Fishing Recap 2017: Ucluelet, B.C.
Capt. Sam Vandervalk
October 18, 2017
Ucluelet - Saltwater Fishing Report
We started fishing in March and ended late September this year. Next year we plan to start fishing April 1 and end again in late September.
March and April and were medium good, meaning we had good days (limits of salmon) and slow days (1-3 salmon). There were a few halibut in close to shore like normal, though getting one could mean sitting on anchor all day and not fishing salmon or lingcod. As usual, there were lots of lingcod around when salmon fishing was slow. March and April can have good and bad weather days and if coming then, it is always best to book a few days, especially if you are hoping to go back with your limit of salmon and lingcod.
May and June were much better than normal for a chance at a Chinook over 20lbs and we even had a few over 30lbs. Fishing for salmon was medium good for this time of year, meaning we still had to work for salmon and halibut to get limits. We had some really good days where the fish were jumping on the line and slower days when the fish started biting after 10 am—in fact we had quite a few days where the fish started biting later in the day. The fishing started picking up at Big Bank near the end of June, and that is where many of the days were spent over the next 2 months. The trend has been that fishing has been pretty good in the early season and we expect next May/June to be good based on the high numbers of grilse in Barkley Sound this year.
July and August were pretty normal for both Chinook and Halibut. July was very good for halibut and on most of the days we went to Big Bank we got both our Chinook and Halibut. During August we spent the first half on Big Bank and the 2nd half in close to shore fishing the larger returning Chinook. Halibut fishing slowed down the 2nd half of August, though most days we were able to get our halibut limit—it just took longer than July. There was decent Chinook fishing all of July and August in close to shore and we had about a week where we caught them on live squid from about July 19-25. After the squid started spreading out, we mostly caught the Chinook by trolling. If you are looking for bigger fish in more protected water, July is a better time to come.
The Coho were in one area at Big Bank and we didn't target them much simply because we are only allowed to keep Coho with their adipose fin clipped. Most of the Coho did not have the adipose fin clipped on Big Bank. It is fun when you get into them and you can't keep your line down because they are very aggressive. But we don't like catching and releasing, as many of the fish don't make it.
September fishing was pretty good for Chinook up to the 15th before it started dropping off, which is pretty normal. The halibut fishing was closed Sept 5., which is not normal. The Coho did not come in close to shore in big numbers, though we did have some days with pockets of Coho. The Lingcod fishing starts to get even better late in the season, so this provides a good source of white meat. Lingcod is my favorite white meat to eat if they are under about 12lbs when caught.
If you are booking for 2018, I would suggest booking as soon as possible to make sure you get accommodation and a spot for fishing. Accommodation was very tough to get starting 4 months before the summer season and we turned away many people during the summer. You can check out accommodation for Ucluelet and Tofino at www.tofino-info.com/resorts-hotels-tofino-ucluelet/ and our fishing packages (www.salmoneye.net/site/fishing-packages.html) to get your trip booked. Most people end up booking our fishing packages.
Salmon Eye Charters
Fishing Reports Archive:
Below are a couple pics from the 2017 season. Tight lines!
More Fishing Reports: