Today was a great December day for seeing whales, just by coincidence.
Jeff and Katy are researching possibilities for a home for retired Orcas. The public who once enjoyed seeing captive whales on display has had a change of heart and would now prefer to see them set free. But the captive ones have been kept too long and are no longer able to fend for themselves in the wild. So what is needed is a place with more room to move around, but still confined in a bay behind a net fence where they would be fed and taken care of. That sounds like an enormous undertaking, yet there is an organization planning to do just that, The Whale Sanctuary Project. https://whalesanctuaryproject.org/
Jeff and Katy have had more to do with whales, wild , captured, or rehabilitated, and freed, than I could have thought possible.
We came upon a family of Orcas sharing some kind of kill. We just floated quietly at viewing distance and after a while they worked their way somewhat closer.
In a channel towards the mountains we saw a humpback whale and stopped to watch her a little while.
And then on the return circle leg we were met by another Orca family coming up the passage .
What a wonderful December day. Thanks Jeremy, for making this connection with Jeff and Katy.
It's a new view ! Shamra and I bought a home in Campbell River !
Here's the view from the end of the block on Elm Street. I can't feel very far away . There is part of Quathiaski Cove looking back. The old dock is just a bit to the right , hidden behind Grouse Island. Row and Be Damned is on the left, and Mt Dougie Dowler, dominates the skyline, very much like the view from Heriot Bay. The marina is a nice walk away and my boat is almost in sight.
Turning north several degrees and there is Estero Peak. That marker can be seen from many directions, with the fishing hole at Denham Bay at its toes, and Bute Inlet at its heels.
The Tyee Pool at the mouth of the Campbell River, and the shoreline for rowing for Tyees, is very handy now.
Jeri and Martina , fishing chums in early November.
When they phoned , they were in Campbell River as the weather was turning from pretty nice to pretty darn cool . They assured me that they would be fine , " We're mountain people ! ". And they are, they live and work in the mountains of Switzerland. They arrived at the boat at the appointed time before the sun , dressed in quality ski clothing. True to form, they were not a bit cold. I was impressed !
I've been mostly switched over to my other seasonal carpentry mode. But glad to go if the crew is keen, and they were. Game on !
They both just loved the whole thing, and caught a chum each.
These two have been exploring across Canada in a rental RV, starting in Montreal, and they had fishing for Pacific salmon on the got- to- do list. Keep the adventure going !
Today's trip produced no chums. They have been very moody lately, as chums can sometimes be when they are migrating by. But a few Orcas came by us, which were appreciated . I don't know if those hunters were looking for seals, or looking for salmon as we were.
There are lovely trails made to see the enhanced spawning channels on the Campbell River. This is one of the side channels with pink salmon . The chinooks stay out in the main stem in deeper and more turbulent water. It's the end of September and a lot of the fish are in, but the chums arrive last.
Look closely to see how many you can spot.
After a little while you get an eye for seeing these fish. The nearest one here looks like he is looking back.
Janis and Lexi get reacquainted with the waters off of the south end of Quadra Island. Good times .
Betty phoned to arrange things, as she does every year. She has a summer home on Quadra and has been coming up, from California or Hawaii, with her family since, .. let's not count. So while we were fishing, Janis was recalling fishing around here when she was a little girl, and Alexis had even made some of those trips too, they have been friends for so long.
Both of those fish were very good size immature chinooks, with tiny eggs inside. We often call those kinds of chinooks " winter springs ". Springs because Canadians often call chinooks Springs, named for the early run types into the big rivers like the Fraser and Columbia. There are so many run-timing types of chinooks it gets complicated. These are called winters because they winter over, and are the only salmon species fished for in winter. So these, caught just a day after the equinox, are Autumn Winter Springs. That sounds crazy, but a local angler would know exactly what you mean.
The Chinook return to the Campbell/Quinsam was very good this year and the Tyee Club had an excellent season.
I zigged some before I zagged. The fish did not hold in the south spots they way they have in the previous several years, and it took me a while to give up my favourite spots to go into the Tyee Pool with the rest. Fishing can be different from year to year. I'm looking forward to next year.
Jack and Margie made a second quick trip from California this season. Jack was up earlier with his annual group of friends and family in July. That bunch has been coming for 30 years.
There is a bit of spousal rivalry here. Margie has caught the biggest Tyee over the years. A print of that 36 pounder, guided by Scott, is on the wall in their home. She caught that from a rowboat in the Tyee Club rules. Jack hooked this beauty, without the downrigger, in shallow water. Zoom. In an area where I am more often rowing, we use the simple tackle. Again, not a Tyee, but exciting.
Again this year, I rejoined a large corporation that has been coming fishing in this corner of the world since the mid-1980s when I first fished with them,. In recent years, they have been staying at Dent Island Lodge . I'm just putting up a few photos .
Anne and Billie Ann are back ! Anne goes back decades in salmon fishing around here. Billie Ann has been up to join her friend several times in recent years. I remember fishing with Anne's husband's company group way back in the 1980s. Her longtime guide Scott has retired and I'm keeping the flow going.
After experiencing several different lodges over time, they are at Sonora for three days and loving it !
Anne had to deal with a foot issue, but she got her stride in the fishing department. Those two produced a lot of laughs !
Billie Ann caught her limit of two chinooks one morning, so we went looking for a coho in Bute Inlet, away from other boats. And what a great coho to catch ! Fishing close behind the boat with a direct line, no downrigger. So exciting !
This photo of a sea lion eating a salmon is taken right from the Sonora dock.
Here is a mother seal nursing her big baby. She has just the right camouflage colour for these rocks.