2021 West Coast Vancouver Island
(WCVI) Fishing Outlook
CHINOOKThe Good News:
West Coast Vancouver Island (WCVI) has been showing some positive trends for 2021. Local wild stocks have been on an upward trend in North Western Vancouver Island. Hatchery stocks that migrate past our doorstep in season, also remain strong to very abundant as well. Over 300,000 Canadian Hatchery Chinook Salmon are anticipated to return to Canadian waters this summer which will put 236,000 into the the terminal areas on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Last year is the largest return of key West Coast Vancouver Island Hatchery runs in 20 years.
The North Western section of Vancouver Island, in particular Kyuquot will experience some exceptional Salmon fishing. Chinook are highly migratory for portions of their lives, in particular WCVI and Southern US Chinook are traditionally intercepted in very large numbers in the Alaskan and far Northern BC Commercial Troll Fisheries, early in the season before they migrate South to come home. This year, it will be different for those Northern interception fisheries since the Northern Troll is closed for significant portions of the season.
Fraser River Conservation Concerns:
Fraser River early timed Chinook, transit coastal BC waters during the early part of the season. The department of Fisheries and Oceans have taken measures to allow as many of these Chinook to pass through Canadian Coastal waters as possible.
Kyuquot Inshore Waters: OPEN RETENTION ALL SEASON Spring Island, Look out Island, Thornton Island and all the usual nearshore Chinook hot spots will remain open to normal limits at 2 per day / 4 possession all season.
Kyuquot Nearshore Waters: OPEN RETENTION ALL SEASON. The area known as the surfline and 1NM into the offshore is also open this corridor essentially extends the inshore/surfline area an additional 1NM into the offshore areas.
Kyuquot Offshore Waters: While the waters remain open to fishing for all species, the exception will be non-retention of Chinook Salmon offshore from April through July 14th. Our plan will be to fish offshore for our Coho, Halibut and Lingcod, then head inshore to fish for Chinook Salmon. Last year the inshore fishery was fantastic from the very beginning of the season.
Ucluelet Inshore Waters: Barkley Sound OPEN RETENTION ALL SEASON The nearshore area and surfline region of Barkley sound which are part of our key areas for Chinook Salmon: Normal limits 2 per day / 4 possession.
Ucluelet Nearshore Waters: OPEN RETENTION ALL SEASON. The area known as the surfline and 1NM into the offshore is also open. This corridor essentially extends the inshore/surfline area an additional 1NM into the offshore areas.
Ucluelet Offshore Waters: While the waters remain open to fishing for all species, the exception will be non-retention of Chinook Salmon offshore from April through July 14th. Our plan will be to fish offshore for Halibut, then head inshore to fish for Chinook Salmon and other bottom fish.
Coho for West Coast Vancouver Island are expected to be a decent return again this year. While not as abundant as last year the forecast will provide for generous limits.
2 per day/ 4 possession. Inshore 1 of the 2 per day can be Wild or Hatchery. Offshore can be Hatchery only.
HALIBUTHalibut are an abundant species and there are no conservation concerns for Halibut with large commercial scale fisheries in both Canada and the United States. Canada does however have pre defined shares of halibut with the United States.
The recreational and commercial fishery also have pre defined "shares" of the Canadian Total Allocated Pounds. The recreational sector is entitled to 15% of the Canadian Share.
A new Halibut regulation system is being deployed for the first time in Canada's public fishery this year, where anglers have a choice on the regulation they want. Sounds odd but true!
You can have two Chunky Chickens or go for a single Tubby Turkey during a multi day fishing trip.
Effective April 1st The 2021 limit is 2 per day. The possession limit depends on the size of the fish you wish to retain.
If your preference is for the chunky chicken then you can have 2 per day and 2 in possession less than 90cm (about 20 pounds)
If you hook into a honker, you can keep 1 per day, and only 1 per trip if your fish 90 cm (20 pounds) up to 133cm (about 68 pounds)
The 2021 limit is 3 per day/ 6 possession away from home
ROCKFISH - 2021 TBAWhile many species of Rockfish are abundant such as Canary Rockfish and Black Sea Bass, there are others that are very long lived, slow to reproduce, and have been over fished by decades of commercial fishing. Back in the "old days", not much was known about their life cycle. Recently biologists have learned that some of these species can not sustain fisheries and need to be rebuilt. Rebuilding will take generations.
Yellow Eye Rockfish are one of the slowest growing of the rockfish and this year DFO has taken some changes to preserve them. New regulations for this year:
*1.) All Yellow Eye Rockfish must be released
*2.) All Yellow Eye Rockfish released, MUST BE done so with a live release descending device.
Learn more about releasing Yellow Eye Rockfish - yes they do survive!
The 2020 rules on Rockfish is 3 per day / 6 possession: No Yelloweye or Boccacciao