BC Salmon Fishing Lodge - Rivers Inlet British Columbia Canada

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March 26, 2014 - Spring Is For Spring Salmon

Springs x 3!
Chinook (king) salmon popping out of the water like "spring" flowers.

Spring means so many different things to different people but some of the main themes are to do with a new life and a new beginning. Spring cleaning, out with the old in with the new. For salmon fishermen in BC, anticipation is always running high as with spring comes the first wave of salmon. Many rivers in BC have an early season chinook/king salmon run hence their nick name "spring" salmon. Often this first wave of fish are some of the biggest of the season so that has anglers excited about what they might encounter when they first wet a line in the spring. Rivers Inlet is typical of this phenomenon with strong early season runs that contain fish often in the 40 lbs. plus range. Fishing is good right from opening day at the Sportsman's Club and typically every day through our July/August season so book anytime for great fishing.
The really positive news is the recent update on predicted salmon returns by the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO). They are predicting some of the best returns in modern history so we are even more excited than ever about the coming summer season.
 
Click on images to enlarge.
Simon Seminar. Seair
Simon is constantly "training"
the guests. The cluster of gear
in the foreground is real!
The new 2 hour direct flights to the lodge
have made a world of difference
to the travel "experience".

KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES OVER 30 YEARS
Many Fishing Lodges have come and gone over the years and as in any business survival is all about keeping up with the times. At the Sportsman’s Club, we have been continuously evolving, always putting money back into the operation to make constant improvements to enhance our guests’ experience and stay competitive. What are some of the changes that we've seen at Rivers Inlet Sportsman's Club in the past 30 years?
Here is a summary of what we have been up to and why we are simply
the best place for a fishing adventure.
SEAPLANES: One of the most substantial changes occurred last year when we moved to the direct seaplane flights from Vancouver to the lodge. It was a crippling blow that the Pacific Coastal Grumman Goose we used from Port Hardy to the lodge were grounded for lack of parts. Flying direct is a lot more expensive and approximately 30% of the trip costs are now for the seaplanes. However, our guests are delighted by the new direct two hour flights on Seair Seaplanes. No more plane changes in Port Hardy and no more fog delays makes for more fishing time.
MEALS: Throughout our 30 years of operation, our main meals have been of the hearty type so that no one goes hungry after a hard day fishing. Before the first guests arrived in 1984, Barbara had learned to bake fresh bread from scratch & it was an immediate hit with her home-made soups & chowders. Yes, she was the head cook & bottle-washer. One change over the years has been guests' desire for salads & vegetables. Our guests have always raved over the good old fashioned meals like mother used to make - with a contemporary touch. Our chefs have experience in some of the best restaurants, including the award winning Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler. You won't go to bed hungry either as after the evening fishing our girls serve a chef-prepared tasty hot snack at the end of the day with special cookie treats as a goodnight “kiss”.
ACCOMMODATIONS & SERVICES BUILDINGS: In 1984, we started out with two accommodation buildings & a dining-room/guest lounge. You will see from the recent aerial view of the lodge that the Sportsman's Club is far more widespread today in our cosy cove known as Sportsman's Bay. Over the years, we have added floats & buildings starting with seven bedroom cabins in 1985 & 1986. These were followed by the guest lounge in 1988. Other service buildings, floats & docks have followed. To everyone's delight, the new float for the guest lounge, which was built in 2013 to extend further out, has given guests a wonderful area to relax close to the fish scale, cleaning table & everyone else having fun after a day of fishing. Being right in the action is a treat. In the old days, bathrooms were shared & it was not until 2005 & 2006 that we build the new floats & accommodation buildings to provide guests with en-suite bathrooms & double beds. Where there used to be two guest accommodation cabins, we now have four. The old 1985 & 1986 buildings now serve as staff accommodation & the office. The old office is Simon’s house for his family. The biggest improvement is our fully enclosed boat house where we can pull a boat right out of the water and away from the weather with our 2,000 lbs. hoist.
STAFF: We have always strived to keep our staff for multiple seasons as it is easier to keep up our high level of “Sportsman’s Club” service with staff who know their job. We have always endeavoured to hire students so that they have the wherewithall to continue & complete their studies. Almost all of our staff are returning in 2014, so look forward to seeing lots of familiar faces at the lodge this summer.
CARETAKERS: As many of you know the Lodge is towed into our summer moorage in Sportsman’s Bay each spring from our winter moorage in Sunshine Bay across the inlet and then back again in the fall. The Cooper family have been looking after our Lodge and a few others for many many years now. Being right on the fishing grounds is a huge plus to our guests as some of the best fishing in Rivers Inlet is only minutes away from the lodge.
BOATS: Our 17 foot “Stinger” boats were custom designed for the type of fishing that we do. The boats are extremely stable and their open style allows our guests to easily move around when fighting & netting a fish thus minimizing the possibility of fouling he line on boat accessories.
MOTORS: In 1984 we started out with 25 HP Mariner motors purchased from Port Boat House in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island (where Simon grew up). After a while, we moved up to 30 HP Yamahas. Today we use 40 HP 4-stroke Yamahas which have the range and reliability to get you anywhere you need to go in the Rivers Inlet area. The Port Boat House has been our loyal and valued supplier for 30 years & we appreciate their support.
TACKLE: It was simple in the old days, just a rod, reel, 6 oz weight, a 2 hook leader and a cut-plug herring. Now, our salmon tackle includes downriggers with a variety of lures to get you down to the fish when the top water bite is off. We also have a fleet of heavy bottom fishing gear for chasing halibut and lingcod. For those who prefer lighter tackle we have a fleet of bass style spinning rods as well as fly rods.

HERRING ROE HARVESTING
Another major sign of spring on the west coast of BC is the herring fishery. Herring are obviously important to us anglers as they are one of the salmon’s major sources of food. However, long before European settlement of the west coast of BC, herring was important to the indigenous peoples. Not just the herring itself, but the eggs of the herring. Herring roe is a huge delicacy in Japan and the industry is worth hundreds of
millions of dollars to the BC economy.
The traditional way to harvest the eggs was for the natives to place hemlock bows in known spawning areas and as the herring attempted to lay their sticky eggs on the kelp and seaweed in the shallows the eggs would also attach to the tree branches. These bows of glistening eggs were a valuable resource that tribes traded amongst each other. There is still roe on kelp fishery where the roe that is attached to the seaweed is harvested but mostly the herring are simply netted and milked for their eggs.
More info on herring from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


Calm waters, great facilities & service make us the prefect place for couples.
 
RECIPE - SALMON WITH BROWN BUTTER & ALMONDS
 
Most of our guest last year brought home their limit of 8 salmon which no doubt made for lots of yummy salmon dinners.
Do you still have some salmon left in the freezer and are maybe a bit bored of your regular recipes and preparations?

Here is a great recipe that is guaranteed to please.

PLEASURE CRAFT OPERATOR CARD
There has been some confusion as of late about what credentials you need to operate a powered watercraft in BC. Technically you need to carry a valid Pleasure Craft Operator Card, (sometimes referred to as a boating license). The Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is actually a federal certificate issued by Transport Canada and valid in all Canadian provinces and territories. You can obtain your PCOC by completing the Transport Canada-approved online course - www.boatinglicense.ca. However, this was obviously going to prove to be problematic for resort and lodge guests. So, we were given another option whereby if our guests demonstrate proof of competency by attending a boating orientation seminar on arrival and completing a “Rental Boat Safety Checklist” then they get a
temporary permit valid for their stay.

GUEST TESTIMONIAL
"Thank you so much for the fantastic trip the boys and I had up at the lodge. It was superb in every way. The staff was impeccable, the food absolutely brilliant, fishing …FABULOUS, accommodation better then ever, and on top of that we had perfect weather. Nothing could have made it better-NOTHING. The boys loved it and we will be back. Thank you so much for the great times and wonderful hospitality."
K. Smith - Dominican Republic
 

January 28, 2014 - Positive Fishing Outlook for 2014

Chrome bright cohos.
There is nothing like catching these chrome bright, ocean going, hard fighting, acrobatic coho (silvers) on light tackle. And as a bonus they taste delicious!

Positive Fishing Outlook for 2014
Our trip bookings for summer 2014 are yet again stronger than they have been the past few years at this time so we are already getting excited about next season. The economy is definitely getting stronger but one of the big reasons for all the bookings is the amazing fishing we had again last summer. Most guests left with their limit of salmon and halibut. If they spent some additional time bottom fishing they left with their lingcod limits as well. This made for lots of heavy boxes and happy families & friends on their return home!
Further, the Department of Oceans and Fisheries (DFO) are predicting strong returns of salmon for the 2014 season. As a result, DFO says that the catch limits link: http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/tidal-maree/a-s9-eng.html) will remain the same as in 2014. These limits are 8 salmon to take home (in possession), of which up to 4 can be chinook (king).* Halibut 1/day 2 in possession. Lingcod 3/day, 6 in possession. Rock cod 5/day, 10 in possession.
There are still dates available throughout our 6 week mid-July until the end of August season at the peak of the salmon running through our area. If you have not already done so, plan your 2014 trip now as we are filling up fast!
Contact us today. Call Simon: 604-938-0505, Cathy: 1-800-663 2644 Email: info@riversinlet.com.

click the images below to enlarge
Welcome to The Sportsman's Club! Barbara and the girls. Boats in storage.
Once the float planes
hit the docks on changeover day the "madness" begins.
Barbara catching up with "the girls" who are all coming back next summer. Our fleet of boats sitting on the float at our winter moorage in Sunshine Bay.

LODGE NEWS
STAFF - If you have visited us at the Sportsman's Club, you will agree that one of our biggest assets, and what sets us apart from the rest, is our amazing staff. Most of our staff have been with us for a number of years now and we have recently confirmed that almost all of them are returning to work with us again next summer. This makes for a cohesive group and as a result an even better experience for our guests as the staff are familiar with the customers and fantastic at their jobs.
Every year around this time without placing an Ad we are bombarded with applicants for a summer job with us. Every year we have to say there are no jobs available. It is a nice position to be in to have such loyal staff. So what are they all doing this winter? Everything from working at remote heli-skiing lodges to travelling and school. Your generous gratuities go a long way to helping support them through the winter. As you see pictured, lodge owner Barbara recently met with "the girls" for a lunch in Victoria.

FLIGHTS - For the 2013 fishing season, we switched airlines and began using Seair to fly float planes directly from Vancouver to the lodge. It was without a doubt the biggest change we have made in years and by all accounts it was a resounding success. According to our guests it was a huge upgrade to the experience of getting to the lodge. No more plane changes in Port Hardy where you had to switch from a wheel plane to a float plane. This cut travel down to 2 hrs. from 3 hrs. or sometimes longer.
The biggest issue we were able to avoid was the fog which often plagues Port Hardy. On the rare occasion that there was fog near the lodge, the pilots were able to fly over the fog bank and then go back up Rivers Inlet where they typically always found a hole in the fog and then fly back down to the lodge. The result was virtually no airline delays last summer. The good news is that just this week we have signed on again for another season with Seair. it is much more expensive but by all accounts totally worth it. Just a reminder that the the flights do leave earlier now at 9:45 AM. Here are the flight details.

WEATHER - The weather in North America has been strange this winter. However, there is no need to worry about the salmon in British Columbia. We had lots of rain in the fall so the salmon were able to get safely home to their birth rivers and spawn without issue.
As for what is happening in Rivers Inlet this winter so far, rain rain rain and more rain. The ocean moderates the temperatures so the water does not freeze in Rivers Inlet. In fact we are milder than most parts of Canada and the US that are not right on the ocean. However, it does snow occasionally when the temperatures are low enough (which is rare) and when it does snow it dumps! You see our fleet of boats that we store up on a float for the winter pictured with a healthy blanket of fluff on them!
Farmer's Alamnac Weather forcast for 2014.

Guest Testimonial
"We had the trip of a lifetime at the Sportsman's Club. My two sons (25 &23) and I have memories, pictures and stories to fill an album.Being from Alabama, we are a world away from your scenery, cold water, whales, salmon and the funny way Y'all talk, (Ay).
The service and accommodations from the moment you step off the float plane were incredible. I guess the season is only seven weeks because the crew, even in their youth, would not last much longer. They worked so hard and long to insure we had a great time. It was our first time to catch salmon. We caught all but one of our limit, saving the last fish for the last morning, perhaps to catch the biggest fish of the trip. As fishing goes, we hooked three fish at the same time then argued as we fought the fish as to who's was bigger and who's had to go back. I would recommend Barbara and Simon's trip to anyone wanting to enjoy BC 's beauty, superb fishing, great food, and an effortless get away. We can't wait to get back there!"
J Zukley - AL USA  


Jack Zukley with his sons John & Robert obviously enjoying the
ultimate Father/Son fishing adventure.

BIRD COUNT
For the first time ever our winter care-takers at the Sportsman's Club took part in the continent wide Audubon Christmas Bird Count. 27 species were observed and 409 individual birds including one of my favourites, the Common Murre. These are amazing birds that we see fishing along side us and on occasion they get hooked up on our herring. They have been documented diving as deep as 500 ft. for up to 2 minutes in search of food.
The species observed were: Barrows Goldeneye, Common & Hooded Merganzer, Double Crested & Brant Cormorant, Red Necked Grebe, Western Grebe, Pigeon Guillemot, Bald Eagle, Black Turnstone, Buffleheads, Marbled Murrelets, Black Oystercatchers, Mallard, Raven, Gulls, Blue Heron, Kingfisher, Long Tailed Duck (Old Squaw), Pacific Loon, Surf Scoter, Stellar Jay, Crow, Harlequin Duck, Winter Wren and Common Grebe.
http://www.hww.ca/en/species/birds/shorebirds.html

RECIPE - THAI RED CURRY SALMON
Most of our guest last year brought home their limit of 8 salmon which no doubt made for lots of yummy salmon dinners. Do you still have some salmon left in the freezer and are maybe a bit bored of your regular recipes and preparations? Here is a Thai Red Curry recipe that is guaranteed to "spice" things up a bit .

FLY FISHING FOR SALMON
It seems more and more the past few years we are getting requests to fly fish for salmon.
There is definitely an opportunity to catch salmon in Rivers Inlet on a fly when the top water bite is on. The salmon tend to feed from the surface down to about 10 feet so sinking line is best. As for the flies ... casting anything with purple or green in it works best but when the bite is on it doesn't really matter.
You can also "buck-tail" where you use a larger fly on the surface and do a fast troll with the fly skipping in the wash of the boat. The other set up we use is with a 6-8 ft leader and a herring either with no weight or a 1-2 oz lead. When you can't entice them casting a fly this is actually the most productive way to catch salmon while still using a fly rod. Obviously this is not fly fishing per say, but you do get the excitement of catching a salmon on light tackle.
You can also attach your fly rod to our down-riggers when the surface bite is off and you want to get down deeper to catch the bite.
http://www.sportfishingbc.com/articles/tackle_techniques/saltwater_fly_fishing2.htm