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Inlets, Pacific Northwest

Zeballos Inlet
Zeballos Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan

The Pacific Northwest has many inlets, some of these like Bute Inlet are very long and windy, Bute inlet has very few places to get out of the wind and you can find yourself fighting your way up, but once you reach the end, you are in some of the best Grizzly bear territory on the coast. There are many deep inlets along the coast, filled with wildlife and adventures.

Vancouver Island has many inlets, some of them are quite large, others, not so big but they are all beautiful. The Alberni Inlet is one of prettiest. It starts at Barkley Sound and slices into the Island, almost cutting it in half. This inlet is the gateway to many outdoor adventures and its a  place best seen from the water. Sailing, boating, and kayaking are great ways to do this.

Neroutsos Inlet
Neroutsos Inlet, Photo By Forrest Logan

There are other awesome ones on the island, like Muchalat Inlet, Tahsis and Tahsish Inlets. Then there is Quatsino Sound that leads into the Holberg, Rupert and Neroutsos Inlets. All of them have adventures just waiting for you to enjoy.

There is so much history from the early days about the towns that are located in the inlets, like Port Alberni, Gold River, Port Alice, Zeballos, Tahsis, Holberg, Winter Harbor, and many other small coastal communities, most of these towns relied upon the coastal freighters that traveled up and down the island’s waterways. Some still ply the waters and you can take a trip through the islands past on them.

Most of these have recreational adventures for you to enjoy like camping and hiking. So head on out and see what the island has to offer you, it just might be the adventure of a lifetime.

Muchalat Inlet
Muchalat Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan
Muchalat Inlet is located on the northwest end of Vancouver Island, about 350 km north of Victoria by road, Gold River is the put in area for the inlet. it is 45 km long. It empties into Nootka Sound along with the Tahsis and Tlupana Inlets near Bligh Island.

There are many places of interest along the coast, these include Hot-springs Cove, Friendly Cove, Tahsis and of course all the incredible rivers and their estuaries that empty into Muchalat, Tlupana and Tahsis inlets. Fuel and supplies are not available in the inlet so fuel up in gold rive before heading out.

Summer fishing is pretty awesome here.  Muchalat Inlet has the best fishing on the entire coast. Two species of salmon may be found in the inlet waters in great numbers, they are coho and Chinook along with a few blue-backs, coho migrates through the Inlet in the summer months on their way to spawn in the  Gold, Tsowwin and Leiner rivers.

Muchalat Inlet, BC Coastal Region
Muchalat Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan
Chinook has both a great winter fishery and a good summer Chinook run as well. Halibut can be taken in April, May, and June. Winter fishing for big springs is incredible, but caution should be taken because the wind can come up unexpectedly and reach as high as 120 km an hour.

Wildlife viewing in the area is just incredible and there is a great chance to see bears, deer, elk, mink, martins, and raccoons plus a really good chance to see seals, sea lions, whales, and otters. There are many birds in the area and any birder will be kept busy just writing down the various birds they see here.

This is an incredible inlet, with many rivers, bays and islands, its very beautiful.

Alberni Inlet
Alberni Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan
The Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island is a long, narrow Fiord that leads 40 km inland from Barkley Sound and the open Ocean. At the head of the Inlet is Port Alberni, fast becoming a tourist hub on Vancouver Island.

With the beauty of the Pacific Rim National Park, Barkley Sound, and Clayoquot Sound, tourists are staying in Port Alberni and heading out on day trips to many great locations surrounding the Port Alberni area.

The Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound area is such a beautiful place to visit. The inlet has year-round salmon fishing that is just incredible. The Salmon that gather in the inlet before making their way to the spawning grounds.

Alberni Inlet
Alberni Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan
You can find some very good Halibut and cod fishing here along with plenty of crabs and prawns waiting for you to drop a trap down to them. Many of the rivers and streams that flow into the inlet are full of freshwater fish as well.

Spring salmon arrive in March, they follow the herring in May, an early run of Chinook salmon begin arriving. Sockeye salmon show up in late June and they are followed by a fall run of Chinook, the fall fishery is awesome with some very big fish taken on a regular basis.

The MV Frances Barkley is a cargo and passenger vessel based in Port Alberni, it plies the waters of the Alberni Inlet and Barkley sound traveling through the Broken Group Islands as it heads to Bamfield and Ucluelet. Both these towns are located on the outer edge of Barkley Sound, Ucluelet is on the north shore and Bamfield is on the south shore. Taking a trip on this boat is an incredible adventure that we all should take once in our lives.

Forward Inlet
Forward Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan
Forward Inlet is located just off Quotsino Sound and provides a sheltered haven from the Pacific winter storms, it was a safe place for morage for the old sailing ships that plied the island in the 1800s and for the island fishing fleets of today.

Winter Harbor with its quaint little village of the same name is located in Forward inlet and is a must-visit destination when you are on the north island.

Forward Inlet is known for its saltwater fishing, there is an abundance of Salmon, Cod, Halibut and Red Snapper waiting for your hook. Winter Harbor is a stop on the biennial Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race.

The village has charter boats ready to take you out on an adventure or bring your own boat and head out on your own, the locals are friendly and will give you pointers on where the best places are to try your luck.

Forward Inlet
Forward Inlet, Photo By Bud Logan
There is ample wildlife here for viewing, both marine and terrestrial. I have always seen many Sea Otters when l visit Winter Harbor and Forward Inlet, there are also many seals, sea lions and you could see several types of whales in the waters of Forward Inlet.

For the birders there is plenty to get excited about, you could see puffins, oystercatchers or eagles here along with plenty of other shorebirds and the forests surrounding the Inlet has plenty of other types of birds and there is a good chance to see black bears and deer here as well.

There are lots of hiking trails in the area that can take you to hidden beaches that will simply amaze you with incredible beauty, most of these beaches are so little used that for the most part, you will be the only people there.

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