Jamie Clark of Port Alberni claimed the top of the Tyee Club’s adult leader board on Aug. 8 with a 32.5-pound tyee, caught at Lonetree with a chovie. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SALMON FEST 2019: Alberni Valley Tyee Club expecting banner year

For the first time in decades, tyees dominate leader board

The headline in a 1950 Vancouver Island events magazine read “Tyee salmon beware: Experts say this is the year the Alberni Canal will teem with fighting tyee salmon.”

The article went on to say local hotels were filling up as anglers anticipated the Aug. 6 season opening, with people coming from as far away as New York and Alabama “with their eyes set on a gold button for a tyee over 50 pounds.”

The headline could just as easily apply today as it did in 1950. Years of conservation efforts by all stakeholders—sportfishers, commercial fishers, First Nations and Fisheries and Oceans Canada—may be finally paying off for the chinook (tyee) salmon. Experts are predicting the Alberni Inlet (formerly Canal) will be teeming with tyees in time for the 48th annual Salmon Festival on Labour Day weekend.

The Alberni Valley Tyee Club’s leaderboard could be used as an indicator: it hasn’t been since the early 1970s that we have seen three chinook in the top three spots early in the season. James Clark still tops the leader board (as of late September) with his 32.5-pound chinook caught Aug. 8 off of Lonetree. Claudia Harrison is one pound back in second place with a 31.5-lb. chinook, and Sheldon Reed is in third, also at 31.5 lbs.

The junior leaderboard has also seen some good-sized fish. Peyton Provençal was in first place (as of press time) with her 22.8-lb. chinook. Danica Schwager is in second (21.9 lbs.) and Kayden Jasken in third (21.5 lbs.). Jasken caught the first qualifier of the season and has remained on the leaderboard.

The Tyee Club will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year. The sportfishing club was first established in 1939 when a small group of enthusiastic businessmen met at the Good Eats Café. Ardent sportsmen, they were interested both in sportfishing and in developing the salmon fishery on the Alberni Canal. Their goal was to promote sportfishing in Port Alberni as a tourist industry and guard against encroachment of commercial fishing in those areas of the Alberni District.

The establishment of this fishing club fulfilled a desire to prove to the world that the best tyee fishing in Canada was right here. The club operated at the foot of Argyle Street off a long dock where Harbour Quay now resides.

At first, children were not permitted to join the club—at least, not until 12-year-old Cliff McLean caught a 56-pound tyee all by himself! McLean became the youngest member of the Tyee Club.

The Tyee Club moved to Clutesi Haven Marina in 1969, five years after a tsunami hit Port Alberni and the harbour commission and city council of the day decided to develop the boat floats around Kitsuksis Creek.

In 2012, members of the Tyee Club led a campaign to name Port Alberni Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town, and both the name and reputation have stuck.

This year’s Salmon Fest may well prove it once and for all.


Jack Fairley of Port Alberni is featured on this 1950s era magazine with his 57-pound tyee. Fishers are saying the Alberni Inlet is in for a banner year of tyees in 2019. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Just Posted

Motorhome catches fire in Port Alberni mobile home park

Space heater left inside thought to be cause of fire

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Squash Club in Port Alberni has until March 2020 to fix façade that has been under construction for years

Owner Randy Brown says ‘no problem’ to have building fixed by March deadline

Two pedestrians struck by vehicles in Port Alberni

Fire chief reminds motorists, pedestrians to be cautious

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns says Scheer’s resignation not surprising

Pressure is on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, as the lone major party leader remaining in the opposition

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

Most Read