After 7 years in a row, things have changed. The operation we used to use no longer has boats available. We are exploring a multi-day camping and kayak fishing trip to here. Stay tuned.

GHFS-Travel-Tofino-1If you have ever wanted to catch salmon in the saltwater on the fly, this might be your best chance. If you already have caught salmon in the saltwater on the fly, this might be your most memorable.

The Area:
Tofino is on the Pacific side of Vancouver Island and has a large Sound (Clayoquot Sound) filled with islands and protected waters. Tofino can be reached by air or land, and if driving, is 200 miles North and then West from Victoria. Most people are surprised by Tofino. It is a resort town with a surfer/native/fishing atmosphere filled with amazing restaurants and shops. There are a lot of things to do in the area for non fishers as well.

The Fish:
As adult salmon return from the Gulf of Alaska to their home rivers in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, many of them travel directly down the Pacific coastline of Vancouver Island. There are several popular spots these migratory fish stop at to feed heavily before continuing the journey home and the waters around Tofino constitute one of the prime spots to target these fish while feeding.

We primarily catch Coho salmon and rockfish with occasional King salmon and lingcod taking our offerings. Because the salmon are migratory and not residual, it is tough to anticipate just how productive the fishing may be. During certain years, the fishing can be spotty and require hard work, yet still be productive. During other years, such as 2011, the fishing can be absolutely incredible.

Fishing success can change from one day to the next. In 2013 we had our best day of the trip (each boat hooking 40-60 coho) followed by our slowest day of the trip (each boat hooking 1-2 coho on average). A typical day is somewhere between those extremes, though we occasionally have days where we get skunked, and in 2011 we even had days where we hooked 70-90 fish a boat!

We target the salmon primarily with two different methods. To locate fish, we bucktail, which is essentially dragging the fly closely behind the boat in the prop wash. With this method, double and triple hook ups are quite possible, making this a great method if two or three anglers are in the boat. The other method we utilize is to cast flies, frequently towards the kelp beds, and strip the fly back in. This method is particularly effective once the fish are located and there are two anglers in the boat.

When the tide slows down and the salmon begin to feed less voraciously, throwing some weighted flies for rockfish and lingcod is plenty of fun. These fish are not migratory so they are always there and catching several in a short time period is not difficult.

The Guides:
This trip is different from a typical guided trip. There isn’t a guide on each boat. Rather our group will fish together in a small fleet (4-5) of 17’ center console boats with one of the fishmasters from the resort leading the group. The experience is very rewarding hooking fish on your own but you are not totally alone as the fishmaster and host are always close by.

The Lodging:
We stay at Marina West, a well known fishing marina right on the water. The motel rooms are not elaborate but clean and functional. Marina West is right in town, close to restaurants and other amenities.

The Food:
Food is not included in our package so you have the most flexibility possible. There are several food options around town such as gourmet pizza, fish tacos, lingcod burgers, seafood chowder, and more. Shelter, Sobo, and Wolf in the Fog are a couple of our favorites year after year. There is also a local brewery in Tofino. Most people bring food for lunch on the boat. Everyone is on there own for dinner but most of the time a group of us go out together.

The Weather:
Most mornings are overcast, misty, and cool. The marine layer usually lifts later in the morning giving way to higher clouds or blue sky. The temperatures can be very similar to Puget Sound (highs in the 60’s and 70’s) but being on the boat all day, be prepared. It could be overcast in the morning, sunny at 1pm, and breezy later in the afternoon.

The Host:
Blake is looking forward to his sixth trip to Tofino. In addition to taking pictures and video and helping to make your trip as memorable as possible he is also willing to jump from boat to boat helping anglers learn the Tofino fishery.

The Details:
$1250 – Package includes 4 nights lodging at Marina West Resort and 3 days of fishing inshore on the fly boats. (2 spots/1 boat available) Additional nights stay and charter boat day available. Call Blake for details 253-851-3474

$1699 – Package includes 5 nights lodging at Marina West Marina Resort and 4 days of fishing inshore on the fly boats. (2 spots/1 boat available)

$2099 – Package includes 5 nights lodging at Marina West Marina Resort with 3 days of fishing inshore on the fly boats and a single day offshore on a charter for kings, halibut, lingcod, and rockfish. (2 spots/1 boat available)

Not Included: Travel to/from Tofino, fishing gear (rod/reel rentals available), food, fishing license, gratuities.

Prices are per person, double occupancy rate in US funds. $500 deposit locks in your spot.

Top – Ryan Shafer and shop owner Blake Merwin with another Tofino double
Bottom – Ryan Shafer and Devin Smith / Blake Merwin