Tofino Fishing Forecast 2003
by Jay Mohl, Tofino
Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim region around Tofino has a long history
of fishing, with exciting sport fisheries available all along our western coastline.
From the rugged and remote northern areas of Quatsino, Kyuquot and
Nootka Sounds, to the more accessible but equally pristine and abundant,
Clayoquot and Barclay Sound areas to the south.
For the small coastal communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, 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 the 2003 pre-season forecasts showing
strong returns for all species of Salmon. Expect excellent early season
action for Chinook Salmon and Halibut among the baitfish rich banks
offshore from Tofino and Ucluelet.
The mixed stocks of "transient" Chinook Salmon are the
mainstay of Tofino's springtime fishery. This season's upper
Fraser stocks, along with numerous others, are showing very promising
The gear list for these heavy feeding-hard fighting "springs" is
more diverse than their late season counterparts. Anchovies and Cut-Plug
Herring will work all season, but the early fish will often be fooled
by Plugs in the #602, #158 and #700 patterns, or spoons like the Diamond
Lance, Gibbs Gypsy, #5 Wonder and 3-4 inch Coyotes.
This is probably the best time of the season in Tofino to fish your
favorite hoochy down deep, 39-42 inches behind a flasher. Fishing at
Portland or Raphael pts. in 140-160 ft. of water, as well as Ucluelet's
South bank and La Perouse bank in the 180-300 ft range, your efforts
should be rewarded.
Halibut are consistently found along these same banks, attracted
by the vast schools of Needlefish and Sardines that have slowed the
Chinook Salmon from their migration. Halibut are best targeted with
fresh baits like large Herring, Sardines, Octopus or Salmon Belly fished
with a Gibbs spreader bar. Sharp hooks are a must, and the 9/0 Gamakatsu
Octopus model is a good standby. Anticipated to be significantly better
than last season, this combination fishery continues to provide great
action through late July.
The month of August in Tofino sees the return of "local" Chinook
Salmon in numbers and intensity that has given this fishery in Clayoquot
and Barkley Sound world-class status. The islands and reefs that scatter
along the outer coastline are the traveling and feeding corridors for
these maturing Salmon en-route to their natal streams. Anchovies, medium
Herring or large cut-plug Herring on long leaders are a must. This
year's return of 4-5 year old Chinook is anticipated to be very
strong, especially runs from the larger hatchery systems like Robertson
Creek, Conuma River and the Nitinat River. Any potential conservation
for WCVI Chinook stocks in 2003 will likely focus on the smaller "wild" systems
due to a weak brood year in 2000.
This years Coho forecast is strong, with returns possibly 40% stronger
than that of 2000-2001, which was a very impressive year. With various
light tackle options and protected waters to comfortably fish, along
with promising returns, this season provides great opportunities for
anglers of all ages.
The 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. Flies to consider are the Clayoquot Clouser,
Krystal Shrimp, Clayoquot Deceiver, Epoxy Needlefish as well as medium
sized Bucktails in Pink, Orange, Purple or the Coronation pattern.
Light tackle methods for Coho include small spoons and mini flashers,
Needlefish Hoochies, small jigs and even spinners like the Bolo or
Mid June is the start of this near shore fishery, with the action
intensifying in July through mid October. 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 and Red Snapper. Among the
inshore waters of Clayoquot and Barclay sounds, this is the prime time
to fish for returning local stocks of salmon in protected waters.
Come out and see for yourself why the Tofino/Ucluelet areas continue
to prosper with sport fishing and tourism.
Jason Mohl operates Clayoquot Ventures in Tofino. Visit his company
online at www.tofinofishing.com or
contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org