It’s a beautiful sunny Friday, and nothing smells of summer more than an announcement from the DFO that sockeye is opening in the Alberni Inlet on May 1, 2018. It’s one of my personal favourite fisheries. From an easy launch at Clutesi Haven and the added bonus of a freshwater run through the outboards on the way back, fishing Port Alberni Inlet is a treat.
Where exactly should you go? It’s pretty hard to miss the action close to the China Creek Campground—you’ll know it when you see it. People typically converge between Stamp Narrows and Sproat Narrows.
Best suggestion? Join the parade. Last year was a lot of fun, at least until commercial fishing opened up. I only have myself to blame for not getting there earlier in the season. Just be smart and have lines wet for sunrise. If you are staying for a few days, don’t pass up a chance for the evening bite; we did surprisingly well last year. You’ll want to increase your chances of a catch by stacking lines and using a lot of flash—ideally below, in-between, and above each line, if you have the stomach for it. Tight turns and poor speed control can make for a real mess of your gear—and downtime from active fishing—so fish at your comfort level.
No boat? No problem—rent one from AV BOAT RENTAL. It goes without saying to be responsible with a rental as if was your own and to book your trip early. There are just not many places to rent a boat on Vancouver Island, so let’s make sure we do well by these guys. Personally, I like to motor down from Clutesi and stay at China Creek for a few days each summer rather than towing my boat down the gravel road from Port Alberni. They have supplies, and I really enjoy camping on my boat any chance I can get. It’s a great family spot, too, with lots of kids running around and playing in the park.
Sockeye is by far my sushi of choice. However, a good tip is to freeze your catch before considering serving it raw. It’s not uncommon to find roundworm in the flesh, and freezing takes care of this problem. As an option for impressing your house guests with raw sockeye, this is the species to cold smoke into lox or even make gravlax with.
Looking forward to it? I sure am. If you see me on water be sure to say hi. Just don’t drag your ‘car parts’ too close to mine, OK?
Subject: FN0339-RECREATIONAL – Salmon – Sockeye – Area 23 – Barkley Sound, Alberni Inlet, and the Tidal Portion of the Somass River – Opening May 1, 2018
Effective 00:01 hours May 1, 2018 until further notice the daily quota for the tidal recreational fishery for sockeye salmon will be two (2) sockeye per day in the following area: that portion of Subareas 23-1 to 23-11 from a line in Alberni Harbour near the mouth of the Somass River beginning at a boundary sign Located at 49 degrees 14.190 north latitude and 124 degrees 50.230 west longitude then through the southern most point of Hoik Island then to the flashing green light at the mouth of the Somass River then due east to a boundary sign on the opposite shore then Seaward to the surfline (Cape Beale to Amphitrite Point) except for the following closed area; The area known as Uchucklesit Inlet will close to angling for all finfish, effective 00:01 hours June 30 until 23:59 hours October 31, 2018. This includes that portion of Subarea 23-3 northwest of a line between boundary signs at Brooksby Point and Burrough Point.
Variation Order # 2018-RFQ-230 Effective daily from 06:00 hours to 22:00 hours from May 1 until 22:00 hours July 23, 2018 the daily quota for sockeye salmon shall be two (2) per day in the following area; The tidal portion of the Somass River described as that portion of Subarea 23-1 from the tidal boundary signs at Paper Mill Dam on the Somass River downstream to a line commencing at a boundary sign in upper Alberni Harbour situated at 49° 14.19 north latitude and 124°50.23 west longitude thence through the southern most point of Hoik Island then to the flashing green light at the mouth of the Somass River, then due east to a boundary sign on the opposite shore except for the following closed area; The area known as Paper Mill Dam Pool will remain closed to angling for all finfish. It Includes that portion of 23-1 in the Somass River from signs located near the bottom of the rapids immediately north of Papermill Dam Pool, then downstream to boundary signs located on both sides of the Somass River approximately 60 metres downstream from the northern tip of the unnamed island directly below Paper Mill Dam Pool.
Variation Order # 2018-RCT-128 On April 11, 2018 Department staff met with the Area 23 Harvest Committee to discuss fishery planning for Area 23 Somass Sockeye. The attendees at this meeting were representatives from the Tseshaht, Hupacasath and Maa-nulth First Nations and stakeholders from the commercial gillnet and seine fishery, and the Alberni Valley Sport Fishing Advisory Committee. The pre-season forecast for Somass sockeye is 500,000. The forecast predicts a low return to Great Central Lake. This will be monitored in season and restrictions may be implemented on short notice to protect Great Central Lake sockeye. At the meeting the Area 23 Harvest Committee recommended opening the tidal recreational sockeye fishery only with a reduced limit. Further opportunities or restrictions will be determined at the weekly Harvest Committee meetings which start June 7. The Somass Sockeye in-season stock assessment program will be in place in 2018. This program collects escapement, test fishing, catch and environmental information on a weekly basis. This information is collected and a reforecast will be made weekly every Thursday for the duration of the season. This may lead to further recreational sockeye opportunities if conditions warrant.
Notes: Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon in tidal waters of British Columbia. The term “marked” means a hatchery fish that has a healed scar in place of the adipose fin. Sport anglers are encouraged to participate in the Salmon Sport Head Recovery program by labelling and submitting heads from adipose fin-clipped Chinook and Coho salmon. Recovery of coded-wire tags provides critical information for coast-wide stock assessment. Contact the Salmon Sport Head Recovery Program toll free at (866) 483-9994 for further information.
Anglers are advised to check http://bcsportfishguide.ca for fishing closures and other recreational fishing information.
Tidal Water Sport Fishing Licences can be purchased via any computer connected to the internet at https://www-ops2.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/nrls-sndpp/index-eng.cfm or by using Google search key words “Recfish Licence”.
Did you witness suspicious fishing activity or a violation? If so, please call the Fisheries and Ocean Canada 24-hour toll free Observe, Record, Report line at (800) 465-4336. For the 24 hour recorded opening and closure line, call toll free at 1-(866)431-FISH (3474).