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.
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
Cycle of Runs
All five species of salmon may be found in Rivers
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
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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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
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.
commonly utilized. Plugs:
Not commonly utilized. Spoons:
Not commonly utilized. Bucktails:
Not commonly utilized. Drift
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!