Fishing Report

AREA REPORT: PORT ALBERNI/PACIFIC RIM/BARKLEY SOUND Summer 2024- June 11 2024

Written by Doug Lindores, Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing  

As we get into the month of June and consider July many anglers in this Vancouver Island area are excited about the return of Sockeye salmon to the Somass River system. Those that prefer to Fish for Chinook and Coho do realize that there is a bountiful migration of these two salmon species along the surf line of Barkley Sound and areas close to the Ucluelet Harbor. To date the sport fishing in these two areas has been “Terrific”. Some areas further inshore such as Pill Point, Tzarus Island, Swale Rock, Kirby and Diplock have had some particularly fantastic sport fishing days. Kirby and Diana Island have been two remarkable areas over the last couple of weeks. Many of the Chinook have been in the mid to high teens with a few landed fish into the mid twenty-pound range. Sockeye salmon returns to the Somass River system are predicted to be approximately 500,000 pieces for 2024. This number is currently providing for a sport fishing opportunity of up to FOUR Sockeye salmon per day and a two-day possession limit of eight for sport anglers. Sockeye fishing in the Alberni Inlet has already seen some days early in the season with limits landed by sports fisher persons. The migration of Sockeye to the Somass has been underway for a few weeks with Sockeye already swimming through the counters and making their way into either Great Central or Sproat Lakes. The salmon will remain in the deep water of these two lakes until they spawn in the fall months. The Cooler weather and water temperatures have allowed for a steady daily migration of Sockeye. As the weather, air, and water temperature warms up the Sockeye in the Alberni Inlet areas will school in large numbers which helps the Sport fishing “success”. Sockeye fishing is great FUN for everyone and is a very comfortable angling opportunity for people of all ages. The best fishing areas for Sockeye in the Alberni Inlet are from Hocking Point or Nahmint and Ten Mile Point to Lone Tree. Underwood, the Narrows, and Cous Creek all provide for some excellent angling. Currently the Sockeye are migrating in water from thirty to fifty feet. The best fishing has been in the China Creek area from The Narrows to Dunsmuir Point and into Cous Creek. The best lures are mp hootchies in a bubble gum color, or pink-blue and pink-black color scheme. The double tandem combination or single

Black Hook has also been successful for some anglers who prefer to use Black Hooks. The MP Hootchie leaders are varying from twenty inches for some anglers and up to twenty-seven inches for others. Black Hook Leaders are sixteen to eighteen inches. A variety of flasher colors are working. The Sockeye Sport fishing is historically at its best from Father’s Day Weekend through to the end of July.

The runs of migrating Chinook combined with some early Coho swimming Vancouver Island’s West Coast as they migrate to the Big Southerly Watersheds should give endless opportunities to sport fishing enthusiasts fishing west coast inshore waters.

 Current sport fishing regulations, at the time of this writing, provided by the DFO will allow sport fishing for Chinook salmon within one nautical mile of the coastline until the fifteenth of July. After this date angler’s should be permitted to fish offshore waters and retain Chinook Salmon. Pacific Rim areas are often a feeding station to these transient fish. The islands close to the Ucluelet Harbor mouth such as Great Bear, Mara Rock, the Alley, and Sail Rock and up the coast line towards Wya Point and Florencia have had some great fishing in the early days of June.

Many areas of Barkley Sound hold vast quantities of bait fish in herring, anchovy, squid and needlefish. The salmon come into these areas and gorge themselves on these rich-nutrient fish. Barkley Sound locations such as Cree Island, Meares, Kirby, Bamfield Wall, Pill Point, and Swale Rock have experienced some wonderful fishing days. This trend will continue and become better in late June. July is historically very good but will improve two-fold in later part of the month when the West Coast Vancouver Island salmon begin their migration to their natal streams and rivers. West Vancouver Island returns for 2024 are termed “Abundant”. This area should have some world first class fishing this summer. 

Historically the most common gear and consistent salmon producer when fishing Barkley Sound has been trolling with anchovy behind a variety of flashers. How ever that trend has changed especially in June and much of July over the past couple of years with fish hitting various Herring Aid spoons as well as Skinny G’s, Coho Killer spoons, and a variety of octopus, cuttlefish, and needle fish hootchies. Anchovy teaser head colors that work well are Green Haze, Glow Army Truck, Herring Aid, and Cop Car. Flashers in blue, purple glow, green glow, and chartreuse, with at least a six-foot leader are best. Spoons behind a flasher can vary from forty-two inches to five feet. Hootchie leader lengths behind a flasher are thirty-seven to forty-two inches. Favorite hootchies and needle fish hootchies are the B-84 in the needle fish and also a variety of blue and green hootchies, dark green spatter back, the AORL 12, J-79, Jack Smith, and Purple Haze and pistachio. The salmon have currently been feeding on very small herring, and needlefish, around Meares, Austin-Cree, Swale Rock and Edward King. Smaller Spoons if the bait is small have been working very well. In areas around Beale, Whittlestone, and The Bamfield Wall there has been mature squid meaning Octopus hootchies and cuttle fish are working best. The best cuttle fish have been tiger prawn UV, army truck and a variety of white cuttle fish colors.

Halibut fishing in June is in full swing. Many sport-fisher people will either drift, jig or anchor. Halibut will often prefer salmon bellies as well as large herring or octopus. If jigging try a Gibbs Hali Hawg tipped with salmon belly. Lingcod fishing is off and on. It is important that a good descending device is on board as any yellow-eye rockfish are to be released.

June of 2024 and the rest of the summer should have some world class salmon sport fishing in the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound. With Chinook numbers forecast to be high the angling season should be phenomenal.

Tight lines and Good Fishing

Doug Lindores

Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing

email dlindy@shaw.ca

1 888 214 7206 (toll free)

www.catchsalmon-ca.com

The current forecast of returning Sockeye Salmon to the Somass River system close to Port Alberni B.C. is a moderate number of 500,000.  
The current limit per day is four with a two days possession limit.
Carol and Angela holding two Sockeye salmon in the Alberni Inlet.