BC Saltwater Fishing Regulations: Area 1-23 / 1-24 / 24
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
2013 Fishing Season
Under normal circumstances, most anglers require the ability to adapt their approach to fishing certain waters at certain times. The need for a diversified fishing approach can be due to a wide variety of reasons, with species, seasons, areas and fish stocks and related management dictating the need for flexibility. The Tofino area has been favoured by many for years as one of B.C.'s most consistent Saltwater fisheries.
For the 2013 Sport-fishing season on Vancouver Island’s west coast, there are some recent changes to Recreational Halibut fishing regulations and opportunities for all areas of the B.C. coast.
The following Salmon regulation details are specific to the Inshore (area 24) and Offshore (area 1-24) marine areas of Tofino/Clayoquot Sound and will be updated ASAP. With another very strong fishing forecast for this season, anglers anticipate many great opportunities ahead in 2013.
Tofino BC Chinook Salmon Fishing; The Tofino area Chinook fishing has already started strong for 2012, as the fishing and average sizes of Chinook Salmon has been very good. Regardless of an aggressively conservative inshore recreational Chinook fishery during August, and special regulations for the past 11 years to protect 4-5 year old mature Chinook in Clayoquot Sound, the escapement numbers to local spawning rivers has continued to decline. Though these local Chinook Stocks contribute an extremely small percentage of the overall catch for Tofino area salmon anglers, restrictions have been implemented to protect returning mature Chinook to WCVI rivers. Starting July 15th north of Tofino, and locally starting August 1st, the inshore area of Tofino/Clayoquot Sound, and out to the 1 mile surf-line boundary, all Chinook Salmon must be released. Chinook salmon under 77cm are most likely to be non spawning 3 year old Chinook up to approx. 16 lbs. Approximately 96% of Chinook Salmon over 77cm are 4 or 5 year old fish that are this year’s mature spawning Salmon.
The offshore areas outside the surf-line boundary continue with normal regulations all season, where approximately 85% of our Tofino BC Salmon fishing takes place. Here, anglers can anticipate normal regulations of a retention limit of 2 Chinook per person per day, with a minimum size limit of 45cm. The possession limit for inshore and offshore caught Chinook Salmon is still a maximum of 4 per person for multiple days of fishing, with an aggregate possession of Salmon species at 8 per person. Watch for July, August and early September to be some of the season’s best fishing for large offshore Chinook Salmon destined to the Fraser and Columbia rivers. Robertson creek Hatchery Chinook will also have a good return of the 4 year old component, which makes up a large component of the run size.
Tofino area Chinook Salmon Fishing is anticipated to be very strong May, June, July, August and September, due to the health and numbers of mixed stock transient Chinook Salmon, primarily in the offshore waters. A high percentage of these Salmon originate from U.S. rivers in Puget Sound and tributaries of the Columbia River.
Coho Salmon Fishing Regulations for Tofino BC; Coho Salmon fishing is anticipated to be good again this season, with great signs of Coho Grilse in the Tofino area this past fall. Fishing regulations and retention limits are the same as last season in the Tofino area, with the inshore areas open to 2 Coho per person per day, being wild or hatchery fin clipped fish. The offshore areas are again open to retention of 2 hatchery fin clipped Coho per person per day. Starting September 1st, the daily limit goes to 4 Coho salmon per person per day inshore, with 2 Coho of your 4 having to be hatchery fin clipped. The offshore areas are open for 4 Coho Salmon being hatchery fin clipped, and again, the possession limit is based at 8 Salmon per person for multiple days of fishing, of which only 4 can be Chinook.
Tofino area Coho Fishing will get a huge boost from the Columbia River Coho run again with approximately 1 Million Coho Salmon forecasted to travel and feed past Tofino area waters . This is very welcome news for the Fly and light tackle anglers that enjoy Clayoquot Sound's world class scenery, habitat and protected waters for Coho Salmon action.
For those that miss the non-stop action that Coho can provide, this is likley the year to renew those memories in the Tofino area.
Halibut Fishing Regulations for BC; Though the 2011 season opening was delayed until March this year, the season started off with some great fishing for Halibut a short distance offshore from Tofino. Some Halibut have been caught near the entrance to the larger inlets, where they likely followed schools of Herring inshore during the spawning season, where many are caught incidentally while trolling deep for Chinook Salmon.
The 2009 season brought some further changes to Halibut catch limits, which are administered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, but dictated by the Pacific Halibut Commission. Halibut anglers are allowed a retention of 1 per person per day, with a possession of 2 Halibut for multiple days of fishing. We anticipate that Halibut anglers will again be allowed a daily limit of 2 per person per day, but this in season regulation change will only take place if the recreational sector stays below their allowable catch share of B.C. Halibut.. Recreational Halibut fishing in Canadian waters is normally open from February 1st thru December 31st annually.
For the 2012 Season, discussions are currently under way to resolve the near decade long BC Halibut Allocation model that has not been working for all fishing sectors in the province of BC. The Halibut allocation challenges have been complex to say the least, and are finally looking to get worked out as well as possible to enhance full season and retention opportunities for recreational anglers in British Columbia for the 2012 season that should open February 1st. Stay tuned for updates here....
About the Pacific Halibut
The Pacific halibut, Hippoglossus stenolepis, is a large flatfish found in the northern Pacific Ocean, with an average weight of about 20lb-50lb, but they can grow to be a much greater size.
Spawning takes place during the winter months with the peak of activity occurring from December through February. Most spawning takes place off the edge of the continental shelf in deep waters of 200 to 300 fathoms. Male halibut become sexually mature at 7 or 8 years of age, and females attain sexual maturity at 8 to 12 years. Females lay two to three million eggs annually, depending on the size of the fish.
Fertilized eggs hatch after about fifteen days. Free-floating eggs and larvae float for up to six months and are transported up to several hundred miles by currents of the North Pacific. During the free-floating stage, many changes take place in the young halibut, including migration of the left eye to the right side of the fish. During this time the young halibut rise to the surface and are carried to shallower waters by prevailing currents. In the shallower waters, young halibut then begin life as bottom dwellers. Most young halibut ultimately spend from five to seven years in rich, shallow nursery grounds as in the Bering Sea.
For more detailed information, you can visit the Canada Fisheries Website at http://www.pac.dfompo.gc.ca/recfish/Tidal/area24_e.htm
You may just want call us at 1-888-534-7422 for information you can actually understand, or check postings at our store front when in the Tofino area