Sockeye are the bright red fish (salmon) that so many tourists travel to see in the various rivers, streams, and creeks in British Columbia to watch them in nature to spawn.
Sockeye Sportfishing has become very lucrative in the Alberni Valley over the past 20 years. Today sockeye salmon support one of the most important commercial fisheries on the Pacific Coast and is increasingly sought by recreational fisheries.
Once only thought of as a prime commercial salmon, sockeye have become a very popular sport fish. Each year large runs of sockeye swim into the waters of Barkley Sound and make their way into the Port Alberni Inlet and then into the Somass-Stamp River system. From the river the Sockeye enter either Sproat or Great Central Lake.The sockeye also known as “Reds” then enter various small rivers, streams and creek tributaries where they turn a marvelous red color with their life ending after their spawn. The Port Alberni area has years when sockeye returns are over one million making the sockeye fishery beneficial for sport and commercial fishermen.
It is not uncommon for the Sport Fisherman to limit out each morning or evening for these wonderful tasting salmon, which are wonderful on the barbecue.
Port Alberni is often called “The Salmon Capital of the World”. When the sockeye arrive and the fishing is fantastic guides are difficult to find as are campsites and hotels and local bed and breakfasts. China Creek Marina and Campground is often so busy that visitors have to be turned away and those wanting to launch boats are also turned away. The sockeye fishery is absolutely wonderful. It is fun for everyone in the family and a great sport fishery for children. This is not to say that it is not also wonderful for the most avid fisherman. When you see a boat in the inlet with anglers playing two, three, and even four fish, its amazing the havoc that these twisting, jumping, and thrashing salmon can create.