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Tofino and Ucluelet B.C. Pacific Rim Fishing Report early May 20

Capt. Adam Watson
May 6, 2009
Clayoquot Sound - Saltwater Fishing Report

Well, the month of May started off providing us with an absolutely stunning day on the west coast. Flat calm seas and bright skies were as nice as any mid-summer day, with May 1st being similar to the whole previous week of great weather. It was enjoyed while it lasted, but the current intense low pressure system is slamming us from the Pacific, with relentless winds and rain that are reminding us that we are not too far removed from the turn of the spring season. Ahh life on the west coast, with weather than can change in an instant during the early season,,,,but so can the fishing. Last week we saw some very good fishing for Halibut near the coastline outside of Tofino, with most of the 25-45 lb. Halibut caught along the 140 foot contour line that skirts the outer coast. The action for Halibut was good considering the tide cycle was quite strong, with these tide conditions possibly slowing the Salmon fishing a bit earlier in the week. Just prior to the current weather system, the action for Chinook Salmon picked up considerably, with a number of fish in the 12-24lb. Range feeding and traveling in 150 feet of water approximately 5 miles offshore. We anticipate the action for Chinook Salmon and Halibut to be very good in these same areas once the low pressure backs off by Thursday or Friday, with a good looking weekend forecast.
For Freshwater fishing, and the lakes and streams in the Tofino and Ucluelet areas, the rains are welcome for river levels that have been a on the low side for this time of year. This is good news for Salmon fry that may have been debilitated by the lower conditions, as well as the late Spring/early summer Steelhead that are a little late to arrive. As May progresses, we will be happy to have this nasty blast of weather behind us, and great fishing ahead.
After reviewing and comparing past years reports for the month of May, I found the following precursor for the 2001 report very interesting; "For the Tofino and Ucluelet areas, along Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim, the month of May starts off another very promising season for Sport fishing on B.C.'s west coast. With Chinook salmon stocks anticipated to reach a fifty-year high in the lower 48, our local early season fishery will undoubtedly benefit from these abundant stocks. It is hard to believe that this kind of fantastic Chinook salmon fishing is anticipated to continue through late August, only to compliment the returning stocks of Coho that help solidify the backbone of our World Class saltwater sport fishery."
Ironically after 8 years, the overview for the May 2009 report for Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim doesn't differ much from that of 2001. It is still true that the month of May undoubtedly provides some of the most diverse Saltwater and Freshwater fishing opportunities of the season for Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim. The area's offshore and inshore areas, as well as the remote streams and lakes that skirt Clayoquot Sound, all provide great opportunity for a variety of species that include Salmon, Halibut, Rockfish, Lingcod, Steelhead and Trout. There are a few very positive differences for this May, as well as some new issues to become aware of.
The upgraded Columbia River Salmon forecast is a strong point of interest for west coast anglers. While the Chinook salmon run is not anticipated to reach a fifty year high, over 500 Thousand returning Chinook will only compliment the big news of nearly 1.3 Million Coho Salmon destined for the same massive watershed and its tributaries. Approximately 60% of these southern destined Coho are considered "early" summer returning fish, which will very likely see them feeding hard along Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim beginning in late May, with the majority being present during June, July and August. Considered "late run", the remaining 40 % of the Columbia Coho begin to overlap the early run during August, with strong numbers of these large, late returning fish gorging and travelling southward through late October.
The great news for Salmon does not stop with Chinook and Coho, as the 2009 season is also a high year for returning Pink Salmon that will only compliment the great opportunities for light tackle anglers, fly fishermen and small vessel anglers to access these abundant runs.
With most coastal fishing opportunities on the increase this year, B.C. Halibut anglers should take note of regulation changes to start the 2009 season. Due to a decreased Total Allowable Catch of B.C. Halibut for all sectors, and a government imposed maximum of 12% of the TAC, recreational Halibut limits have been changed to 1 per day with a possession limit of 2. The daily limit may increase to the requested 2 Halibut per day, based on in season monitoring by DFO and information supplied by the recreational sector.
The strong increase in returns of Columbia River Salmon and overall stability of most B.C. salmon stocks for the 2009 season could be considered as Mothers Nature's version of a stimulus package, as high numbers of transient Salmon such as these, helped create the backbone for B.C. coastal Sport fisheries. Don't believe all the doom and gloom being spread by many of the media outlets, get out experience the great fishing opportunities available along Vancouver Island. It may be just the release you have been looking for..

Check out this quick little clip on YouTube that shows how beautiful the weather was in Tofino last week. The Halibut Fishing was O.K. too, showing the smaller of the two caught while fishing a couple hours on the tide...


We look forward to any questions that you may have in regards to the great opportunities ahead for the 2009 season.

Clayoquot Sound Fishing Forecast:

Good start to the local Tofino and Ucluelet B.C. Saltwater fishing seasom ,with better things to come over the next 5 months.

Target Species:

Chinook Salmon Halibut and Steelhead

More Fishing Reports:


Tofino B.C.'s most recommended Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing Outfitter. Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Pacific Rim National Park, we outfit Half, Full or Multi-day packages for Chinook and Coho Salmon, Halibut and Bottom fish as well as Fly in access excursions for Steelhead, Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout. Operating from our full service Fly & Tackle on Tofino's main street, with info and updated Fishing Reports.

Contact Info:

Clayoquot Ventures Tofino Fishing
Box 652
Tofino, BC V0R-2Z0
Phone: 1-888-534-7422
Alt. Phone: 250-725-2700
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