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Salmon Fishing in Rivers Inlet, British Columbia, is One Part Extreme Adventure, One Part Zen-Like Relaxation

Legacy Lodge, Rivers Inlet, BC

Rivers Inlet, British Columbia: Salmon Fishing Preserved in its Purest Form, for pure anglers like me.

In This Fishing Article You Will Discover:

  • Where to Find Canada’s Largest Chinook Salmon
  • How to Fish for Salmon Effectiveley
  • Where to Lodge in Rivers Inlet
  • What To Expect On a Salmon Fishing Trip

A jagged, labyrinth-like arm of saltwater stabs inward from the open ocean, winding a swath of evergreens and barnacle covered rocks towards the mouth of the Wannock River. It is an ecosystem that is home to grizzly bears, humpback whales, bald eagles to numerous to count — as well as the world’s largest chinook salmon. This is Rivers Inlet, a pristine fiord 500 km north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the site of sport fishing operations such as Legacy Lodge that are devoted to the pursuit of these fish.

Due to its thousands of islands and deep fiords, British Columbia boasts 25,000 km of coastline. Because of this, it took Legacy Lodge host and head guide Mick Heath 20 years to find his spot in Rivers Inlet.

Heath had been salmon fishing from Oregon to Alaska for decades, but when he came across Rivers Inlet, he ceased his wandering.

“No other place gut-hooked me like this,” says Heath. Not purely for the fact that more 50- to 60-pound chinook come into the inlet than anywhere else in the world, Heath was lured by the impressive scenery, abundance of wildlife and sheltered waters — and accessibility from major centres.

Legacy Lodge began its existence in 2003. Floating on a barge, the gorgeous cedar plank fishing resort is moored about halfway up Rivers Inlet, in a protected passage between Pendleton and Walbran Islands. Despite being one of dozens of fishing lodges on BC’s coast, Legacy has carved out its own niche. Inn his straightforward manner, Heath describes angling at Legacy, “If you want o fish monster halibut, go somewhere else. We’re a salmon lodge.” (Despite that fact, halibut over 100 pounds have been caught by lodge guests.)

Also, unlike some salmon fishing operations that encourage meat-hunting and a whack and stack mentality, Heath has an unwritten code concerning angling techniques at Legacy: motor mooching with cut-plug herring and single action reels.

Motor mooching is one of the most traditional forms of salmon fishing. Tackle consists of merely two barbless hooks, six to eight ounces of lead weight and a piece of cut bait. One then uses the tides, currents and the boat’s motor to make their offering “dance” beneath the surface, enticing fish to bite. Is it the most effective way of fishing? Probably not. Is it the most satisfying and soulful? No doubt.

And of those who may prefer other methods, Heath says, “I tell people, ‘give it one day.’ And every time, they’re hooked.”

This form of fishing merges with the natural surroundings to create the ethos behind Legacy Lodge. It is apparent from the moment you arrive, when heath waxes poetic on Rivers Inlet nearly to the point of tears, to when you leave, exchanging hugs with staff members as if leaving behind family. It is at once primal and modern, restful and exciting — comfortable but full of possibilities.

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Legacy Lodge: www.legacylodge.com

Tourism BC: www.hellobc.com

Image courtesy Legacy Lodge

About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

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