June 1st, 2017
June has arrived with some very warm weather which has created a relatively heavy run off into the many rivers and streams. With the current warm weather the rivers in the area are very high. For the early returning salmon moving to the big watersheds to the south and also the various local areas the early migration flow has been very smooth and fantastic for conservation purposes. The long term forecast is for the weather pattern to be normal or above normal seasonal temperatures. For the many people coming to sport fish on the west coast in the month of June this is great news. The sport salmon fishing in Barkley Sound, the Bamfield area, and inshore and offshore Ucluelet has been relatively good. Many of the Chinook that have been either feeders or migrating salmon headed south or to the Fraser River are averaging eight to eighteen pounds. There have been a few clipped migratory salmon landed weighing from twenty to up to twenty-eight pounds. The Somass River has had some early Sockeye enter the system. These salmon are making their way to either Sproat or Great Central Lake where they will sit in deeper water until the fall. This is actually good news as Somass River Sockeye returns are not in abundance for the 2017 season. Numbers of returning Sockeye in pre season forecasts are very low. There is currently NO Sport Sockeye fishing in the Somass or Alberni Inlet for the 2017 season. There will be further and more current updates in later June and early July.
Over the last number of years we have witnessed some world class salmon fishing opportunities on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The current 2017 season is forecasting some better than average Chinook and Coho returns to the various rivers and streams located on the West Coast and inland waters. This will definitely be a fantastic year to take opportunity and sport fish in the pristine and protected waters of the Port Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, and the more open water of inshore-offshore Ucluelet-Tofino especially from the last ten days of July through early September. Chinook and Coho salmon will definitely be returning to natal rivers in good numbers. The returning Chinook are forecast to be in the four to five year old class. With this in mind there should be great salmon fishing days in the 2017 season.
Port Alberni Inlet
The sockeye salmon fishing consistently gets underway by mid June. However 2017 will be a very different year. The current forecast is reporting that two hundred thousand Somass River Sockeye will migrate their way back to the river system. These low numbers are not even close to what is needed for conservation levels. The Alberni Inlet will be very quiet in late June and July. Sockeye Sport fishing is a fun fishery for everyone. Updates will occur in later June and early July. If there are improvements and Sockeye numbers returning to the Somass become higher than the current guideline rules may change.
The Barkley Sound Salmon fishing has been what most guides and sport anglers would say as fair to good. Recently sport fishermen have often needed to be at the right spot at the right time. The Chinook salmon for the most part have been feeder springs and weigh on average eight to fifteen pounds. There have been some migratory Chinook coming in and feeding on the rich based resources of bait fish. Some of these migratory Chinook salmon have weighed from twenty to twenty-five pounds. In the earlier spring the Bamfield Wall, Kirby Point, Sanford and the Whistle Buoy were quite good. Lately the best fishing has been on the opposite shoreline from Pill Point all the way out to Cree Island. Cree and Austin Island locations are out on the surf line and the best fishing has been in tight to the rocky shoreline fishing in shallower water from thirty to sixty-five feet. Some anglers however have done better and have landed larger Chinook fishing in deeper water up to 120 feet. A couple of other hotspots in Barkley Sound have been Vernon Bay, Swale Rock, and the Bamfield Harbor mouth. In these locations the fish have been as deep as one hundred and forty-five feet. Small coyote spoons at the three or three and a half inch size have been working. Coho killers have also been an excellent choice for many fisher persons. Needle fish hootchies as they normally do during this time of the year in blue and green colors have been very good. Anchovy in a Ryhs Davis chartreuse teaser head, green haze, army truck glow, and purple haze have been the top producers. At this time of year one will always find the salmon where there are great quantities of bait. The biggest bait balls have been on the broken group shore lines. For those that prefer water that is protected Barkley Sound is the ideal fishing location as the east and west coast lines are protected from the prevailing winds and for the most part the water is calm and very flat. Barkley Sound will definitely have some fantastic salmon fishing during the upcoming summer months.
Ucluelet (West Coast)
The fishing in Ucluelet has been very consistent during the spring. Of course weather can still play a major role in early June but generally the water is very fishable inshore and offshore as the weather patterns change. There are a good number of days where the wind and water is calm and flat. The first of the migratory fish have showed up on the outside water on the inner and outer south bank and up toward Long Beach. Inshore there is still a good number of feeder springs plus a few of the early clipped fish that are headed to the big watersheds to the South. The Ucluelet Harbor during the month of May around the Red Can has been very good.
The forecast in terms of returning salmon to the Columbia River and Puget Sound watersheds are expected to be a little better than average. The areas around the Ucluelet harbor producing Chinook have been Great Bear, Beg Island, Sail Rock and the Ucluelet Harbor Mouth. The salmon have been in deeper water and once again when the bait are in big schools there are good number of feeding salmon up to twenty pounds. The lighthouse Bank has also been good as has the turtle head and Long Beach. One of the best days over the past week saw four guided guests pick up eight Chinook averaging thirteen to twenty pounds fishing at one hundred and fifty feet or close to the bottom using needle fish hootchies which have been working very well during the spring. Small green glow and greennickel coyote spoons have also been good lure choices. The fishing on the west coast will only get better as we get into June and July. In August the Chinook and Coho as they make their way to their natal rivers will have put on a lot of weight as they feed on the rich resources of bait fish provided along Vancouver Island’s illustrious coastline. The 2017 summer sport salmon fishing will definitely be a fantastic season and one to remember for many years.
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