Eagle Nook Resort

The Easter long weekend meant another opportunity for some of our team to head back up to Eagle Nook and work on some small maintenance projects and this time our General Manager Dan made the trip with his family. Luckily the long weekend also brought some beautiful weather with it so the trip out to Barkley Sound certainly didn’t feel like a chore.

One of our Grady Whites has been in Port Alberni for the winter having some work done and Dan had planned to pick it up on Friday on the way to Barkley Sound, however a misunderstanding meant the boat wasn’t in the water when he got there, and the shop was closed for Good Friday. Thankfully Kevin, our new maintenance man and water taxi captain, was able to cruise up the inlet and pick everyone up so they could still make it out to the west coast Friday afternoon, the only downside was not having a boat set up with downriggers to head out fishing – that would have to wait until Saturday.

Saturday morning Dan got a surprise phone call from Matt, one of our guides who was spending the long weekend in Bamfield. When he heard that the Grady we’d planned to bring out to the resort for the weekend was still in Port Alberni he talked to a friend of his who happens to have a floatplane, and was able set up a last minute flight for Dan back into town to pick up the boat. It saved a ton of time over taking the water taxi all the way back up (not to mention gas) and Dan got a pretty neat flight up the inlet to top it off – not a bad way to start the day!

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Once the Grady was out in Barkley Sound the crew were able to head out fishing; a jammed downrigger meant they lost a couple fish but once it was running smoothly they put 4 nice Chinook salmon in the box at Swale Rock. After fishing they went to check out the new cabin flooring Kevin has been working on – it looks great and will be ready to go with lots of time to spare before the season.

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The remainder of the weekend was occupied with small maintenance tasks around the resort, and of course time out fishing in Barkley Sound. Fishing has been consistent so far on the inside, and dropping a line at Swale Rock is almost guaranteed to put a couple decent sized Chinook in the box. One of our other guides, Jeff, was out for a couple hours near Victoria on Thursday afternoon and landed 3 Chinook, the biggest being 18 pounds, so it looks like salmon are moving in all around Vancouver Island.

There’s just over a month until the first group of us moves up to Eagle Nook for the summer – the full crew will be in by June 11th. The fishing season is booking up quickly but we’ve still got some room for our Father’s Day Special June 15th – 18th, or 18th – 22nd if you’re looking to do a longer trip. Let us know today if you want to join us to kick off our season!

 

 

This past weekend a few of the Lucky Sportfishing & Eagle Nook team headed up to the resort to work on a few small projects, get our new maintenance man Kevin settled in, and of course get out fishing.

One of the more major projects to be completed before the season starts is putting down new flooring in one of the guest cabins. We picked the flooring up last week and were able to bring most of it down the Alberni canal with us without over-weighting the boat; the rest will come up on one of our many other upcoming trips to Barkley Sound.

After checking in at the resort and dropping off the flooring on Friday afternoon we headed out to Swale Rock in hopes of landing a couple fish, and we weren’t disappointed. Within seconds of putting the first rod down we had a fish on and put a nice mid-teen Chinook salmon in the box. We were playing fish from then until sunset and limited out, with the biggest being a solid 20 pound Chinook.

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20lb Chinook at Swale Rock this weekend.

Saturday morning we were back out for a couple hours and put three more Chinook in the box before heading to Ucluelet to pick up Kevin and get him settled into his new home up at the resort. We’re excited to be welcoming him onto the crew to take over the last six weeks of the winter caretaking position, work on various projects around the resort (including the cabin floor) and then continue on as our summer maintenance person and water taxi captain.

Sunday morning we spent a couple hours Halibut fishing but the wind came up outside of the Sound so after a short effort we decided to pull the pin and head back inside where it was calmer. In spite of the wind the weather was unreal all weekend, and after a quick stop back to see Kevin before we headed out, our run back up the canal on Monday morning was an easy flat-calm cruise.

There’s just over 6 weeks until we head up for the season, and lots to be done in the meantime which means almost every other weekend until mid-May we’ll be back up in Barkley Sound working on maintenance projects, getting the property cleaned up, and of course fishing!

As the days get ever longer, and signs of spring are all around us (the sun has even made a few brief appearances in Victoria over the last week), we’ve officially started the countdown until our 2017 season gets underway.

In just over 8 weeks we’ll start our annual migration back to Barkley Sound in preparation for a summer that’s sure to be full of great fishing, beautiful weather and ample time to relax by the water (for our guests at least!). Between now and then we’ve got several shorter trips out to the resort planned to work on various projects and make sure everything is running smoothly before the doors officially open to our guests.

The crew(s) that head up on those maintenance trips will most definitely get out fishing at least a handful of times while they’re up, and those of us who stay behind will be looking forward to our first Barkley Sound fishing report of the year. We did already catch word that the Sproat  Lake Loggers’ Derby, which took place the first weekend of March, had another successful year in Barkley Sound. We’re excited to get out and test the waters ourselves, especially during the two derbies being hosted at Eagle Nook Resort this spring.

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A few of last year’s derby contenders with their catch – June 2016

While a small team of staff will be on site for those pre-season salmon derbies, happening the first two weekends in June, the remainder of the group will join us just 4 days before our regular season opening on June 15th. We recently welcomed Ashley, who will round out our 2017 guest services crew, and our team is now close to being fully hired and looking forward to spending their summers on the West coast.

We have a couple spaces still available for our opening weekend, June 15th – 18th, and early season fishing promises to be good so get in touch with us soon if you’re thinking about a fishing trip to kick off your summer!

March on the West Coast means spring is on it’s way, and it’s been a cold, wet and sometimes snowy winter on Vancouver Island so we’re definitely looking forward to warmer weather and longer days.

One major indication that spring is just around the corner is the herring spawn which has started all along the South coast of Vancouver Island. If you’ve been near the water at all in the last couple of weeks you may have noticed the turquoise blue colour that indicates where the fish are laying their eggs.

In the Pacific Ocean herring travel and spawn in schools along the coast of Baja California all the way up to Alaska. Warming water temperatures trigger herring to spawn hence why every year around Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia spawning occurs in early to mid March; schools further South can spawn much earlier in the year while schools further North spawn later.

The herring spawn is an important event on the West coast for multiple reasons, one of those being that herring and their roe are a major food source for seabirds, seals, sea lions, whales and other fish, including Chinook salmon. Like many other fish species, where herring spawn is often not where they live year round so at a time of year when other food sources can be scarce, returning herring provide a welcome relief for predatory species on the West coast.

One of those predatory species are Humpback whales who start their annual migration North to coincide with the herring spawn, traveling from the coasts of Mexico and Hawaii Northbound to British Columbia and Alaska. They often feed close to the shore, and a ring of bubbles on the surface of the water is a telltale giveaway that a Humpback is circling below, trapping herring and other bait fish within a ‘bubble net’ before it lunges through them with it’s mouth gaping open for a quick meal.

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Humpback diving just after feeding in Barkley Sound

Humpbacks can consume up to 1500 kilograms of food in a day so it goes without saying that where there are whales there are herring, and where there are herring there are also salmon. Off the coast of Vancouver Island and British Columbia mature Chinook feed predominantly on bait fish and returns of herring this year are predicted to be great, so although the DFO hasn’t released any official outlook for 2017, we’re sure the salmon will come with them.

The 2017 season at Eagle Nook will open June 15th and we’ve still got a couple early and mid season dates left but they’re booking quickly and in most spots we’ve only got one boat open so get in touch with us soon if you want to have an unforgettable fishing trip on the West coast this summer!

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Derby winner – this 26lb Chinook was caught the first week of June 2016

In west coast fishing news, the Department of Fisheries announced a coast wide halibut fishery opening effective as of February 1st after the International Pacific Halibut Commission meetings in January.

Initially it was proposed that Canada’s halibut catch limits in 2017 be reduced around 25% from last year, however that outlook changed after reps from the West Coast Fishing Guide Association argued a strong case for how well the fishery in British Columbia is managed in comparison to other regions.

In British Columbia catch is closely monitored and recorded, with size limits being strictly adhered to. It’s assumed that extremely large halibut make up the breeding stock so in order to ensure the health and abundance of this stock, no fish over 133 centimetres (about 52 inches) can be retained in Canadian waters. A 133 centimetre halibut weighs between 65 and 70 pounds which is still a large fish by any standard, and the quality of the fillets are exponentially better than what would come from anything bigger.

The regulations that we adhere to in British Columbia have resulted in an increase in both the size and numbers of halibut in Canadian waters over the last several years – a clear indication of a well-managed fishery and a guarantee of great fishing for years to come.

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The outlook for the Chinook and Coho fisheries in British Columbia for 2017 is similar to last year, with catch limits likely remaining the same. Daily limits are two of each species per license, with four of each in possession at the end of your trip, which translates to a full box of fish to take home!

Fishing in Barkley Sound was great all round last year and although the Department of Fisheries hasn’t released any official forecasts for the 2017 season yet we’re anticipating another great summer on the west coast!

 

 

 

Even in the “off-season,” when the days are colder and the salmon are a little smaller, our staff and guides can’t help but get out on the water and do what they do best, fish.

This past weekend a couple of our longtime guides Matt and Kylan, as well as Alli, who just signed on for the 2017 season with us, were out near Sidney and the Gulf Islands hoping to get into a couple winter springs – which they did.

Here’s Alli with a Chinook they landed; winter fishing around Southern Vancouver Island has been great this year, with some fish as big as 15 or 16 pounds being caught off the Victoria waterfront.

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A couple of weeks ago Trotac, a local marine supply company and one of our partners, hosted their annual winter fishing derby. Some of the Lucky Sportfishing team took part, limited out and got to enjoy a flat calm and sunny day on the water – the best way to spend a Sunday!

We also donated an all-inclusive Eagle Nook Resort derby package to Trotac for one of their prizes – the lucky winner will be enjoying 3 nights accommodation, all their meals, guided fishing and the chance to take home yet another derby prize this June!

In other Vancouver Island fishing news, The Department of Fisheries announced yesterday that halibut fishing is open as of February 1st, so next time we head out we might just switch it up and drop the anchor for halibut instead.

Eagle Nook’s doors will open for 2017 in 120 days (not that we’re counting down or anything…) and we can’t wait to get back up to Barkley Sound for the summer runs of bigger salmon, longer sunnier days, and of course another great season spent with new and old friends on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We’re booking new trips in everyday so let us know soon if you want to join in on an unforgettable summer in Barkley Sound!

Fish Onnnn!

 

If you’ve fished on the West Coast of British Columbia chances are you’ve probably heard the term “Tyee” a couple of times, maybe you’ve even been lucky enough to catch one of these huge fish yourself.

The name Tyee carries a certain reverence about it; even if you’re not entirely sure what it means, you know it’s something significant. The word actually comes from the language of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, the original human inhabitants of coastal Vancouver Island. It means king, chief or champion. Makes sense.

To fishermen on the West Coast, Tyee means Chinook salmon weighing over 30 lbs. They’re considered a trophy fish and a pretty big deal to land. Tyee are definitely the king of Salmon so it makes sense to want to keep some sort of souvenir of your catch. Luckily for guests at Eagle Nook instead of just taking a couple photos, our artist-in-residence, Mya Deryan, can create a life-sized rubbing of their fish and it can still be filleted and taken home for dinner. And really, it doesn’t matter what sized fish you catch, time spent fishing is time spent well.

At the beginning of each season before Eagle Nook is “officially” open you’ll find the Resort packed to the rafters with 45 fishermen eager to demonstrate their skills on the water and maybe go home with a little extra cash in their pockets. The annual Lucky Sportfishing Derby will be on its sixth year in 2017, and it gets bigger and better every year.

Traditionally the Derby takes place the last weekend of May when Chinook salmon are starting to move down the coast and into Barkley Sound. In 2016 the winning salmon was 21.5 lbs, not bad for an early season fish! With cash prizes for the three biggest salmon and the biggest halibut, entries get snapped up quickly – so quickly that for the last two years we’ve added a second derby the following weekend. Guided boats and dock space for moorage are in high demand so let us know early if you’re interested in trying your hand at some friendly competition – your trip might even end up paying for itself!

It’s not unusual for our guides to encounter various wildlife while out on the water, but this one was a little out of the ordinary – guide Jeff had a Bald Eagle try steal the fish off the end of his line and end up getting tangled! The Eagle was successfully released (not before soaking Jeff) and swam back to shore to dry off.

One of the biggest salmon that came back to the dock this summer was a 34.6lb Tyee, and came with a great story as well. Four generations of the Reid family joined us for a trip early in our season – father, son, grandfather and great grandfather. tyee

This monster of a salmon was reeled in by Charles Reid (second from the right), the great grandfather of the group, with his great grandson by his side. It was a moment the Reid family and Eagle Nook family will cherish forever.

They had some great days on the water, and we hope to bring their good luck back to the resort sometime soon!