Edward King. The front side of Fleming Island and Sandford across from Bamfield has also provided some nice salmon up to ten and eleven pounds. The fish are in very deep water up to one hundred and fifty feet. March, April and the first half of May can provide excellent fishing for avid anglers outside the Ucluelet Harbor. Many will troll right alongside Beg Island and to the Red Can. Sail Rock, Great Bear, Mara Rock, right back to Mayne Bay and over to Swale Rock can also provide some great winter Chinook opportunities. In the early spring many anglers will fish very close to the bottom. Coyote spoons, or spoons in Irish Cream, Cookies and Cream, green and blue nickel and other various spoons and colors in the three and three-and-a-half inch size work very well. If there are not a lot of undersize Chinook in the various angling spots anchovy will often out fish spoons. Chartreuse, Cop Car, army truck, and green haze are often good anchovy teaser head colors. A six foot leader or better when trolling anchovy is a wise decision. Those who prefer trolling with hootchies purple haze, green spatterback, and various glow whites tend to work well behind green and blue flashers.
Early Season fishing in late April, May, June and July often will rely on returns of Chinook and Coho to the very large watersheds to the south. The biggest watersheds are the Columbia, the Kalama, Willamette and Sacramento. The Salmon often travel along West Coast Vancouver Island as if travelling on a hi-way. The sandy banks off the west coast out to twenty miles provide rich resources of bait fish. The salmon will stop and gorge themselves for days before moving on in large schools. Barkley Sound also has huge amounts of rich nutrient filled bait fish that these migrating salmon will come in and feed on. For anglers the fishing for Chinook up to thirty pounds can be very eventful and provide for what can be termed “first class sport fishing”. The West Vancouver Chinook and Coho will begin to show in early August and begin to peak later in the month and into September.
Trout fishing on the lakes has been up and down. Some Sproat Lake fresh water fisher people have fished Dog Mountain and also an area just up from the Ski Club but success rates have been minimal. Great Central Lake has had anglers have a little success fishing from shore using power bait and even worms. The best fishing has been on the troll. The fall fishing on Great Central was spectacular. The fishing during Christmas and the early part of January was a bit slower likely due to the heavy rains. Cut throat and rainbow during the winter months usually weigh two to four pounds. Flat fish in darker patterns with a trailing dew worm works very well. Gang trolls also are a good choice.
During the winter the Stamp River conditions can vary. Steelhead fishing will be rather poor when there is high water. When the water is low and clear anglers in the river will on average hit a few fish per day. Steelhead fishing has been okay in both the upper and lower river. There have been Winter and Fall Steelhead in the system. These fish will spawn in the spring. Hopefully when conditions warm up so will the Stamp River fishing.
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We are very fortunate in this area of Vancouver Island to have the opportunity to fish year round. The Alberni Inlet and more importantly Barkley Sound have very protected water areas. The month of September is a fabulous time for anglers as the big Coho and Chinook approach their final destination of their longest life journey. The month of September also is a wonderful time of year for anglers as weather patterns create fabulous settings for many memorable sport fishing days. The days of course are shorter but the afternoons are warm and the salmon that are swimming along the Vancouver Island coast line and in the many Barkley Sound locations are feeding frantically before making their final destination to their natal streams and rivers.
September is not only a fabulous month for sport fishing but it is also the time of year when there are some terrific fishing derby opportunities. The city of Port Alberni hosts the three-day Labor Day Weekend Salmon Festival. The derby dates for 2018 are September 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The derby provides cash and prizes of over $60,000 with endless weekend entertainment. The 2018 festival should have some fantastic results as the returning Chinook to West Coast Vancouver Island is a mix of three, four and five year olds. The returns of Chinook are forecast to be at approximately eight-five thousand pieces to the Somass River system. This prediction should provide for fabulous world class salmon fishing in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet in September.
Tuna fishing is also another opportunity that takes place in September. This fishery is still rather new to the area and requires some specialized gear and knowledge before heading out. In September the warm water currents bring the Tuna closer to the beach and make them more accessible in a sport boat of “Good Size”. The Tuna Shoot Out occurs in September, weather permitting. Anglers have to watch and be aware of the water current and look for the temperature break and fish the warmer side of the blue water. The tuna fishery is a lot of fun but safety is of essence. It is important that other people know where your boat is headed and that the weather is perfect. All safety equipment that is transport Canada approved is important on any sport fishing vessel. The tuna when landed must be put on ice immediately to preserve their quality. Having a larger sport fishing boat is a good idea as many will take up to five hundred pounds of ice or more.
Barkley Sound fishing at Pill Point, Diplock, Assets Island, and Swale Rock are wonderful hotspots where the salmon in in the first half of the month will hold if there are large quantities of rich resources of bait fish. The Bamfield Wall also provides unbelievable sport fishing. The fish that are headed to the Somass River, Sarita River and Nitnat will often hold from Whittlestone to Poett Nook gorging themselves on bait fish as they await fall rain before migrating to their final destination. Salmon also stretch along the opposite Barkley Sound coastline from Gilbraltor Island to the fish marker in Rainy Bay. The Chinook and Coho arrive in good numbers on a daily basis and as eager as they are to arrive to their spawning grounds they are still relatively eager to feast heavily. The fish are in shallower water in September. It is not uncommon for Coho in the early morning and late evening to be on the surface. Chinook are often in twenty to sixty feet of water. Anglers using anchovy usually have the best success. Anchovy in a glow army truck, purple haze, green haze, and cop car teaser head with six feet of leader behind purple-gold, green-gold or purple haze flasher should have some excellent success. The AORL 12, dark green spatter back, clown, purple haze, and army truck hootchies are fantastic standbys. Tomic Spoons and plugs in the six and seven inch size with no flasher also produce some great results when fishing in the many Barkley Sound locations.
The Alberni Inlet historically fills with Chinook salmon during the second half of August and continues into the first half of September. Coho follow the Chinook migration. In September both species are in a great mix migrating to the Somass River. Hotspots in the Inlet are Coulsons, Lone Tree, the China Creek Wall, Dunsmuir and Underwood. The fish are in twenty to fifty feet of water and are usually most aggressive in the early morning and on tide changes. Again the top producers in terms of lures are anchovy in various teaser heads behind a green glow or chartreuse glow hotspot flasher. The best hootchies are O-15, O-2 and O-16 which are all red and pink work extremely well. Also purple haze, green spatter back, and the mp2 and mp16 are also fantastic behind a hotspot flasher. The salmon when in the inlet are anxious to hit the river and when any rain occurs they bolt to the river mouth.
September is a wonderful month. The days are shorter with cool mornings and evenings. The late mornings and afternoons are warm with that cool fresh ocean breeze. The boat traffic is much less than July and August which makes for even a better sport fishing opportunity. Sport fishing will be world class as the salmon in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet will be in good numbers and a good weight class.
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August 30th 2018 DOUG LINDORES
2018 Alberni Valley Labor Day Salmon FESTIVAL (Sept. 1st to Sept. 3rd 2018)
Labor Day weekend is upon us and that means it is Salmon Festival weekend in Port Alberni. The Derby takes place on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with fishing beginning each day at 6 am. The derby will close on Labor Day Monday at 3 pm with final weigh-in at this time. Derby Headquarters for the 2018 Derby is at Tyee Landing. The official weigh-in center will also be at Tyee Landing which is very close to Harbor Quay and Fishermen’s Wharf. There is a total of over $55,000 in prizes for those anglers participating in the Salmon Derby. The largest salmon landed is valued at $15,000. Daily prizes each day are $5,000 for first prize, $2,000 for second prize and $1,000 for third prize. All contending derby fish are to be weighed in at Tyee Landing. Other weigh in centers for qualifying hidden weight prizes are China Creek Marina, Poet Nook, and Mckay Bay Lodge in Bamfield. The cost per Rod is the exact same as 2017 at $50.00 per rod fished. From this $50 there is a donation of $10 given to local enhancement. The Derby for 2018 should be a great success. Returns for Chinook and Coho salmon are above average. Chinook returns to the Somass River system for 2018 are approximately 85,000 pieces. Twenty percent of the run is five year old fish which means that there is the chance for some Chinook to come in at the forty pound mark.
The Alberni Valley and all of Barkley Sound has been experiencing very warm and dry weather conditions during the summer months. The Chinook and Coho will need fresh water before entering some of the smaller streams and creeks. There has been a very limited number of migrating Chinook and Coho into the Somass system. There has been some excellent fishing for anglers in Barkley Sound locations.These salmon that have recently reached the waters of the Sound will migrate up into the Alberni Inlet and will hold until there is ample rain to allow the salmon to continue their final journey to their spawning grounds. Some salmon will remain in Barkley Sound will hold outside the many streams and creeks located in the area. The Chinook and Coho in Barkley Sound will continue to feed heavily and will be eager to bite the variety of lures put out by the many anglers.
The best salmon fishing currently is in Barkley Sound. The Alberni Inlet has had some good days of fishing. There has been some commercial fishing at the beginning of this current week which has slowed the sport fishing opportunity. The Inlet will fill with fresh salmon in the coming days. Weather conditions are forecast to continue to be dry. The ample Chinook and Coho at Swale Rock, Harbor Entrance, Pill Point, and the Bamfield Wall should continue as new salmon come in from the ocean. The Bamfield Wall has become a little more consistent over the last week. Pill Point, Swale Rock, Meares, Cree and Austin Island and Harbor Entrance have all had very consistent sport fishing over the past two or three weeks. The salmon in the sound have been feeding very hard around tide changes. The Chinook and Coho have also been active between tides. The salmon are in fairly shallow water in Barkley Sound and also the Alberni Inlet. Fishing between thirty and fifty feet has not been uncommon. The best lures in the Alberni Inlet are the O-2, 0-15, 0-16, spatterback and AORL 12 hootchies. Anchovy in the Inlet is also working. In Barkley Sound anchovy in a variety of Teaser Heads seem ideal and for many is working the best. Cop Car, green haze, purple haze, army truck glow and bloody nose have all been working. Leader lengths from five and a half to six feet behind gold, green, or burgundy flashers with a gold or mirror face are working very well. The AORL 12 hootchie and the spatter back and Halloween hootchies with 38 to 42 inches of leader behind a burgundy and gold flasher or a kinetic flasher is ideal for Coho in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet.
Entries for this year’s Salmon Festival Derby have been very encouraging. There will be many boaters on the water. Safety precautions are always of importance.
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SLIVERS CHARTERS SALMON SPORT FISHING
July 4th 2018 Doug Lindores Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing
July is a wonderful month for sport fishing in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley sound. The area begins to fill with travelers and various anglers world-wide. The Alberni Inlet is an area during July where sport Sockeye fishing historically flourishes. Sockeye Salmon numbers returning to the Somass River are forecast to be from five hundred to six hundred thousand pieces. The current retention level for sport fisher persons is two per day. It is still unclear if this number will change on the first of July. The early results to date have been phenomenal with many anglers limiting. Over the next few days there will be a variety of test fishing which may indicate a new run size. With the current environmental conditions Sockeye Sport fishing could (if permitted) continue into late July. There is still plenty of snow in the mountains which has created a fairly steady flow of cool water which attracts the Sockeye to the River. How-ever the area did have peak air temperatures over thirty degrees Celsius for several days. These higher temperatures have helped the temperature of the river water and the inlet water rise substantially. The rise in water temperatures have slowed the Sockeye migration and the Sockeye are schooling out in the inlet.
Barkley Sound had terrific Chinook fishing during the month of May. The last couple of weeks during the month of June the Sound has had not only fantastic Chinook fishing but there have also been some great migrating Coho up to seven and eight pounds. The “early” and mid- summer run of migratory Chinook headed to the big watersheds to the south have been fantastic. Barkley Sound has had ample amounts of rich nutrient bait fish which are bringing the salmon in from offshore waters to feed. The surf line areas such as Austin and Cree Island and inshore areas along the Bamfield Wall, Swale Rock, Pill Point, Ecoole and Diplock have been excellent locations for some of those chrome Chinook and Coho making their long journey to their natal rivers and streams.
Port Alberni Inlet
Anglers have the best opportunity to land Sockeye when they school in big numbers. This historically occurs when the water temperature in the Somass River and Alberni Inlet hits seventeen and eighteen degrees Celsius. The Sockeye school from Cous Creek out to the Nahmint Franklin area. With the projected outlook for Sockeye returning to the Somass River being around five hundred and fifty thousand there should be a fantastic opportunity for some wonderful Sockeye fishing. On May 1st Sockeye fishing opened in the tidal waters of the inlet. The retention is currently at two Sockeye Salmon per person per day with a two-day limit of four per person.
The Sockeye in the Alberni Inlet are currently sitting in thirty to fifty feet of water and as the water warms they will swim down into deeper and cooler water. Sockeye hit short leader lengths from eighteen to twenty-five inches in length behind a variety of hotspot flashers. The mp2, mp15, pink and blue, pink and black, and “Black Hooks” with all seem to work very well for most sport anglers. Sockeye are attracted to the boat by color. Many sport fishermen will often have eight to ten flashers behind their boat. Four to six of these flashers are referred to as dummy flashers and the other four with hootchies or “Black Hooks” of choice. The Sockeye are currently averaging three to seven pounds. Sockeye are the number one commercial salmon. They are wonderful for summer barbeques and when vacuum packed properly last the winter for those special occasions.
Sockeye fishing is a wonderful fishing opportunity for the whole family. It is a fun fishery for young and old. Don’t miss out on this opportunity in the Alberni Inlet in late June and July of this 2018 sport fishing season.
Barkley Sound and Ucluelet
The salmon fishing in Barkley Sound has been just magnificent. The best fishing has been out on surf line areas. The islands close to the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth, Meares, Austin, Cree Island, Kirby Point, Edward King and the Bamfield Wall during the past few weeks have experienced some hot Chinook and Coho sport fishing. Areas close to the Ucluelet Harbor that have had a few fantastic fishing days are Great Bear and Sail Rock. The inner and outer South bank and Long Beach have had some of the transient salmon create some good sport salmon fishing opportunities. Florencia and Way Point have been two hotspots as of late. The salmon coming into Barkley Sound have been hitting small three- inch spoons. The herring aid, cookies and cream and Irish Cream as example have been hot behind a variety of flashers. Anchovy in green glow, army truck, and green haze Rhys Davis Teaser Heads have been working. There are a lot of undersized Chinook and Coho making it rather painful in terms of the amount of bait one can go through. The best advice is to fish with the spoons mentioned or ones of choice. Needle fish hootchies and hootchies in green (spatterback), blue and white have worked well. Small Coho Killer spoons in the cookies and cream and white pearl have been working very well. A few guides have done very well with the army truck glow hootchie and the cuttlefish J-79. The Sonora cuttlefish, Jack Smith, and Blue Meaney Hootchies have been very good out on the banks. We are looking forward to some great sport fishing opportunities during July and August in Barkley Sound, the Alberni Inlet and offshore. The numbers of transient Chinook and Coho headed to the big watersheds to the south are forecast to be average or just above average which should provide some very excellent sport salmon fishing.
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May 2018 FISHING REPORT
PORT ALBERNI, BARKLEY SOUND, OFFSHORE WEST COAST
Area Report Doug Lindores SLIVERS CHARTERS SALMON SPORT FISHING
The summer of 2018 is fast approaching. Fisher men and women are preparing for another fantastic saltwater season with excitement and enthusiasm. Anglers like many others see May as the month that is full of “promise” for the summer season to come. May is that month when there are many cool but mostly sunny days out in Barkley Sound, those areas along the surf line, offshore waters, “when weather and any winds are low”, and areas close to the Ucluelet Harbor mouth. This is the time of year when there are many more boats out on the water than what people actually think. Locals from Port Alberni, Bamfield, Ucluelet, and others from various Vancouver Island communities motor by boat out to the Sound to take advantage of the excellent weather and the pristine, protected and calm water of beautiful and scenic Barkley Sound. Fishing in the Sound and along the coast is often very productive as there are often some bright and very chrome Feeder Chinook in the eight to fourteen-pound range. These winter Chinook are really feisty and very hard fighting. They are in deep water and the flesh is very deep red in color. There are also many migratory Chinook in the mix as the early summer run of salmon headed to the big watersheds to the south begin to show in relatively good numbers. Some of these salmon are ranging in weight from fifteen to twenty-five pounds. The Alberni Inlet in May is very quiet but many local anglers are gearing up with their red and pink gear in anticipation of Sockeye fishing which historically gets underway by mid-June. Sockeye fishing is a wonderful family fishing event for all ages.
The winter and early spring feeder Chinook fishing has been productive for those fisher people who have ventured out on the water during the late winter and early spring. The Bamfield Wall, Sanford, the Trevor Channel Whistle Buoy, Vernon Bay, Mayne Bay, Swale Rock, and the Canoe Pass area have all had some great Feeder Chinook fishing days. The previous mentioned areas as well as Cree Island, Meares, Sail Rock, Kirby Point, and Edward King are excellent salmon fishing locations as we get into the Month of May.
May is the month that the “early summer run” of Chinook are migrating to the big watersheds to the south and swim down the coast line outside of Ucluelet and the surf line areas of Barkley Sound. As mentioned May historically has plenty of Winter springs in Barkley Sound and the Bamfield area. Kirby Point up to Edward King and also the Whistle Buoy all the way down to the Bamfield Wall have these hard fighting Chinook sitting normally in one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet of water. A variety of spoons tend to be the most productive. Spoons in chrome and also cookies and cream and Irish cream are very productive. Bait is also an excellent choice but if there are a lot of small undersize Chinook in the area that anglers are fishing then spoons or hootchies are definitely the way to go.
The migratory Chinook salmon sit out on the various offshore banks and also come into many areas of Barkley Sound and feed heavily on the rich resources of bait fish. The bait fish are needlefish, herring and pilchards. Some of the best gear to use at this time of year inshore and offshore is three and a half and four inch coyote spoons in green and blue nickel, green glow, Irish Cream, and silver horde. The best plastic is the white AORL12, green spatterback, army truck, and a variety of blue and green needlefish hootchies. If fishing on the troll in Barkley Sound with hootchies fish in deeper water from 100 to 140 feet with a leader of 40 to 44 inches behind a green glow or a chartreuse hotspot flasher. Bait is often a favorite choice with anchovy in a green haze, purple haze or chartreuse Rhys Davis Teaser Head with six feet of leader behind a glow hotspot flasher or various UV patterns. The Chinook are not terribly fussy in May as they are feeding heavily especially on the tides. The best fishing is often “where the bait fish are located”. Find the bait and you will find some nice Chinook Salmon. May is a fantastic salmon fishing time with beautiful weather conditions.
For those avid halibut fishermen May is the month that the halibut migrate from the deep into the shallows. The various banks offshore have plenty of halibut by Mid May. Often areas around Bamfield and Swale Rock inshore are very good. This is the time of year that some of the larger halibut are landed. Fishing halibut before and during the slack tide is a great time. Trolling the bottom or using drift jigs on the bottom can be most effective. Many individuals will use very large herring, salmon bellies, and octopus for bait. Some will use a spreader bar with large spoons or a Mudraker. All can be very effective methods of fishing Halibut.
In the Stamp/Somass Rivers the Steelhead fishing has slowed down. There can still be a few Steelhead around but one has to put in time. In May the water is often very clear in the river. The best lures are often small Jensen eggs or small corkies in rocket red.
As the weather warms in May the trout fishing does improve. When fishing in various streams and rivers only single barbless hooks are permitted. The two large nearby lakes which are Sproat Lake and Great Central Lake are usually quite productive in the early and mid- spring months. There are often some very nice cutthroat and rainbow trout. Fly fisher persons usually are casting or trolling a crystal hair black leach or a variety of artificial lures that resemble small fry as the trout are often feeding on small Sockeye fry.
It is May and it is time to get out on the water. Good Luck and Tight Lines.
Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing
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1 888 214 7206 toll free
Area Report For March and April 2018 and Seasonal Outlook for Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, Bamfield and West Coast (Ucluelet)
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PORT ALBERNI AND AREA
It is a new year and hopefully some new and wonderful sport fishing opportunities will fall upon us in 2018. The Spring, summer and fall of 2018 are looking very favorable for Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye Fishing in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound. Chinook and Coho numbers in 2018 returning to West Coast Vancouver Island Rivers and Streams should resemble the fantastic returns that we witnessed in 2017. Sockeye salmon returns to the Somass River should be better than average. Approximately 300,000 Sockeye returned to the Somass system in 2017. This was a very low return of what is termed the “Number 1” salmon of the five salmon species. The early season forecast for Sockeye is approximately 600,000 or better which historically is an average return. More data will be provided as we get closer to mid-April.
The winter weather on the West Coast and inland Vancouver Island has been “stormy”. Big winds and rain has battered the coast and inland areas especially in November and January. Spring will be welcomed by many. We can expect weather conditions to change in late March and April and allow opportunity for some warmer air temperatures which should allow for some productive fishing days out on the water of Barkley Sound and the various islands outside the Ucluelet Harbor mouth. March provides the first of many salmon fishing derby’s in this area. The first March weekend is the annual Sproat Loggers Derby. This Derby is hosted out of Poett Nook located at the bottom end of the Bamfield Wall in Sarita Bay. This Early season derby has had Winter Chinook in the mid-twenty pound range weighed in as derby winners. The Sproat Lake Winter Chinook Derby has been attracting well over four hundred entrants over the last few years. This derby usually marks the beginning of the salt water angling season in the Barkley Sound area. The derby has many outstanding prizes for those many entrants that travel from afar to take part. There will be plenty of information online regarding the derby. Entrant tickets are usually available at the Gone Fishing store locations.
Winter Chinook fishing has been slow through late January and early February. That being said the weather has not cooperated for anglers except for those local anglers in Bamfield and Ucluelet to get out on a nice winter afternoon or morning. The feeder Chinook fishing should improve dramatically if the herring spawn is as fantastic as it was the last two years. For those fisher people getting out on the water there have been a few afternoons where there are some feeders in deep water right in the Bamfield Harbor mouth, Scotch Bay, the Bamfield Wall, Whistle Buoy, and the stretch of water from Kirby to Edward King. The front side of Fleming Island and Sandford across from Bamfield has also provided some nice salmon up to ten and eleven pounds. The fish are in very deep water up to one hundred and fifty feet. March, April and the first half of May can also be excellent for avid anglers outside the Ucluelet Harbour. Many will troll right alongside Beg Island and to the Red Can. Sail Rock, Great Bear, Mara Rock, right back to Mayne Bay and over to Swale Rock can also provide some great winter Chinook opportunities. In the early spring many anglers will fish very close to the bottom. Coyote spoons, or spoons in Irish Cream, Cookies and Cream or other various spoons in the three and three and a half inch size. If there are not a lot of undersize Chinook in the various sport fishing areas anchovy will often out fish spoons. Chartreuse, Cop Car, green or blue nickel, and green haze are often good anchovy teaser head colors. Those who prefer trolling with hootchies purple haze, green spatterback, and various glow whites tend to work well behind green and blue flashers.
Early Season fishing in late April, May, June and July often will rely on returns of Chinook and Coho to the very large watersheds to the south. The biggest watersheds are the Columbia, the Kalama, Willamette and Sacramento. The Salmon often travel along West Coast Vancouver Island as if travelling on a hi-way. The sandy banks off the west coast out to twenty miles provide rich resources of bait fish. The salmon will stop and gorge themselves for days before moving on in large schools. Barkley Sound also has huge amounts of rich nutrient filled bait fish that these migrating salmon will come in and feed on. For anglers the fishing for Chinook up to thirty pounds can be first class sport fishing. The West Vancouver Chinook and Coho will begin to show in early August and begin to peak later in the month and into September. The 2012, 2013 and “2014” that went to sea have had a few years with a La Nina weather system in place. This has provided for relatively excellent salmon survival which should provide for good returns to West Coast Vancouver Island Rivers, Streams, and Creeks.
Trout fishing on the lakes has been slow. Some have fished Dog Mountain and just up from the Ski Club but success rates have been minimal. Great Central Lake has had a few anglers have a little success fishing from shore using power bait and even worms.
Over the last few weeks Stamp River conditions have been very poor due to very high water. When the water is low and clear anglers in the river have been on average hitting a few fish per day. Steelhead fishing has been in both the upper and lower river. There are Winter and Fall Steelhead in the system. These fish will spawn in the spring. Hopefully when conditions warm up so will the Stamp River fishing.
Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing
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1 250 731 7389 mobile
October 20th 2017
The 2017 summer sport fishing season has pretty well come to an end for most saltwater sport fishing locations around British Columbia. The weather in many of the Pacific Rim areas was unbelievable until the early part of October. Conditions have changed over the last few days and heavy rains have hit coastal British Columbia with severity. Some avid sport fishermen 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 the October Thanksgiving Weekend in attempt land one or two big Coho that were late returning to their natal streams. Coho beach fishing continues on the East Coast of Vancouver Island. Areas such as Browns Bay, located close to Campbell River and Sarita Bay situated in beautiful Barkley Sound have had some great Chum sport fishing. Chum salmon are a wonderful sport fish and put up a great battle. They are also great on the barbeque. The Browns Bay Chum Run usually peaks just after the middle of October. This year the Brown’s Bay Charity Chum Derby took place on October 14th and 15th with the largest two Chum coming in at over seventeen pounds. This is often one of the last fishing derbies on Vancouver Island each year. Chinook and Coho salmon returning too many of the streams, creeks, and rivers have been very good to date. The return of Somass River Chinook salmon stocks up to the 15th of October are just over twenty-eight thousand. There are over twenty-eight thousand through Stamp Falls. Adult Coho migrating through Stamp falls are at approximately twenty thousand. The Sproat Lake Chinook returns are only at fourteen. The Adult Coho returns to the Sproat are also low and are at about 1,500. The numbers of Chinook and Coho salmon passing through the counters are currently quite high. The peak numbers per day usually occur at this time of year. It is fantastic to see that the Chinook 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.
The heavy rains in October have put an end to any late Coho salmon fishing on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The Coho and Chinook have quickly migrated to the many rivers and streams as the various water systems have filled with water. A few areas in Barkley Sound continued to have some mediocre fishing into early October especially along the Bamfield Wall, the backside of Fleming Island, Pill Point and Swale Rock. The offshore fishing continued to be quite good with some great Coho and feeder Chinook fishing out at the Rats Nose and Big Bank. The sport fishing continued to be relatively good to the end of September. Hatchery Coho on the outside waters definitely dominated.
Now that we are past mid October most sport fisher persons are looking forward to the 2018 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 2017 to the Somass system were a little above average. A high return of Jacks often reflects the following years run size. Sockeye returns in 2017 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 almost for a full year. The mortality rates have been lower. The food sources for the salmon stocks in the North Pacific Ocean have been relatively good. The sport fishing season in 2018 on the British Columbia West Coast should be very exciting with plenty of opportunity for everyone.
For those people that know the Stamp the sport fishing for Coho and Chinook during the fall has been relatively good. Guide anglers have been doing a great job to date for most of their guests. The Stamp was a little tricky to fish until the end of September and even the beginning of October only because the water levels were at record lows making the salmon migration a concern. The heavy October rain over the past few days has dramatically changed 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 that the fly fishing for fall Steelhead is fantastic. The very high water that we are now experiencing can be detrimental to fly fishing and many will fish with conventional gear. 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 best fishing for those fisher people in jet boats on guided trips or for those walking has been in the Lower and Upper River. Entering the river at the rifle range is often a good choice for many. Also driving out to Service Road and walking the river too Dolan’s pit is another excellent fishing spot when the Water levels are not high. One needs to find an area where the water is slow. The river has already had close to 22,000 Coho migrate into the system. There should be 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 for guests, who have been averaging limits on a daily basis, are from 8 to 12 pounds. The best method of fishing Coho has been conventional using spinners, blades, and the Gibbs Coho spoon. If and when the levels of the water drop 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. When the water does come down other areas to fish are Stamp Falls Park, Eagle Rock, Black Rock, Moneys Pool, and the Slide Pool. The Stamp is a very healthy river system and is fishable 12 months of the year. There is still plenty of time for Coho salmon fishing and also Fall Steelhead. Winter Steelhead fishing begins in December and continues into late April.
Port Alberni Inlet Barkley Sound
The sport fishing in the Alberni Inlet was relatively good in 2017. Sockeye fishing turned out to be quite good. Originally Sockeye were closed for the year but with good numbers returning in June sport Sockeye fishing opened on July 1st. 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 Inlet does have a few lingering Coho and a few Chum salmon in the system but no one is currently targeting them. The 2018 season looks very promising. The indicators for early season projections of Sockeye salmon are good. Sockeye fishing many years last for 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 2018 could very well be much higher as Chinook Jack returns have been high. 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.
There have been some wonderful fall days on the water in Barkley Sound right through to the Thanksgiving weekend. The afternoons, especially, 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 up to just over a week ago 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 that have been late arriving have been found at Swale Rock, where there continues to be a lot of bait fish, the backside of Fleming Island, and the Bamfield Wall. The Coho have been hitting shorter hootchie lengths from 32 to 38 inches. The best colors have been purple haze, jelly fish, AORL12 and the green spatterback. Bait throughout the 2017 sport fishing season was a very good choice for anglers. The migratory salmon targeted in Barkley Sound in June and July headed to southerly watersheds were average or just below normal for Chinook. West Coast Vancouver Island Chinook and Coho returns were terrific. We offer great lodge accommodation and are looking at extended trips into Barkley Sound for the summer of 2018. Take advantage and organize your fishing trip into Barkley Sound and offshore early for a 2018 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. The best fishing was out at the Rats Nose and the egg. The salmon fishing out in these locations was very good. We are expecting the summer of 2018 to once again be very good out on the various banks and also inshore outside of the Ucluelet Harbor mouth.
WE have been organizing our three and four day and night lodging for 2018. Join us in a comfortable and fun environment next summer from early June through early September.
For more information, contact:
TOLL FREE: 1- 888-214-7206
250 731 7389 (cell)
2017 Alberni Valley Labor Day Salmon FESTIVAL (Sept. 1st to Sept. 4th)
Labor Day weekend is upon us and that means it is Salmon Festival weekend in Port Alberni. The Derby takes place on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with fishing beginning each day at 6 am. The derby will close on Labor Day Monday at 3 pm with final weigh-in at this time. Derby Headquarters for the 2017 Derby has CHANGED and is NOT at Clutesi Haven Marina. The official weigh-in center will be at Tyee Landing which is very close to Harbor Quay and Fishermen’s Wharf. There is a total of $55,000 in prizes for those people participating in the Salmon Derby. The largest salmon landed is valued at $15,000. Daily prizes each day are $5,000 for first prize, $2,000 for second prize and $1,000 for third prize. All contending derby fish are to be weighed in at Tyee Landing. Other weigh in centers for qualifying hidden weight prizes are China Creek Marina, Poet Nook, and Mckay Bay Lodge in Bamfield. The cost per Rod this year has moved to $50.00. From this $50 there is a donation of $10 given to local enhancement. The Derby for 2017 should be a great success. Returns for Chinook and Coho salmon are above average. Last year’s winning Chinook salmon landed by Dan Weatherby weighed in at 53.2 pounds. This year’s winner could possibly come in with more weight.
The Alberni Valley and all of Barkley Sound has been experiencing very warm and dry weather conditions during the summer months. The Chinook and Coho will need fresh water before entering some of the smaller streams and creeks. There has been some migration of Chinook and Coho into the Somass system. Water on occasion has been released to help the migration for this year spawning fish. Fresh Chinook and Coho are moving into Barkley Sound daily. These salmon that have recently reached the waters of the Sound will migrate up into the Alberni Inlet or they will hold outside various streams and creeks. The fresh Chinook and Coho will continue to be eager to bite the variety of lures put out by many anglers in the sound. There are currently plenty of Chinook and Coho Salmon in the system.
The best salmon fishing currently is in Barkley Sound. The Alberni Inlet has also had some very good days of fishing. There has been some commercial fishing at the beginning of this current week which has slowed the sport fishing opportunity. However The Inlet will fill with fresh salmon in the coming days. Weather conditions are forecast to continue to be warm and very dry. warmer air is in the immediate forecast which will continue to slow the salmon migration. This will also be very true of the salmon down in Barkley Sound locations. The ample Chinook and Coho at Swale Rock, Harbor Entrance, Pill Point, and the Bamfield Wall should continue as new salmon come in from the ocean. The Bamfield Wall has been consistent for the last week. Pill Point, Swale Rock, Meares, Cree and Austin Island and Harbor Entrance have all had very consistent sport fishing over the past two or three weeks. The salmon in the sound have been feeding very hard around tide changes. The Chinook and Coho have also been active between tides. The same scenario has been true for those anglers sport fishing in the inlet. The salmon are in fairly shallow water in Barkley Sound and also the Alberni Inlet. Fishing between thirty and fifty feet has not been uncommon. The best lures in the Alberni Inlet are the O-2, 0-15, 0-16, spatterback and AORL 12 hootchies. Anchovy in the Inlet is also working. In Barkley Sound anchovy in a variety of Teaser Heads seem ideal and for many is working the best. Cop Car, green haze, purple haze, army truck glow and bloody nose have all been working. Leader lengths from five and a half to six feet behind gold, green, or burgundy flashers with a gold or mirror face are working very well. The AORL 12 hootchie and the spatter back and Halloween hootchies with 38 to 42 inches of leader behind a burgundy and gold flasher or a kinetic flasher is ideal for Coho in Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet.
Entries for this year’s Salmon Festival Derby have been very encouraging. There will be many boaters on the water. Safety precautions are always of importance.
For More information:
Contact Doug Lindores
250 724 2502