This past summer had people all excited with expectations of a record returns of Chinook headed through Ucluelet for the Columbia River. While the Columbia River did get a record return a little just over last years numbers, we didn't see all these fish pass in front of us as expected. There was a big silver lining to the season however. July was one of the most fun months I have had as a fishing guide with the whole month spent fishing within 15 minutes from the harbour in a semi protected/protected bay. We started the month trolling as we normally do but ended up fishing live squid near the end. Not only did we get protection from the weather, but we got what I think is the most sporty way to catch a salmon. While downriggers are efficient ways to catch salmon, many people are would rather have a more hands-on way to start the battle of the scrappy Chinook.
The Good news is that I think squid fishing is here to stay. We hadn't done it in years previous and learned a ton about it this past summer. If squid numbers stay up as they are expected to, than we very well could have a repeat of last season. There is just one for thing to say about the fishery here during July: I must say our guides did an incredible job figuring out what the salmon were feeding on and our success during July was not what most guide here experienced. We ended up getting an average larger weight size per day than in 2012 and 13.
So what happened in May, June, August and September?
As not all of you came in July, we had some good fishing in all of these months. June was not quite as good as it was in 2013, but we still managed to get some good fish. I would say the larger runs of Chinook were a little late coming through and it didn't really pick up until the last few days of June. During August the hotspots changed almost daily and we had to be ready to pick up and move or else get really good at guessing.
The Chinook moved in close to shore near the end of the month and we mostly fished Little Beach near the end with just a couple runs to Big Bank. The inshore fishing in 2014 was much better, however it did keep us moving quite often as the fish didn't stay long in each spot. We did have some good days at Big Bank but only ran out there a handful of times when fishing in close went slow.
Halibut Fishing 2014
Halibut fishing seemed to be on and off. One day we would get lots and the next it would be slow or two days hot and two days cold. We did get them consistently through out the summer starting in late May right up to mid September. We mostly bottom bounced for them in July about 2 miles from our salmon fishing spot and trolled for them in August when fishing 5-10 miles offshore.
Coho Fishing 2014
The Coho mostly stayed way offshore, however we did get some good days with Coho during late June to early September. Our best coho days were in early September and we also go a few Chinook in the mix as well. Since we were fishing in close to shore in early September, if we caught a Chinook while Coho fishing it usually was a nice one.
Check our fishing packages for an action packed fishing trip. Below are a few pics from the summers fishing!
Check our fishing packages for an action packed fishing trip!
The sportiest way to catch salmon in my opinion is fishing live bait. On the west coast there is generally two common ways to catch salmon. Troll with downriggers or cut plug herring.
But there is another way most people don't know about and that is to catch Chinook salmon in shallow water with live squid. And what is significant about shallow water? By instinct most Chinook like to dive deep when hooked, so when you get a Chinook on the line in shallow water they often give you a good really good run. Also, because the fish is closer to you, you will feel more of the action and will be more involved in reeling the fish in.
So when can you fish live squid? The best time to do live squid fishing here for the returning Chinook is late June/early July. (Last year we had good squid fishing right up to the end of July). There really isn't anything like it. First you have fun catching the squid early in the morning and then you get to use your own caught bait while holding the rod to hook a Chinook salmon. For all those of you who are looking for interactive fishing, this one is for you.
There is a short video below showing a couple double headers from one of our guides Fred Perron. If you haven't done it before, you need to try it. It is one of those things that should be on every bucket list. When you decide that you just have to do it, plan on coming in late June or July. One thing to note is these Chinook were a little smaller than what we normally get here during July.
I hope you enjoy the video!
The Chinook fishing was pretty consistent in the first week of September near Little Beach. The only thing that kept changing was the bait. The fish switched from small spoons, to anchovies to needle fish hutchies. Most of the Chinook were in the 15-20lb range with a few going bigger. The halibut seemed to move around a bit as well. The good news is that we still found some and we had some happy customers. Below are a few pictures from the past few weeks.
Chinook fishing has been good at Outside Lighthouse Bank and South Bank this past week and a half since my last fishing report. The Chinook seem to be all depths and biting on different set ups from day to day. Needlefish hutchies, cuddlefish, 4 inch Coyote spoons and large Tomic spoons have been doing well. Some days we are also seeing a few halibut move in. It seems that halibut fishing here is good one day and not as good the next. Halibut fishing has been consistent at the Wreck. Coho haven't been as prevalent the past week and a half, though we are find a few every day.
Thanks for reading this report and pictures are below!
Fishing has moved offshore for us since Florencia Bay is closed August 1 for Chinook over 77 cm. The good news is that we have been doing most of our fishing relatively close so far. South Bank and Lighthouse Bank have been the hotspots so far. There is lots of bait showing up on South Bank and even though most of it is small, there is still a few schools of larger herring around. We have been testing Tomic plugs and have been catching some of the larger Chinook on them and not having to deal with as many small Chinook. Every day is different so we are always trying new gear. Chinook fishing isn't on fire, but we are working at it and getting fish.
Halibut fishing at the Wreck has been good this past week and most days the halibut have been coming quickly with a good size average. Below are some pics from the past few days to wet your appetite for your coming fishing trip! We should have good fishing right up until mid September this year for both Chinook and Coho.