Early Season Fishing

WOW 10 years has passed quickly! Simon’s Daughter Shayna (at 9 yrs.) is all smiles after solo landing this 36 lb. trophy Chinook/King salmon, guided by Barbara (Gran) and Poppa (Bill). Great family memories that last a lifetime are made at the Sportsman’s Club.

This is our last week in the office here in town before we head up to the lodge with the rig-up crew. First we fly to Port Hardy & spend a day prepping & provisioning our 6 bigger guide boats. We then run them into the lodge in the calm water at first light. This 5 hour adventure in open ocean conditions takes us through some of the most breathtaking scenery on the BC coast & is definitely a highlight. We then spend a few days towing the lodge into place in our summer moorage in protected Sportsman’s Bay. We can’t wait to get out on the water & do some boating & of course go fishing! Early reports so far are that the fishing is red hot for big trophy Chinook/King salmon in many locals. The reason is that the biggest of the salmon, the mighty Chinook, are the first salmon species to start returning to the many rivers systems along the B.C. coast in the early Spring each year. Hence their nickname “Spring” salmon. Over the years, we have had some amazing early season fishing, from longtime guest Doug “Pops” Bowell’s 54 pounder in June 1984, our first season, to Simon’s daughter Shayna’s 36 pounder that she caught by herself when she was just 9 years old!  There is nothing like the excitement of those first fishing outings when we get to the lodge each June. Having not fished much since we left the lodge the previous September, everything is “fresh” & new. The senses are on high alert & the sights, sounds, colours & textures are all heightened. In this exaggerated state of awareness, the first tap of a bite on the rod tip & the subsequent screaming of the line out of the reel has us literally jumping out of our skin. Added to this is the anticipation & expectation that on one of these fishing excursions there is typically a giant trophy Chinook salmon caught that tips the scales at over 30 lbs. TYEE! No doubt many of our guests booked in for a fishing trip this year are looking forward to the excitement of hearing that first salmon screaming out on their line.  Right now, all of fishing gear is being delivered to the lodge. Our reels have been serviced & re-spooled with Maxima Ultragreen which is the highest quality, most expensive monofilament on the market. These fresh spools of 1000 feet of fishing line on our single action “knuckle buster” reels give anglers the best chance of successfully boating your ‘big one’.

However, there is some skill & technique as well. When a fish is on the line & running hard, the other angler has to get his gear onboard & out of the way. He then takes the helm & maneuvers the boat for his fishing partner so that they can follow the fish & not let it get too far away from the boat or get fouled. There is also some “coaching” involved as often the angler fighting the fish can get “over excited” & forget some of the fishing basics. The skipper of this boat can often be heard off in the distance in mid-battle yelling these classic words, “let it run, let it run” & “keep your eye on the rod & your tip up”. These giant trophy Chinook salmon caught near our lodge at the ocean end of Rivers Inlet are particularly feisty. They are still 35 miles from their birth rivers & as a result they are chrome- bright, hard-fighting. Putting too much pressure on the fish & keeping the line too tight typically ends in tragedy! If you try & “turn” them you will likely pull the hooks out of their mouth, break the line or both. That is why we give you a 1000 ft. of line on your reel as you will likely need it when fighting these giant Rivers Inlet trophy salmon for hours! If you are still considering a trip this summer we have a few spots available. 

Please contact us at 800-663-2644. Email: info@riversinlet.com.
We would be delighted to show you the fishing adventure of a lifetime!
Sincerely, Simon, Stephanie, Barbara & Cathy.

Rivers Inlet Sportsmans Club

Living proof that there is a "fish god" & that there is as much luck as skill in catching a trophy salmon.
Here Simon (Circa 1989) successfully hoists & 59 1/2 lb. monster over the gunwale.


Self Guided Fishing

One of the most unique parts of a trip to our lodge is that fishing with a guide is not essential to successfully catching fish in Rivers Inlet. Our basic fishing package is self-guided & that is part of the “magic” of our experience. Guests can do it on their own & typically catch lots of fish. This is due to our unique combination of first-class fishing equipment, tackle & electronics, proximity to the salmon fishing grounds, in-depth daily training seminars & continuous “coaching” & mentoring & finally the calm waters & abundant fish stocks. We pride ourselves in taking people with very limited boating & fishing experience & turning them into trainee “guides”. The coolest part is when our regular customers who return year after year bring their guests to fish with us & use their experience to show them the “ropes” of fishing in Rivers Inlet to great success. Here is how it actually plays out. After your spectacular flight to the lodge you land right on the water at our floating lodge & are greeted by our staff. After check-in, registration & lunch you immediately take part in a mandatory intensive 1 hour fishing, boating, safety & conservation seminar. You will actually be “checked-out” on the equipment & gear before you head out in your assigned boat to the fishing grounds. Of particular importance is the basic operation of the rod & reel, running the boat, operating the downrigger, understanding the sounder/GPS & radio as well as knowledge of fish identification & limits. We will even spend extra time with each individual guest making sure that you are an “expert” at tying that “oh so crucial” fisherman’s knot. You don’t want to be “that guy” when Head Dock-Host Simon walks down the pier to do that final boat & gear inspection before your departure & your “perfect” knots are easily broken with limited effort when tested. However, it is better that you hear that “snap” of the breaking line on the dock than in the middle of fighting the 50 lb. trophy fish of a lifetime!

What happens out on the water with you & your fishing partner is the epitome of teamwork. When you get a fish on the line the instant flurry of required activity is a bit like a “fire drill”. Most important is that the angler concentrates on the fish he is fighting & the other person does everything else. First is to get the boat under control & identify to other nearby boats that you have a fish on so that they don’t come too close & foul your gear. You can make lots of mistakes & learn bad habits with smaller fish but if it is a BIG one you had better be prepared for the ensuing mayhem. Besides other boats your next biggest danger is your own boat & motor. The next hazard is the rocks & kelp beds as really big smart salmon often head straight for this structure along the shoreline to hide. The only way to combat this behavior is by heading into the “beach” before they get there & cutting them off & leading them back offshore to the safety of open water. Battles with these giant trophy salmon can often last for hours & can lead you very far out into open ocean as you chase them down & attempt to tire them out. Then comes the really skilled part of the netting. Often anglers will attempt to net a fish that is not completely tired & is still “green”. Unfortunately many fish are lost right next to the boat as the fish suddenly gets a 2nd (or 10th) wind & takes another big run & catches the anglers off guard. Often the angler panics as he sees the fish doing another unexpected run, clamps down on the reel & stops the line running out & then there is that SNAP of the line that is heard around the world! You will re-live this tragic moment forever & actually remember “the one that got away” more than the many fish that you have successfully caught. This has spawned unusual terms like my “Ex-Father”! Netting can only be attempted when the fish is completely exhausted on the surface & turns on its side. You only get one chance at it so you need to get the fish perfectly positioned with the angler leading the fish on its side head first right along the side of the boat. You NEVER leave the net in the water & try & herd or corral the fish in to it. If you have the net dangling in the water & your fish makes a sudden move or turns away the hooks will get caught in the mesh of the net & in an instant will break the line & be gone. Instead you make a precise maneuver with the bag of the net held taut with your fingers, & scoop the fish head first into the net, release the bag & then you pull the net straight up & then back to close it. You have it “bagged” at this point but there is still that final move to hoist it over the gunwale & “land” it on the floor of the boat. If you have been diligent with your technique & kept your eyes on your rod tip only, this is your first really good look at your catch. As you see, hear, feel & smell your success at your feet it is hoots & hollers & high 5s all around at this magic moment!

Guest Testimonial

Rivers Inlet Sportsmans Club

With or without a guide you will have the opportunity to catch the "fish of a lifetime" at the Sportsman’s Club.

  This was my first experience salmon fishing & at Rivers Inlet. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how much fun the adventure would be. From the spectacular seaplane flight to the minute I set foot on the amazing floating lodge, all the experiences we had there & even the voyage back home, the experience was unimaginable! If someone asks me to think of my happy place, the time spent in British Columbia is it. The entire event is truly unbelievable, & the fishing isn’t bad either. Having traveled the world, I can honestly say that the friendly atmosphere, quality & service at Rivers Inlet is second to none. Breathtaking scenery, wildlife, incredible food; it just doesn’t get any better.

Spiced Salmon Kebabs Recipe

•2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
•2 teaspoons sesame seeds
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•1 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
•1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillet (preferably wild), cut into 1" pieces
•2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•Special equipment: 16 bamboo skewers soaked in water 1 hour

•Prepare grill for medium heat. Mix oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl to combine; set spice mixture aside.
•Beginning and ending with salmon, thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 kebabs total. Brush with oil and season with reserved spice mixture.
•Grill, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, 5-8 minutes.