Pontoon fishing boats ready to drift the Salmon River. Don Daniels photo

Pontoon fishing boats ready to drift the Salmon River. Don Daniels photo

Well worth the drive to Sayward for fishing and cooling off in the Salmon River

In my weekly drive to Sayward, I get a chance to see some people who have lived in the valley for a number of years.

They have memories of growing up and are eager to share stories about family and fishing. The Salmon River had a reputation of some crazy steelhead fishing and many anglers who fished in the ’60s are getting older and really don’t fish anymore but family members can get out, have a swim in the river and cool off during the hot weather. Each year there is a local travel group who visits Sayward and will take time to swim in the river, have lunch and continue on to another destination.

This time of year, the pinks are running and the wharf at Kelsey Bay is loaded with young and older anglers who throw out Buzz Bomb lures, targeting the pink salmon which are in the area. One thing about fishing, the wind can blow up and you have to wait it out.

A number of campers at Kelsey Bay spend the entire summer in their campers and they see whales, cruise ships and they go fishing for salmon and halibut. At the right time, you can fish for perch right off the rocks for fun. Cleaning tables are there and you can clean your catch before heading home.

Randy from Manitoba and his wife are longtime residents and I get a chance to talk with them and get weekly updates of what is happening for fishing and news around the dock. I gave Randy a fishing magnet to have some fun and see what he can find in the water.

He managed to get a chunk of angle iron out of the water and someone had lost a fishing net. The net was brought up on the dock. A local diver who was in the area mentioned that below the dock and under the fish cleaning table were a number of pink jelly. At times, big halibut will feed on fish entrails that get released into the water.

A number of fish hatchery workers will fish the Salmon River for catch and-release trout and salmon. They will put the pontoon boats in the water and get out to areas off the beaten path. The Salmon River can be drifted and, at times during low water, you have to portage around log jams. The drive to Sayward from Campbell River is about 45 minutes.

You can get gas, groceries and lunch at the junction. The Salmon River Inn is not operating at the moment. The Cable Cook House is now a visitor Centre, maps of the area can be obtained there.

There are a number of lakes around Sayward and the challenge is driving on the active logging roads. North of the junction there is a rest area at Keta Lake, right on the highway, though access to shore is very limited.

The Eve River is another spot to try your hand at fly-fishing but this time of year can be very busy with anglers coming from Campbell River.

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