Time to update you all on the goings on here in Barkley Sound. Most reports I have been reading are very much doom and gloom. That’s not necessarily the case, however. There are fish to be found. One just needs to understand the behaviour of these early July runs as they pass on by to their home rivers to the south. It seems the past few years American bound fish and early Nitinat fish travel the periphery of the Sound and the rest of the west coast of the Island, just within the surf line. There are various spots all up and down the outside of the west coast of the Island that are home to vast areas of squid spawn in early June and July. Add to this rocky structures with massive kelp beds that hold huge schools of needle fish and immature herring. It’s these spots that hold early summer chinook. That’s not to say you won’t find springs within the confines of Barkley Sound, but with the amount of available bait just outside most of these early run springs will pass the Sound by.
So what does this mean to you, the fisherman, with just a few days on your calendar to get into these fish? Ok, let’s talk tackle first. Leave the anchovies and herring at home. Save them for August when the Robertson Creek Hatchery are traveling by. Small spoons and hootchies should be your go tos at this time of year. I have the best luck fishing Amundson Skinny G knock offs (Gibbs skinny Gs work just fine, but the Amundsons have much better hooks). Irish cream in glow green and white along with the Bon Chovy green and gold have been excellent producers, the latter having the best results for me. Fish them a minimum 6′ behind a glow green or lime green flasher. I am running shallow depths at 28′ to 32′ cruising tight to kelp beds and structure. Glow white and turd hootchies will also produce. Keep the leaders to 36′ or less. I go from my chin to extended arm. No longer!! The shorter leader will produce more action on the plastic and this is a very good thing!
The next question you are going to want answered is “where do I go?”…
This is where you are going to need reliable power, a seaworthy vessel, very good electronics and an appropriate weather window. As I said earlier the fish are traveling by just on the outside of the Sound. That means you have the rugged coastline of Vancouver Island to one side of you and Japan on the next. The weather can blow up very quickly and getting around Cape Beale on a stiff northwesterly with an outgoing tide can be a major challenge for any boat. Be careful people!
From Cape Beale south to Keeha and Pachena has produced. From Cape Beale north towards Ucluelet has also been hot at times. Sail rock area can light up! Find kelp beds and structure. If you see concentrations of bait keep plugging that spot. Even if nothing happens for a few hours, stay patient, the bite will come on. We found that the bite was very sporadic. When it’s on it happens very fast. Make sure your boat is around the bait because if you are wandering elsewhere you’ll miss it. Find bait and stay on it!
The really good news is we have found some very decent fish. On each trip we have boated a number of fish into the high twenties. The average fish has been mid teens. All feisty and just perfect for the bbq!
Offshore spring salmon fishing fishing opens on July 15. There is, however, an 80 cm cap on springs you wish to harvest. Within the surf line you are allowed to keep springs at any size over 45 cms.
Halibut fishing has picked up. It’s been very productive. Good numbers of flatties between 110 and 120 cms. Salmon bellies on spreader bars are your best bets. We have had great success jiggin a glow green paddle tail while the salmon bellies are soaking. If the dog fish are a problem try using whole salmon heads. Coho and springs around 10-12 pounds are perfect heads to use for halibut. A size 16 circle hook and you are good to go!
I just finished up fishing with Conner, Scott, Jeff, Peter, Trevor, and Steve. We fished out of my boat and Jeff’s pursuit. These guys have all guided at various locales here in B.C. Excellent fisherman for sure but even better guys. We had such a blast. The fishing was amazing but the company was even better. Take advantage of what this stunning Province has to offer and get outside with your friends and family. We are so fortunate to be able to have so many slices of heaven right at our back door!
That, then, is a wrap for this week. I have gear to tie and boats to clean so I gotta get at it!
Can’t wait to spend another day on the water tomorrow!
Come see us at Harbourside. I am always happy to share up to date fishing info. As per usual, tackle, bait and ice are readily available. Hope to see you soon!
In the mean time and in between time, Coach is out…
Coach, aka Jonathan…