Tofino fishing outlook for 2007
by Jay Mohl, Tofino
Before outlining details of the new fishing season in 2007, it is hard not to reflect on the "Season of Extremes" in 2006.
Relentless winter storms gave way to really nice spring time conditions, which helped start off another great year for Salmon and Halibut fishing in the Tofino area. Halibut fishing on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino and Ucluelet stayed very consistent, turning out as the best season experienced by local anglers in many years. Chinook Salmon fishing was very good as well, but in comparison, fishing for Coho Salmon was unfortunately the slowest, and lowest return we have seen in many years for Tofino.
Summer weather patterns were so nice that it lead to the driest summer in years, and eventually a lack of water in local rivers and reservoirs. Imagine living in a rainforest and you run short of water. It happened in Tofino last year. When the rains returned in the fall, nature's water tap was opened full blast, coinciding with some of the nastiest wind storms to hit the b.c. coast in years. More than one storm on Vancouver Island's west coast reached "Hurricane" force winds, causing damage that is still noticeable when you drive the Pacific Rim highway that leads west to Tofino and Ucluelet. Similar rain patterns have been quite consistent leading into 2007, meaning there is definitely no shortage of water for Tofino, but it has also created a positive snow pack in the coastal mountains of Vancouver Island. The abundant snow will undoubtedly help our young Salmon in the rivers throughout the spring and early summer, as well as the freshwater needs of the community to host our many guests throughout the season.
For the 2007 fishing season, our early season Chinook salmon fishing has already been very good, supporting the outlook of a consistent season ahead for the west coast of Vancouver Island. Consistent catches of Chinook in the 6-18 lb. range have been caught in the protected inlet waters of Clayoquot Sound, as well as the offshore waters from Tofino and Ucluelet. The Chinook Salmon fishing action in the Inlet waters and the near shore coastline will stay consistent until mid May, when we normally see the first runs of transient Chinook salmon that begin to migrate in a southern direction along Vancouver Island's west coast. Trolling with Herring and Anchovies as bait is very common, as well as using a variety of artificial baits that mimic these baitfish species, which are the most prolific along our local coastline. Early season Chinook fishing is favoured by many anglers, as the fight is as good as the flesh. A highlight for Chinook Salmon fishing opportunities forecast in the Tofino area are for an abundance of 4 year old hatchery origin Chinook Salmon in August and early September. Coho Salmon numbers are forecast to be better than last year for sure, supporting local inshore fly and light tackle fishing opportunities, which are perfectly suited for smaller vessels and family fun. The 2007 season will again be a high cycle year for literally millions of Pink Salmon that pass by the Tofino coastline, adding to the action of your day. Pink Salmon are a fun fish for all light gear types, and provide great action while casting or trolling small lures and flies that are pink, orange or red. These colours resemble Plankton, the Pink Salmon's main food source. For the many anglers interested in Pacific Halibut, the Halibut biomass is considered strong and stable, so we anticipate another great season for these powerful and tasty flatfish in the offshore waters of Tofino. Last season we experienced fantastic Halibut fishing on Tofino's near shore banks, out as far as 16 miles. This season should provide a very similar Halibut fishery in these bait fish rich areas--where many of the Halibut caught in recent years have been--while fishing the contour areas offshore that are an average 160-200 feet deep. Many anglers have been using artificial baits such as Berkeley Power Baits and trolled spoons, along with the baited lead jigs along the bottom. The Tofino area's remote freshwater fishing excursions will continue to provide great action, along with a very memorable wilderness experience for folks, while they pursue Steelhead and Trout in the pristine mountain lakes and streams of Clayoquot Sound. Primarily using float plane access, these unique excursions are enjoyed by many who want their own space while enjoying some great Steelhead and Trout action in a temperate rainforest environment.
Although great fishing opportunities are plentiful from early May to mid October in the Tofino b.c. area, the months of July and August tend to be the busiest for Tofino, which can make accommodations difficult to find during these two months. If coming from outside the Tofino area, you are encouraged to plan as soon as possible, to ensure that you can secure your desired dates for a memorable vacation in the Tofino area.
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
Tofino fishing outlook for the 2007 season, written by Tofino fishing guide Jay Mohl for Tofino Time Magazine.