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December 8 th 2009
Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing
The November monsoons are gone. In fact, November was a month where there was very little time that it did not rain. Henderson Lake which is not far from Port Alberni or Ucluelet and sits right behind Pill Point which is a hot fishing area during the summer in Barkley Sound receives an average of 394 inches of rain per year. That is almost 30 feet of water. With the wetness of November 2009 the area will receive well over 400 inches of rainfall this year. December is already here and there is hope that summer will again come in 2010 but before that we should experience a little bit of Canadian winter weather. The next week is to be cool and sunny. With night time temperatures expected to get down to minus 8 and 10 and with daytime temperatures just below freezing things should dry up and the Stamp River Steelhead fishing, which has been extremely good on many days, especially for those aboard jet boats, will get even better. The water on the Stamp has been high and is coming down everyday. In many areas the water is still running fairly fast. It has been difficult for those walking but over the next week things will really change. There has not been any rain for a week and little in the weather forecast meaning desirable areas may open up for those on foot.
Returns for Port Alberni and Barkley Sound salmon summer runs were good, except for Chinook. Returns back to the Somass River were rather spectacular for Sockeye and Coho. After entering the Somass River Sockeye return to Sproat Lake and Great Central Lake and in late October either spawn along the shallow edges of the lake or in a tributary stream or creek. Returns were close to 500,000 fish which was much greater than the season forecast. Coho numbers reached well over 80,000 which again was more than double the forecast return. Many Coho have made their way to Robertson Creek hatchery while many other Coho have spawned or are spawning naturally in the Stamp. The winter and summer Steelhead are feeding on Coho dropped eggs in the gravel beds of the river.
Port Alberni Inlet
The Inlet is very quiet. But for a few boats going up and down the inlet to Barkley Sound on a daily basis not too much is happening. Check the DFO regulations for prawn fishing. This sport fishery opens on the 15 th of December. When the sport guys are on the water it is often very busy and those travelling have to watch for the various buoys in the water. The summer run in 2010 for Sockeye is expected to be very good. Returns in 09 were much better than forecast and indicators for next year are very positive for a very good return to the Somass River. If the Sockeye numbers are high and the water in the Somass warms up to 18 degrees Celsius the Sockeye begin to school up in the Inlet by the middle of June. Usually areas like Cous Creek, the narrows, Underwood and the Nahmint-Franklin area have great June and early July Sockeye sport fishing. The salmon are most often in the top fifty feet of water. As we move later into July the whole inlet can have big schools of these great tasting salmon in various locations. As the water warms the fish go deeper and often the sport fisherman will be fishing at 100 to 120 feet. Sockeye are attracted to the sport fishermans’ boat by color. If you are planning a trip and using your own boat create lots of color and use at least 6 flashers.
Sockeye Sport Fishing has become a very lucrative sport fishery in the Port Alberni Inlet over the past twenty plus years. Sockeye Salmon support one of the most important commercial fisheries on the Pacific Coast and is increasingly sought by recreational fisheries. Once thought of as a prime commercial salmon Sockeye have become a very popular sport fish. Each summer large runs of Sockeye swim into the waters of Barkley Sound. These fish have come from distant Northern cold waters. From Barkley Sound the Sockeye swim up to the Port Alberni Inlet and make their way into the Somass-Stamp River system. It is while in the inlet and when conditions are right that these salmon also known as “reds” school in big numbers and make it relatively easy for the sport fisherman to land a few salmon on a beautiful June or July day.
During the winter months especially in January and February Bells Bay and the Franklin-Nahmint areas can have some nice sized schools of winter Chinook swim in from Barkley Sound. Most often bait fish have moved up and the salmon follow them. Last January and February was fairly good with a few very good fishing days with the biggest Inlet fish recorded at 24 pounds.
Barkley Sound has some great Winter Chinook and Prawn fishing. We do many trips each year and give guests an opportunity to create their own seafood delights. There are some great spots for a few bottom fish, prawns, crab and even the odd oyster or two. If the bait is around so are the Chinook salmon. Hotspot areas for these great feeders are Vernon Bay, Canoe Pass Area, Swale Rock, Sarita Bay and the mouth of the Bamfield Harbor. We are expecting some great fishing this winter in the Sound which is situated in very calm and protected water.
Ucluelet (West Coast)
The fishing out on the west coast is extremely good in the late spring and summer months and into mid October. The West Coast however is a place on B.C.s coastline that one can have the opportunity to land a twenty pound salmon twelve months of the year. Of course weather conditions play a role in the ability for one to get out on the water. There are days in the winter when the ocean is calm and lurking in the water are often. some nice sized feeder Chinook. The feeders are often found where there is bait fish and during the winter months most sport and charter guide fishermen stay close to the Ucluelet Harbor. The harbor and the harbor mouth can be great spots to fish and are protected. Mara Rock, Great Bear, and up into various areas of Barkley Sound are also good winter fishing areas. We offer not only salmon fishing but the area is also rich in many different rock fish, crab, and prawns. In the spring we offer our wonderful Seafood Safari that is absolutely amazing. There is nothing like a warm spring or even late winter day on the open Pacific. The West Coast of British Columbia on Vancouver Island is an amazing destination to site see, wander a beach or isolated trail, watch a storm, and also salmon fish aboard comfortable and warm sport fishing boats. The area has wonderful accommodations and is a great spot to visit no matter what time of year.
Somass-Stamp River System
The fishing on the Stamp River system during the fall months has been nothing more than incredible. Even though the last few days have not been as incredible in terms of landing fish the fishing has been one of the best years we have witnessed in quite some time. With the returns of Sockeye and Coho being extremely high the same has been true of the summer run of Steelhead and the Winter Steelhead are already showing in good numbers. Winter Steelhead are in the same cycle as Coho and sockeye. The forecast is for a great return in Winter Steelhead. The Stamp is still quite high but the water is going down each day which will make it a little easier for those walking the system. The last two days we have been fishing the Lower River below Stamp Falls to the confluence of the Stamp/Sproat. There have been a lot of people fishing the falls area and some days it is crazy. Fortunately we are aboard a jet boat and can politely escape the hoards of people. We can also find spots that have areas of quiet water. We have been fishing conventionally using artificial egg patterns or anything that resembles an egg. With the high and fast water we have also been using jigs. The Coho are still spawning and this keeps the Steelhead eager to eat and bite. There is still a good mix of summers and winters. We have been targeting the winters lately and have been hooking into an average of six a day. When the larger schools come into the system and the water levels drop even more we should have some exceptional fishing days where guests have the opportunity to play ten to fourteen Steelhead. The second half of December, January, February, and March should be very good for Winter Steelhead.