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August, Tofino’s Time for Fishing

The Tofino area has always been one of the most consistent locations for Salmon fishing on the B.C. coast, with mixed stock transient runs of Salmon composing a strong base for Commercial, Recreational and First Nations Fishers. As we enter the peak month for Saltwater Fishing in the Tofino area, this August brings some change to local sports fishing regulations, as well as good reason to be optimistic that our local fishing opportunities will continue to be very strong.
With the pre-season salmon forecasting by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans being upgraded on many stocks this season, Salmon have returned in greater numbers than anticipated, promoting expanded fishing opportunities on most species of Salmon. For the second consecutive season, Tofino area anglers have likely experienced the most consistent fishing on the B.C. coast, with some other “terminal” areas on the coast not seeing typical numbers or Salmon patterns. A major change for Salmon travel patterns this season has taken place in South-East Alaska, where 70 % of West Coast Vancouver Island Chinook salmon are often caught before traveling south into B.C. waters. It seems that many southern bound Salmon runs have “skirted” S.E. Alaska in 2008, including a portion of WCVI Chinook salmon that the following regulations have been established to protect. With an increased abundance, and increased escapement past northern area fishers, Tofino fishing opportunities look outstanding. Current regulations by species are;

Chinook Salmon
Regardless of an aggressively conservative inshore recreational Chinook fishery, and special regulations for the past 7 years to protect 4-5 year old mature Chinook in Clayoquot Sound, the escapement numbers to local spawning rivers has continued to decline. Starting August 1st, the inshore area of Tofino/Clayoquot Sound, and out to the 1 mile surf-line boundary, all Chinook over 77cm must be released. This same area is still open for retention of Chinook salmon under 77cm, which are most likely to be non spawning 3 year old Chinook up to approx. 16 lbs. Approximately 96% of Chinook Salmon over 77cm are 4 or 5 year old fish that are this year’s mature spawning Salmon The offshore areas outside the surf-line boundary continue with normal regulations, with a retention limit of 2 Chinook per person per day, with a minimum size limit of 45cm. We anticipate August and September to be the season’s best fishing for large offshore Chinook salmon destined to the Fraser and Columbia rivers.
Upon catching a large Chinook salmon inside the surf-line, anglers are reminded to keep the fish in the water at all times, releasing these valuable Chinook salmon as quickly and carefully as possible.

Coho Salmon
Coho Salmon fishing has been very good again this season, with the overall size and health of returning Coho much stronger than forecasted. Fishing regulations and retention limits are the same as last season in the Tofino area, with the inshore areas open to 2 Coho per person per day, being wild or hatchery fin clipped fish. The offshore areas are again open to retention of 2 hatchery fin clipped Coho per person per day. Starting September 1st, the daily limit increases to 4 Coho salmon per person per day inshore, with 2 Coho of your 4 having to be hatchery fin clipped. The offshore areas will also be open for 4 Coho Salmon being hatchery fin clipped after September 1st.
Sockeye Salmon
The 2008 pre-season forecast was not favourable for Sockeye opportunities on the southern B.C. coast. Commercial, Recreational and First Nations fishermen now have access to retain Sockeye due to increased numbers arriving to the Fraser River. Recreational anglers are allowed a retention limit of 4 Sockeye per person, with this fishery likely limited to the month of August.
Changes to the daily and possession limits for Halibut this year have been in effect for some time now, with current regulations altered in the possession limit only. Anglers are allowed to retain 2 Halibut per day, with a personal possession of 2 Halibut, compared to possession of 3 Halibut last season. The Tofino area Halibut fishery has been very strong again this season, and we anticipate this to extend through late September in areas from 2-12 miles offshore from Tofino, where the Chinook and Coho Salmon fishing should be strong as well.

Please remember to limit your catch and be safe while enjoying the great fishing opportunities available in the Tofino area this summer. If you can share this experience with a child, it makes it even better.
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