This was a highly anticipated episode for Angelo and Pete.
Backing up about a year ago, a gentleman named Jamie Turko from Destiny River Adventures contacted Fish’n Canada to see if we would be interested in filming a Salmon show in Campbell River BC. He guaranteed us this would be different from anything we had shot in the past. Of course, we were all ears with a definite perked interest.
Once Jamie gave us the “adventure” aspect of what Destiny does, we were immediately sold.
Jamie and the crew at Destiny River Adventures really know their stuff.
JUMPING IN WITH BOTH FEET, AND A WET SUIT
Jamie and his crew take outdoor adventurers to an access point up the Campbell River via a bus, they drop in white water rafts, the clients then load into the rafts enjoying the spectacular scenery of the upper Campbell. Now so far it sounds nice and all but honestly a person can pretty much find a river rafting trip wherever there’s fast water. The difference with Destiny River is once you are finished with the “oohs and aahs” viewing the scenery, the next step is to jump into the river wearing a wetsuit, lifejacket, snorkel and mask, and then literally go swimming with tens of thousands of Salmon!
Ang and Pete have done their share of scuba diving, snorkeling and white water rafting so in order to impress them, one needs to be on the top of their game with something out of the ordinary. Long story short, they were more than impressed. The reality is, any person that can swim just out of arms reach from wild gorgeous river-run Salmon, can’t help but be impressed.
“It’s something you have to experience in order to really get the picture” says Ang “fortunately for the Fish’n Canada TV audience, we have some pretty amazing underwater footage in this episode that should open some eyes and at least give people an idea of what’s happening under the surface of the Campbell”
Of course our boys didn’t just go out west for a rafting/snorkeling tour. With that many fish in the river… next was fish’n time!
The upper section of the Campbell where Pete and Ang snorkeled is a fly fishing only area. For Anglo it was a no-brainer since he’s done a fair share of fly fishing especially during his youth. Pete however… not so much. This would be his first time with a fly rod and reel (by the way he didn’t tell anyone until he landed his first fish).
AN AMAZING PLACE TO PRACTICE THE ART OF FLY FISHING
“I’ve seen guys fly fish all my life so I knew the basics of what to do” said Pete “I started with short roll casts and eventually moved on to regular fly casting. Luckily by fishing all my life it was a pretty easy learning curve. My biggest concern was which side I needed the reel on!”
Now you would think that with thousands upon thousands of Pink Salmon in the system, it would be as easy and cast strip and set the hook. Not so! Once the boys found the feeding fish, their next step was landing them. They lost loads of Pinks before finally starting to bank them. Once they found the right area with aggressively feeding fish, it was game on!
NOT THE ONLY VISITORS TO THE CAMPBELL RIVER
The main key to getting the fish to bite was using a fly that was the perfect weight. Colour seemed to matter as well but weight was the all important factor. They used small flies with weighted bead heads and then added weighted wrapping around the body of the fly to keep it close to bottom.
“These Pinks wouldn’t move too much to snatch in our presentations” says Ang ‘ so we literally drifted them right into the fish’s wheelhouse”.
An added attraction to fishing the Campbell in the fall for Pinks is Black Bear encounters. At any given moment, Bears could and probably will come wandering along the river banks in search of an easy meal of fatty Salmon. As long as anglers let the bears know well in advance of a close encounter that they are present with the odd “hey Bear”, the animals will for the most part ignore humans and keep scrounging for an easy Salmon dinner… or breakfast… or lunch.
Back to the boys fishing, by the days end they had more than enough Pink Salmon and for a show.
There was one more thing that Ang and Pete wanted to try and that was to try and become members of the Tyee Club, an honor that not many have received.
There is a section of the river designated for anglers to try and become a member. By the way, a Tyee is a Chinook Salmon 30 pounds or larger.
Tyee fishing here is different. After signing up for the day’s attempt, fishing is done quietly in small, classic row boats. No motors are allowed in the Tyee pool. The rower will slip the boat into the currents and eddies of the pool, keeping a basic plug or spoon beating in the current. The angler must stay focused on the action of the lure as it is felt in the hand as much as being seen by the beating of the rod tip.
With the slightest change in the beat, the hook must be set, fast and hard. The battle with a Pacific Chinook Salmon is on – anything can happen!
If the fish is boated, and weighs 30 pounds or more, the catch is recorded and the angler becomes a member of the Tyee Club!
Did our boys make the club? Watch the show to find out.
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to today’s amazing Salmon adventure we first flew from Toronto to the Comox Valley Airport in the province of British Columbia.
From there we drove west on Ryan road and then north on South Island Highway to Campbell River, aptly named the Salmon Capital Of The World.
From there we drove on Island Highway to the office at Destiny River Adventures.