Tofino-Clayoquot Sound Fishing Opportunities
By Jason Mohl

Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim region has a long history of fishing, along with a bright future that holds much optimism through diversity in the growing recreational industry.

For the small coastal community of Tofino, fishing has always been a major attraction, with fish and seafood stocks creating the backbone for their growth many years ago. These rich aquatic resources continue to attract Sport Fishermen from all over the world, with this season showing as much popularity as ever.

Angling on the west coast of Vancouver Island this year holds a lot of promise for great opportunities. With new diverse fisheries being developed, such as the rapid growth of Saltwater fly-fishing in the area, some very unique freshwater fishing options and the increase of bottom-fishing along our near shore banks, these only compliment the existing terminal fisheries that have attracted many over the years. With all angling options combined, along with the continued advancement of accommodations, culinary services and other recreational opportunities, Clayoquot Sound continues to shine as one of British Columbia's premier destinations.

Early season saltwater fishing is generally limited to the protected inshore waters of the sound, while the conditions for the more productive offshore waters are quite unstable. As the winds and rain of winter give way to more spring-like conditions, saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities begin to unfold.

The small to medium sized river systems in the area hold stable runs of native steelhead averaging 6-12 lbs. This season has seen a good return as usual with very little fishing pressure on these remote river systems. Peaking in late March through May, these spring-run Steelhead will readily take flies, spoons and terminal gear.

The same river estuaries that sees passing Steelhead in the spring and returning salmon in the fall, host year-round populations of Sea-Run Cutthroat. Cruising the beaches in search of small shrimp and various baitfishes, these small but feisty game fish provide great action for fly fishermen and light tackle anglers. The downstream migration of fry in the spring and the return of spawning salmon in the fall, are times when these anadromous trout are especially susceptible.

Expect excellent action for Chinook Salmon and Halibut among the baitfish rich banks offshore from Tofino. Fishing at Tofino's Portland or Raphael pts. in 140-160 ft. of water, will continue to produce Chinook Salmon over 30 lbs., and Halibut averaging 20-60 lbs. Anticipated to be significantly better than last season, this combination fishery continues to provide great action through late September.

The early season is also the start of some unique and diverse fisheries that the area has to offer. Numerous remote fly-in lakes along the coastline host healthy populations of Cutthroat Trout as well as a few lakes producing trophy sized Rainbow Trout. These pristine lakes provide good fishing conditions through late October.

The fairly new and rapidly expanding sport of fly-fishing the saltwater has labeled the Tofino/Clayoquot sound area, British Columbia's premier destination. This exciting, low impact fishery is expected to experience continued growth in conjunction with the fantastic increase of Coho Salmon along the coast. Early June is the start of this near shore fishery, with the action intensifying July through mid. October.

The inshore Salmon fishery for the season's largest maturing Chinook begins in early July and peaks later in August. For retention of Coho salmon, the regulations should be similar to last season, with the fishing action expected to be as good or better. It is hard to imagine more intense Coho fishing than we experienced last year!

As the season progresses into early fall, the usually stable weather patterns don't often limit boating activities, in turn, promoting great conditions for bottom-fishing the offshore waters for Halibut, Lingcod, Red Snapper and other species of rockfish. Among the inshore waters of Clayoquot Sound, this is the prime time to fish for returning local stocks of salmon en route to their natal streams. This coming fall should see great fishing for Chinook, along with unparalleled Coho action. This is a prime time of the year for light tackle fishermen, as well as those with smaller boats to enjoy great fishing action, not far from the harbor.

Come out and see for yourself why the Tofino/Clayoquot Sound area continues to prosper with Sport Fishing and Tourism. For further information on our area and what we have to offer, as well as fishing or charter inquiries, call us toll free at 1-888-534-7422.

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Jay Mohl-Clayoquot Ventures
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