Westcoast Fish Newsletter for 2012 Season
Overview of 2011 Season
Happy New Year Everybody!! Wishing you and your families a healthy and prosperous 2012! Time is flying by and it’s already mid February, so I figured I’d better get the annual Westcoast Fish newsletter out before things get to busy around here.
In review, 2011 was another incredible year of fishing with super consistent catches from early spring right through to the late fall. In the past few years the Ucluelet Longbeach Tofino region has been rated as the number one most consistent location on the entire B.C. coast for both Chinook and Coho salmon. Three of the major factors contributing to the huge numbers of chinook and coho salmon in recent years are the large numbers of salmon hatcheries south of the border pumping out millions of fish combined with the favorable ocean survival rates associated with colder ocean temperatures and thirdly, Ucluelet, Longbeach and Tofino’s location in relation to the major salmon migration routes. The good news is that 2012 is forecasted to follow suit of the 2011 season, meaning large numbers of salmon will be migrating and feeding there way down our coast giving us better than average fishing.
Early season, March, April and May 2011 resulted in excellent catches of both chinook salmon and bottom fish. The chinook salmon avg. 8 to 18 lbs. , with the majority of the fish being of U.S origin. Almost all of the fishing this time of the year takes place along the fringe of Barkley sound. Pockets of fish migrate south along the shoreline feeding on needle fish , herring, pilchards and squid. Well known fishing holes which seem to consistently produce this time of the year are Longbeach, Beg Island, Red Can, Great bear and Alley Rock, Sail Rock , Cree and Austin Island, Mearse bluff . On the Bamfield side of the Barkley Sound you will find that Kirby pt. up to Edward King and Folger island can also be a productive area. Early in the year the most effective gear is small coyote spoons, needlefish hootchies and anchovies fished mid water or near the bottom.
May June and July are prime months for halibut and bottom fishing in the Ucluelet area. Early season bottom fishing is usually done a short distance offshore along the rocky reefs and pinnacles along Barkley Sound from Cape Beale all the way up to Longbeach area. Halibut numbers are forecasted to be strong for 2012 with average sizes being from 20 to 45 pounds. Early season Lingcod and a large assortment of rockfish species make for non stop action and some great eating !! Halibut season opens March 1, 2012 and Lingcod open April 1, 2012 .
Come early July and August the fishing tends to shift offshore with most of the fishing being done a few miles offshore. South bank, The Wreck, Southwest Corner, Hyson bank , Portland pt. and Longbeach can all be consistent producing locations of these migrating chinook and coho. The big bank can also be a consistent producer of both salmon and halibut with the Shallow Spot, Big Gully or Rat Nose area being the most frequented zones. Like most years, these large Fraser River Chinook start to show in early July and shoot through in waves until mid September. July, August and early September are when the largest of the chinook pass through with some chinook pushing 50 pounds plus. On August 17th, 2011 one of our regulars Frank Churchill and his guide Captain Kirk caught the largest chinook for 2011 with a 51 pounder during some crazy fishing action out at the Wreck. It was caught on a Brown Turd and flasher at around 45 feet.
If you were lucky enough to hit the peak of some of these waves of large chinook and coho this past July and august 2011, you will know all about this fast action, rod pounding salmon fishing. There were days out there when you couldn’t keep your gear down………searching through your tackle box looking for the biggest plugs and spoons possible to slow down the action just a bit !!!! double and triple headers of slabs were not uncommon this time of the year. Look for the humpback whales and there is a good chance you will find the salmon !!
Overall, the forecast for 2012 looks like another great year of fishing ahead ! As it stands now, all of my regular guides at Westcoast Fish will be back with Captain Kirk leading the way, Chris Kringle, Max Million and Elmer. This certainly makes my life easier knowing all my guides are veterans and are on the same program. I acquired a new deck hand in late September a 3 month old Chesapeake bay retriever. His name is Salish and he is Barkleys nephew. His first trip out in the boat he got seasick in the large swells and puked…..so now I call him “Salish the seasick sailor !” he has definitely come along way this winter, after spending some time out on the boat with Barkley and I fishing for chinook salmon this winter. Barkley is 8 ½ years old and is slowing down a bit, he is transitioning into his retirement job of patrolling the property for bears and sleeping in the driveway! He is just about done bouncing around in a boat all day !!
Get fired up for some more of that fast action westcoast style of fishing!! I would like to take this opportunity to thank my guests for a successful 2011 season, and look forward to seeing some of you again during the 2012 season. I have already done a good amount of bookings for the 2012 season, as most of my regulars know the importance of booking early to get there prime dates for both fishing and accommodations. Thanks to all of you for booking again and your tremendous loyalty over the years !!!
Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions, to reconfirm booked dates or to reserve some time. No w is a great time to sort out dates for fishing and accommodations as the 2012 season is fast approaching.
Matt ‘Oly’ Olcen Owner/Head Guide westcoastfish.com
For booking information contact us or call toll free anytime at 1-877-333-8221