For many serious anglers, a trip up to Alaska to reel in some hard fighting salmon is the dream. However, there’s one destination that may be worthy of taking over top spot in your dream fishing vacations file. Ucluelet, B.C. on the west coast of Vancouver Island is ready to give Alaska a run for their money. In fact, it always has, but it isn’t all over the media in the same way. Like with many things, we often keep the best spots a secret, just for ourselves. So, why should Ucluelet make the top of the list? It’s pretty easy…
We’ll start with the most important part: the fish. Ucluelet has two river resources that flood into the Barkley Sound, meaning the waters are stocked and ready to go. Even with one resource, the run is consistently larger than the predicted run for Alaska and the Chinook are just as record breaking as those up farther north. Not to mention, the chinook season stayed open all season for 2017, whereas Alaska’s closed early meaning most serious anglers ended up in Ucluelet anyways to catch their fill. Plus, Ucluelet has a mean coho run as well, so there’s plenty to go around! The next greatest thing about all those fish is that Ucluelet, not being as advertised as Alaska, also has fewer fishermen and women out on the water trying to catch them. More fish with less lures means more catches for you!
Next, let’s talk about the area. The west coast of Vancouver Island is stunning by its own right, even without all the beautiful fish. If you are dreaming about Alaska because of its stunning, rugged beauty, just google Ucluelet and Tofino. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, there are so many other things to do, that if your friends/spouses/children/tag-alongs don’t want to fish every day, they can keep themselves busy. The waters around Ucluelet have plenty of banks and things that host tons of bait, causing the salmon to pause for food during their run. This is also great because the areas are just outside the harbour, which means that during certain parts of the season, all the big ones are close to shore. No long, offshore runs required. The more sheltered areas also mean that those prone to seasickness have a fighting chance of fishing in calmer waters, plus there are always other kinds of fish to go for, even if the salmon are too far out for those without sea legs. Finally, the weather in Ucluelet is a lot milder compared to Alaska. Milder winds and seas mean more days out on the water. Presumably, more days means more fish and happier fishermen, too.
Last but not least, Ucluelet is that much more accessible than Alaska. A scenic drive twists and turns you across the Island, through mountains, around lakes and waterfalls with the beautiful town of Ukee at its end. Better yet, a flight into the Tofino airport puts you just thirty minutes away. Rather than head all the way up north, the west can be just as enticing. No remote lodges required, the boats depart from the main marina. Accommodation is close by in the tiny town and the vacuum packer is close by. When you’re all good to go, you can pack those coolers full straight onto the airplane in Tofino and head back home with ease. Not to mention, the Canadian dollar is still working its way back up – cheap fishing is great fishing, especially when you’re at a world class fishing destination.
If you need some convincing about the fish, check out Salmon Eye Charter’s photo blog from the last few seasons. As they say, a picture says a thousand words. Find the 2017 photo blog here: www.salmoneye.net/site/fishing-reports/1508362090
For more about fishing in Ucluelet, check out this handy site: www.ucluelet-info.com/fishing-charters-ucluelet-bc/.