Hatchery History & Report
We have had a long history of salmon enhancement in Rivers Inlet. Over 35 years ago we decided that we needed to take things into our own hands & enhance the salmon runs in our area using our own initiative. We formed an association of lodges on the central B.C. coast with the sole purpose of using our own resources to start a private hatchery program. The Rivers Inlet North Coast Salmon Enhancement Association (RINCSEA) was formed. We worked in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) & First Nations to enhance the Chinook/King stocks in our watershed. This was a complicated endeavor, off the grid in the middle of the wilderness, but as a “team” we were up for the challenge. Once we had all the equipment & crew in place, the first stage in the process involved the actual collection of the eggs & milk by fishing for the brood stock of salmon in the rivers. Our primary enhancement focus at the time was the early-season June/July Chinook run. These fish show up in the rivers at the head of Rivers Inlet in August so we would send a team up then to fish the banks of the river to catch these broodstock fish. We would then hold them in perforated tubes in the river to keep them alive for a week or so. When we had the right number of “ripe” males & females we would extract the female eggs & mix them with the male milk & start the fertilization process. We would simply do this in a 5-gallon bucket as we tried to emulate a male clouding a females egg nest (a “redd”) in the gravel of the riverbed. This mix would then be incubated in our local hatchery facility. Through the fall & winter the embryos develop. In the spring the eggs hatch & the alevins emerge. We would then keep our fry in tanks for up to another year & then release them into the river. Here the conditions of their natal stream (scent, chemical cues & angle of sunlight) would be imprinted on the fish so that one-day they will return to spawn. Eventually environmental cues cause the fry to begin their migration downstream towards the ocean. At this time they become smolts, scales grow & they turn silver. Due to a variety of circumstances the hatchery in Rivers Inlet closed in the mid-90’s. With no proper hatchery facility we had to then shift our program north to an existing facility, the Snootli Hatchery near Bella Coola. After 2 years when the fry were ready for release we would fly them back to Rivers Inlet via seaplane in tanks for release. Chinook salmon spend 4-8 years in the ocean before journeying back to their birth river to spawn & continue their lifecycle. These giant trophy Chinook salmon that define Rivers Inlet as a world class fishing destination tend to live for 5-7 years. This is part of the reason why they grow so BIG! After 30 + years of enhancing these runs & some great success (& a few trials & tribulations) & even an attempt at enhancing the wiley coho salmon, the RINCSEA group throttled back our efforts. Fast-forward to today, a new regime was formed between the DFO, RINCSEA & other local fishing lodges as well as First Nations. The ultimate goal was to get a new hatchery facility built in Rivers Inlet. This happened in 2016 with the completion of the $1 million dollar Percy Walkus Hatchery. This year the hatchery is on track to release 300,000 smolts. The goal is to get up to the 500,000/year that RINCSEA released back in the day. At our recent RINCSEA meeting our board approved another annual donation to the Rivers Inlet hatchery program. We are excited to be part of this endeavor & look forward to sustaining salmon stocks for future generations to enjoy. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause please contact us.
The Evolution of a Fisherman – The 4 Stages of Fishing
There are 4 milestones that all anglers pass in their fishing life. And not everyone makes it to the 4th & final stage but you will recognize the wisdom of the anglers who have.
Stage 1 – Catch a fish – Any fish will do. Large or small, fresh or salt water. In a creek, river, lake, pond, swamp, surf, inlet or open ocean … it doesn’t matter. Pretty much everyone remembers the first fish they caught. The rush of the bite, the thrill of the fight. It has an indelible impact on a person’s memory. It typically creates a thirst for the pursuit of more & for some it even becomes an addiction.
Stage 2 – Catch lots of fish – You get to the point where you chose a type of fish & fishing that suits your interest & locale. Then you want to catch as many of these fish as you can. It is kind a combination of that innate hunter/gatherer, pursuit of abundance/greed, self-actualization & affirmation of your blossoming fishing skills.
Stage 3 – Catch the biggest fish – You then put yourself to the ultimate “test” of trying to catch the “big one”. Think Hemmingway/Old Man & the Sea! What you soon realize is that this may be an unachievable goal. Catching that trophy “lunker” may never actually happen because of that huge luck factor that is the “magic” of fishing. Despite all of your planning, expertise & best of intensions, this fabled day may never ever actually come. Your time spent in this 3rd stage will be helpful in reaching the 4th & final stage, but not always in all anglers. Some get stuck here to their detriment never to get to that “Zen of Fishing” state of really caring nothing about the fishing.
Stage 4 – Really don’t care – You are just happy to be out fishing & enjoy all the things that are part of the “experience”. You prepare yourself by expertly selecting & maintaining the correct bait/lure & tackle & knowing the technique & location. Then you “let it all go” to the fish gods & just hope (& pray) for the best. This allows you to truly relax & enjoy the fishing regardless of the “catching”. This is a “zen” state where the fish really is just a bonus & you are immersed & intoxicated by just being out in nature with good friends creating lasting memories, being present, fully engaged & in the moment. You will recognize an angler in the 4th stage by their infectious lack of investment in really giving a damn about any of it. They are just happy to be out fishing!
I have had many great experiences fishing at the Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club & love all of it, especially THE FOOD!
Last year (2018) I was with Raj & we took the 5 min boat ride to Kevin’s Corner, we both had the downriggers in the water for only a few minutes & all of a sudden Raj yells out “I got one” & immediately grabbed his rod & started reeling. If you know Raj, you know he can be very loud & excited lol. So the boat get’s turned around a bit & Raj can see his fish, I would say it was maybe 9 to 11 pounds. I attempted to steer the boat back into position so I could take my rod out of the water the tip of my rod proceeded to go down as we both thought that we were tangled. Raj is screaming, we are tangled & I am concerned that I will loose my fish. I was like “my brother, I think I have a fish on as well” & his eyes just opened up like a mad man! As I turned to maneuver my rod, all I heard was a bopping sound & Raj, without any assistance already had his fish in the boat & there’s blood everywhere. Now he was ready to help me bring my fish into the boat lol. My fish was bigger lol. I had the green hoochie which Raj calls the Mexican hoochie & he used the white hoochie which he calls the gold or the blond hoochie lol. We both had caught COHO’s on a double header. It was the best trip ever & we can’t wait to come back this summer! Craig T, Calgary AB
Lemon Garlic Herb Salmon is a deliciously easy salmon recipe, so simple to make, yet so delicious! Crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside!
– 28 ounces (800 g) skinless salmon filets
– Salt and pepper , to season
– 3 tablespoons lemon juice , divided
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 8 cloves garlic , finely chopped or minced
– 4 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley, divided
– Lemon slices of half a lemon
– Pat dry room temperature salmon filets with paper towel. Season all over with salt, pepper. Squeeze 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice over each filet, and rub all the flavour in.
– Heat the olive in a large non-stick pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Place salmon filets flesh side down, pressing them lightly so the entire surface of the flesh comes into contact with the pan. Sear, undisturbed, for 3-4 minutes until crispy and golden.
– Flip and sear the other side of each filet for TWO minutes. Add in the butter, chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons of parsley, remaining lemon juice and lemon slices. Stir the butter and garlic around each filet.
– Continue to cook the salmon for a further 1-2 minutes, or until salmon reaches desired doneness. (The butter will begin to brown slightly.) Taste test and season with salt and pepper to your tastes, and add more lemon juice if desired.
– Garnish with the remaining parsley and drizzle the butter over each filet.