Rhubarb. Asparagus. Strawberries. And salmon! Nothing says summer quite like the bounty of local food that becomes available this time of year. And for fishing families, the first salmon openings of the year really are the hallmark of summer.
The first salmon openings of the year are on June 7th this year in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island and off the mouth of the Nass River as far north as you can go on the coast in BC.
This year, Skipper Otto has decided not to head north for the Nass openings as he has done for at least the last 18 years, but instead will head to Barkley Sound with his son, Shaun onboard his gillnetter, Omega V. Shaun has leased a gillnetter called Little Gaffer and, for the first time ever, the father-son-grandson Strobel family will fish alongside one another on 2 separate boats. Otto and Shaun will run their boats from the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf around the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and up the island to Barkley Sound, off Port Alberni for the first sockeye salmon opening. They will fish the first opening that will last between 1-3 days, and then offload and leave the boats moored in Port Alberni. One of our distribution team members will drive over after the first opening to pick them up, and to transport them and their first, glistening, silvery catch home to Vancouver via the Nanaimo ferry. For the coming weeks after that, Otto and Shaun will drive back and forth to Vancouver Island each week on the ferry, fish for the duration of the opening, and come home with their catch. We’re excited to bring you stories and photos from the Strobel’s Barkley Sound openings!
Meanwhile, life-long, second generation fisherman Barry Marcotte is heading up to fish the Nass openings and to send these beautiful, northern sockeye down for our members. Barry will be taking Otto’s place as the lead fisherman in the north, coordinating with our other northern fishermen. Barry is taking on the huge task of collecting the catch from all our northern fishermen onto his boat, running 5 hours from the fishing grounds to Prince Rupert at the end of the long opening, offloading, and coordinating shipping from Rupert. We’re so grateful to have Barry enthusiastically taking charge of this important job! The first Nass opening is also June 7th and we look forward to hearing updates from Barry and our northern crew!