FIshing Hotspots from Ucluelet BC

Why is Ucluelet one of the best areas to fish salmon and halibut in BC and Alaska? The amount of square miles where you find fish!

Tofino is known as the surfing capital of Canada and Ucluelet is known for the consistent fishing any time of summer starting in March and lasting into October.

The most common salmon to catch from Ucluelet are Chinook(Kings) and Coho. On occasion you can also catch Pink salmon and rarely sockeye salmon. During August you may catch Sockeye salmon if using anchovies around SW corner. Sockeye are often restricted here for some odd reason as you rarely catch them.

The most common feed is Herring, Needlefish and Squid.

Ucluelet Fishing Hotspots:

  • The Red Can/Lighthouse Just outside the harbour is a spot that has been great over the past couple of years and we have had many good days here from early season to August. Depths vary from 70-150 feet. There are lots of spots to catch fish here. During the summer of 2023 there were also Pink salmon caught here. Small spoons and hutchies are the best to use here.
  • La Perouse Bank (Big Bank). Located some 18-25 miles offshore depending on what part of the bank you want to fish, Big Bank is where you can catch large numbers of both Chinook (Kings) Coho and Halibut. Recently Big Bank has had slow starts but historically salmon and halibut started to show up in numbers during May. Notable spots on Big Bank include the north nipple, the bottle neck, whales tale, the Shallow Spot, The Rats Nose, Hali West, the Egg and Stinky. Big Bank spans a large distance and any one of these spots can be good. Depths are from 180 to 220 feet.

    Big Bank is the place you can come if you aren’t an experienced fisherman and do really well. Sometimes there are just so many fish here you could put down almost anything to catch salmon and halibut here.

    During recent years the fishing hasn’t been as fast here but fishing is cyclical and you never know when it will light up. We have had many days over the years where we caught our limit of Chinook, Coho and Halibut within a few hours.

    Consistently over the summer months you will generally find bait , Chinook and Coho salmon and halibut here. During 2022 and 2023 there have been short periods where there were quite a few black cod here.

  • The Wreck is mostly seen as a Halibut spot but you can also catch Chinook and Coho here. It hasn’t been a hotspot for Chinook recently but sometimes it can heat up and there are almost always some Chinook here. Depths are from 190 to 220 feet. The Wreck should be about 13 miles from Ucluelet.

  • The Horseshoe. Most people don’t come here but there are almost always both Chinook and Halibut here. Sam has had some great days fishing here for both halibut and Chinook. To get here you go past the Wreck and total distance is about 18 miles to the edge. Depth ranges from 210 to 230 feet down.

  • Southwest corner (The corner) can be a BIG fish hotspot during August and was especially good from 2008-2011 before the commercial fleet wiped the pilchards out. It can still be a good spot during August but hasn’t been as consistent during the last few years. During August if fishing anchovy you can catch Sockeye.
  • Heisen Bank Past SW corner is a spot that can be good for Chinook at any point during the summer. We have had some very good days here over the past 20 years.

  • Outside Lighthouse Bank. Close to Southwest corner, this can be a good spot to catch Chinook and halibut. Depths range from 160-210.
  • Inside Lighthouse Bank. About 4 miles from Ucluelet harbour, Inside Lighthouse bank can be a good spot for both Chinook and Halibut, especially earlier in the summer. Depths range from 130-150 ft.
  • Inside South Bank. About 3 miles from Ucluelet heading towards Big Bank, Inside Lighthouse bank can be good at any point in the summer. It includes The Turtlehead, Adipose, Dan’s nipple. Sam’s 2010 video with 8 double hookups was filmed on Dan’s nipple. We don’t catch and release any more like that, so that video is one for the archives. Depths range from 140-180 and the Turtlehead area is over 300 though you mostly fish from 100-160 feet when in the deep water
  • Outside South Bank. From 6-10 miles off Ucluelet is a place where you can sometime catch Halibut, Chinook and Coho. Another very large area that can be very productive. Depths range from 170-220.
  • Great Bear. Great Bear is only about 10 minutes ride from the Ucluelet harbour and protected on NW winds. It can be very productive for Chinook salmon. Sometimes this is a spot to fish because it’s the hottest place and sometimes it’s a great place to get out of the wind. Depths range from 60 to 130 feet.
  • Alley Rock Close to Great Bear, Alley rock can be good for Coho late season and Chinook and Coho early season. Depths range from 60 to 100 feet.
  • Barkley Sound. Hotspots Include Effingham, Swale, Harbour Entrance, Austin, Cree. There are a couple fishing lodges that often fish here since running to Ucluelet takes longer and you do find fish here though its generally not as fast as other areas. It is very scenic and protected from NW winds. Once every few years we head over to Kirby point on a strong S wind.
  • Beg Island. Just outside the harbour, Beg can is a spot that can be hot but is generally not. It is protected from the NW winds though and sometimes the fishing here is very good so you just never know.
  • Food Islets. Not far from Beg, this is a spot that can have great fishing for both Coho and Chinook and its totally protected from NW winds.
  • Chrowe. Chrowe can be a great place to catch Coho and every so often you will catch a Chinook here as well. You an fish all sides of Chrowe. Crowe is on the way to Great Bear and Barkley Sound.
  • Sail Rock. Sail can be good for Chinook early and late season. There are often boats fishing here and there are almost always fish going through this area. Using needlefish hutchies here is a good idea. The best fishing is close to the rocks where the depth changes so you will have to watch your chart carefully.
  • Long Beach  About 9 miles up the coast, Long Beach bank is generally good at some point during the season for Chinook and you can often get halibut here as well. There is a large area to fish here and you can often find pockets of fish that other boats aren’t on. The great thing about this area is that you are normally trolling from 80 to 120 feet down and if trolling for halibut it is only 140-160 feet deep so much easier to troll than deeper water.
  • 7 mile bank. This is closer to Bamfield but every so often the fishing is good here. We rarely go here but it is an option and you can catch Chinook here.
  • Portland Point We rarely go here as it’s a long way up the coast toward Tofino and normally other spots are better, but every few years we will run up to Portland. Its about 17 miles from the Ucluelet harbour.
  • Wya point. Some years are better than others here like every spot. Since 2014 fishing started getting good here and you will generally see boats here all summer. Hotspots include First point, Eagles nest and the Grapefruit.
  • Kennedy Lake. A very large lake that you will see on your right at a few points on your drive to Ucluelet/Tofino. Kennedy has trout though it isn’t a popular place for fisherman. As you come down the Kennedy hill, you will see the expanse of the lake and many think it’s the ocean. Kenndy has a free boat launch and we go wakeboarding here on occasion.

Here are some helpful coordinates:

Austin Island/Barkley Sound/Salmon/N48 51.569 W125 18.616
Cree Island/Barkley Sound/Chinook, Coho/N48 51.103 W125 19.517
Great Bear - Alley Rock/Barkley Sound/Chinook/N48 53.635 W125 26.830
Kirby Point /Barkley Sound/Chinook, Sockeye/N48 50.923 W125 12.578
Rats Nose/Barkley Sound/Chinook, Coho, Halibut/N48 35.500 W125 39.300
Swale Rock/Barkley Sound/Chinook, Sockeye/N48 55.443 W125 13.142
Portland Point/Tofino/Chinook, Coho/N49 03.731 W125 50.879
7 Mile/Ucluelet/Chinook, Coho, Halibut/N48 44.500 W125 16.800
Big Bank/Ucluelet/Chinook, Coho, Halibut/N48 38.532 W125 46.779

Lighthouse Bank: N48 53.833 W125 41.107
Outside South Bank/Ucluelet/Chinook, Coho, Halibut/N48 48.907 W125 38.533
South Bank/Ucluelet/Chinook, Coho, Halibut/N48 50.344 W125 34.938

  • Why should you hire a fishing guide?  While Ucluelet is one of the most consistent areas on the coast, there is so much area to fish and the good fishing changes from day to day. What was good yesterday is often different than what is good today. You can look at our fishing packages here.
  • Experience matters when fishing Ucluelet. Even fishing guides that have been fishing a few seasons will have more tough days than guides that have been here 15+ years. There are so many nuances when out there. Even after 20 years of fishing Ucluelet, Sam is still learning and Dan who has been here over 30 years would say the same.
  • Do some people not catch fish here?  Yes, we even hear that a guide on the dock will have a tough day not catching a single fish while some others had great days. Fishing is a science and while every fisherman doesn’t discount “luck”, experience and being prepared can contribute to a whole lot of “lucky days”.
  • Can I learn it on my own? Yes, we have fisherman that come up for a week every year and rent accommodation from us since we also have a spot to park trailers if staying in our vacation rentals and cabins.

    Not everyone cares about filling their buckets as fast as our guides and some just like getting out on the water. Its such a beautiful area and there is so much to love about being out in nature.

    Make sure you have a radar and a good GPS with a detailed west coast chart. Always make sure you have nautical maps of the Ucluelet area on you and a compass for safety.
  • How does Ucluelet compare to other hotspots for salmon and halibut in BC? We have a post on the best salmon fishing spots in BC and the best Halibut fishing in BC and Alaska.
  • What is the best time of year to come fishing?  We have a chart and a page outlining the best times of year to fish Ucluelet.
  • What is the biggest salmon you can catch from Ucluelet?  Up until 2012 we would catch a 50Lb Chinook every summer. During 2013 there were not many fish caught over 30lbs and all along the coast the size of Chinook have come down. Over the past few years there have been a few caught in the 40lb range but we haven’t seen a 50 plus lb Chinook since 2012.
  • What are the normal size of the halibut here?  Ucluelet is home to the chickens (10-25lbs) but every year we catch halibut 60 lbs plus. Since size regulations have decreased, the max you can catch is about 65 lbs and we always through back a few halibut that are larger. It’s a good thing for conservation as the larger halibut are the females who lay eggs. Normally its halibut under 35lbs that are males.
  • Is kayak fishing popular in Ucluelet?  It hasn’t been yet but there are some very beautiful days where there have been kayakers out fishing. A peddle kayak would be suggested.
  • Good luck and we hope you found this helpful! Tightlines!