Salmon Fishing

Port Renfrew is home to some of BC’s best salmon fishing waters.  Trailhead can help you catch the fattest, healthiest salmon in BC.

We fish for four species of salmon at Trailhead Resort: Chinook (also called “Spring” or “King” salmon), Coho (also called “Silver” salmon), Sockeye and Pink.  The Swiftsure Bank is a heavily-visited feeding ground for salmon heading to spawn on the Fraser River, Columbia River, Puget Sound or our Vancouver Island runs at Nitinat, Port San Juan, or Sooke.  The prolific schools of baitfish that congregate in the area attract the hungriest trophy salmon and create amazing fishing conditions. 

Trailhead Resort is located on Vancouver Island in Port Renfrew, BC – very close to the Swiftsure Bank – and with all these trophy salmon swimming past our front door enroute to their spawning streams, nothing beats the sport salmon fishing at Trailhead Resort.

We target mature salmon who are taking on large stores of protein as they prepare for the big river run they are about to make.  When the bite comes on, watch out!  You’re in for an epic battle with long screamer runs with the wily fish turning and running straight at you, jumping and shaking its head as it fights to unhook itself – sometimes successfully (at least you have a story of ”the big one that got away”).

Chinook (King)

The largest of the salmon species, Chinooks are silver and bright in colour and are hard-hitting lively fighters. Prized for its silken, melting texture, that can almost be compared to smoked salmon, Chinook are the highest in fat and are usually the most expensive at the grocery store or fish market.

In Port Renfrew, we are lucky to be surrounded by our own local runs with both the Nitinat and San Juan Rivers bringing large chinook close enough to our shores that we can fish for these “Kings” from shore throughout the entire BC salmon fishing season.

Coho (Silver)

Coho salmon are active feeding fish and are prized by sport fishermen for their aggressive, hard-fighting action when you’ve got them on the line!

Coho have a mild but distinctive flavour and are the most widely available species of salmon in the grocery store.

Sockeye (Red)

Many salmon lovers consider Sockeye to be the best salmon-eating experience.  With a deep, natural colour, Sockeye is lower in fat than most salmon species, but is still high overall, allowing the delicious flavour to better come through in the tender flesh of the salmon.


Distinguished by the large hump on their backs, Pink salmon is another species that’s widely available at your local grocer. The pale and delicate flesh of the fish is a favourite for many.

Adventure Awaits

Join in at whatever level you are comfortable with; whether you want the guide to set up your fish and hand you the rod, or you want to do it yourself, there is no problem either way. If you want to help out with the rigging or learn how to do it yourself, our expert guides are more than happy to show you the ropes. Talk it over with your guide and he will make it happen.

We usually do the netting just so you don’t end up hating your best friend over a missed fish, but that’s negotiable also. It’s fun, it takes skill, and we catch a lot of beautiful shiny salmon (and you take a lot of delicious fish home with you). There are very few things that equal the heart-in-throat excitement of a big slab battling you with all his strength and the tricks, the fear and the anticipation you experience throughout this fight.

Saltwater Licensing & Limits

Most guests hit their limit on Chinook and Halibut and typically leave with between 100 – 120lbs of fish per person..



Per trip
Max of 4 Chinook



Per trip
Annual size limits apply



Per trip



Per day
Most guests keep 6-10

Required: Saltwater fishing license with salmon stamp