As for summer 2017, it was another great season of fishing & catching. Some guests fared better than others, but typically everyone went home with a box of fish (or 2). The Chinook/King salmon fishing was definitely consistent with lots of fish caught & some really big fish. The best trophy Chinook fishing was at the known hot-spots literally minutes from the Lodge. Kevin’s Corner, The Bluff/Muff & as always The Wall produced some of the largest fish. There were several Chinook caught in the 40’s & 50’s. Dave G. topped the Chinook catches with a solo 60 pounder! He caught it when he was out fishing alone without a guide. He played this monster fish for more than two hours, & his “super host” Rod W. jumped in the boat “commando style” right near the end of the fight to net this trophy salmon.
The coho/silver salmon fishing was excellent this year as well with an abundance of fish & a larger average size. Sometimes we had to travel a bit further to get on the school of fish which took some coordination, especially in variable weather conditions. Later in the season the coho were holding 30 minutes north of us at Addenbrook Lighthouse. One morning in particular sticks in my mind. With the aid of VHF radios, GPS & the professional boating skills of our guides & experienced guests, we manages to get got most of the fleet safely up to Addenbrook in very limited visibility. The guests returned with their daily salmon limit & many fish were released. When the bite was ON there were stories of non-stop action with double & triple-headers! During the season there were multiple coho caught over 20 lbs. with the largest tipping the scales at a whopping 22 lbs!
Those who tried their hand at bottom fishing were rewarded for their efforts. The halibut fishing was steady all summer. The best fishing was only minutes away from the lodge at the Kidney Bean & Paddle Rocks. There were lots of big ones & the largest of the season weighed 68 lbs. & was caught by Dana B. We saw more lingcod on the dock this summer than the past few years. Angler effort was up because as guests limited out on salmon & halibut later in their trip, they targeted these tasty critters. The largest of the season was 36 lbs. & caught by Marty N. A lingcod like this is probably about 15 years old.
Why was the catching so good this year? It was the “perfect storm” of the runs of salmon congregating in our area, good weather & more intensive training & guest mentoring. None of our self-guided guests left the dock without a full inspection & interview by Simon & the dock staff of their tackle & technique. It was a simple equation, less lines broken = more lunkers on the scale. Steve S. said it best “I had some great catches of trophy salmon along with a big halibut. it’s amazing how much ‘luckier’ I was when I followed Simon’s fishing clinic instructions to the letter & paid attention to all the little details” .
If you have photos of the fish you caught in this past season, please send them to us with your fishing story to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to reach us to book your 2018 fishing adventure call/text Simon & Stephanie at 604-938-3677, Cathy or Barbara at 1-800-663-2644 or any of us via email from the website www.riversinlet.com
Tight Lines, Simon.
Our main focus while Alex the Port Boat House/Yamaha outboard mechanic is at the lodge is to get all the technical/mechanical jobs that are beyond our skill-set out of the way. Once he leaves the lodge after winterizing all the motors from all the boats, then we are officially done the outboard motor side of rig-down. This is a huge relief because Alex does this to “perfection”. We know in the spring when we come for rig-up that all our outboards will be in their optimal working order, & only need another inspection from Alex to have them ready to go on the boats. Yamaha outboards are the best in the business &, by having a professional mechanic flown in twice a year to maintain them to their top performance level, we minimize the potential of mechanical breakdowns & maximize our guests experience.
Rig Down - What Happens (part 2)
Once Alex has left the lodge, the next main task is getting all the fleet of now empty Stinger boats (that no longer have motors or gear in them) hooked together with the towing bridles. They are then towed across Rivers Inlet to our winter moorage in Sunshine Bay by our biggest boat, the 25 foot Whaler, in two tows of 12 boats each (like little ducks). This 5 mile journey takes about 2 hours. Once the string of boats arrives in Sunshine Bay, they are hauled up on a float & shimmied up straight with their bungs pulled out so that the rainwater from the winter storms is flushed through them without resistance.
Once the first tow of Stinger boats are out of the way, almost simultaneously the first buildings start to be towed. This is after many hours of disconnecting all the power, water, satellite dishes, & the tie-ups that connect the lodge to our standing boom of logs, pilings, dolphins & shore ties that make for our secure moorage in Sportsman’s Bay. The first tow is always the two main accommodation floats that are hooked together in criss-cross bridles, & John Salo our operations manager uses his tug the Robert G II to haul them across the Inlet. This is usually about a six hour turn-around. While they are under-tow we are madly preparing the next tow, disconnecting all the power, water, & the tie-ups etc. As the buildings disappear in sequence we have to strategize as to which crew member is on what float doing the jobs that need to be done. Sometimes, some of the crew will stay on the buildings while under tow scrubbing, sorting & putting things away. This is always a fun adventure & a bit of an odd feeling as we look up from our buckets of hot soapy water as the magnificent scenery of Rivers Inlet is passing by.
My favourite moment is when the wires to the satellite dishes on shore are finally rolled up onto the shop float & the Internet is officially shut off. Even though we are “off the grid’ in the middle of nowhere, we are still a slave to our inbox, so this is a pleasant reprieve & a chance to “disconnect”. The most magical moment of rig-down for us is when the office & the cook-house leave the bay under tow. I always stay on that tow with a portable generator (so that we have tunes), & hand held satellite phone & GPS radio (for outgoing calls only). There is a sense of completion from the busy season, time to reflect, do some filing & close down the office for the summer. And, we always fish on our way across the Inlet. We didn’t get one this year but typically we do. (Continued in the next Newsletter) ….
Sea Otters - Have Returned to Rivers Inlet!They arrived without a passport! Once almost extinct from the BC coast, the transplanted Alaska sea otters have been seen in Rivers Inlet. It was three summers ago when we saw one or two sea otters for the first time in Rivers Inlet. This summer, when we arrived in Rivers Inlet by boat from Port Hardy, one of our first sights was of a huge “raft” of these critters, maybe 30 or more, just resting on their backs sunning their flippers right off The Wall, They seem to have really taken hold in our area, but we do not know at this point what their effect on our ecosystem will be & their impact on the sea urchin population & the kelp beds.
Sea otters are often confused with the river otters. A family of river otters has resided in Sportsman’s Bay since the lodge was established in 1984. Nobody knows this better than Chester the lodge dog. Chester continually “hunts” them around the docks playing some sort of “cat & mouse” game as they squawk at him from under the floats & even jump up on the docks to taunt him.
Simon saw his first sea otter a few years ago at the Brooks Peninsula off the west coast of Vancouver Island when he was doing some serious expedition boating around Vancouver Island in the 17 ft. Whaler (that’s another story). Sea otters are very distinctive due to their size. They weigh between 30-100lbs., which is substantially larger than our resident river otters. They also have a distinctive posture & behavior in the water. They like to drift around offshore lying on their back while they rest & feed & even tend to their young this way. Or, they like to pop their heads up out of the water being very inquisitive like gophers. Most often they are observed solo, but sometimes they can be seen in pairs or small groups, even holding hands when napping to create the “raft” for stability. These rafts might be 10-100 otters but have been observed where their numbers were estimated at over 1000 sea otters! The main behavior that sets the sea otter apart from other sea mammals is their use of tools like rocks to dislodge & open shellfish, their main food source.
The sea otter is a very integral component of the history of the exploration on the Pacific North West. From the late 1700’s to the early 1900’s they were hunted to virtual extinction due to the high quality of their fur. Sea otters have the densest & most luxuriant of all pelts in the fur trade, & ultimately this led to their decimation & demise due to over harvesting. Their population was estimated to be well over 300,000 in the 1700’s with a range that stretched in an arc across the North Pacific from Northern Japan all the way down the Alaska/BC coast to central Baja in Mexico. By the end of fur trade in the early 1900’s, their numbers had been reduced to an estimated 1000 to 2000. In the 1960s, a plan was put into place to re-introduce the sea otter to the west coast of Vancouver Island by transplanting otters from the surviving colonies in Alaska. Over time, this was very successful with the BC
population now estimated to be 4000-5000 & colonies moving back into coastal areas like Rivers Inlet where we have observed them the past three summers & now have a population estimated to be in the hundreds.
Barbara, Barbara, Barbara ... Well, I was able to tick two things off my bucket list this summer. Costa Rica & salmon/halibut fishing.
I had the most incredible experience of my life at your camp. I get tears in my eyes when I think about it. You, Bill, Simon, Stephanie & the staff, the surrounding beauty, the food, the floatplane flight from Vancouver, the Pacific Gateway Hotel. Everything was perfect!!! Apparently I need to travel 2000 miles to catch fish! I feel pretty proud of myself for kicking butt hauling in those fish! I know the guides did much of the work but I didn't lose most of them at the last second. I want to come back in 2019. Everyone is asking how it was & of course, I can't shut up about it. Poor things, their eyes glaze over & I just keep on talking. Vicki T. - Crosslake MN USA
We have come full circle on our fish taco recipe & we are back to this very simple & basic one. No coating of the fish. Not too many garnishes & sauces. And cooked very quickly on super high heat to maximize the texture & flavor of the delicate fish flesh.
Simon and Steph's Fish Tacos Recipe
- 2 lbs. of white fish filets - cubed
- 12 corn or flour tortillas
- 2 cups cabbage - super finely grated
- 1 bunch cilantro - chopped
- 1 Walla Walla sweet onion - finely chopped
- 2 limes - cut in wedges
- 1 jalapeno pepper - finely chopped
- 1 avocado – sliced
- 1 cup sour cream or plain yoghurt
- 1 tbsp. butter & oil
- Hot sauce &/or salsa verde
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Pat dry the cubed fish & lay in a shallow dish. Squeeze the juice of ½ a lime onto the fish & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Let marinate for up to 1 hour but not longer as the lime juice will “cook” the fish.
- Heat tortillas in the oven in tin foil at 350F.
- Pan fry the fish in a lightly oiled/buttered cast iron fry pan on high heat turning after 1 minute & let rest on a serving platter to finish cooking as it cools.
- Serve the fish, tortillas & all toppings & garnish as per your personal preference.
- Pair with a Mexican beer or a cheeky white wine.
ENJOY! - Simon & Stephanie