You know it is a big one when it is the same size as you! Bring the grandkids for and make life lasting memories.
After our recent trip into the lodge to do repairs & maintenance, we are more excited than ever for getting the lodge back up & running in summer 2022. My wife Stephanie & I left our home in Pemberton & booked a ferry to Vancouver Island. The first stop was lodge owner (my Mother) Barbara’s house in Victoria for a long overdue visit. We left with some real treasures in the form of a couple of boxes of old photo albums from some of our 38 years of operation. Look for some of those flashback images coming soon!
We drove 300 miles NW from Victoria up Vancouver Island to Port Hardy. There we grocery shopped for the incoming work crew, stayed overnight, and first thing in the AM we boarded the amphibious Goose for the flight into our fishing lodge in Rivers Inlet. Our direct 90-minute seaplane flights to the fishing lodge from Vancouver when we are operating are preferable, but we always love flying in the Goose. Not just for the nostalgia but from an operations point of view it is safe, reliable, goes fast & carries lots of weight. This “flying boat” really is the work horse of the coast. Just being in a float plane flying into Rivers Inlet always makes my skin tingle. I have so many memories of almost 40 years of spectacular fishing and countless adventures at our BC salmon fishing lodge.
Because the severe winter storms make their way into our summer moorage in Sportsman’s Bay, we have to disassemble the fishing lodge each year and tow it 7 miles across the inlet, float by float, to more protected Sunshine Bay. This is a HUGE production that we will detail at another time. The work crew arrived at the fishing lodge the next day & it was “go time” to get the dining room roof off & the new one on. Luckily the weather was on our side and with clear skies and lots of enthusiasm we got it done! Despite the heavy workload, we did manage to get out fishing twice during the week when we were there with the work crew.
Unfortunately, one of the crew caught a big fish at the Head of Rivers Inlet a few years back so that was our first outing. You hear about the legendary fishing at the Head of Rivers Inlet, and on occasion it is good there. However, it is so hit or miss that it is not my “cup of tea”. I guess I burned myself out when I was a full-time fishing guide back in the day trying to catch the “big one”. I prefer the fishing that we are famous for at our fishing lodge. We are mostly self-guided, minutes to the fishing grounds in calm waters. The fishing is a mix of coho & Chinook salmon, and there are halibut and lingcod nearby. But the magic of Rivers Inlet is that there is always the expectation and anticipation of catching a giant Chinook salmon of a lifetime at any moment. The best part of our fishing lodge experience is that you don’t have to be out all day on the water (unless you want to). You come back in after the morning fishing for a hot lunch, take a break from the fishing action, reprovision, & then head back out on your schedule when you are ready as you don’t need a guide. We really are like a fishing country club. Most important is getting your fish cleaned & flash frozen right away so they don’t sit out in the boat all day. This produces a much higher quality product of fish for you to take home, firmer and fresher. The work crew we had in were determined to give salmon fishing at the Head of Rivers Inlet a try. It is a bait only fishery, so I tied up a board of my double secret herring leaders with 2 red 4/0 hooks and a single 1/0 stinger hook. We brined some herring and we set off at first light for the 1 hour run up the Inlet to the Head. It was the usual story, should have been here yesterday. We pounded the corner all day with diligent bait changing until we were dizzy with not a single bite. We saw a couple of nice Chinook salmon caught by the few boats that were there and that was it. We did the 1 hour run back empty handed but in good spirits from the boating adventure. The next morning it was my call, and we went to the world-famous Rivers Inlet “Wall” which is only 5 minutes from the fishing lodge in the summer. We thought about mooching with herring but after no bites at the Head the day before, we needed production. We got the secret weapon out, the downriggers. Not all lodges have them so that gives our guests a huge advantage to get down deeper to where the salmon are when the top-water bight is off. Our terminal tackle of choice was the tried and true Sportsman’s Club classic that is the “go to” set up for our guests. This is the green flasher and white hoochie or “burger & fries” as it is known as everyone loves it! The successful formula that I instill on our guests during our daily seminars is to follow the contour of the 100 ft edge at 3 knots with one line at 69 ft & the other at 99 ft. The minute we got our lines in the water at the Wall it was ON. After a couple of hours and many bites, we ended the morning with a few nice coho & a chrome bright, classic Rivers inlet 34 lb. Chinook salmon. It was like a dream come true! We got the job done and we got to bring a few fish home, so it was a successful mission to the fishing lodge. After a taste of amazing salmon fishing, we just can’t wait to get back there next spring. As there will be more repairs and maintenance due to not operating again in summer 2021. The rig-up crew will go in a few weeks early to do the extra things that need to be done. That way we will be ready to host our eager anglers to a fabulous fishing adventure in July and August 2022. Make your fishing dreams come true and book your summer 2022 fishing vacation with us today. If you are used to booking your summer BC salmon fishing vacation in the spring, post pandemic will not be the same. So many of our customers missed out on fishing again this past summer that they are booking now and we are already full on many of our trips. We will likely be sold out well in advance of the season. Don’t delay and book your trip today. We look forward hearing from you soon to book your fishing adventure of a lifetime.
Your Hosts, Simon & Stephanie