Fishing Reports 2016

July 19, 2016

Hi All
Salmon fishing has been tough lately.  No doubt about it, gotta tell the truth. It’s been a real struggle out there for folks wanting to tussle with mature spring salmon here in Bamfield. Our usual haunts have not produced and we have been in search mode for the first few weeks of July. Even the reliable off shore banks such as the Rat’s Nose, Turtle Head and South Bank have been spotty at best.  The last 7 days have seen some fish move in but not to where we usually find them. Kirby, Austin and Cree, the Wall, Whittlestone and Beale have all been very slow, Beale perhaps being most productive. We have been fishing Seabird Island Rocks the past week and have managed to scrape up a few quality fish. The bite has been sporadic but worth the time put in. Purple is still the hot colour. Kingfisher silver Horde 3.5 inch spoons have by far been the best producers. Fish tight to the rocks and kelp keeping a sharp eye on your gps and sounder. We have been most successful at 27 feet on the down rigger.
Things can change with the next tide so we are hoping that our season starts to go off very soon.
Ok that’s the bad news. Let’s talk about the good stuff. Halibut fishing has been the best I have seen it in 20 years. It’s been fast and furious with some quality fish taken every trip. Salmon bellies ( if you are luck enough to have them) and extra large herring rigged with spreader bars have been the ticket. I am a big proponent of circle hooks as they really only ever hook the fish in the corner of the mouth. This prevents gut hooking and has allowed us to release larger oversize halibut without harm. We have had to release 6 oversize (133 cm and up) fish so far this season each of which were well over 100 pounds. Very important to not damage the breeding stock of these amazing fish.
Aussie John has the store all stocked with the best of what you need for a productive day on the water. Fuel, ice and bait are all readily available. I’ve been on the water every day but am always around in the evenings if you want to stop in for advice on gear and current hot spots.
Hope to see you all soon,
Coach (aka Jonathan), Tom and Aussie John.

June 27 2016

Bamfield Fishing Report June 27th

Hi All

As we progress into late June, both the weather and the fishing continue to improve here in Bamfield and Barkley Sound.

Off-shore is still the most productive of our fisheries at this time. That said don’t be fooled , there are some very fishey spots safe from the ocean swells in Barkley sound that are producing some great fish!

Sunday June 26 we had a later start to the day and set out to Austin and Cree Islands for a morning fish. High tide was at 5:00 am and we had the gear in the water at close to 6:30 am. We fished an anchovy in a purple haze teaser head behind a purple uv. Farr Better flasher at 65 feet on the downrigger. On the other side we fished a purple Silver Horde 3 inch spoon also 6 feet behind a purple uv. Farr Better flasher at 90 feet. We had a decent hook up right away on the spoon that shook off after a good run then minutes later our anchovy hooked up but also didn’t stick.

As we continued our troll in the slot between the reefs at Austin we passed a boat with a salmon rod bent low to the water. These guys were playing a large hali that took their salmon gear! They were on that fish for a good 30 minutes. Unfortunately we didn’t see if the boated it but they were sure having a ton of fun with it!

We hooked and released 5 small springs in the 5 to 7 lb range, all on the spoon. Shortly after 8:00 am or so the bite turned off. We continued our troll toward the next tide change in hopes of the bite turning on and were not disappointed. Right at 11:00 am both rods bucked and we were into two lovely coho. One of these gorgeous fish was pushing 10 lbs! (a great fish for this time of year). It bodes well for the rest of the summer.

Time constraints did not allow us to fish the rest of the tide change although we did see boats with nets out as we were packing up our gear.

The off-shore report is per usual, as to be expected. Big Bank, South Bank, 12 mile and the Turtle Head have all been productive. Keep your gear deep. UV glow spoons and white hootchies are the ticket off-shore.

Halibut fishing had been very productive. 7 mile humps and the 12 mile humps are all producing some great fish. Don’t forget this year’s over / under new regs. A max size of 133 cms can be tagged but your next hali in your possession must be under 83 cms. We strongly recommend using circle hooks for these amazing creatures as they almost completely eliminate a “gut hooked” fish. Even if you need to cut the line on an oversized fish, a circle hook left in the corner of the mouth will not do a lot of damage to the fish and survival is almost a guarantee.

Our tackle store is up and running an we are stocked with fuel, bait and salt ice. Make sure you drop in to say hi and find out the latest in fishing news, or just come by for a coffee and a chin wag.

Tom and his beautiful and better half Leslie are running the show at the lodge this week. I’ll be up for the summer as of June 30th and Aussie John makes his first appearance July 4th.

Can’t wait to see all of our Harbourside family!

Tom, Aussie John and Coach (aka Jonathan).

June 2016

Bamfield Fishing Report June 1st

They’re baaack….  And so are we! Not to compare Harbouside Lodge with Steven Spielberg’s iconic horror film Poltergeist but… it seemed somewhat appropriate.

The springs are back and so is Harbourside for the 2016 summer season.

We have been up Bamfield way the last two weekends getting boats and accommodations ready for what promises to be a banner year.

Early forecasts show that this summer could show the strongest spring salmon returns in the last 20 years! With river systems to the south of us, along with predictions of this summer’s Barkley Sound fish, showing numbers twofold last year’s returns, one can only tingle from the possibilities.

Alrighty let’s get to it.

The usuals are still the spots to go to first.  The wall all the way down to Sarita is a great place for a first of the year troll. Keep your gear deep as even mature fish at this time of year tend to feed close to the bottom. Start with one rigger at 90’ and run the other just off the bottom. Pay close attention to your sounder and double back on bait balls you find along the way. Try and keep your gear 10’ to 15’ above the bait showing on your sounder. Same rules apply to Kirby Point, Edward King and over at Meares, Ausitn and Cree. Spoons are the hot ticket. I recommend the gold star 3.5’ and 4’ purple and silver. It’s really produced well for us early in the season. I find this rig out fishes bait as late as 3 weeks into July. Fish it 4’ – 6’ behind a purple haze flasher. As per usual you can’t go wrong with glow white hootchies. Green spatter back hootchies have been very productive also. Bait is always a good choice. Anchovies in purple haze, glow green and bloody nose teasers are also effective.

Off-shore has been the more consistent bet when the wind and swells have allowed the sport fleet to safely leave the confines of Barkley Sound. Turtle head, 12 mile bank and of course the “Rat’s Nose” at Big bank have been very productive for springs to 25 lbs. Most keeper fish off-shore have been in the 10 – 18 lb range but that will change as we head later into June. Coho have been showing up in good numbers already. I talked to one fisherman, who verified with pictures, a lovely 11 lb coho. What an awesome fish this early in the season!

Halibut fishing has been terrific. The flatties have moved in right into the sound. Anchor up just east of Folger in 200” or find the 160’ hump just south east of Meares. Salmon bellies are a sure thing but octopus, herring and mackerel are good choices also. My favorite spots are humps that come up on the 12 mile bank. Look for rises coming up to 180’ and anchor in an around them. Drifting can work too but it’s so much easier to keep your gear in the strike zone when you can sit on the hook.

If you are prefer old fashioned jigging, tip a 24 ounce mudraker with a salmon belly or chunk of octopus and bounce it along the bottom. It’s surprisingly productive.

I’ll be up at Harbourside more consistently come the middle of June as I finish up teaching for the school. Tom will be running the show most of June and Aussie John will be on board by the first of July. Please feel free to call the lodge or email us regarding accommodations and charters. One of the three of us will be sure to get back to you asap. It’s early and we do have prime time spots left for charters, lodge stays and moorage. Book it now as the word is going to get out on how great the fishing is going to be this summer and things will fill up very fast.

Till then, Tom, Aussie John and Coach (aka Jonathan) are out.

September 1, 2015

Hi Everyone.
It’s been a wet start to the fall. Bamfield has been deluged by rain over the last few days but the good news is the wet weather seems to have called in the fish. It’s been a very good last few days on the water. Offshore has been a no go as wind and waves have kept all boats inside the safer reaches of Barclay Sound, but the fishing inshore has been great. Flemming, both the upper and lower ends, have been very good as has the Wall and Kirby Point. Anchovies have been the main go to but don’t sell glow white hootchies short as they have produced as well. 25 to 40 feet on the rigger have been the most consistent depths. Coho are beginning to show and they will only come thicker as September progresses. What a great time to fish in Barclay Sound!
Great news from DFO. Effective immediately (September 1st) , the daily limit for Chinook (Spring) salmon is one over 77cm and one under 77cm with a daily quota of 2. This applies to Area 23 and Area 123.
 This weekend’s Port Alberni Salmon Festival and Derby will see the biggest fish take home the prize money. DFO is allowing sports fisherman to take a 1 over 1 under deal with spring salmon. That means as of the weekend you will be legally able to retain 1 chinook salmon over 77 cms. Your second chinook must be 77cms or under. So it’s on! Get your boat out to Harbourside or book a charter. Let’s give it one more go round before the fall really sets in!
Aussie John, Tom and myself will all be around this weekend. The lodge will close up after the 20th of this month so there is still time to get some quality fishing in. Ice, bait and tackle are all well stocked in the shop and of course we will have boat gas and diesel available all during the day.
Come by and say hi!
Johno, Tom and Coach (aka Jonathan)

August 28, 2015

Summer seems to be flying by as we are set to leave August and see September right around the corner. That said there is still time for some outstanding fishing and some of it is right on our doorstep.

The Wall has been consistently productive all summer and continues to be one of our go to spots. Drop your gear just past the Marine Center and troll tight to the rocks into the first little bay. 25 to 35 feet on the down rigger has been money. We are still having outstanding success with uv purple flashers and uv purple haze teaser heads however one of our guides, Joe, has done very well with green flashers and bloody nose teasers. Kirby and Flemming are still going off as well. Once again keep it tight and shallow. Fish are coming in from Whittlestone, Agular and points east of us such as Diplock and Pill Point. Coho haven’t shown in numbers much as of yet. We are picking up the odd one here and there but inshore it’s been predominantly springs.

DFO is meeting on Monday afternoon as to whether allow a 1 over 77 cm and 1 77 cm and under regulation for the upcoming Labour Day Weekend Port Alberni Salmon Festival.Check our website or feel free to give us a call Monday evening on the 31st for updates. As it stands right now we so have space available for lodging, moorage and charters. Call soon though.

Offshore fishing has been rather spotty. Out on the Big Bank springs have been scarcer than the norm. You can still find them but you’ll need to work harder than usual. Coho are showing up in numbers out by the Rat’s Nose and we are hoping to see them show up inshore anytime soon.

Aug 22, 2015

It’s getting late into August and we are right in the thick of the peak of the season. Springs have been showing at all the local hot spots. The 77 cm and under regs have left a few of us frustrated at times as we release fish to continue their quest to spawn. It can, however, be a beautiful thing to feel a big spring thrash his tail and return to the depths.

Ok now, lets talk about where you can go to keep a few bigger fish. The regs say we need to be a minimum of a mile outside the surf line. When the seas have cooperated we have been getting some beautiful fish at the Turtle and South Bank. Fish the 160 foot contour line on the shoulders or neck of the Turtle Head just outside of Ucluelet. It’s a north/ south tack and has been very good in the early mornings and an hour before tide changes. My guest last week, Chris, managed to boat a gorgeous 37 lber at 90 feet on the downrigger using a purple haze flasher and teaser head. Spoons were also very effective out there. 4 to 6 inch spoons fished 6 feet behind a flasher trolled at 2.6 to 2.8 mph can very productive. I have found 90 feet on the rigger to be the magic number. Run your second rigger 10 t0 15 feet either side of 90 until you feel you have the depth dialed in. It can can change each day so play with it a bit each time you are out. Fish have been gorging on large herring so match the hatch and hang on. Fishing all over South Bank has been good but the contour line at 160 has been very good for us. As for the rest of the off shore scene the Nose and Big Bank is still cranking out lots of fish. Pick your days weather wise and make sure your boat is outfitted for all off shore conditions.

Fishing inside has been extremely good as of late. Early mornings and tide changes are the times you need to have your gear wet. Travel to different spots during the peak of the tide. Make sure you have gear down an hour before and an hour after the tide change. The Wall has been very good but it can be tough negotiating the oncoming traffic. It’s been very busy. Flemming, Kirby, Whittlestone, Beale have all produced fish. Keeha Beach and Pachena Bay have also been very good. Keep your gear shallow in all these close to shore spots. 24 to 40 feet at the deepest. Anchovies are the best bet inside but spoons have also produced fish.

Hali fishing is still consistently a good bet between 12 and 14 mile. Spreader bars and salmon bellies are your best bets. That said, last week  my guest Drew hooked two beauties on a flourescent green mudraker. Find a hump that comes up on the bank and fish in and around it. If your drifting you will need a minimum of 2 lb balls. If you have an offshore anchor system then you can get away with 1 lb and or  lb and a half balls.

If you haven’t got up to Bamfield and Harbourside you still have time. We have some spots for lodging in the lodge and for boat moorage. The store is stocked with gear and goodies and Aussie John is pumping very competitive gas and diesel. Drink ice and fish ice is available for cocktails and taking care of your catch.

Please feel free to stop in for fishing tips and just to chat.

Tight lines….

Aussie John, Tom and me. (coach aka Jonathan)

August 6th 2015

Hi Everyone
It’s been a very busy past couple of weeks here at Harbourside. I’m way overdue in updating the fishing report.
Fishing has been very good as of late. It’s August and the usual haunts have been producing nicely. In shore as of August 1st we have to release  chinook salmon that are over 77 cms. This does make off shore fishing look like a better alternative though there have been a good number of mature springs in the 70s to be had inshore. Most of these fish are approximately 12 to 16 lbs and are great bbq fish. The Wall has been very productive as has Aguilar Point. Troll anchovies between 30 and 40 feet. We have had our best success with a u v purple flasher and u v purple haze teaser head.
Both Flemming and Kirby are fishing well. Flemming requires a tight to the shore troll. Get your boat into 35 to 45 feet of water and put your gear shallow, 25 to 30 feet on the rigger. Swale and Harbour Entrance have both had great fishing the last couple of weeks as well.
Off shore has been very solid with bigger fish finally starting to show. The Turtle Head and Southwest Corner have both been good. You have to run your gear deep though, 150 on the down rigger. Out on the Big Bank fishing is at it’s usual. Pretty spectacular. Fish are deep here too. Start between 120 and 160. Your usual assortment if gear is all productive here. Spoons 6 feet behind a flasher, glow white hootchies and tomic plugs have all been productive. I am still finding a 4 inch purple uv haze Silver Horde spoon ridiculously effective.
Hali fishing has been so good! Salmon bellies on spreader bars at the humps at 12 mile has been killer. Good size fish too, averaging 30 plus pounds!
We have a couple of boats free from August 12 to 17 if you would like an offshore Hali day, or just a day out in the water. Contact us here at the lodge.
The store is stocked up on all the latest hot fishing gear. We have lots of fish ice, drink ice, snacks and goodies. We have the fuel dock open from early morning till 7ish. Diesel is also on the menu should you need it.
Congrats to Jim Underhill and Dave Underhill on wining the biggest salmon and halibut in our Harbourside derby last weekend. We had a blast! Many thanks to Eric for spending Saturday roasting a pig. It was amazing. Thanks to Paul for arranging it all.
It’s August folks. That means big fish time! You gotta get here!
Looking forward to the next few weeks of spectacular fishing!
We will be here to help you in anyway we can,
Aussie John, Tom and Coach (aka Jonathan).