Nahmint River

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Rivers, Pacific Northwest

Nahmint River
Nahmint River, Photo By Russ Porter

The Nahmint River is fast flowing piece of water that runs through Nahmint Lake, tumbling down a number of waterfalls and rapids until it reaches the Port Alberni Inlet. At one time this river was a world class steelhead river, but due to mismanaged fishing and active logging, you can be considered lucky to see a steelhead here now.

The river between the Port Alberni Inlet and the lake is closed in the winter to fishing with hopes of increasing the steelhead returns. The river above the lake is a fly fishing only area and all trout must be released.

Nahmint lake is a beautiful lake on Vancouver Island worthy of the drive to get there. The recreation site at the north end of the lake is set amidst an impressive stand of old growth fir, there is an an incredible waterfall and a magnificent beach located here.

To reach the Nahmint lake rec site and the river from Port Alberni. Just head towards Tofino on highway 4 until you cross the Somas River Bridge on Highway 4, then take McCoy lake road on the left and follow it to the Stirling Arm Mainline. Turn right and stay on this road until you see the Nahmint Mainline. Turn left here and run down this road for a short distance and the site is on the right. There is lots of wildlife and birds here so don’t forget your camera.

The river drains into Alberni Inlet in the Nahmint River, which winds its way through some impressive rapids and waterfalls to Nahmint bay on the inlet. The river once had some huge salmon returns of chinook, pink and chum but there is very few chinook or pink returns now. There is still some big runs of chum though.

Nahmint River
Nahmint River, Photo By Russ Porter

This is a beautiful river with very nice forests and mountains along it, the bird and wildlife in the area is incredible and the lake is great for camping. Bring your camera and have a nice time. There are 12 campsites at the Nahmint lake rec site along with a boat Launch, picnic tables and toilets. There is a great beach that runs from in front of the campsite right over to where the Nahmint river flows in, there is a great little sand bar at the river mouth, you can bottom fish from here.

There are some real big rainbow trout in this deep lake, the lake is 140 meters deep at its center and some of the rainbows here can reach up to 4.5 kg. Sometimes you can hook into one just past the drop off here at the river mouth but you will have better luck getting the biggies by trolling deep. There are also cutthroat trout, kokanee trout and dolly varden char here. You can even catch the odd steelhead in this lake.

This is a beautiful site on Nahmint lake that is situated in a large old-growth rain forest of giant hemlock, fir and spruce trees. The mountain views are just incredible and the falls and rapids in the river as it runs through the canyons on its way to Nahmint Bay. The most impressive of these falls has to be french falls up on Nahmint mountain. You will be amazed at the beauty of them.

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