What to Look for in a Good Fishing Report

If you know what to look for, you can use a fishing report for a number of different things. Not only can you get an idea of what the fishing was like at a certain place, but you can learn a lot about the charter company itself, what the next year might bring and when you want to plan your trip for the next season. Plus, you’ll learn some of the places to go and whether or not the company is pumping up their numbers of fish to sound more successful than they were.


Here’s an example of a season end fishing report for 2017 from Salmon Eye Charters:

We started fishing in March and ended late September this year. Next year we plan to start fishing April 1 and end again in late September.

March and April and were medium good, meaning we had good days (limits of salmon) and slow days (1-3 salmon). There were a few halibut in close to shore like normal, though getting one could mean sitting on anchor all day and not fishing salmon or lingcod. As usual, there were lots of lingcod around when salmon fishing was slow. March and April can have good and bad weather days and if coming then, it is always best to book a few days, especially if you are hoping to go back with your limit of salmon and lingcod.

May and June were much better than normal for a chance at a Chinook over 20lbs and we even had a few over 30lbs. Fishing for salmon was medium good for this time of year, meaning we still had to work for salmon and halibut to get limits.  We had some really good days where the fish were jumping on the line and slower days when the fish started biting after 10 am—in fact we had quite a few days where the fish started biting later in the day. The fishing started picking up at Big Bank near the end of June, and that is where many of the days were spent over the next 2 months. The trend has been that fishing has been pretty good in the early season and we expect next May/June to be good based on the high numbers of grilse in Barkley Sound this year.

July and August were pretty normal for both Chinook and Halibut. July was very good for halibut and on most of the days we went to Big Bank we got both our Chinook and Halibut. During August we spent the first half on Big Bank and the 2ndhalf in close to shore fishing the larger returning Chinook. Halibut fishing slowed down the 2nd half of August, though most days we were able to get our halibut limit—it just took longer than July. There was decent Chinook fishing all of July and August in close to shore and we had about a week where we caught them on live squid from about July 19-25. After the squid started spreading out, we mostly caught the Chinook by trolling. If you are looking for bigger fish in more protected water, July is a better time to come.

The Coho were in one area at Big Bank and we didn’t target them much simply because we are only allowed to keep Coho with their adipose fin clipped. Most of the Coho did not have the adipose fin clipped on Big Bank. It is fun when you get into them and you can’t keep your line down because they are very aggressive. But we don’t like catching and releasing, as many of the fish don’t make it.

September fishing was pretty good for Chinook up to the 15th before it started dropping off, which is pretty normal. The halibut fishing was closed Sept 5., which is not normal. The Coho did not come in close to shore in big numbers, though we did have some days with pockets of Coho. The Lingcod fishing starts to get even better late in the season, so this provides a good source of white meat. Lingcod is my favorite white meat to eat if they are under about 12lbs when caught.


If you are booking for 2018, I would suggest booking as soon as possible to make sure you get accommodation and a spot for fishing. Accommodation was very tough to get starting 4 months before the summer season and we turned away many people during the summer. You can check out accommodation for Ucluelet and Tofino at http://www.tofino-info.com/resorts-hotels-tofino-ucluelet/  and our fishing packages  at http://www.salmoneye.net/site/fishing-packages.html to get your trip booked.  Most people end up booking our fishing packages.

Sam Vandervalk

Salmon Eye Charters

Fishing Reports Archive:


Below are a couple pics from the 2017 season. Tight lines!



So, right away you can tell that the company is pretty straight forward. “Here is where we went, this is what we caught, this is how long it took and this is how many we got.” They even define what they mean by “good,” “medium-good,” etc. to make it easier for readers. No sugar coating about whether or not it is slow, and they include some booking tips too. They also mention whether or not the fishing was normal for that kind of year, extra slow, or surprisingly good – this is a great signifier to you for what to expect in the future. Was it a one-off, or is this generally what you would be experiencing if you came at that time next year? This one also uses names of places they went, and information about how they caught the fish, plus some technical terms. It really shows that they’re experienced in the fishing business.

Another nice thing about this report, is that they add their own predictions for the next season, based off of what they experienced. Now, some charters may try to make things sound better than they will be to try and get some bookings, so it’s good to compare other reports for the area, as well as other company predictions. The same goes for how many fish a company is catching – maybe they have really good guides, or maybe they’re inflating their numbers just a little bit. When you can, look at the charter’s photos and check the dates. This one here included a number of shots, all with dates, that reflect exactly what the report states. Don’t be afraid to check out their archive too for consistency in their fishing and reporting. This particular report also backs up why they didn’t catch certain types of fish, which some people may wonder from the photos. This helps you gain information about the fishery and fishing, and also gives you a bit more trust – they’re not claiming to be anything they are not.

Finally, there are some extra tidbits in there that give you more of a feel for the people behind the charter. Of course, being a charter, they’re still going to push their sale a bit, and do some advertising, but hey, with that many photos of great fish, the bookings practically sell themselves anyways. Plus, the pushy part will help you figure out when you want to book, as they’ll try to nail down different buyers with different aspects. “If you want both halibut and salmon, here’s when to book! If you get seasick and want to stay inshore, but catch big fish, book at this time!” These can be helpful for you if you know what to look for.


To reiterate, here’s what you want out of a good report:

  • Photos with dates
  • Overall fishing status (ie. Good, poor, great etc.)
  • Types of fish caught and how many
  • Pace of fishing that time of year
  • Predictions
  • Comparisons to baseline/normal fishing years
  • Informational details
  • Tips on Booking
  • Personable details


If you look for all of these things in a variety of fishing reports for the area you want to go, they will be that much more valuable to you as a fisherman. Not only will it help you make the best decision for you want to spend your hard-earned money on your fishing vacation, but they will help set expectations and give you even more knowledge about what you’re getting into. To check out the photos that went with this report, visit www.salmoneye.net/site/fishing-reports/1508362090.html. Happy fishing!