Tofino Fishing Report - July 2018

Adam called me the other day to ask if I’d be submitting another report for this month’s Tofino Times. It’d be nice if this month we concentrated a little more on fishing, he suggested. I snickered into the phone and chided his editorial nagging, as I often do.

“Getting things into production early this month” I teased, “for once.”

Snicker, snicker.

“Uh, Josh…it’s almost July bud.”

Silence, and then “Wait, what?”

And just like that July has snuck up upon us.  

Between habitat restoration projects with Clayoquot CleanUp, and a full-tilt fishing and project schedule, June seems to have disappeared in a hurry. While most of the month was a blur of helicopters, remote shorelines and mountains of ocean plastic and pollutants to be conquered in Clayoquot Sound we did manage to fit in some fishing here and there.  

After a bit of a nail-biter in the beginning of June where many suffered through a week of lacklustre action the bite finally started up and by the time the Hooked on Miracles tournament kicked off we were in the midst of full-on Tofino salmon mayhem.  

On the second day of the tournament we tallied sixteen chinooks to the boat and released all but two of them to continue their journey to the spawning grounds.

The fish were hammering Pesca spoons, hoochies, turds and anchovies along the shorelines from Rafael Point to Long Beach and pretty much everywhere in between. That’s spectacular fishing by anyone's standards!

The annual Hooked on Miracles event was a resounding success yet again and succeeded in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars this year for the BC Children’s Hospital. That brings the running total to over two million dollars raised thus far and that does a lot of good for the children and families who are suffering from debilitating illnesses. Thanks to everyone involved for organizing and participating in this wonderful event.  

The latter part of June was a blur of great salmon and halibut fishing.  Hot spots continue to be Long Beach and anywhere along the rocks.

The prevalence of juvenile herring and squid spawn has brought in substantial numbers of salmon intent on gorging one last time before their fall spawning run. Green/glow and UV flashers have been the most consistent producers and since I pretty much only fish Pesca spoons most of my fish have been coming on the 3.5” to 4” models. Spoon colour hasn’t mattered all that much, and neither has the colour of the hoochies.  I haven’t fished bait since 2015 but I hear guys have been getting them on anchovies and herring too.  

As we move into July some of the bigger chinook will be showing up (hopefully).  Most fish in June have been in the 10 - 15 pound range, though a few in the mid-twenties have been caught.

July is the time of year when we start to see our larger 4 and 5 year old chinook start to migrate through so be prepared to encounter the odd 30 and 40 pounder in the mix.

I do try to encourage everyone to please release all wild (unclipped) salmon as we are having a real problem with diminishing wild fish populations throughout the Pacific Northwest. The time has come where we must all accept our responsibility as stewards of the common resource and releasing all wild fish is an excellent place to start.

Practice CPR - Catch, Photograph and Release of all wild fish!

Halibut fishing has been consistent for the folks that have been putting in the effort. Remember that new size restrictions have come into effect this season so all halibut over 115 centimeters must be released. I strongly recommend fishing circle hooks to prevent unnecessary mortality when releasing halibut of any size. Circle hooks are the only ethical option when fishing for halibut in this day and age and reduce mortality rates to nearly zero on released halibut so please be respectful of the resource and make the switch to circle hooks if you haven’t already done so.  

Speaking of conservation, there is a zero retention rule for yellow-eye rockfish this year as well, and several changes to the rockfish and cod quotas too.

To ensure that you are safely releasing any rockfish or cod properly make sure you purchase a descending device and learn how to use it. Over 80% of rockfish and cod survive when released using a descending device so please take the time to release all rockfish properly as well.  

On a final note I would like to pay my respects to the three fishermen and mariners that we lost recently here in Tofino. May you rest in peace.  

Please don’t forget to wear your life jackets and practice safe, responsible boating out there.  I hope everyone has a safe and productive July. See you on the water!

- Captain Josh Temple