Types of Salmon on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is a paradise for fishermen and is quickly becoming a world-renown destination for both salt and freshwater fishing. The prize catch? Salmon. Five different types of salmon can be caught from various areas on Vancouver Island! Check out the types below, starting with the most popular of the five.


Chinook Salmon

Alternative Names: King salmon, Tyee (30+ lbs)

Appearance: Blue-green/purple on back, silver on sides, black spots on tail and upper half

Size: 18-40lbs

Where to Catch: Ucluelet, Tofino, North Island

Time to Catch: June, July, August, September

Typical Fishing Style: Trolling –  strong fighter


Coho Salmon

Alternative Names: Silver salmon

Appearance: Dark blue backs, silver sides

Size: 10-20lbs

Where to Catch: Campbell River, South Island, Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Alberni, Bamfield

Time to Catch: late June, July, August, September

Fishing Style: Trolling, Casting – fast runner


Sockeye Salmon

Alternative Names: Kokanee salmon, red salmon

Appearance: blue/silver in the ocean, bright red with green heads when spawning

Size: 6-15lbs

Where to Catch: Alberni Inlet

Time to Catch: July – September

Fishing Style: Trolling – fast bite


Pink Salmon

Alternative Names: Humpback salmon

Appearance: Bright silver with oval spots on tail, humped back when spawning

Size: 3-10lbs

Where to Catch: East coast Vancouver Island

Time to Catch:  July – September

Fishing Style: Trolling and Casting


Chum Salmon

Alternative Names: Fall salmon, Keta salmon, dog salmon

Appearance: Green/Blue on top, Silvery below, slender

Size: 10-20lbs

Where to Catch: Port Hardy, Campbell River, Qualicum River

Time to Catch:  July – October

Fishing Style: Float fishing/jigging – hard fighter


No matter what type you catch, you can’t go wrong with a freezer full of fresh, Vancouver Island salmon. Each are good for different types of cooking and preparation, with tasty meat fit for a feast.

For more on salmon fishing on Vancouver Island, check out www.disocvervancouverisland.com/things-to-do/fishing

To book a charter on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, check out www.salmoneye.net


Salmon Fishing Report 2017 – Vancouver Island

Are you thinking about going fishing in 2018? If so, take a look at what happened in 2017 in the area you want to go by reading a fishing report. While you can’t predict the future, a look at a past fishing report may help you decide what time of year you want to come fishing. The trends tend to remain similar from year to year.

The west coast of Vancouver Island is a hotspot for salmon and halibut fishing, and is a top fishing destination in Canada. Here’s a fishing report for what happened with their 2017 salmon fishing season.

Early-early season from March to April saw sporadic days of catching salmon limits, mixed in with slower days of one to three fish. Patience was key with halibut fishing, where many were close to shore as they normally are, but catching one could mean waiting on anchor all day. When salmon fishing was slow, anglers focused on catching lingcod. Weather was a mix of good and bad.


May and June were fantastic compared to normal, and catching chinook over 20lbs was not unheard of! While catching both halibut and salmon took a bit of work, by the end of the day it was likely limits of both were caught. Other days found the boats filling up with fish faster than expected, even in the afternoon. For 2018, the early season is expected to be just as good thanks to the number of grilse that made an appearance on the coast. Closer to the end of June, the fish moved offshore, which is where July and August focused their tactics.

Peak season was as expected for the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Both chinook salmon and halibut fishing was done offshore for all of July and the first half of August. For the second half, in closer to shore was more rewarding, as the larger returning Chinook were cruising in close. While halibut fishing slowed down a bit, catching the limit was still do-able, it just required more patience. Live squid fishing, a fantastically fun way to fish, took place in late July for about one week. Otherwise, most chinook were caught by trolling.

If you’re worried about seasickness and want to be able to catch big fish in protected water – aim for a charter in July.


The first two weeks of September proved successful for Chinook, where it then dropped off as per the usual. Unfortunately, the halibut fishing was closed early on September 5th – a strange occurrence for the fishery on the coast. Some small pockets of Coho made their way in shore for the end of the season. Perhaps some of the best fishing as the season gets late is Lingcod, which are a great source of white meat when halibut aren’t available.

Once October rolls around, most charters are completely finished for the season. Unruly weather and the coast’s movement into hibernation and storm season mark the end of salmon and halibut fishing for another year.


For another fishing report from the west coast, check out http://www.salmoneye.net/site/fishing-with-us/fishing-reports.html