The Somas River is one of Vancouver Island’s largest river systems. The River is created by the joining of the Ash, Sproat, and Stamp river systems. Great Central and Sproat Lake are the headwaters to these river systems. The Somas River begins where the Sproat and Stamp Rivers join up. Then flows into the Alberni Inlet, 6 km later. The River has a great Summer and Winter Steelhead run.
The Somas River Estuary is located at the south end of the Alberni Valley, although only a small portion of the original delta remains relatively undisturbed, Ducks Unlimited, along with other agencies, has been working on habitat improvements to the area and has done some incredible work so far.
The Stamp River flows from Great Central Lake and joins the Sproat River to form the Somas. The Stamp River’s Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery has had a huge impact on the fish runs in these systems and is truly responsible for the great fishing in the area.
At the Stamp River Provincial Park, there are 23 non-serviced sites available for camping. Many of the sites overlook the river and all are in a majestic west coast forest setting. There are pit toilets located in this campground and a freshwater tap near the park entrance. Visit the park in the fall, and you will witness the annual run of thousands of Pacific salmon gathering in the pool below the Stamp Falls before swimming up the fish ladders on their way to spawning grounds.
Viewpoints above the river give you unobstructed views of the salmon, swimming and leaping up the falls and fish ladders. This incredible sight begins in August with the sockeye run and ends with the Coho and Chinook runs in December. The salmon are a draw for black bears as well, who come to the river to fatten up on salmon for the long winter ahead. There is no fishing within the park boundaries.
The Sproat River system has a variety of recreational uses, with lots of trails, both hiking, and biking, as well as some incredible wildlife viewing. So when you visit, bring your camera and stay for a while, so you can see it all.