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Rivers Inlet Sportsmans Club

All the heavy/bulky freight arrives by barge & of course the fuel. Watching these skilled captains navigate their way into a small shallow bay like ours is amazing.

We are looking forward to another great fishing season. It’s time to get out of the office & on the water to start fishing! Summer 2018 will be the 35th since the Kelly Family established the Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club in 1984. The crew is very busy at this time of year as we fill up the last few remaining spots on our 2018 season’s calendar. If you have not booked your trip yet, please contact us today & we will fit you in.

Another big job has been the race to get the last of the construction materials & bulky/heavy items on the barges to Rivers Inlet. Items such as plywood, lumber, floor coverings, lead cannonballs, salt & sand (for the water purification system) that can’t come in on the floatplanes. There are so many moving parts at the lodge that we have to get all our files/notes/heads together & make endless lists so that we don’t forget anything. Running a floating village with 40 guests & 20 staff “off the grid” in the middle of the wilderness with our own power plants, water & sewer systems is complicated to say the least! We want to make sure everything is running perfectly for the arrival of our first quests in July. Our chief of operations John S. has already been in Rivers Inlet for over a month now working on the usual repairs to the floats & buildings & some new upgrades. The biggest & most noticeable project this year is a brand new replacement floatplane dock to greet you on your arrival. John built this float on the water near his home in Sointula on Northern Vancouver Island & then towed it into Rivers Inlet a few weeks ago where he & his crew will deck it. Other projects of note are upgrades to the bathhouse & raingear/dry room & re-flooring of many high traffic areas. There are lots of behind the scenes projects as well like multiple new safer enviro-tanks for various fuels & some upgrades to our water treatment plant & improvements to Simon & Stephanie’s house.

We are doing the final scheduling of the “rig-up” crew who come into the lodge 2 weeks before we open for our guests. They work with John to get the lodge towed from our winter moorage & positioned in our summer location in “Sportsman’s Bay”. The crew includes my wife Stephanie & I, our dock hosts & one of our chefs. First is a 5 mile journey where the buildings are towed in pairs by John’s tug boat the Robert G II. This is slow going at about 3 knots so the trip takes 5 hours. The journey across the inlet can be delayed by weather as at one point we are exposed to the open ocean ground swell. If the swell is more than 2 metres (6 feet) we have to postpone until the seas subside as the building would be damaged in conditions like that. Once they successfully make the crossing we get the buildings in their proper positions, secured to the pilings & shoreline & then hook up all the basics like power lines & water & sewer lines & of course internet satellite communications. Once we are up & running, the trades come in which include the painters, carpenters, electrical contractor, plumbers, the fridge/freezer/gas guy, & of course our Yamaha outboard mechanic who makes sure that all our boats & motors are working perfectly for the summer. The rest of our employees, guides, housekeepers, 2nd chef, maintenance & customer service personnel will arrive a few days before the season starts to put the finishing touches on everything & to make sure we are ready to show our guests the fishing adventure of a lifetime from the moment they arrive. 

We are almost sold-out of available trips & guiding for this season, but there are still some select dates available, so if you haven’t booked your 2018 fishing trip please call us: 1-800-663 2644/250-923-2689 or email: A common question is “when is the best time”? We only operate during the peak of the salmon runs in our area in July & August, so the “best time” to fish Rivers Inlet is anytime we are open. If you are already booked with us make sure that you have your flights & hotels confirmed & that you know when & where you need to be. If you are making your trip to the Sportsman’s Club part of a greater BC experience, contact us to get information about what to do in Vancouver, Victoria &/or Whistler. We hope to see you soon at the Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club.
Tight Lines, Simon.

Fishing Report – May 2018

Rivers Inlet Sportsmans Club

Surprise your Dad this Father’s Day with a fishing trip. Spend quality time together creating lasting memories.
It is finally spring here in BC & as we went straight from winter to summertime temperatures, as predicted, there has been some flooding in a few areas. The good news is that most watersheds seem to have managed the “big thaw” & river levels are high but OK for the return of first early season Spring (King/Chinook) salmon.

Every spring the first salmon return to the river of their birth to spawn, die & continue their lifecycle. We are not exactly sure where the salmon go in the winter but we have a rough idea based on studies that have involved tracking salmon migration. Chum, sockeye & Chinook salmon from BC travel the farthest, sometimes thousands of miles out into open ocean. They migrate from their home rivers north-westward into the Northwest Pacific, Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea & the Aleutian Islands. Pink & coho salmon head out in the open ocean but don’t travel as far as the other 3 species. In the spring the first returning schools of salmon hit Alaska & Northern BC coastline first. We have been getting reports from these northern fishing grounds over the last few weeks & as fisheries biologists predicted, there are incredible amounts of fish being encountered. In some areas it is the best salmon run they have seen in over 30 years! This is exciting news for us at the Sportsman’s Club as we are perfectly situated at the mouth of Rivers Inlet on the “salmon highway”. We are able to take advantage of salmon returning to almost every river system south of us. This unique mix of migrating salmon that funnel through our area each summer is evidenced by the variety of hatchery heads that are encountered in our catch. This means literally thousands of salmon returning to hundreds of rivers. There is still time to be part of the historic “run of the century” so contact us today & book your fishing adventure of a lifetime!

Looking For The Perfect Father’s Day or Graduation Present?

It has been a few years since Rick D brought his son up & caught this 50 lb trophy Chinook/King salmon.
He proudly hangs this picture hangs on his office wall.

Are you looking for that special & unique present for your Dad or to reward that hard working student who is about to graduate? Look no further than a trip with us. In our fast paced world we offer a unique opportunity to really get away from it all. Relax & enjoy uninterrupted quality time with family amidst the pristine wilderness of the rugged & remote BC coast. OK, so you will be interrupted by the fishing action but the challenge of chasing those wylie salmon & halibut is part of the bonding experience. Also, we are beyond the reach of the road so that eliminates the crowd & adds to the experience. Every time we get gridlocked on a freeway in our travels we are reminded of what a special piece of paradise we have at the Sportsman’s Club in Rivers Inlet where there is virtually nobody around. We are also out of cell phone range, which believe it or not, makes a huge difference to everyone’s experience. After a few attempts to connect “No Service” becomes a reality & your phone is relegated to picture taking only! We have satellite Internet back at the lodge. However, to have a real getaway we recommend that you avoid using it unless it is an emergency. We offer intimacy, isolation, exceptional service, first-class equipment, spectacular scenery, whale watching & wildlife viewing & world-class salmon & halibut fishing in a remote wilderness setting. And we offer the most valuable thing of all, precious time with those who are the closest to you & create memories that will last a lifetime!

Springtime Pan-Fried Salmon Recipe


If you do the math, even if you left with your box of fish after our last trip of the summer in late August 2017, your fish has now been in your freezer for well over 8 months. It is typically recommended that to maximize the freshness of frozen fish, it should be eaten in the first 3-6 months. Having said that, we still have a few pieces of salmon left in our freezer here at home. We ate some the other night using this tried & true preparation/technique & it was fresh & delicious. Although we do a diligent job at the lodge of expertly fileting, vacuum packing & freezing your precious, at this point in time some of the bags may be damaged. Most of our fish packages are still well sealed, but when digging through your freezer, look for any vacuum-sealed bags that might have the seal broken or any pieces of fish that show signs of frosting on the inside of the bag or the slight yellowish tinge indicating freezer burn.
-Thaw the fish & then skin it. This is very important as the salmon skin is one the oiliest parts of the fish & the oil is what is most likely to go rancid first & thus possibly give the flesh a “fishy” taint. Removing the skin before marinating & cooking will help avoid this.
-Then trim the edges of the flesh of any freezer burned/discolored parts as well as the belly bones. Don’t be afraid to take it back a bit to where you see the original fresh red of the flesh. You might even have to trim a thin layer back from the flat surface of the filet to get back to the red colour. Doing this is easiest when the salmon is already cut into small portions so do this as you trim.
-The second most important part of this technique to “freshen” up your salmon from last summer is lemon juice marinating. Almost like the technique used for my favorite Mexican dish crevice, you soak & turn the fish for up to 30 minutes in fresh squeezed lemon juice or until you can see it start to turn white as it “cooks” from the citric acid. Then use any of your favorite recipes, sauces, preparations or marinates. Or just use our simple recipe of a drizzle of olive/avocado oil with salt & pepper to taste.
-The final & MOST important part is the cooking. Without the skin on the salmon it is difficult to BBQ so pan-frying is best or the fish will fall apart & it also helps to keep the moisture in.
-Take a heavy cast iron pan (if you have it) & use 3 tablespoons of high heat cooking oil (not olive/avocado, use vegetable/canola etc.) & 1 tablespoon of butter. Get the pan super hot & then braise the chunks of salmon for 1-2 minutes then flip for 1-2 more minutes then remove. There should be a lot of smoke & sizzling & a brown crust will develop.
-Be disciplined with the 1 + minute/side rule, slight longer for thicker pieces but not much. Use your phone to time yourself precisely then immediately remove from the pan & let rest covered under tinfoil on a separate serving plate for 5 minutes to finish cooking as it cools. You can always put it back in the pan if it is not done enough, but you can’t un-cook salmon jerky!
-Enjoy your last few pieces of salmon as though they were fresh caught using this “secret” technique. More importantly clean out your freezer & make some plans today to return to fish with us this summer to fill your freezer back up for next winter! Bon Appetit!

Guest Testimonial

Father/Son Trip – Whales, Wine, Wonderful Fishing!
 I have tagged along with my Dad & his business buddies on two trips to Rivers Inlet over the past 12 years or so. Once in the early 2000s, & again in 2014. My return to the lodge was full of remarkable recollections. Having traveled to a lot of beautiful regions of BC, the US Pacific Northwest & the prairies for work as an outdoor writer, there are times when I feel I’ve seen it all. But no other location compares to Rivers Inlet. The great fishing is only a part of it, the thrill of reeling in a catch is unlike any other experience. But experiencing the wildlife, seals, otters, eagles, orcas & grey whales is really humbling, & in the setting, at all times of day & all sorts of weather, makes the experience genuinely awesome. And I’m not even a fisherman. But I guess I am now!
On top of it all, they have terrific food, wonderful staff & cozy rooms & beds. Dad & I talk of the Rivers Inlet trips often, & trite as it might sound, the memories are ones we’ll share for the rest of our lives.

Barbara’s Blog

Last season, in 2017, we were pleased to welcome a guest to the Sportsman’s Club who had held on to our brochure for 20 years before finally booking his trip!

Others haven’t waited so long & booked just by hearing good things about our fishing lodge. This year, as I prepare to celebrate my 35th season, I have so many happy memories to reflect upon. I’m not the only one, however, to think how fortunate I’ve been to spend time in Rivers Inlet – such a magical place for families, friends & colleagues to connect. Where else in our busy, fast moving world do we get the chance to just while away the time in a boat or sit & look out in awe at the wilderness in a place that stays the same year after year. Here, parents & grandparents, finally get the chance to actually talk to one another…

Today, I’ve been reflecting on the many young folks who have worked at the lodge, some for many years like Heidi, Colm, Jasmine & PJ, others for much shorter times, but for all, it has been a life changing experience. I have so many cards, letters & more recently emails from our many employees recalling their experiences working at the fishing lodge. Below, I’ll share one that means so much to me in its heartfelt honesty…verbatim:  

“Hey Barb: I’m only 18 & think I know everything about life, but I know some things for sure, based on my lengthy life experiences, you are the most caring, compassionate, generous, & tough employer I’ve ever had. I respect that you put so much effort into ensuring our comfort in all aspects of this sometimes trying environment. I respect the fact that you lead by example, & take the time to share your advice with us. I respect the fact that you always have a smile on your face, regardless of your mood or physical hindrances. Most of all, I respect the fact that you respect us, & I appreciate your trust & faith in all of us. This time at the Sportsman’s Club is THE BEST thing that ever happened to me.”

This summer at the lodge Simon, Stephanie & I are looking forward to catching up with our past employees & guests & meeting our many new guests. Cathy Drew will be in the office in town all summer & should be readily available to help out with anything that you need. Contact Cathy at 1-800-663-2644/250-923-2689 or
Thanks, Barbara Kelly – Lodge Owner

Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF)

Stephanie & Simon present a $10,000 donation cheque from our Association of lodges, The Rivers Inlet North Coast Enhancement Association (RINCSEA) to PSF directors Anson Frost & John Woodward.

Simon & Stephanie recently attended the PSF Annual Vancouver Gala, Dinner & Auction. The Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club (RISC) has been a strong supporter of the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) for many years & in the past has donated trips to our fishing lodge to be auctioned at this fundraiser. For the second year in a row RISC, in partnership with our association of fishing lodges (RINCSEA), donated $10,000 to the PSF to be earmarked for our private hatchery in Rivers Inlet. 

The Pacific Salmon Foundation was founded in 1987 with grants from our Federal & Provincial government as well as generous contributions from the private sector. The goal was to have an independent foundation to represent our interests in Ottawa (Canada’s capital) which would coordinate the work of the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) at the local/regional level.

The board of directors consists of leaders from education, law, forestry, mining, recreational & commercial fishing & First Nations.

The PSF Vision: Healthy, sustainable & naturally diverse populations of Pacific salmon for the benefit of Canadians for generations to come. Effective stewardship of natural resources in B.C. & the Yukon to involve communities in decisions affecting Pacific salmon.
The PSF Mission: To provide thoughtful leadership in the conservation, restoration, & enhancement of Pacific salmon & their ecosystems. To bring salmon back, stream by stream through strategic partnerships & leveraged use of resources.

If you would to contribute to salmon enhancement in Rivers Inlet you can donate to the PSF and ask that the funds be earmarked for the Rivers Inlet hatchery.