Along Vancouver Island’s West Coast, Ucluelet and Tofino have become hot spot fishing locations both for their waters’ promising feeders and selection of locally-run boating excursions.
With over 20,000 lakes and hundreds of thousands of kilometres of streams, British Columbia is home to some of the best freshwater fishing in North America. Additionally, the West Coast is also famous for its abundant saltwater fishing, providing the perfect location for visiting anglers to test the waters for a bite from the region's prized Chinook salmon, Pacific halibut and lingcod.
Vancouver Island in particular is a bustling destination for visitors throughout the year, with fishing becoming a popular activity among locals and guests to the area. Along the Island's West Coast, Ucluelet and Tofino have become hot spot fishing locations both for their waters' promising feeders and selection of locally-run boating excursions. These towns offer an array of outdoor adventures, and have drawn international attention for their mild coastal weather as well as their stunning horizon views.
Grab your rods, bait and fishing flies and set out to explore some of the best fishing spots Ucluelet and Tofino have to offer.
**It's important to note that all anglers require a BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence which must be acquired before heading out to sea.**
To experience the best feeding grounds for Chinook salmon on the West Coast, look no further than the sleepy town of Ucluelet, BC. Located on the Ucluelet Penninsula about 288 km northwest of Victoria, it's famous for the “Big Bank” – the site where anglers travel in hopes of catching “the big one.” This area is renowned for supplying a consistent stream of salmon – ensuring a very good chance of getting a bite. However, navigating Big Bank may not be for everyone and may be more suited for advanced anglers prepared to battle choppy waters. Among many of the popular fishing spots, another option is Ucluelet's Barkley Sound, a body of water speckled with islands known as the Broken Group Islands, and which forms the entrance to the Alberni Inlet.
Broken Group Islands
The Broken Group Islands are a fantastic option for less experienced anglers who still want the option of hooking salmon, cod, snapper or small halibut. These islands are a little more sheltered, and so also provide a welcoming space for kayakers and visitors wishing to catch a glimpse of some of BC's vibrant wildlife. These waters can provide sightings of porpoise, whales and sea lions in addition to the hundreds of different species of sea life. The Broken Group Islands consist of over 100 small islands, so there are plenty of options for exploration. Anglers can access the Broken Group Islands by boat, from Toquart Bay in northwest Barkley Sound.
The Beg Islands can be accessed off the southern most tip of Ucluelet by boat. This popular and productive fishing spot is ideal for catching many varieties of West Coast salmon, in addition to rockfish and other swimmers. These relatively remote islands provide enough shelter for when the weather is rough and you'd rather avoid the choppy waves. For baiting salmon, here it is recommended that anglers use large anchovies, and weights with squid or herring for catching halibut.
Tofino may be known to BC residents for its prime West Coast surfing, but it is also an increasingly popular location for guests wanting to set out a line. Tofino's waters – both for saltwater and freshwater fly fishing – are brimming with fish. The town is known for their salmon (Coho and Chinook) and halibut, and you can even opt to skip the boat trip and purchase fresh fish right from the docked boats. Visitors to Tofino will be pleased with the selection of charters and float planes available, which offer trips to lakes within Clayoquot Sound for spotting coveted rainbow trout, as well around the inlet.
The Fourth Street Dock is where you can find the majority of fishing boats along Tofino's famous shore. Offering guides and a full service fly and tackle shop, this dynamic location is the place to be if guests are searching for the freshest (and some of the best) seafood the Island's West Coast has to offer. Tofino crabbing is also popular along the docks, with crabs purchased fresh off the boat, or trapped right off the end of one of the dock's fingers. Marine excursions and whale watching are also offered for anyone interested in an ocean adventure.
Less than a 20 minute's drive from Ucluelet townsite, Kennedy Lake Provincial Park is the largest freshwater body on Vancouver Island. Not only is the lake a lively spot for swimmers, families, kayakers and hikers in the area, but the corresponding streams that feed into the lake offer exceptional trout fishing in the late spring and summer months. Anglers do have to be aware that all trout and steelhead in the ocean and streams are catch and release only, but still provide fly fishers with an exciting challenge during the summer months.
If we've caught your attention and you're ready to book your saltwater summer getaway on Vancouver Island's West Coast, we can help you with all your accommodation needs. Call our Destination Experts at 1.877.902.1616, or browse our selection of Ucluelet and Tofino vacation rentals for more information!