Fishing Outlook 2015

Already Early Signs Of A Good Season Ahead

We are excited to have long-time Guest Guide Scott "the Rookie" Susin (right) back for a few weeks this summer. He seems to have the "knack" of always catching one of the biggest chinook (king) salmon,
like this chrome bright 48 lbs. beauty!

At this time of year, we are often asked, “what is the fishing going to be like this season”? Although predicting salmon runs is anything but an exact science, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans  (DFO) are optimistic in their stock assessments & expect salmon runs to be “near target” or ‘abundant”. This is fabulous news for anglers heading up soon to fish with us at the Sportsman’s Club.

Already, there have been signs of a good salmon fishing season ahead with positive reports from early springtime fishing in the southern BC waters. Lots of stories of multiple fish caught in repeated outings. Some old-timers say that the early season fishing has been the best they have seen in 30 plus years! Other good indicators of strong returns are the positive reports we have been getting from guides who operate independently on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Although these runs in the spring are predominantly fish bound for US fish hatcheries, it is still a “bell weather” of the strength of the overall salmon population in the Pacific NW.   

Measures to conserve the NW Pacific salmon runs which have been initiated over the past 30 seem to be having a very positive effect. These include conservation measures (like reduction in commercial fishing), habitat preservation (de-activation of logging roads and better logging practices), and an overall “respect” for the ocean in terms of what we are putting into it! It wasn’t so many years ago that the ocean was viewed as a limitless dumping ground for all of our waste. We have come a long way in cleaning up our oceans and the re-bound of salmon stocks is a perfect example of the success that these efforts are having. We are looking forward to preserving this valuable salmon resource for the enjoyment of many future generations of anglers.

We will have a full report “live” from the lodge when we get our first chance to wet a line … stay tuned!


Looking Ahead

By Barbara Kelly / Owner  

It appears that some of our guests are really looking ahead & are already booking their fishing trips with us for 2016. However, there are still a few weeks to go before the start of the 2015 season, so, if you have not already done so, don’t miss out on this year’s fishing trip with us & book your trip today.
Call Cathy or Simon at 1 (800) 663 2644 to check on dates available.

As most of you know, to help ensure that the fish will be running, we open only during peak fishing time at Rivers Inlet when we expect our guests to have the opportunity to catch their salmon quota.  Last week I attended our annual BC central coast lodge association meeting. It is a unique group of lodge owners & suppliers that for over 30 years have spent millions of dollars of our own money to support salmon enhancement in our area. There was great excitement about the projected good returns of salmon to Rivers Inlet & other Pacific coastal river systems.  Many of you know that the Canadian Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) reports that Rivers Inlet is a place where more salmon pass through than any other area on the British Columbia (BC) coast.  Also, the salmon that return each summer to spawn in the waters of Rivers Inlet are from a unique gene pool of fish that are bigger and fatter than those found in any other rivers systems. As a result, each season the largest trophy fish Chinook (king) and coho (silver) salmon caught anywhere on the entire coast is plucked from our waters!
One of the greatest advantages of our floating lodge is that we are right on the fishing grounds. Over the years, guests have found their favorite places to fish for salmon close to the lodge. Kevin’s Corner is one such place (named after one of our former guides), literally a 2 minute boat ride from our docks. It’s not uncommon for some guests to have some very productive tides mooching around the islands there and never fish anywhere else. One of our former chefs, Don, used to take the row-boat over there after a day’s shift & on occasion come back with a 20-30 pounder. We allow our guests to fish after dinner until dusk and there is often a good evening “bite”, especially for the big Chinook. At the very least, you get to be out on the water to experience yet another breathtaking Rivers Inlet sunset which is soothing to the soul after a long day fishing!

Long-time guests Ken & Kerry Veach always win the "variety of species" award. What are you doing that is special for your Dad this Father’s Day?

Guest Testimonial

"I go on fishing trips all over the world each year but I always make sure I get to The Sportsman’s Club in Rivers Inlet. It’s not only the place I love, but the people that run the lodge. The energy, professionalism and high standard the Kelly family exhibit is truly amazing. No matter if I’m up with a group of clients and friends, or if I’m

visiting with my wife and family, I know we will be treated like royalty."
R.B. – Las Vegas, NV

Recipe – Using Up The Salmon In Your Freezer

I was looking in my freezer last night at the few pieces of fish that I have left from fishing at the lodge last summer. I must say the despite our best efforts to produce a quality product using our new expensive vacuum packer, they were not looking as fresh as the day we caught them. Realistically, to enjoy your salmon to maximum freshness, it should be consumed within 6 months of harvest. That is why we ask you at the lodge what you have planned for your prized catch? We recommend that you take home only what you can eat (or give away) within 6 months and send the rest to St. Jean’s Smoke House & Cannery for them to process and then ship to you. If you do have some “tired” looking salmon filets in the freezer, here is your best recipe. We tried it last night and it was delicious!


– 2 lemons – (1 juiced/1 sliced)
– 2 TBSP Oil
– Salt & Pepper (to taste)
– 1 TBPS Brown Sugar
– ½ CUP Soya Sauce
– 1 TBSP Ginger (chopped)
– 4 TBSP Orange Juice
– Tin foil

– Rinse fish with water and dry
– Trim away any parts that are freezer burned and any bones, belly fat and fins.
– Skin the fish (as the oils in the skin are the first thing to go)
– Chop into serving sized pieces

– Combine all ingredients and set half aside (including ½ lemons slices)
– Add marinade to salmon and stir and let stand 20-30 minutes
– Top with sliced lemon pieces (to absorb oil from skin)
– Heat and reduce other half of marinade (with ½ the lemons slices) and let sit and then discard.

– BBQ – lay out filets on a piece of tin foil (with rolled up edges) and top with lemon slices. Cook for 10 minutes/inch on high heat until it appears half cooked and still pink in the middle. Let sit to finish cooking. DO NOT OVER COOK! You can always put it back on the BBQ. Salmon does half its cooking as it cools before serving.
– Pan Fry – Add salmon chunks to well oiled frying pan and cook same as above.
– Serve with HOT reduced marinade as a sauce. Add a TBSP of butter and a dash of white wine to sauce when re-heating for added flavour and richness.


Setting Up The Lodge

Guests often ask what is actually involved with setting-up the lodge for the fishing season. Well, it is quite a production to say the least. If all goes well, it takes over 2 weeks of long hard days with a crew of 7 for 10 days and the entire crew of 15 for the last push to be ready for opening day. If we were a land-based operation, or permanently moored in a location (where we were protected from the fierce winter storms), rig-up would be far less involved (and less expensive). However, it is all worth it as our summer moorage is the closest of any lodge to the fishing grounds. We have world-class trophy fishing spots only minutes away. Less boating time means more fishing time and the convenience of coming back to the lodge at anytime for a break, or to re-provision your boat and have hot meal.
The first obstacle to operating in a remote location like Rivers Inlet is that there is no road access. The only way to get people, supplies and fuel in is by boat/barge or plane. We begin the process in the spring by coordinating all our shipments on the barge. Leaving town only 2 times/month the barge is the only way to get heavy & bulky items in. This year with all the projects we have going on we have more freight than ever! Our first shipments going into the lodge next week include: 3 refitted Stinger 17 ft. fleet boats, 2 new 40 HP motors, various parts & filters, 500 lbs. of sand (for our fresh water system), 500 lbs. of salt (for the bait), bottles of drinking water, wood for construction projects, a new, larger walk-in freezer, tackle & lead (all those downrigger balls that you guys lose … lol), propane tanks, paint and the coolest new purchase … a shiny new ($5,000) stainless steel cleaning table!
The lodge is stored in protected Sunshine Bay about 7 miles across Rivers Inlet from Sportsman’s Bay. The towing of the buildings takes about 4 hours/tow with two buildings/tow. It can take a few days to get all the pieces that make up the lodge across Rivers Inlet, even when the weather cooperates. We can’t tow if there is too much wind and swell as it would damage the buildings. Our fleet of Stinger boats are stored out of the water on a dock in Sunshine Bay and have to be individually launched and towed across to Sportsman’s Bay. The motors are all stored in our boat-house and, once we are all in place with power and water, they are installed on the boats in Sportsman’s Bay by Alex our certified Yamaha mechanic from Port Boat House. The growing fleet of Whaler guide boats (now 6 boats) spend the winter in storage on Vancouver Island and they will be launched for us by Port Boat House, and ready to go into the ocean in Port Hardy later this month. This 4 hour run into Rivers Inlet is one of the highlights of the summer for the crew. Hopefully the weather will be favourable so that we can make the crossing over open waters quickly & easily. On arrival in Rivers Inlet, we will see that most of the lodge buildings are already sitting in place in Sportsman’s Bay. Then begins the arduous job of tightening all the floats together, hooking up all the power and water systems, putting together the kitchens, accommodations and of course getting the boats ready to fish well before the arrival of our first guests. This year, our rig-up crew is bigger than ever as we have extra projects like installing the walk-in freezer, painting the entire lodge, and we have a brand new 4G Satellite Internet System to keep guests connected. However, for a real old-time & off-the-grid getaway, we recommend that you don’t use the Internet much during your stay or even tell anyone that we have it. You will enjoy your remote wilderness fishing adventure with us that much more!

That "magic" moment of arrival at the lodge amidst the hustle & bustle of changeover day after your direct 2 hour flight from Vancouver on a modern Seair Cessna Caravan.