I carefully lift my left foot from it’s secure position and allow the nagging current of the river to carry it further downstream. The felt sole of my wading boot bounces along the tops of the boulders at the bottom of the unseen depths, blindly searching for the next foothold. Once firmly in place, the right leg follows same and I reestablish my balance within the rivers rhythm.
With my left hand I strip the running line in, coiling it in my fingers, and sweep the rod through a practiced, calculated motion. On the forward cast the rod arcs and the wonderful physics of inertia send a long and accurate line across the river. I enjoy the simple beauty of this effort, admiring how the bright, colourful line forms a loop and carries the fly to land in a likely spot within the braided currents where fish are known to hold. The fly settles, sinks, and begins it’s swing across the river, probing unchecked depths for the promise of another fish.
While I wait patiently for a bite to come the rhythms of this wild place envelope me. The river is an instrument of boundless composition. When coupled with the sounds of the forest, it’s creatures, and the weather that moves above a great symphony of wilderness provides an invigorating soundtrack for much needed meditation.
I am at peace during these moments. Otherwise scattered thoughts are gently massaged, calmly relaxed into more quiet contemplation. I don’t think about my bank account, or hectic schedule. Nor do I worry about politics, or the unwelcome solicitor on the other end of the phone. Instead I admire the river, and the pristine wilderness that surrounds me. And by doing so I unconsciously achieve what draws me to these wild places. I find peace, and reconnection.
The steelhead fishing this fall and winter has provided exceptional sport for anglers plying rivers with fly and light tackle. Weather has certainly been a challenge, but on the days when the river is in shape we have enjoyed truly incredible fishing.
Steelhead should be considered one of the great gamefish of British Columbia. We are very lucky here in Tofino because just about every major watershed in Clayoquot Sound supports a run of wild, rambunctious fish. Granted, some rivers offer much better fishing than others, so its important for any visiting angler to inquire about run timing and guides to capitalize on the best fishing opportunities at this time of year.
Fly-in trips with float planes and helicopters provide an exceptional means of accessing some of the best rivers on Vancouver Island, be sure to stop in at our office at 368 Main Street to inquire about any of the great steelhead fishing packages that are available during December.
Winter salmon fishing is now in full swing as well, and some very large salmon up to twenty pounds have tested anglers opting to ply inshore, sheltered waters for feisty winter Chinook.
Clifford Point and the entrance of Sydney Inlet are both productive spots for trolling up a limit of salmon, and anglers are best advised to utilize a combination of UV and glow flashers, spoons, and anchovy heads fished as close to the bottom as possible.
Pulling traps for Dungeness crab, prawns, and shrimp to round out a seafood feast is an excellent addition to any saltwater charter during the winter months. Drop the traps on your way out to the fishing ground and let them soak while you catch your limit of winter salmon during the tide change, then swing by your traps on the way home to round out your catch of fresh, wonderful seafood for the holiday table.
Visitors to Tofino during the holiday season should definitely make a point of getting out on the water. All of the action is to be found in calm, protected inshore waters during the winter months (safe from open ocean swells) and the fishing for salmon and other tasty marine critters is absolutely fantastic all winter long.
If you plan on taking a trip to the hot springs and enjoying a wildlife safari while you’re in town, then be sure to stop in at our retail location and ask about our “Ultimate Adventure” packages. These packages are the most exciting all-in-one adventure package available in Tofino and are very popular with discerning guests looking for the best adventure experience that Tofino has to offer.
I wish everyone the very best during this holiday season. Be safe, enjoy your time with the family, and I hope to see you out on the water - the fish are biting!!!
- Captain Josh Temple