Ken and Jim Sweet with a 12 pound spring caught on March 31 and they were greeted by seals at the dock. Photo by Don Daniels

Old fishing guide shacks disappearing from shoreline

By Don Daniels

Like monuments they stand beaten by the wind, rain and saltwater reminding us of the past years of fishing history from Comox to Campbell River.

Old fishing lodges in some cases have transitioned into condos or apartment buildings; old structures get torn down or burnt down and new ones are being built.

In most cases, a guide shack was on the property and that is where the fishing activity begins. Customers were directed to the shack and the guides would outfit the anglers with rods and reels and lifejackets, organize a boat and go fishing for the day. The American tourists would come to fish and even can salmon and oil companies were sending people to fish when times were good financially. A number of the guys working as guides at the time have retired and some are still guiding on a regular basis. Back in the day, you could drive from Courtenay to Campbell River and a number of guide shacks were scattered on the shoreline and there were accounts of a lady with a sign signing up tourists for salmon fishing with those operating and she made a percentage of the bookings.

Today, you would have to look very carefully; the shacks are gone and you may see a series of concrete slabs where boats were launched and headed out to the fishing grounds. In Campbell River, one of the fishing shack locations is now a coffee shop and another location is the parking lot area behind the Anchor Inn. The guide shack has gone through various owners and the old track and concrete is still visible but the building has been torn down and a new building now houses gym equipment.

If you want to go salmon fishing there are a few things to note: First of all, you need a new annual fishing licence, know the regulations and remember, we are still in a state of social distancing. Weather permitting, a number of boats are getting out and salmon 18 and 20 pounds are being hooked in area 13.

At times, a lone angler will get out and simply drop prawn traps and crab pots and later in the day, pull up the catch. Reports coming in are good.

A few weeks back, prior to the coronavirus situation, people were in a holding pattern waiting to see things progress. Some local fishing guides have spent money purchasing new or repair boats and the customers have delayed booking a fishing trip and at times even cancelling. Contract fishing guides who work in other areas are in a holding pattern, waiting for the green light to start working.

Since I can work from home, I dug out some boxes of fly-tying material and I will pick out some items and do a report of old fly-tying tools from the late 50s.

Let’s all keep our distance and hope that we can get out fishing very soon.