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November 12 th 2009
Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing
The November rains, wind, and first real winter storm have come. Basically the 2009 saltwater sport fishing season has come to an end. The fall weather for the most part has been magnificent. Some great fishing on the coast and out in scenic Barkley Sound continued well into October. This is not to say that there will not be some great early winter days of feeder Chinook fishing, bottom fishing and prawn fishing for those anglers keen to be on the water. The Stamp River Coho fishing in October was fantastic as well over 60,000 Coho entered the system through the Stamp Falls counters. Currently the Stamp in the Upper section of the river is experiencing terrific Steelhead fishing which will continue well into March of 2010.
The Last Somass River Escapement Bulletin was released on November 3 rd . The Somass system is a “key stream” for Sockeye, Chinook, and Coho. Sockeye and Coho returns to the system were much higher than the preseason forecast. Chinook returns were unfortunately much lower. Fisheries and Oceans Canada in partnership with the Hupacasath First nation run a counting operation at various sites from late May through October. “In September all salmon passing through the Stamp Falls fish way are counted by trained and experienced observers. The observers identify the fish to species and estimate the portion of jacks by relative size and estimate the portion of marked fish.” “The migration through the fish way is videotaped for later verification of daytime real-time counts. Real-time observations are typically greater than 95% accuracy.” The counting is very close but on days of high rainfall the river dramatically rises and visibility becomes very poor which often means the fish way is closed. This has been a recent scenario.
The duration of the last week of counting at the Stamp Falls counters saw very few salmon come through. The high day for Chinook was 66 with the seasons’ total escapement into the river for natural spawn and to Robertson Creek Hatchery hit 11,600. The high day for Coho was 236 with a total escapement of 63,184. Sockeye escapement to Sproat lake and Great Central Lake is approximately 400,000.
Escapement of various salmon species to other key streams around the Greater Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound reported by the DFO are as follows:
Nahmint River- 84 Chinook, 1160 Sockeye, 296 Coho, and 4, 775 Chum.
Sarita River – 425 Chinook, 414 Coho and 6,000 Chum.
Clemens Creek- 52 Chinook, 19,245 Sockeye, 2,765 Coho and 182 Chum.
Port Alberni Inlet
The Port Alberni Inlet has been relatively quiet in terms of any sport fishing. At times during the latter part of January and into February the Franklin-Nahmint area often has some winter Chinook that come up to feed on bait fish. A couple of local anglers each year seem to do well at this time using anchovy and various hootchies. One local Port Alberni Fisherman had a few good sized feeder Chinook last winter in the mid-twenty pound range. Most of his success came between Bells Bay and the Franklin Wall. The 2010 Sockeye season early reports and reviews are looking very promising. If conditions in terms of water temperatures in the Inlet and Somass River are ideal the Sockeye sport fishery will often get underway by mid-June. Mid August through September is ideal for Chinook and Coho. Expectations for the 2010 sport fishing season in the Port Alberni Inlet is looking very good.
Barkley Sound and areas around Bamfield are now slow. Up until a week to ten days after the Thanksgiving weekend there were still a few Coho swimming the waters and some anglers were targeting Chum around the Sarita Bay area. We will begin some guiding for Winter Chinook in December. Often the best fishing occurs later in January and continues through March or even early April. The Herring spawn brings in a good number of fish. The largest feeder Chinook picked up last year by one guide was 26 pounds. The best spots for winter Chinook are Vernon Bay, Swale Rock, Canoe Pass Area, Pill Point and quite often there is some good fishing in Samateo and Sarita Bay. The Winter Chinook are in deeper water. Most sport fishermen have their gear from 110 to 140 feet. Various white, green and bluey colored hootchies and bait are often the best lures. Samateo and Sarita Bay are at times the two spots where the salmon are not as deep. Often these two areas have fish from 50 to 80 feet. Sarita Bay was in fact one of the best spots to fish for feeder Chinook last winter.
The summer of 2010 is expected to be as good as this past summer. There should be a very good migratory flow of Chinook and Coho. This often means that the fishing along the surf line of the Sound is very good in June, July and August. Of course in early August salmon returning to their natural streams in the Barkley Sound/Port Alberni Inlet area begin to arrive.
The winter storms have arrived and most residents and guides have been winterizing their sport fishing and guide boats. We will have availability all winter for those wishing to fish the west coast. The Ucluelet Harbor and areas very close to the harbor like the “red can” are very easy and often productive areas to fish during the winter. There are often some great days out on the ocean also. The area has a lot of rich natural bait fish which attracts the feeder Chinook. On those great winter days we will fish Great Bear, the Lighthouse Bank, Mara Rock, a couple of the closer banks and also parts of Barkley Sound. Guides Mike and Bob had some great fishing last winter in the quiet waters located around Mayne Bay and the back side of Swale Rock both located in the waters of the Sound. Bottom fishing, prawning, and crab fishing is also excellent during the winter. There are some DFO restrictions which will be posted. It is important to read all regulations before venturing on any fishing trip. Our Seafood Safari will begin in late March or early April.
Steelhead fishing is currently on fire especially in the upper river. Guide boats are entering the river at the hatchery and doing very well. Guests from Edmonton during the past week did well in three boats playing up to twelve fish in each of the boats. On Friday and Saturday (November 6 th and 7 th ) two novice fishermen who were a father son pairing landed nine Steelhead and two very chrome Coho. November in the Stamp River is the month that the Steelhead begin a feeding frenzy. They really pound the gravel beds eating freshly dropped eggs from mainly Chinook. The Summer Steelhead fatten up for their winter stay before heading back out into the North Pacific in the spring. The Ministry of Environment will often truck the earlier Summer Steelhead that come to the hatchery back to the lower portions of the river. When this occurs the fishing in both the Upper and the Lower River becomes very good. This should happen in the next week or two.
The temperature of the water in the Stamp is about 11 degrees. We are now fishing conventionally. There is a bait ban in the upper river. This ban is year round. We are using all artificials including Alaskan beads, artificial eggs, wool fly patterns that look like eggs and various small numbered spin’n glows. The Stamp Falls Pool will open up on the 15 th of November. This should be a great area for many to fish. The rain and the water released from the Great Central Lake Dam has put a lot of water in the river and has made it difficult to fish for those not using a jet or drift boat. Many avid fishermen who are on the banks are in disbelief of the boats that pass them and each time the fishermen aboard seem to be hooked into a fish. Summer Steelhead fishing can often continue until mid December or even longer. The winters often begin to show up about the 20 th of November. We are expecting some unbelievable Stamp River Steelhead fishing for the rest of the fall season and the early part of the winter and carry right on through March.
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