Located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to the north
and west of Victoria 316 km on highways 1, 19 and 4,
Tofino offers both onshore and offshore fisheries.
to BC's well-known Long Beach, Tofino hosts visitors each spring
for grey whale migration cruises. The
Wickaninnish Inn and Pointe Restaurant near Chesterman Beach
are considered among the finest accommodation and cuisine offered
in pristine wilderness in the world.
Also an area of aboriginal and logging activism, Meares Island
north of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound has become a catalyst for
environmentally sensitive logging practices in the largest temperate
rainforests in the world.
Winter fishing is influenced by open Pacific storms that limit
access to the fishing grounds. On rare days when weather is
not a factor, abundant 7 - 15 lb winter springs make for brisk
fishing. Summer fishing is influenced by improved weather and,
more recently, El Nino induced change in baitfish species; long
an area of needlefish and herring populations, pilchard are
increasing in numbers. Although shaped like anchovy, pilchards
are larger, like herring, and thus make extremely fishy cutplugs.
most significant development in recent summers is the coho fly
fishery developed by the
Weigh West Resort . Fishery hotspots have been determined,
flies developed and tested, special casting boats designed and
the world fly fishing tournament envisioned.
fishers from abroad will be keen to know that more and more
coastal resorts are developing the potential of fly fishing
for many of the over 50 species of Pacific gamefish, including:
lingcod , black bass, mackerel, and the 12 species of rockfish.
Adventure Members serving this area:
Cycle of Runs
Although all five species of salmon may be found in Tofino waters,
two species predominate:
coho and chinook. Both are present most of the year as either
resident winter feeders or bluebacks and as mature summer fish
migrating to spawning beds. Sockeye and pink normally migrate
great distances offshore and are not commonly encountered. A
few chum navigate to local rivers in late October.
Winter chinook inhabit local waters from October - March, reaching
weights of 15 lbs. One to two pound blueback coho school in
January to March.
When weather permits, halibut fishing on the offshore banks
proves successful 12 months of the year, with June - August
being the prime period. Halibut move onto gradual dropoffs in
the continental shelf 3 - 4 miles off Portland and Rafael Points.
20 - 40 lb chickens form the basis of the fishery, with fish
to 200 lbs also taken.
Summer fishing begins in April with early chinook bound for
the Fraser and Columbia Rivers. Weights average 17 - 28 lbs.
The bulk of the summer fish are chinook from Robertson Creek,
Conuma hatchery, Nitinat River and Clayoquot Sound's Kennedy
River. These fish average 25 lbs.
When encountered, Sockeye peak in August.
arrive early in Tofino, with good schools encountered as ravenous
5 pounders in June. These commonly feed so heavily they grow
a pound per week and by September reach the 12 - 15 lb range.
Northern numbers strengthen in August and continue building
through September. The Meglin River and Tofino hatchery support
good populations of coho.
Local chum may be seen spurting from the water in October.
Lures on an Annual Basis Bait:
Anchovy or medium herring on 36 - 72" leaders for chinook. Cutplugging
reaches a peak in August. For halibut, utilize a spreaderbar
with a Spinnow instead of a weight.
a 40" leader behind a Hotspot flasher for both squirts and hootchies.
Patterns include Army Truck, tractor back (a chartreuse squirt)
and the locally- named 'Tofino Dog Turd' 6" brown squid.
As with other Pacific Ocean shores, the 602 is favoured, however,
in contrast to to other areas, 3 - 5" models predominate.
For summer chinook and coho, Coyote spoons in green and white
and green and glow prove deadly. Other spoons include the Glendon
Stewart, Gibbs Gator in mud pie and green and silver, as well
as Krippled Ks in green and chrome and the frog pattern.
Early in the season, pink bucktails take the most fish then
give way to the Coronation, and Grey Ghost. The latter proves
lethal on coho later in the summer.
Drift Fishing: Magic
Lures in green and white for both chinook and halibut. Other
favoured drift lures include: Point Wilson Darts, Dungeness
Stingers and Gibbs Minnows.
Recently developed flies include: Catfaced Streamer, Weigh Wester,
Pearl Mickey and Clouser Minnow.
Overall Strategy and Specific Fishing Areas
has two types of fisheries: structure-related fishing for chinook
salmon and halibut; and, summer surface fishing for other salmon
species. In addition, three distinct fishing opportunities present
themselves: offshore bank fisheries; onshore surfline fisheries;
and, protected inside waters in Clayoquot sound. As with other
remote areas (although often unmentioned) lingcod and red snapper
In the Tofino area, the continental shelf drops off gradually
from land to 600' and fish tend to swim along the shelf lines
or inhabit the various rock piles 1 ½ - 10 miles out in the
Pacific Ocean. It is not uncommon off Portland Point or Rafael
Point to receive double headers of halibut and chinook at the
same time. La Parouse is the local bank with the Southwest Corner
a consistent spot.
The surfline fisheries, also not for the faint of heart, occur
right on rocky points where the swell rises and piles into the
shore at Wilf Rock, Blunden Island, Bartlett Island and other
spots. July to September is the prime chinook period with coho
fishing extending from May into November in some years.
The inside waters of Clayoquot Sound present safe year round
fisheries for the seasick-challenged among us. Local rivers
such as the Bedwell, Meglin, Moyeha, Clayoquot as well as Tranquil
Creek all contribute chinook. Note that spot closures apply.