April Fishing in Tofino
by Jay Mohl, Tofino
After watching the snow fly through March's last attempt to extended winter, turning the calendar over to April couldn't happen soon enough. With a broad spectrum of opportunities out there, spring-time weather on the West Coast of Vancouver Island definitely lends itself to more outdoor activities. Gardening and Golf, Sea Kayaking and Surfing, Hiking and Beachcombing are all more enjoyable as spring temperatures rise a few degrees on average.
Sport fishing in the Tofino area is another popular activity that is affected by the change of seasons, and for local Anglers, April is favoured as the true start to local Saltwater and Freshwater fishing action.
The protected inlet waters of Clayoquot Sound have good numbers of non-resident Chinook salmon feeding and growing, ready to provide a battle that will help shake off the winter cobwebs. A popular inshore area for the early season Salmon fishery is in Sydney Inlet, near Hot Springs Cove. This area provides a great mix of marine adventure if you want it, as the triple header of Fishing, Whale watching and soaking in the Hot Springs can make for a memorable day. Many of these transient Chinook Salmon, and a few Halibut are still in pursuit of Herring that have long since spawned in the area, but have not yet left the inlets for the open waters of the Pacific.
A short distance offshore from the Tofino coastline, mixed stocks of transient Chinook have begun their migration southward, with intense feeding along the way being a far greater priority than the urge to spawn, as the final stage of their life cycle is still months away. Tofino's offshore fishing action for Chinook Salmon and Halibut in April can often be as intense as the peak season months of July and August, just a little cooler and fewer fishermen.
The Rivers and Streams of the Tofino-Clayoquot area now have spring run Steelhead entering the lower reaches, chrome bright and ready to spawn along with their summer and winter run cousins from the same family of Rainbow Trout. Over the years of fishing many remote and not so remote river systems on Vancouver Island, I have always found that when the Skunk Cabbage sprouts out of the moist soil in April, and really starts to get the pungent aroma, it is prime time for my favourite Steelhead fishery of the year. Spring run Steelhead can travel many miles upstream overnight to find their natal spawning beds, and do their deed of nature. Often they will spend a few days to mend after spawning, when these "Kelts" will migrate out to sea, back to the challenges and dangers of the open ocean for another year.
I suppose that this amazing and unique spawning cycle has helped ensure future returns, as most other Steelhead will hold for many months in-stream prior to spawning.
I would assume that whether you are an angler or not, there is a sign of spring that often brings a smile to your face or provides good thoughts of an outdoor opportunity, one of many that we are fortunate to have on Vancouver Island.
For those of you that do enjoy Tofino's world class fishing opportunities on fresh or saltwater, have fun while catching your limit, but please limit your catch. Future stocks will benefit from a conservative approach, ensuring opportunities for many more April fisheries in the future.
Jay Mohl operates Clayoquot Ventures, a Tofino fishing charter company. Visit his website at www.tofinofishing.com or call him at 1-888-534-7422.
Tofino Fishing articles
Tofino fishing in April 2008 - fishing outlook for Tofino and Clayoquot Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, by Jay Mohl for Tofino Time.