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After a month of not so typical July summer weather in Tofino B.C., contrasted by the commonly great fishing for Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon and Halibut that July normally provides, we have had a lot to write about but very little time to do it.
After last season’s poor return of Coho Salmon to Tofino and Ucluelet area waters, this past month has reminded us of how dynamic the action can be for these hard fighting and always feeding Salmon in the 6-10 lb range. Hatchery Coho in the offshore waters have provided anglers with fair opportunity for retention, but the inshore areas of Area 23 and 24 (Ucluelet and Tofino) have provided great rewards of two Coho per day for those who choose to retain any of these tasty fish. It has been normal while fishing the inshore areas of Tofino/Clayoquot Sound to connect with an average of 15-20 Coho Salmon for a half day of fishing. As always the right speed, depth and location helps, but the choice of gear has not been a major factor in determining success. Most small spoons or needlefish hoochies behind a Red Blade flasher have been a hit, with bait being very productive, but not overly necessary to ensure success. We’ve been tying a variety of new epoxy fly patterns for casting as well as Buck-tailing for Coho Salmon, with some blends of Chartreuse and Kelly Green being very productive. A very short trip to Tonquin Island recently to test a few of these new patterns allowed 5 quick Coho Salmon in the 5-8 lb. range that preferred a slow to medium retrieve while casting the flies in 25 feet of water.
Chinook Fishing has been very good overall. Not dynamic, but very consistent action for Chinook averaging 16-28 lbs with most experienced anglers and guides finding limits or near limits of these powerful fish on a daily basis. With an unstable barometer for most of the last three weeks, the Chinook Salmon that were encouraged to stop and feed locally on our normally prolific bait stocks, were also prematurely encouraged to continue there Southward travels as the rains came down on us. Some of the larger fish to date have been caught offshore from Tofino B.C. with either medium Herring or medium to large Spoons trolled 110-140 feet deep. Last week we saw numerous Tyee Class (30 lbs plus) Chinook Salmon hit the dock, with a few over the 40 lb mark. This should be the front end of the run that is forecasted to bring a strong number of large 4-5 year old Chinook Salmon to the West Coast of Vancouver Island, normally peaking by the 3rd week of August, and tapering often by mid September. It has been very common to experience a great extended Chinook fishery in the offshore waters into late September, but we have a lot of days, and a lot of fishing to do before we reach that point. As the Pacific Sardine (Pilchard) numbers have arrived again in very impressive masses both offshore and inshore, we will be turning to larger baits and lures to match this bait size which has been attractive to both Chinook and Coho Salmon. The 6-7 inch Tomic Plugs, 5-6 inch spoons and medium to large Herring not only act as a very effective lure for Chinook and Coho, but the size also helps avoid too many encounters with Pink Salmon that can be great fun, but also a detriment in keeping your gear out of the water when it could be effectively fishing for other species.
Very notably, August 1st marks a change in Chinook Salmon fishing regulations along the coastline of Tofino and Ucluelet B.C. with larger Chinook Salmon getting protection with a slot limit of 77 cm in specific areas. Please consult with current regulations through the Fisheries and Oceans website as well with local outfitters and Tackle shops for specific details.
Halibut fishing in the Tofino and Ucluelet areas has been consistent for most of the season, with ample numbers of “Chicken” sized Halibut in the 18-25 lb range on average, with numerous Halibut exceeding this size by up to 80 lbs.
Overall, the month of July was excellent fishing and only fair weather, but a great warm-up for the peak month of August ahead of us, which looks to be some of the better Chinook and Coho fishing in years.
For more specific fishing information, connect with us on-line at www.tofinofishing.com or call us at 1-888-534-7422.
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