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Top Fishing Charters in Ucluelet

Fishing in Ucluelet

You’re sure to become a Ucluelet fishing fanatic the moment you hook into your first fish here—and that won’t take long. Famous for some of the best Salmon and Halibut fishing on Vancouver Island, if not all of British Columbia, this destination keeps anglers coming back for more. “Ukee’s” small town charm and hospitality will make you feel right at home, while your time on the water will change everything you thought you knew about sportfishing.

Known For

Browse through a few Ucluelet fishing charters and you’ll see that everyone who comes here is looking for the same thing: unbeatable Halibut and Salmon fishing.

The resident Chinook Salmon population combined with annual migrations of more Salmon from Washington, Oregon, and California make for an abundant fishery. You can catch Chinook in these waters all year, but the biggest of them (30+ lb “Tyees”) appear in summer. This is around the same time that Coho arrive, ranging from 5-15 lbs. You may also catch Sockeye Salmon on occasion in July and August.

You'll see Halibut in these waters throughout the year, but their peak season in Ucluelet lasts from May through September. You’re likely to catch Halis in the 15-35 lb range on most days. Though these “chickens” are nowhere near as large as a Halibut can get (try 200 lbs, or even 400 if you head far enough offshore) they are the most delicious.

You can also spend your time in Ucluelet fishing for Lingcod, Prawns, Dungeness Crab, and a variety of Rockfish. It’s not uncommon to drop a few crab traps on your way out of the harbor so you can pick up a delicious treat on your way home.

Ucluelet Fishing Spots

Offshore Fishing
Many fishing charters in Ucluelet will take you to a series of banks offshore, roughly 25 miles out. The most common destination is La Perouse Bank (also called the Big Bank), an excellent location for Halibut and Salmon fishing. In late summer and fall, you’ll hardly manage to have your line in the water for a full minute before the Coho start biting!
 
From La Perouse Bank, you might head to a number of areas such as Rat’s Nose and The Wreck, which consistently produce good numbers of Halibut, Coho, and Chinook. Great Bear and Mara Rock are prime fishing spots in the spring, while The Southwest Corner and The Starfish (north, in front of Long Beach) are hot spots in early summer.
 
Barkley Sound and The Broken Group Islands
Ucluelet enjoys the best weather on the west coast of Vancouver Island, but when the odd storm arrives you can set your sights on the protected waters of Barkley Sound. Some anglers prefer fishing here on any given day because the waves are calmer and the ride back to port is shorter (around 30 minutes).
 
Barkley Sound boasts some of the best Salmon fishing Vancouver Island has to offer. Here you can target Chinook and Coho on their way to Alberni Inlet, where millions of Salmon pass through each year (the largest run in the area). You’ll find plenty of Tyees here in late summer.
 
Sprinkled throughout Barkley Sound are more than 100 bits and pieces of land known as The Broken Group Islands. In the midst of these fragments you’ll catch Salmon, Lingcod, small Halibut, Crab, and Rockfish, depending on the season. You’re likely to encounter whales, porpoises, and other wildlife while you’re at it.
 
If you’re looking for someplace a little more secluded, try the Beg Islands at the southernmost tip of Ucluelet. Here you can catch Rockfish, Salmon, and more.  
 
Kennedy Lake
For a taste of the freshwater fly fishing BC has in store, head to Kennedy Lake Provincial Park. Roughly 20 minutes from the Ucluelet townsite, this lake is the largest body of freshwater on Vancouver Island.
 
In late spring and summer, fly fishermen have a field day targeting Cutthroat Trout in the streams which feed into Kennedy Lake. The mouth of Thunderous Creek is a particularly common spot for this.
 
You can also access a series of rivers and streams in Barkley Sound for sea-run Cutthroat. Local road maps and visitor centers can help you find your way from Toquart Bay.

Ucluelet Fishing Charters

Fishing charters in Ucluelet typically last between four and eight hours. Half day trips (4 hours) cost between 550-625 CAD, while full day trips (8 hours) cost 895-1200 CAD depending on the size of your group. You can reach the offshore fishing grounds on both a half day and a full day trip, but keep in mind that a full day trip will give you more fishing time once you get there.

You can also find 6-hour trips, sometimes referred to as "¾ day" or "extended half day" trips, for 700-800 CAD. These charters allow you to increase your fishing time without spending a full day on the boat—and as any fisherman will tell you, those couple of extra hours can make all the difference!

Multi-day packages are a popular choice for anglers who want to explore Ucluelet’s fishery to the fullest. Multi-day Halibut and Salmon fishing trips cost about 1,750-2,010 CAD per day.

You can also choose from a variety of packages which include lodging and meals, as well as chance for the non-anglers in your group to enjoy the sights and scenery that Vancouver Island is known for. Ucluelet fishing lodge experiences can be highly customized. Prices generally start at 750-1360 CAD per person for a basic two-day package.

Rules and Regulations

Anglers age 16 and older need to carry a license for all recreational fishing in Ucluelet.

You can buy a tidal water fishing license (for saltwater fishing) online. Non-residents can purchase a one day license for 7.35 CAD or an annual license for 106.05 CAD, (prices subject to change).

For freshwater fishing, you can buy a British Columbia freshwater fishing license online. A one day license for non-residents is 20 CAD and an annual license is 55 CAD (prices subject to change).

If you plan to catch and keep any species of Salmon, you must purchase a Salmon Conservation Stamp (6.30 CAD) and attach it to your fishing license.

Many species in British Columbia are regulated by size limits and bag limits. Certain species, such as Halibut, are closed to harvest during some months. You can read more about your target species online or book a Ucluelet fishing charter so your guide can help you follow regulations.

Types of Fishing

Trolling for Salmon
Fishing for Salmon in Ucluelet is all about trolling. Anglers throughout BC rely on this method, with slight variations depending on the season, species, and the depth of the water.
 
Trolling with anchovies is the surest way to hook a Chinook. In cooler months, this Salmon also takes well to hoochies (a lure which resembles and octopus) when trolled in water roughly 120-150 feet deep. Hoochies come in three sizes, and the two that Chinook tend to bite are called "squirt" and "hoochie."
 
Spoons (3” or smaller) can also prove quite effective for Chinook, especially when used with flashers (try a green flasher with a silver/green spoon). Troll 20-60 feet off the bottom, at two-and-a-half knots.
 
Coho feeding near the surface of deep water will bite hoochies and spoons. You may even catch the odd Sockeye using this method. Tossing a bucktail 50 feet behind a moving boat will also land you a Coho in a very exciting way.
 
A more specialized local technique you will see is “mooching,” a form of slow trolling with a weighted line and rigged bait. This method involves keeping the line and bait at a 45-degree angle, several feet off the ocean floor.
 
Trolling for Halibut
It’s common to accidentally hook a Hali while trolling for Salmon, and some anglers in Ucluelet will even rely on this technique when fishing exclusively for Halibut.
 
If you intend to troll for Halibut, look for a sand or gravel seafloor no deeper than 210 feet. You want to troll with the tide or across the tide, at a speed somewhere between 1.7 and 2 knots. You can use the same gear you would use to troll for Salmon.
 
When fishing at slack tide, you can also back troll (or “power jig”) for Halibut. This technique doesn’t involve any actual jigging, you just need to keep the line straight up and down. This method calls for a spreader bar, and you may want to add a two-foot length of 200 lb twine to the weighted end with a 2 lb lead attached (this will keep your bait off the bottom). You can use a tandem hook setup and white grub for bait. Some anglers coat the bait with scent gel.
 
Jigging and Bottom Fishing
Bottom fishing is the most common method used to catch Halibut. You will want to use strong rods with 70-90 lb test line. Herring, octopus, and even plain jigs will work as bait. Octopus continues to be the most effective choice.
 
Bottom fishing and jigging are also the main techniques used for Lingcod and Rockfish like Yelloweye, Greenling, and Cabazon. Depending on your target species, real and artificial bait will both work well.

 

Ucluelet Fishing Seasons

January is a great time to explore Barkley Sound, where you’ll find no shortage of Chinook Salmon. Early in the year, temperatures in Ucluelet hover just below 40°F.

Fishing the calm inshore waters around the Broken Group Islands or Beg Island at this time of year will bring you Chinook Salmon, Prawns, and Crab. When the weather allows, you can head offshore.

Temperatures are in the low 40’s (°F), but the fishing in Ucluelet is about to get hot! You can continue to enjoy great Salmon fishing on the coast or head to Kennedy Lake and try your luck fly fishing for Cutthroat.

Spring is here! From now on, you can expect some of the best weather on Vancouver Island’s west coast. Fish the sound and offshore waters for Chinook Salmon, Crab, or Lingcod.

Starting in May, you’ll be able to target Halibut in the sound and the banks offshore. Enjoy fishing for big Chinook and Lingcod while you’re at it, or head to the coastal streams for a chance to catch some Trout.

The Chinook keep getting bigger as the summer goes on, soon to be joined by Coho. You can enjoy great fishing for Halibut, Salmon, and Lingcod anywhere between the sound and 25 miles offshore.

July is a great time to hit the banks offshore for Halibut and Lingcod, or target the Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye Salmon moving through Barkley Sound. Or try fly fishing in the feeder streams of Kennedy Lake.

August is the hottest month in Ucluelet, with temperatures hovering just below 60°F. Salmon fishing is at its height as large Coho and Tyees continue to pass through. 

Salmon and Halibut fishing are still strong, both offshore and in Barkley Sound. You're likely to catch Lingcod and Sockeye on the side. Drop a few crab traps and come home with a full cooler!

Temperatures are in the high 40’s at this time of year and the fishing continues to look promising. You can catch Chinook in the 50 lb range and Coho around 20 lbs. Or head to the streams for some Trout fishing. 

Come November, the weather might prevent you from heading offshore. You might still catch Halibut and other bottom fish in the sound. As always, you can count on Chinook and Crab. 

Winter in Ucluelet sees temperatures just below 40°F. If you don’t mind a little nip in the air, this can be an excellent time for fishing in Barkley Sound, where you will catch Chinook and Crab, among other things.

Ucluelet Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Ucluelet

"Half day with captain todd"

Mike McCague fished with Highroller Charters - Ucluelet on September 8, 2017

Beautiful scenery and exceptional fishing

"Catching Kings with Paul aboard Castaway Charters"

Tom Hicks fished with Castaway Charters on September 4, 2017

It's a funny named town, but if you're a fisherman Uky is your next favourite place!

"Full day with Mike"

Patrick Mallette fished with Hot Pursuit Charters on August 21, 2017

Very beautiful location which is not too busy, nice places to eat.... a great place to relax
Ucluelet
4.68
Based on 6600 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Top Targeted Species in Ucluelet

Halibut

Lingcod

Salmon (Chinook)

Crab

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