Rivers Inlet, BC Saltwater Salmon & Sportfishing British Columbia. Salmon Fishing Lodges, Rivers Inlet, BC

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Rivers Inlet, BC
Saltwater Sportfishing Hotspots

with D.C. Reid

General Description
Located 300 miles north of Vancouver, BC, by resort-chartered plane, Rivers Inlet offers the third of the big three salmon fishing pilgrimages - including Hakai Pass and Langara Island - in British Columbia. If calm, protected, glassy water tops your list in trophy-fishing criteria, Rivers Inlet is the holy land for you. More 50 - 60 pound chinook salmon are recorded in this 18 mile fjord-like inlet each summer than any other fishery in the province.

Winter fishing is influenced by remoteness of location. No lodges operate after the summer months, and strong outflow winds push down the Inlet. Accordingly, this area is not fished in the winter, which is truly unfortunate as untouched wilderness fishing grounds teem with winter feeder chinook.

Summer fishing is also influenced by remoteness of location as well as presence of numerous watersheds for spawning salmon. Local lodges constructed their own chinook hatchery a decade ago at Shotbolt Bay and its returns of huge tyee continue to increase. The bonus for fishing clients is that they are among the very few fisherman to tap the growing abundance. Pristine lakes, for example, Sandell, offer trophy trout to 11 pounds.

BC Adventure Network members serving this area:
Legacy Lodge at Rivers Inlet: Legacy Lodge provides a true awakening to nature & the ultimate sportfishing experience. Remote yet easily accessible, ours is a world of its own on the waters of Rivers Inlet. This is a premier fishing experience like no other, where world class salmon await... more

Annual Cycle of Runs
All five species of salmon may be found in Rivers Inlet: chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and pink salmon. All five salmon species are migratory fish, appearing as mature animals in summer and fall months homing in on Inlet watersheds for spawning purposes.

Sportfishing concentrates on two local stocks of chinook salmon. The Kilbella and Chuckwalla chinook arrive in early June with catches peaking at the end of the month as the more numerous and larger Wannock River stock appears. The second flood of chinook occurs in later July with peak catches occurring in mid-August. The majority of later fish are destined for the Wannock River, the remainder spawning in the Neechanz River and Owikeno Lake tributaries. 1998 proved a record year with 2700 of these lumbering giants testing the adrenaline of lucky anglers.

Large numbers of coho are angled each summer. Present from July to September, these larger-than-average fish often top 20 pounds and prevail in such numbers that 20 - 30 fish days are common in August.

Feisty 4 - 7 pound pink salmon peak in numbers between July 7 - August 7. Destined for most local rivers, including the Kilbella, Chuckwalla, Wannock, spawners also nose into Moses Inlet and Johnson Creek.

Chum salmon are caught infrequently as they angle toward Smith Inlet.

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Lures on an Annual Basis
Bait: As all gear is brought in by plane, area resorts supply cutplug herring for anglers. A flat cut cutplug produces a killer slow roll that takes the big chinook. Slice herring behind the gillplate perpendicular to the dorsal surface and at a 45 degree angle from lateral to lateral surface. Rig with a double sliding hook (4/0 - 5/0 hooks) on a 6' leader tied to a 4 - 6 oz banana weight.

Halibut and bottomfish prefer a whole herring connected to a double sliding hook rig (up to 9/0 hooks) on a 6' leader to a 1 pound cannonball.

Hootchies: Not commonly utilized.
Plugs: Not commonly utilized.
Spoons: Not commonly utilized.
Bucktails: Not commonly utilized.
Drift Fishing: Not commonly utilized.

Overall Strategy and Specific Fishing Areas
Rivers Inlet has two types of fisheries: summer fishing for salmon species; and, structure-related fisheries for halibut, lingcod and other bottom fish. In addition, two distinct fishing opportunities present themselves: fishing in the lower inlet near its junction with the Pacific Ocean; and, fishing in the upper inlet near river estuaries.

The lower Inlet offers the best bottom fishing. Halibut are migratory animals that prefer deep, flattish rockpiles in open water. Lingcod lie in wait of meals on deep rocks exposed to strong tidal flow. A red snapper will spend its entire 25 year life hovering over one rock at depths of 200 - 250'. Accordingly, all species are more prevalent at the Inlet's mouth in Open Bight and in deeper channels between the small rocky islands west of Goose Bay.

Fishing for big chinook and plentiful large coho is what Rivers Inlet is famous for. Lower Inlet salmon fishing concentrates near the Wall, Rouse Reef, Draney Narrows and Wadhams Point. The fish come through amazingly high in the water column. So 'wild' are the salmon that cutplugs are trolled - brace yourself - 10 - 15' from the rod tip. Imagine the adrenaline rush of watching a salmon larger than your leg take the lure beside the boat.

Upper inlet hotspots are situated close to fishing boundaries where salmon ripen before ascending local rivers. South side hotspots include McPhee Bay, Rutherford Point, Whale Rock and The Slide. On the north side of the inlet lie Baker's Hole and the most popular spot, Marker 16. This is deep water so fish tight to the shore. A little further east, Route 66, named for a famous two hour battle with a 66 pound chinook, is the last spot the salmon will pass before heading up river. Be there to cut them off!

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Coastal BC Fisheries
Seafood Recipes (Pt1)
Seafood Recipes (Pt2)
Seafood Recipes (Pt3)
Seafood Recipes (Pt4)
Hot Spots
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Happy Halibut Hunting (Pt2)
Happy Halibut Hunting (Pt3)
Harvesting the Herring
Likes the Lakes
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The Butts of Bamfield
Trolling Tip for Sidney
Boat Electrical Potential
Casting for Your Catch
Drift Fishing (Pt1)
Drift Fishing (Pt2)
Mooching for Salmon
Tough Knots for Big Fish
Trolling for Salmon (Pt1)
Trolling for Salmon (Pt2)
Trolling for Salmon (Pt3)
Winter Fishing the Capital

Peter Caverhill
Brian Chan
Fred & Ann Curtis
Ian Forbes
Geoff Hobson
Gordon Honey
Steve Kaye
Fred's Custom Tackle
Ron Newman
D. C. Reid
Philip Rowley
Barry Thornton

Rivers Inlet, BC Saltwater Salmon & Sportfishing British Columbia. Salmon Fishing Lodges, Rivers Inlet, BC