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14) Cluxewe Beach (@ N Vancouver Island)

Started by John Pierce, May 07, 2018, 07:47:53 PM

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John Pierce

N end of Vancouver Island.

DFO AREA 12-17
20210731 Website says
1) Daily Limit = 4 of all species, from fish and tidal, Position Limit = Double, 8 Salmon, Barbless.
2) Chinook = Daily 1, Min 62cm Max 80 cm, permanently record all retained catch on your Tidal Licence, catch must be transported with head on.
3) Chum = Min 30 cm
4) Coho = Min 30 cm, Hatchery daily limit 2, wild daily limit 1.
5) Pink = Min 30 cm
6) Sockeye = Not allowed to keep

DESCRIPTION: Beautiful First Nations Campsite.
BOOKING: Normally by email starting Jan 15.
CAMPSITES: Ones on spit quicker to walk for fishing but can be windy. Circle sites are near washrooms and showers and out of wind. Sites 50-57 on water have power and water.
CABINS: Several, range of sizes and locations, #2 is favourite.
WASHERS/SHOWERS: Large onsite. Community Freezer for salmon but can get stolen.
LAUNDRY: Available, has freezers that can put salmon in, but have been known to disappear. Member DaleS brings small electric freezer.
FIREWOOD: Purchase from main office.
RESTAURANT: Good on site.
WATER: Can be murky late
ICE: Available at campsite.
CELL PHONE: Good signal.
WIFI: Yes, good, can stream.
GENERATORS: No allowed from May 1 – September 30.
DIRT BIKES/ATVS: Not permitted in campground or on the beach. They are to be parked in the parking lot.
DOGS: In campground must be leashed and under owner's control, owners must clean up after all pets, no pets allowed in or around cabins.
FIREWORKS: Not permitted
SWIMMING: In river and dock areas are not supervised.
FISH CLEANING: On beach or at the station by the ramp (not in campsites/cabins/washrooms). Return waste from fish and shellfish to well below the high tide level and not in the garbage bins.
BOAT LAUNCH: Poor, as tides and waves keep washing away, need 4WD. For large boats, Port McNeil has better boat launch. Children are not allowed on the boat ramp dock unless supervised by an adult.

DennisG uses 11.5ft 6 weight rod, Floating line, 10ft leader, 10-15# tapered tippet.
Bring all your gear as Port McNeil Sporting Good store is very limited for fly fishing gear.
Boat / Float Tube is good idea to reach salmon as often out of reach from shore.
Salmon sometimes come back down as not enough water, use small blue-green fly.
Usually fish jumping lots or school finning staying still, when cast into them get spooked, instead cast in direction swimming and leave fly.Saltwater Fishing: To big triangle sign, ~50ft from mouth.
Along beach sometimes fish show up same spot-time, but not always.
School fish, see some guys, don't wade in as school will swim out from beach.
Early morning, start at campsite and walk along beach looking for salmon and cast from shore.
Very foggy mornings, BMW Salmon Fly very successful.
When very windy, get soaked in waves and casting into wind, solution cast sideways into 2ft of water.
Other side of Cluxewe River is big long fish but can't get to ask tide in, access need to drive out of camp, down logging road, over bridge, parking lot down dirt road, take trail.
Cluxewe beach to right is gravel barge, beyond which is tiny provincial park where offshore lots of salmon boats fishing, To get there, leave campsite left to P McNeil, over gravel conveyor belt, 304 telephone poles later, down gravel road, to small parking lot then trail to park. Can be lots of Coho and Springs, also use surf casting rods.
When Cluxewe Beach is quiet, Keogh River produces bigger Pinks.
Keeping Fish: Simple is use a rope through gills (have to adjust length for water depth/fish and if 2-3 salmon digs into hand when carrying, Better is cloth strap with buckle that can wrap around hand so easier to carry. if leave at shore seagulls will come. Best is fish in strap in highly visible bright white plastic bag on shore, watch tide. Best is mesh bag with rocks and fish and float on rope. When carry home remove rocks and drain.
Fish Cleaning: Two stations with hoses.
Taking Salmon Home: After cleaning, slice into 1" steaks, keep head. Take to cannery in Port McNeil or Port Hardy and will ship to Island Outfitters for local pickup.

1) Larger boats can troll further out and around the other side of the island where the fishing could be better.
2) You can troll along the shore line with flies.
3) When fishing from shore the fishermen tend to drive the schools out of reach of the caster and a craft can sit JUST outside of the casting range in the middle of the Pinks. This includes schools of bait fish with springs feeding on them.
4) You can do some crabbing easier from a boat.
5) You can easily access the beach on the other side of the Cluxewe River. Often the Pinks show up first there and you can stay longer and not worry about getting back as the tide cuts you off.
6) The retention limits are different outside of the Cluxewe boundaries which can be reached by boat.

1) The boat launch is mostly sand and gravel and a 4 by 4 is usually necessary. A lot of guys (with bigger units) drive every day to Pt. McNiel to launch and recover their boats.
2) The wind and waves come up fast and recovering a boat can be hazardous at Cluxewe.
3) You can pull your unit up on the beach above tide line but a steep incline usually means wheels and a two man team.
4) The swift tide current along the beach means you will need to anchor and recover anchor every time you need to move.
5) The schools do move a lot along the shore.
6) A float tube would be nice in some isolated cases - but there is a problem of holding your position and the possibility of being swept away.

1) Normal safety glasses and hat, never step backwards when wading.
2) Walking along beach, fly fisherman casting, want to get by, make sure knows you are here, yell "behind you" to get attention, keep walking at same pace.
3) Float Tube, and foggy, don't lose site of land as can drift offshore (has happened).
4) Print out tide chart for Alert Bay and view lay of land at low tide, changes yearly with flood tides. Can pick a way out to front of river and with rising tide maybe different trail in water way back.
5) Joke for first timers, when fishing with others, see them leave and go up on shore as cruise ship goes by, and 15 min later wave knock you down.
6) Bears and wolves possible, especially in dark.
7) Theft, never leave rod outside overnight, kids on bicycles can swipe stuff from table,
8) When walking along logging road (don't drive), check truck schedule, (normally none on weekend), as XL extra wide, extra heavy logging trucks which at back have 2-3 ft of steel sticking out. Don't stay on bridge assuming logging truck get by you.
9) Walking out to mouth of river, watch for sand as can wash away and get washed out, especially at Adam & Eve River mouth.
10) Insects: Early morning Mosquitos and no-see-ums heavy. Rim of hat perspire, put laundry cloth inside hat, or use buff hat bug screen (also keeps you warm).
11) Finger Stringer Guard: For use while stripping fly line to reduce tearing up fingers.
12) Hat: If raining, can use jacket hood but poor visibility and hearing in case bear on shore, best is foiding gortex hat.

1) Take crab trap as good, from boat or using tide chart and leave out, but commercial crabbers have reintroduced river otter who eat all young crabs, last two years no crabs.
2) Lots of people used to crab at the mouth of the river, catches were good -- if the traps were not pilfered during the night, so you would have to check your traps often.
3) If no boat, place the traps out at dead low tide, check the traps the next day by calculating the retrieval by the tide chart for " Alert Bay", still had the occasional theft. It's a long walk to the point carrying a heavy trap.
4) At exactly the same time for checking the traps (I think) is the prime time for pink salmon action coming out or trying to go up river, so it would cut into my prime fishing time.
5) At low tide you will see people walking the flats with scoop nets picking them up from the bottom.  Years ago in early morning low tide, would see people picking up lots of Dungeness.

20201205 Member DennisG gives talk about Cluxewe.
20200801 Regs for Pinks changed from retaining 4 to 1 day (normally reduce Aug 1).
20200727 DennisG says his son-in-law is there and Pinks are on beach. Fished for two weeks, lots of Pinks until heavy rain then Pinks ran up river. Fishing best when tide changes and water move down beach, used 4" streamer fly with weighted bead head, cast way out and let fly move with current and give it a twitch every now and then and Pinks strike. Pinks were bigger this year at 6-10 lb.
20200719 BillT says Pinks were in on beach.
20170314 GRR Dennis says he is going to Cluxewe Beach First Nations campsite at N end of Vancouver Island for fly fishing for Pink Salmon and Crabs late July through early Aug 2017 (regs normally change Aug 1). Fish off beach in waders. Been going for 27 years, 6.5 hr drive, weather and fish very fickle.

John Pierce

Dennis Gedney's Cluxewe Beach Flies:

John Pierce

Following was sent in advance of Dec 5, 2020 GRR Fly Tying Zoom Meeting, by Member DennisG:

Hi everyone; Next Saturday's (Dec. 5th) Fly tying will feature my most effective flies for Cluxewe. The Zoom meeting will start at 9:00 to 10;00 (PST) chat & coffee.
@ 10;00 well start the demonstration. I don't know far down the list we can get, but I am including a material list and pictures, for the first few. Dennis.

NOTE: Use Search Tool in upper right to find flies description, material, link to video etc.

1) Hans
2) Weasel
3) Darcy
4) Dennis Sr.
5) Barry
6) Keogh
7) Foggy Do -- aka-- BMW

John Pierce


Listed North to South

10 min drive from Cluxewe
Hill into town is very steep, at bottom right is grocery and liquor stores. Around corer from Sporting Goods is good restaurant.
Bottom hill is dead end, near dock is store to buy internet card that can use at Cluxewe.
Medical: Two options in Fort McNeil clinic on right past gas station, open regular hours, emergency at Hospital (one Doctor in town), before gas station turn right, 2 miles.

Access via ferry from Port McNeil, just walk on no need car.
First Nations Museum

Old Whaling Station


Drive in v pretty