When it comes to fishing the west coast of Vancouver Island, none know it better than the guides in Ucluelet. Don’t believe it? Learn about the history of fishing in Ucluelet and see for yourself!
The small town’s history as a fishing village reaches back thousands of years to when the Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nation’s ruled the coast. It was only in the 1700s that Europeans first arrived. They relied on salmon as a main staple, the meat, rich in fats and oils was plentiful. After the Europeans arrived and set up trading posts, Ucluelet began to grow and more and more people caught on to the art as a way to survive. The road to Ucluelet from Port Alberni wasn’t paved for years. By 1914, the fishing industry in Ucluelet was getting into full swing.
Once tourists started arriving, the name of the game changed from survival, to economy, and plenty of charters arrived on the coast. Taking tourists out to catch halibut, salmon, rock cod and lingcod put these skills to new tests, as everyone wanted a taste of the coast and abundance of Ucluelet’s waters. Fishing charters also gave visitors a glimpse through the window of what life on the rugged west coast is really like. Where reeling in the big one could mean a hearty supply of protein for the winter. Today, Ucluelet gives Alaska a run for its money as a top fishing destination, and salmon and halibut fishing is a top thing to do. Many of Ucluelet’s guides have the sport of fishing running through their veins, telling stories of their great-grandfather’s grandfather’s time as a sailor of the seas, bringing in fresh salmon for dinner.
Summer is the best time of year to visit if fishing is your priority, and booking sooner rather than later is beginning to be a necessity. Not only do accommodation book up, but even with plenty of charters, it is getting hard to keep up with the demand as more and more tourists discover the wonders of west coast fishing. Luckily, Ucluelet does have a long season, with chinook arriving as early as March, lasting until late September. During that long season, Coho come and go starting in June, while halibut, lingcod, rock cod and others are around all year. Late summer is especially in demand, as those tyees (30lbs+ chinook) start to come out to play.
Aside from fishing, another big draw to Ucluelet is that there is so much to do. Hiking, surfing, kayaking, beaches, forests… Anyone will be able to find enough to fill a few days out here on the coast. Plus, Ucluelet is home to some luxurious accommodation, meaning you can avoid that musty old fishing lodge during your vacation. There’s no doubt the face of Ucluelet and fishing has changed over the years as tourism became a main economy drive and specialty equipment like downriggers have found their places on boats. However, fishing on the coast as a rugged and long-lasting legacy has plenty to offer and should definitely be experienced while in the area. After all, there’s nothing more west coast than a day out on the ocean bringing home a fresh seafood dinner.
For more on fishing in Ucluelet, check out www.ucluelet-info.com/fishing-charters-ucluelet-bc/.
To compare fishing in Ucluelet to the rest of B.C., pay a visit to www.fishingbc.net.
If you want to check that Ucluelet really is giving Alaska a run for its money, check out this article: www.salmoneye.net/ucluelet-fishing-vs-alaska.html.