Fishing Report (December 7, 2011)
Winter is almost upon us in British Columbia, Canada. In fact, we do know that when the first day of winter arrives, we are only a few days away from Christmas. The Pacific North West can often have some incredible wind and rain storms during the later part of the Fall in which there have been a few, but only a few, as the autumn season has been remarkably dry with some remarkably outstanding good weather conditions. The summer of 2011 seems so long ago. The saltwater fishing on the West Coast, Barkley Sound, and the Port Alberni Inlet was very good during the 2011 summer saltwater sport fishing season. All of the seasonal forecasts were pretty much correct as Chinook and Coho numbers migrating down the west coast waters of Vancouver Island were very high in numbers. The local sockeye and Chinook numbers returning to nearby watersheds were also very good. The summer of 2012 should also be a great year. We have been in a La Nina weather pattern for a few years. This pattern is ideal for salmon survival out in the North Pacific. With La Nina the water stays relatively cold and the rich food sources for the salmon are very good which means salmon survival will be quite high. With this in mind we are looking forward to some of the pre season forecasts that will come forward early in the New Year. We are predicting the 2012 season to being like this past summer.
Locally there has been some early winter Chinook fishing. A few keen sport fishermen have had some success. Areas of Barkley Sound especially around Swale Rock and Vernon Bay have had a few decent days with feeders weighing in from seven to ten pounds. The Fall Fishing season for summer run Steelhead in the Upper and Lower Stamp has been very good right to the end of November. Some guides have said the Summer run Steelhead provided one of the best years ever. The Winter Steelhead are arriving in reasonably good numbers and with water levels coming down over the past four to five days the Winter Steelhead fishing in the Lower River should improve dramatically. December is the month that usually has big schools of Steelhead moving into the river on a daily basis. There should be some great fishing in the days to come in the Stamp River which is close to Port Alberni located on Vancouver Island.
The Winter Steelhead fishing is now underway in the Stamp. There is actually a fairly decent mix of winter and summer run Steelhead in the whole system. Fresh winter Steelhead entering the system are currently from the falls down. The bulk of the Summer Run fish are in the Upper River well above the falls. The fishing is currently very accessible by boat in the upper and lower river. Those anglers walking the banks can easily fish from the falls down to the rifle club. The river has really declined over the past five to six days. Early last week the river levels were at least two and a half to three feet higher than what they currently are. Guides and their guests and other sport fishermen fishing below the bucket are fishing traditionally on the float and casting roe and roe bags. Bait can be used below the bucket and artificials only above the bucket. The odd person is bottom bouncing but not having anywhere near the same success as those casting and on the float into the slightly quicker water. Those using artificials lures are doing best with medium sized to large pink worms, spin-n-glos and gooey bobs. The current fish landed are coming in from five to eight pounds. During the winter the Winter Steelhead will peak close to the end of January or early to mid February. At this time of year there are often Steelhead weighing in up and over fifteen pounds.
Often during the winter months there are days on end where the weather is perfect for fishing on the river. Currently we are under ideal conditions where water levels are just a little below normal and we are under the influence of a late fall or early winter high pressure system. Those individuals wanting to fish in the Upper River can continue fishing the Ash Confluence until December 31st. All fishermen need to check all DFO rules. It is important to remember that only hatchery Steelhead can be tagged and with this in mind it is important to have a Steelhead tag if one is planning to retain a hatchery fish.
Port Alberni, Barkley Sound
Barkley Sound and the inside waters of Ucluelet have some reasonably decent winter Chinook fishing from December until April. Barkley Sound boasts one of the best winter fishing derbies which takes place in early March. The Sproat Loggers derby based out of Poett Nook takes place the first weekend of March every year. The last couple of derbies we have seen salmon weighed in over twenty-five pounds. We have already had some good reports of feeder Chinook fishing in the Sound. The area around the Bamfield Harbor and also Swale Rock and Vernon Bay have had some great reports. We will do some pre Christmas guided trips and beginning in mid February through mid April we will have winter Chinook salmon, crab, and prawn fishing guided trips. The salmon are currently in fairly deep water with the salmon around Swale Rock from 120 to 135 feet. Anchovy in a chartreuse teaser head with six to seven feet of leader line behind a variety of glow hotspot flashers seem to be working very well. Various blue and green and opaque hootchies with 42 to 46 inches of leader are also working as are the glow green and green nickel and cop car four inch coyote spoons. The feeder Chinook will always swim where there are rich sources of bait fish. When one can find the bait in the Sound during the winter months the feeder Chinook will also be found.
The Ucluelet area of Mara Rock, Great Bear, and the lighthouse and inner lighthouse bank provide some decent winter fishing for feeder Chinook. Of Course the water outside the Ucluelet Harbor is not as protected as Barkley Sound but over the last six weeks with some very nice weather the water has been very fishable. One group of guests got into some nice fish with the opportunity of landing up to ten salmon on one trip over the past weekend which was absolutely wonderful in the afternoons. The group was at fifty percent and land five salmon weighing eight to twelve pounds. Most of the fish were in tight to land with both Mara Rock and the back of Great Bear producing the fish. Coyote spoons in the four and three and a half inch were working. Glow and green glow, cop car, silver glow, and blue nickel have all been working very well and this was no exception this past weekend.
We are looking forward to some wonderful days out on the water during the winter months. A small heater does wonders and keeps everyone fairly warm. The salmon are bright and very tasty and yes, during our winter trips we also include some crabbing and prawn fishing for guests. We are looking forward to the spring and summer sport fishing season in 2012. Indicators look good for a very good healthy amount of salmon migrating to the watersheds to the distant south and also returns back to the immediate area should also be very reasonable. Those individuals that enjoy fishing in scenic and calm waters should organize trips in the Port Alberni Inlet from mid June through the end of August. The Sockeye fishery is a fun family oriented activity. This usually begins about the middle of June and continues right into early August.
Call us anytime at 1 888-214-7206