With more than half a million salmon swimming past its waterfront, and fish sometimes so big they pull kayaks around, Port Alberni has good reason to lay claim to its title as the Salmon Fishing Capital of the World.
During the days of late summer there are typically 300 to 400 boats on the water, trolling or casting for chinook that usually weigh in at 20 to 30 pounds, with 50-pounders not uncommon. Coho, sockeye, pink and chum salmon also run past Port Alberni, headed for nearby spawning rivers at the end of a long inlet on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
But trophy chinook and coho that average 10 to 12 pounds are the big draws. They are pursued in everything from luxurious power cruisers, to rowboats, and Bob Cole, a long-time Port Alberni resident and a director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, says he's even seen a few kayaks out there lately. One kayaker recently hooked a salmon so big other fishermen had to come alongside to help land it.
"He just couldn't handle it," Mr. Cole said.
Salmon fishing has been good at Port Alberni this summer – perhaps as good as it has ever been.
"They came early and they seemed to keep coming. Hopefully the fishing will last to the end of September," Mr. Cole said.