Tofino Fishing Report – March 2017

Jenny Mustard, my young and boundlessly energetic golden retriever, is eyeballing me in exasperation as I type this report. She’s perched on a nearby cushion, head thrown over the back of the couch, moaning and barking in the direction of the woods outside as if to say “Dad, it’s a nice day out there. Please get off the stupid computer and lets go outside and fish.”

Jenny Mustard has proven herself to be a dependable fishing companion over the past year since she made the journey over the Rocky Mountains, across the Salish Sea and down the emerald river valleys to Tofino. She’s mastered the art of saltwater fishing since she arrived on the coast, and includes trolling, jigging, and hauling traps for crabs and prawns in her repertoire. She will chastise me with her growling and barking if the action is slow, and closely inspect all manner of species to ensure their quality and quantity when we indeed manage a catch. Her watchful eye comes in handy when sea lions and whales are about, though thankfully she has firmly given up jumping overboard in pursuit of them - particularly when the boat is running at full speed.

She’s flown in float planes and helicopters to remote lakes and rivers throughout Clayoquot Sound in pursuit of steelhead, salmon and trout. She’s threatened to tip over canoes and paddle boards, felt her golden ears and cheeks flap in the wind as we roared up remote rivers in our jet boat, and wagged her tail in synchronous rhythm to my labouring strokes on the oars as we descended churning whitewater in the raft.

As far as adventure dogs go, Jenny Mustard is right up there with the best of them. I feel a bit guilty for not heeding her pleas this morning but alas - duty calls! In the interest of keeping both readers and my impatient fur ball happy, let’s get right to the gist of it and cover some of the amazing fishing opportunities available here in Tofino during the month of March.

After a chilly, icy, and downright determined winter this year the gentle rains and warming temps of March are a welcome reminder that ice in the guides isn’t a normal phenomenon around here. As upper altitude ice and snow begins to melt this month, and the first of the spring rains wash winter away from the coast, rivers and streams have begun to swell. Rising rivers have brought in the annual migration of spring steelhead and these fish have been eager to take a well presented lure or fly in the warming temperatures of spring. Steelhead are one of the great gamefish of British Columbia and March should be considered a peak month for pursing them. Stop in at our booking office at 368 Main Street and we will be happy to provide all of the information you need for booking a day of remote steelhead fishing here in the Tofino area. We provide all of the equipment and gear required, including waders, fly rods, and light tackle spinning gear. Journeying to a pristine river flowing though ancient old-growth forests and catching a steelhead in British Columbia should be considered one of the most quintessential experiences of spring, and highly recommended if you have never experienced it.

Saltwater fishing opportunities in March are excellent for Chinook (King) Salmon at offshore seamounts and inshore protected waters. We have enjoyed fantastic action for salmon in the 10 - 25 pound range in the past week at reliable hot-spots like Portland Point, Clifford Point, and Rafael Point. Fish a combination of 3.5” - 4” Pesca Spoons behind a UV Glow Oki or Hot Spot flasher in depths of 80 - 130’ and try to time your outing around a tide change. Fish are feeding aggressively in the hours before, during, and after a tide change so for best results be sure to schedule a fishing trip to take advantage of at least one tide swing.

Crabbing and prawning continues to provide dependable catches for anglers looking to round out their seafood feast. The most productive depth for prawns over the past two weeks has been 225 feet, while most consistent crab catching has occurred in 50 feet of water. Make sure to use fresh bait and lots of it, loading your bait jars with the right bait can make the difference between robust catches and scratchy fishing.

A six or eight hour saltwater fishing trip provides plenty of time for setting the prawn and crab traps, trolling for salmon, and enjoying the wildlife and beauty of Clayoquot Sound from the water. Our fleet of vessels offer safe and comfortable amenity, and a day on the water with our wonderful guides is a fantastic addition to any trip to Tofino.

If you’re a seasoned veteran of the Tofino area, or a visiting newcomer for the first time, March offers excellent fishing opportunities for anyone. Please come visit us in our booking offices and we will be happy to arrange a fishing or marine adventure excursion for you and your family. A day on the water either at sea or in the mountains on a river or lake is a fantastic adventure and an intrinsic part of the Tofino experience.

While you're in town, keep an eye out for a rusty coloured fur ball plying the local waters. If you see her, be sure to call out for her by name. She answers to Jenny Mustard, Pooper, or just about any other name as long as your holding a handful of treats. Capt Jenny and I will see you on the water!

– Captain Josh Temple