Our Gear: Fishing on Vancouver Island with the Right Equipment

There is no doubt that the Clayoquot Ventures Guide Team is equipped with all the proper gear to get the job done right. Having a fully stocked company Fly & Tackle store with the Sport fishing industry’s premier products, our vessels and guides are more than prepared for all types of coastal B.C. fisheries. Not only are our guides equipped with the best Rods, Reels and Gear, but they are also prepared for all outdoor elements with company apparel by Cloudveil and Patagonia, helping them stay focused on their job instead of the weather.
We are always eager to help answer specific questions about the equipment that you will be using on our guided fishing excursions, but the following outlines should provide a good understanding of what you can expect to be an integral part of your quality fishing experience.

Saltwater Salmon Fishing - Trolling for Salmon is the most common approach in the Tofino-Ucluelet area. We use Scotty Downriggers to get our gear down to the right depth, rigged with a release clip mechanism to fight the fish on the rod and reel, completely free of the Downrigger.
Most often, we troll for Salmon with a 10.5 ft rod made by G.Loomis or Shimano, and single action-direct drive reels made by Islander Reels right here on Vancouver Island. These smooth reels are normally loaded with 30 lb. test main line in the early part of the season, and uploaded to 40 lb. test main line for the largest Salmon of the year in August and early September. We will occasionally troll some extra gear in the right conditions, and sometimes utilize similar single action reels made by Shimano as well. Flashers are common as an attractor, with Spoons, Plugs and Hoochies common imitators. Baits such as Anchovy, Herring and Sardines are used as often as any type of lure for our Salmon Fishing. A similar approach is used for Salmon fishing on Offshore as well as Inshore waters of the Tofino/Clayoquot Sound area, with the main difference is that Offshore we will fish as deep as 200 feet for salmon, while inshore Salmon fishing often sees a maximum depth of 70 feet. We do have high quality Penn International and Abu level wind reels ready to go for those of you that are “all thumbs” and prefer to not fish Salmon with single action style reels. Upon your request, we are also able to jig fish for Salmon with fair to good success, so if this is your preferred approach, we can plan for this type of salmon fishery as well.

Saltwater Halibut Fishing - With an average size of 18-45 lbs. and many fish larger, we approach our Halibut fishery with gear that is light enough for a great experience, but strong enough to ensure that you are on the winning end of the battle. We use one piece rods made by Shimano, and level wind reels made by either Penn or Shimano. These reels are loaded with 80-100 lb test Tuff Line, a thin braided Dacron line that does not allow any stretch, especially when setting the hook on a Halibut that is almost 200 ft. under the boat. Monofilament leaders in the 100-180 lb. range rigged with tandem 8/0 Octopus style hooks are common to fish fresh baits for Halibut. Fighting belts are always ready for those that need the extra support, especially when involved in lengthy battles with a “Barn door” like the 170 lb. Halibut that took Jay and guests over 2 hours. Our vessels are equipped to deal with all sizes of Halibut, with necessary gaff hooks, Harpoons and Ropes.

Inshore Saltwater Fly fishing - For this exciting fishery that has helped label our home waters of Tofino/Clayoquot Sound the premier area on the B.C. Coast, we fly fish by either casting sink tips or Buck tailing with a skip fly on the surface. Using top quality Fly Reels such as the LX 3.8 by Islander, and fast action 8 wt. rods by Sage and G.Loomis, our guests’ experience is enhanced by using only the best.
For our guests that choose to bring their own Fly fishing equipment, we suggest a good quality 7 to 9 weight fly rod with reel capable of holding at least 100 yards of 30 lb. backing for the great variety of powerful fish that we encounter. Fly lines ranging from 200 to 450 grains will cover most situations. Recommended #4-1/0 flies include baitfish streamers and clousers, as well as shrimp imitations to tempt Coho and Chinook Salmon, Rockfish and Ling Cod. Our Fly and Tackle shop boasts a great selection of the area’s most productive patterns for casting and Bucktailing as well as a good stock of the high quality rods and reels that we use when outfitting clients.

Tuna Fishing - info to come.

Fly in Lake Fishing - From May through late October, the small mountain lakes that we fish primarily have a healthy population of Rainbow Trout in the 1-6 lb. range, and Cutthroat Trout normally 12-20 inches. We are keen to host anglers who prefer either Fly fishing or light tackle, and therefore are prepared to outfit you with either type of gear. As these fisheries are 100 % catch and release, we do not fish any bait, and carefully release all fish, allowing for a quick photo to retain the memory forever. Most often on these small sized lakes, we’ll fish a 5 wt. Sage or G.Loomis medium action rod and disc drag reel loaded with type 3 and 6 sink tips and full sink lines. It is not overly common to get dry fly action during the day, unless we are on an overnight excursion where we will get surface activity late in the evening and early in the morning. Damsel Flies, Leeches and Chironomids are all stand-by sub surface flies in the #10-4 sizes. Floating lines and indicators are productive for mid day hatches as well.
For gear anglers, we often use a light or ultra light spinning combo by Shimano loaded with 6 lb main line and 3 or 4 lb. test leader material. Small spoons work well, but small green or black spinners seem to produce the best for terminal tackle.
 

Steelhead and Fall Salmon Fishing - Our remote river trips for Fall, Winter and Spring Steelhead, as well as returning Fall Salmon are often approached with the same fly rods that we use for our Saltwater Fly fishing for Coho Salmon and Bottom fish species. G.Loomis and Sage 8 wt. Rods are common for the Fly fishing enthusiasts with some water allowing for larger two handed fly rods in the 7/8 and 8/9 class. The same, or similar fly lines as our Saltwater fishery apply to the Steelhead and river Salmon fishing as well, but we also often go with a multi tip fly line system to cover various types of water by changing a sink tip, and not the whole spool. We normally use a 4-6 foot leader tipped with 8 lb test, with Flies that range from big and buggy to big and flashy. This fishery doesn’t have a very subtle approach with small flies, in fact, we want to attract as much attention as possible. Rabbit Strip leeches, Prawns and similar marabou attractors fill most of our fly boxes, with more patterns utilizing tinsel for the Fall Salmon fishing. An exception to the big fly approach is when we approach water that is common to hold good numbers of trout, then we will have you cast a small streamer on a 5 weight sink tip line. Certain streamers like the Kiwi Muddler has been known to tempt a number of Steelhead to test the 5 wt. rod and 4 lb. test tippet. We do fish terminal tackle if you choose, but like our lake fishing excursions, these trips are 100 % catch and release, so we do not fish any bait and release all fish as carefully as possible. For Steelhead and Fall Salmon tackle, we use 10-10.5 ft medium/light rods by G.Loomis and Shimano, loaded with 10 lb test spinning reels or level wind reels if you choose. The Gibbs #35 Koho Spoon is one of our standby pieces, as well as a custom tied Rabbit Strip or Marabou jigs under a float. With all of these flies and lures, it is mandatory that we fish a single, barbless hook outlined in the freshwater regulations.