Port Alberni – A Fishing Adventure


ZenSeekers is teaming up with partners the Port Alberni region. Our correspondents will bring you exceptional video, photos and stories to inspire you to #ExploreBC and have your very own #ExplorePortAlberni adventures. 

Written and photographed by Chris Istace

The beauty of the ancient forests and mighty mountains of Vancouver Island draw many visitors to explore the wild west coast. Myself as a hiker and mountain biker seek out the endless trails and alpine vistas that the island has to offer. Even with this passion for the land I am still well aware what adventure and challenge the water has to offer. Locally it is rare to meet anyone who hasn’t heard that Port Alberni is the self described Salmon Capital of Vancouver Island.

Port Alberni sits tucked away at the end of a deep ocean inlet beyond the giant fir tree of Cathedral Grove at the foot of Mount Arrowsmith. It is from this inlet that centuries of fishing heritage culminate in the Alberni Valley. The local Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation first fished the local waters knowing its importance and ability to provide Salmon and sustain a way of life.

#ExplorePortAlberni, start by checking into Port Alberni Tourism’s website.

Watch Port Alberni – A Fishing Adventure on YouTube.

Today that fishing culture has grown with Port Alberni boasting a reputation far and wide as prime Salmon sport fishing waters that include the Chinook, Coho and Sockeye. From the open waters of the Alberni Inlet leading to Barkley Sound, the deep waters of Sproat Lake or the feeding waters of the Stamp and Somass Rivers you will find a diverse opportunity to challenge your fishing skills.

Last summer I spent an incredible day on the water with local sport fisherman and life-long Port Alberni resident Rob Cole. Salmon runs through his veins as Rob has lived his whole life in Port Alberni and grew up with fishing defining a part of who he is. As we motored down the Alberni Inlet on that trip from Harbor Quay Rob told stories of all the record sized Salmon that he has either seen, caught or heard about in Port Alberni Rob mentioned that Port Alberni is the trailer boat capital of BC with the great access, docks and marina at the mouth of the inlet and outflow of the Somass where the tidal waters and river meet.

Port Alberni Fishing
Photo: Chris Istace

I listened to past experiences of Rob during the annual Salmon Derby that takes place every summer in Port Alberni Rob told me, “My Love for fishing didn't bite until I was older and borrowed a used boat from my Dad’s shop and signed up in the annual world renowned Port Alberni Salmon Derby with some friends. I hooked and landed my first Tyee 31.3 lbs Chinook in the middle of the canal off Polly’s point. Event though I am pretty sure a 47 lbs chinook won that year I was hooked and chase Springs when ever possible.”

Port Alberni
Photo: Chris Istace

2019 will be the 48th year of this historic fishing derby that completely encompasses the entire community. If you are planning a holiday to seek new experiences or you are a passionate sport-fishing enthusiast a visit to Port Alberni to challenge yourself and experience west coast Salmon is a bucket list experience.

Port Alberni
Photo: Chris Istace

This summer sport fishing in Port Alberni has an advantage over regions of Vancouver Island as limits to Salmon retention have been adjusted across the entire zone. Within the sport fishing scene Port Alberni is the only place that you can keep up to 2 Chinook salmon per day all year long (Any size over 50 cm. No size limits which is good because many will be Tyees, over 30 pounds, and a total of 4 salmon per day) while most of the island won’t see this allowed until after August 30th. Port Alberni has the most liberal fishing regulations on the Coast. It has been reported that Coho Salmon are experiencing big and plentiful catches currently. One friend of mine stated that they are regularly seeing over 30 pound Tyee (Chinook) salmon coming in from sport fishing tours right now.

Port Alberni Fishing
Photo: Chris Istace

If you are a little bit like me and spend more time on land than water, sport fishing offers a mindful escape where you disconnect from the distraction of town and buzzing of cars to the calming experience of moving across the water. The rhythm of the waves along with marine birds soaring overhead even being graced by Bald Eagles puts you in a natural state of awe. I look forward to a return to Port Alberni again and suggest looking into booking a fishing charter or guide on your own visit to Port Alberni

If You Go

Search #ExplorePortAlberni for more inspiration. Be sure to tag #ExplorePortAlberni while exploring the region as you could be featured on our social media channels!

Start planning your adventures in Port Alberni at Alberni Valley Tourism .

Start exploring your Port Alberni region options with Destination BC .

Find out more at the City of Port Alberni’s website .

Through 2018, ZenSeekers is teaming up with partners of the Port Alberni region. Our correspondents will bring you exceptional video, photos and stories to inspire you to #ExploreBC and have your very own #ExplorePortAlberni adventures.   

Learn more about fishing charters in Port Alberni by booking with Silvers Charters, Last Cast Guiding, or Alberni Charters.

Chris Istace is a ZenSeekers' correspondent, he can be found at The Mindful Explorer and on Instagram and Twitter.

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