Bamfield Fishing Report – Island Fisherman Magazine
Bamfield Fishing Report

Bamfield Fishing Report

Find out what’s working and what’s not when fishing in the Bamfield area on Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim. Tips, best practices, places and the go-to lures are just a sample of what you’ll find in our fishing report.


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Bamfield Fishing Report

March 2019

A belated Happy New Year to all! Barkley Sound area 21 and offshore area 121 indeed will be seeing a fishery in 2019. Be assured that just because the offshore 121 has been designated as Southern Resident Killer Whale habitat doesn’t mean it is or will automatically be closed. Currently the Sport Fishing Institute and the West Coast Fishing Guide Association have people involved in the DFO process representing our sportfishing interests, and we will keep you updated as information becomes available.

We’re seeing a reasonable number of Chinook caught now, anywhere from 8 to 15 lbs, mostly hatchery clipped fish. Please return your hatchery salmon heads to your local DFO head depot so we can get the coded wire tag (CWT) data. Fish are being caught anywhere along the Bamfield Wall, Sarita, Assits, Pill Point, Veron Bay, and of course Swale Rock. People are having luck with small spoons like Gibbs Wee G and Skinny G, as well as TKO, Coyote Sardine 3.0 & ATP sand lance, or anchovy 3-inch spoons. Also effective are needlefish hoochies like the Yo-zuri B103, OG0001, G260001, M36L, and of course the B560A. You can never go wrong with a black glow flasher or the O’Ki BS flasher Kentic Glow, Salty Dawg, or my favorite this time of the year, silver green blade glow back BS flasher. Fish your gear deep and on the bottom for best results.

There seems to be a few crabs around if you know where you are going, and prawning is all right if you know your spots. Please remember regulations require you to release all berried prawns. If you are planning to fish prawns this time of the year, please check your regulations, as some of the sub areas in Barkley Sound are currently closed to prawning until April 1, 2019 (see


Deryk Krefting
Pacific Net and Twine
Active Guiding
Lodge & Guide Manager
[email protected]

Bamfield Fishing Report Archives

Sept-Dec 2018

Well, the days are getting shorter and the kids are headed back to school, but don’t think fishing season is over! Throughout the month of September there will still be loads of mature Chinook and coho milling around the Sound headed back to either Robertson Creek or Nit Nat. September also brings the warm ocean currents closer to shore, which in turn brings in the tuna!

As the fall progresses and slowly turns into winter don’t be depressed, as there will be lots of chances of prawns, crabs, and winter springs. Fishing into September brings fewer boats yet still large fish; most big fish are coming in close to shore and town at places like the Wall, Nanat, and Pill Pt.

The springs and coho are milling around shallow and most of our fish are coming 20 ft to 40 ft deep, and on bait or white glow hoochies. Lots of times you can find coho milling around in the middle of Trevor Chanel or off Wizard Rock. Offshore, things are slowing down for the salmon, but you can still find coho and the odd feeder spring.

September brings the warm ocean currents closer to the island, and those currents are loaded with tuna! This time of year gives the hardcore offshore fisherman a chance at tying into these bad boys with rod and reel. Tuna fishing is variable based on water conditions, wind, and temperature, so getting an up-to-date report before heading out is a must.

Be safe out there, and get them to go!

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Jon Paetkau
(250) 240-4608

August 2018

August is the time when the mature local fish are swimming towards their natal rivers to complete their lifecycle, and it’s our chance to fish close to home for these massive fish. The local river forecast is very good for both the Robertson Creek and the Nit Nat River, and all signs are pointing towards this being a wicked year of fishing.

So far lots of fish have been stacked up at Fleming, Swale Rock, and my favourite, Cape Beale. The first light bite is without a doubt the best bite of the day, so get out there early and make sure you’re ready to get them while the getting is good. Lots of coho have moved in as well, and they seem to be milling around Ship, Kirby, and Sanford. Typically, most of the day we are rolling anchovies with UV or Purple Haze teaser heads with about a 6-ft leader tied to a Gibbs Madi Flasher or the new Gibbs Phantom Flashers. Our boats have also been having good luck on the very first part of the day on clear UV hoochies. Trolling a bit slower and shallower is the ticket to producing larger fish.

Offshore is still going great for mature Chinook and coho, with the most consistent spot being the Big Bank. Hoochies like the 140r, LGB57, and J79 are the go-to hoochies right now and can easily produce salmon and halibut on the troll depending on the depth you’re fishing. Jigging halibut has slowed down and can be a bit frustrating if you’re used to the kind of fishing that we get in May and June. That being said, if you stick it out and weed through the dogfish, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get your legal limit. I find that typically herring slows down a bit as a halibut bait this time of year, and salmon bellies, tails, and heads are the only thing that consistently produce time and time again. However, trolling is the more effective way to get your halibut this time of year, as you don’t deal with dogfish. You typically get your bigger springs using the same method.

It’s a big ocean with tonnes of fish, so go out there and get them. When coming to town, make sure you stop by Breakers Marine for the hottest gear of the week and fresh bait as well as second to none marine service.

See you on the water!


Jon Paetkau
(250) 240-4608

July 2018

Peak season in Bamfield is upon us! Fishing has been nothing but incredible the past few weeks, and it’s not showing any sign of slowing down. Salmon fishing in the sound has been great, and it’s been even more amazing offshore, with limits being the daily norm. Halibut fishing continues to be outstanding, with a fair amount of chicken halibut making it easy to attain one’s desired sub-115 cm fish.

Salmon fishing in Barkley Sound has been astounding, with large numbers of Chinook and coho milling around aggressively feeding all day. Inside the sound, we have noticed that most fish have been coming on the Gibbs Delta Herring Aid or Bon Chovy Skinny Gs behind the Gibbs Highliner or Phantom Flashers. Spots to try on the inside are Cree and Austin, Kirby Point, Cape Beale, and the infamous Wall. Most of our guiding days have been spent on the offshore banks, where we have been seeing incredible fishing all day long with many 20-50 Chinook and coho days. The Big Bank, from the Bottle Neck down to the Rat’s Nose and the 12 Mile, has been the highest producing area lately.

Bottom fishing in Bamfield, like always, is nothing short of spectacular. Limits of halibut have been the daily norm, and we are fortunate enough to have lots of spots close to home that continually produce halibut in the 80- to 115-cm range, which is perfect for this year’s regulations. Most of our halibut jigging has come off the Gibbs Hali Hawg tipped with salmon belly. If you’re looking for something different then try lingcod! The numbers this year have been strong, and if you’re not looking at putting in the time for halibut, it’s an easy way to get some whitefish. Before heading out and bottom fishing, make sure you know the regulations at the time and where any closures may be.
Best of luck and keep that tip up!


Jon Paetkau
(250) 240-4608

June 2018

Things are starting to heat up here on the west coast! Salmon fishing continues to get better and better daily in the sound and offshore, and halibut fishing is incredible.

Salmon fishing in the sound and close to shore has been fairly consistent all May, and it seems as though June will be the same if not better. The fish are in large numbers along the surf line, in places like Cree Island, Ship, and Cape Beale. These fish are heavily feeding on needlefish, so fishing the new Gibbs Wee G spoons or the Skinny G have proved to be the most productive. We have been trolling fairly fast (3.2 mph), so rocking a 5.5- to 7-foot leader has fished the best in the last few weeks. I’ve always been a big fan of matching the color of water to the color of your gear, so having a fair amount of different colored spoons and flashers seems to be the most productive.

The offshore banks have been nothing but mind-blowing. Incredible numbers of fish have been feeding off the Big Bank, making 50+ fish hook-up days almost the norm, and it’s fairly easy to troll up your limit of underslot-sized halibut at the same time.

If you’re in the market for jigging for halibut, then I strongly suggest changing up your hook configuration to either singles or circles to make it easier to release larger fish. I’ve been using Mustad Single Circle hooks; they are the perfect size to hold your bait and maintain a solid hook-up ration with the fish, and small enough to land smaller ‘chickens’. These new slot size regulations have definitely put the ‘sport’ back into ‘sport fishing’. Our boats have been finding that most fish have been coming on herring, or the Gibbs Hali Hawg tipped with octopus or salmon belly.

If you’re looking for a day-to-day report, see your friendly people at Breakers Marine for all the hottest new gear or give me a call! See you on the water.


Jon Paetkau
(250) 240-4608

March 2018

Well the long, cold, and wet winter is slowly coming to an end and with that a new dawn on another fishing. I love this time of year as we prep our boats and calendars for the advancing season. This season like last is shaping up to be another stellar year on the coast.

If you’re planning on coming out this spring then be ready for some steady winter spring fishing, just like last year. Solid numbers of decent sized 5-12 lb springs are milling around the Sound right now and aggressively feeding on herring as they are trying to bulk up and get food while the getting is good. This time of year focus on bait balls, watch for them on the sounder and on the surface. Telltale signs of bait are birds and other marine life, this is where the winter feeders will be hanging out. Troll fast and deep, however continually check what depth the bait balls are at and try and match that. This time of year I love fishing Pill Point, Vernon Bay, Kirby Point, or Ship Rock. I find most fish are hitting small 4-inch spoons or needle fish hoochies, behind a Hot Spot flasher.

Halibut fishing out of Bamfield is a blast this year; most spots have had no pressure on them since the halibut closure last September, so it’s always fun going back to old faithful holes, pinnacles or banks to see what is lying down below. I tend to find halibut don’t come as aggressively in March and April as they do in May, but that’s also a fact that weather is a bit more touch and go and heading offshore on a fair amount of days is out of the question. Octopus and herring is my bait of choice usually behind a Rite Angle Spin and Glow or Octopus Skirt. The Spin and Glows have been a staple to my halibut tackle box for a few years now and I find it really has increased my catch rate, especially on big current moving days.

The early spring is a great time to come out to Bamfield for more reasons than to test out the downriggers, it’s fun and typically very quiet. Make sure when coming out you recheck the up-to-date fishing regulations and feel free to stop into Breakers Marine for friendly service and daily fishing reports.


Jon Paetkau
(250) 240-4608

Sept/Dec 2017

Well the nights are getting longer and the days are getting colder but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to lock your fishing rod away just yet. There is still lots of incredible fishing to be had all the way through the month of September; lots of mature springs and coho are still milling around the Sound, halibut still wanting to chomp down on some gear, and of course tuna are still offshore skipping along the surface just dying to be seared on a barbecue.

Once labor day weekend wraps up most people head home and call it a fishing season; however there are still loads of salmon milling around. The peak coho run is in with massive schools of aggressive fighting fish milling around waiting to chomp on your bait as well as the odd massive mature Chinook, as the tail end of their run finishes off. Fishing at Whittlestone, Cape Beale, Assits, Pill Pt., and Flemming are always productive, using bait, or spoons for those hard-hitting coho and sluggish mature springs.

Offshore the halibut fishing has slowed down a bit but they are still out there and one just needs to put in the time and be rewarded with some BC white gold. There are still lots of coho salmon with the odd mature Chinook mixed in offshore as well. It makes for great and very fast action once you get into them. Salmon fishing is great in September but the odd few fishermen have switched over and are now tuna fishing.

Tuna fishing, which has rapidly expanded in popularity among the sport fishing community, is incredibly fun and very extreme. The runs far offshore mixed with the hard-hitting, fast-paced action make for an incredible trip. Just plan the weather out and make sure your boat and crew are capable.

As the days get colder then it is time to pack the tuna gear away and focus on winter springs, prawns, and crabs. Keep up with in season regulation changes and fishing reports throughout the winter at Breakers Marine in Bamfield.

Until next year, keep your tip up, boots tight and shoot straight.


Jon Paetkau
(250) 240-4608

August 2017

Well, it’s time to grab the anchovies and head up to Bamfield because the majority of our local salmon are now in the Sound! August is historically the peak month for salmon fishing in our area with the largest influx of returning mature salmon literally swimming past our doorstep.

Salmon fishing throughout the Barkley Sound has been incredible lately with great fishing being had at Cape Beale, Flemming and Swale. The lure of choice is anchovy right now in a teaser head, however small Skinny G spoons and UV glow hoochies have also been productive. The first light bite is crucial to hit so don’t miss out on that by sleeping in.

Offshore fishing continues to be productive with solid action all day for Chinooks and coho. The Big Bank and 12 Mile have been consistent for both salmon and halibut. Most of the fleet have been using hoochies or five-inch Tomic plugs for salmon, and have been trolling up the halibut with glow-green hoochies. Slowing your troll down and keeping your gear right in the mud will get you a halibut, guaranteed.

Tuna fishing offshore has also started to become a very realistic day trip for most large sport fishing boats because the warm water currents are being pushed closer and closer to the island. This fishery is expanding rapidly throughout the sport fishing community and is a lot of fun when done right. It is a long way offshore so you need to know your boat and crew are capable and it is always best to go with a few boats. As the month of August comes to an end you will start seeing more people start switching gears from salmon to tuna. Pick your right weather window and you will be in for a wild ride of tuna fishing.

Keep your tip up and go get ’em.


Jon Paetkau
(250) 240-4608

April/May 2017

April and May are when our first wave of migratory “feeder” Chinook show up on the fishing grounds and for the most part, fishing at this time is done inshore, due to the weather. Some great action can be found right at our side the Ucluelet Harbour entrance, either alongside Beg Island or turn right and fish the Red Can Buoy tack.

Proven hotspots like Bear Rock, Mara Rock, Sail Rock and Swale Rock are excellent areas to explore at depths ranging from 70 feet down to 10 feet off the bottom. Many of the guides use Coyote Spoons in various colors and sizes behind green or blue flashers, but when the fishing is slow try switching to an anchovy or herring in a Rhys Davis Anchovy Special in one of the metallic green or blue finishes, and troll at speeds of 4-5 kmh.


Breaker’s Marine Ltd.
(250) 728-3281
[email protected]

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