On the closest edge of the continental shelf; one can find massive schools of migratory salmon and halibut. These fish come up onto the pristine gravel shoals that are bountiful with bait fish, desired structure and current.
The perfect set up for successful salmon angling adventures and bottom jigging; all naturally and effortlessly provided… Welcome to Kyuquot Sound.
With a nickname like “Salmon Highway”, I was eager as ever to go on my first trip to this beautiful oasis.
Kyuquot is a complex of coastal inlets, bays and islands off northwest Vancouver Island.
After my third year with Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association (GVSEA), I was extended the opportunity to spend time at the legendary Murphy’s Sportfishing Lodge, nestled in the tiny village of Kyuquot. The Murphy’s location has over eight hundred feet of water front and comfortably sleeps up to 35 guests. With new bunk house additions and a recently acquired “Provincially Licensed & Inspected Sport Caught Fish Processing Facility”, the lodge is truly the cat’s meow.
My first adventure to this angler’s paradise was back in August 2016. After a half day’s travel to Fair Harbour, the GVSEA gang and I were received at the dock by Murphy’s fleet of experienced guides. After a short and scenic cruise to the lodge, I was already fascinated by the sights that this coastal gem had to offer. The sun glistened off the water like diamonds, showcasing countless sea-otters playing and rafting together like log booms. Pristine forests lined the coast and made me feel like I was the first person to encounter this magical destination – appearing untouched and unhindered by man. Passing emerging rocks and islands on the way to the lodge had me feeling like I’d been transported to a “west coast Hawaii”; as the waves rhythmically crashed and broke over the dark jagged edges.
As the Pursuit’s outboards slowed down to a low rumble, a number of little cabins and homes came into view. We entered the “no wake zone” and from a distance I could see the renowned lodge that I would get to call home for the next several days. Once docked, we were greeted by the friendly dock team and Marilyn Murphy (David Murphy’s sister and business partner) whom welcomed everyone with open arms and advised us with the evening’s plan; an incredible gourmet dinner followed by a “night-bite” troll just out of the sound.
Locals and well-seasoned island anglers, including David Murphy himself, are the backbone to this well-established business. They run a tight ship here based on customer service, unforgettable experience and comfortable accommodation. A great deal of anglers visiting the lodge are returning patrons and look forward to their annual stay here in Kyuquot, and it’s downright easy to see why.
The first morning fish is always extra exciting, as one either wakes up to the sound of their pre-set cellphone alarm, or to the cheerful “Good morning!” accompanied by a few solid knocks on the wood door. Springing out of bed, I always managed to be ready in less than five minutes. Vibrating with anticipation and ready for the grand day that lay ahead.
With a quick warm breakfast in the dining hall and a fresh mug of coffee in tow, we all head down to the dock where the idling outboards gently resonate through the cool crisp air. Each group meets with their designated guide and is graciously packed a cooler lunch with sandwiches and snacks for the day. Each boat sets out on their adventure, discussing which location and species they will be targeting first within the hour, planning on a fun and successful journey off the wild west.
Looking back at my two trips to Kyuquot, it’s hard to identify my favourite part of the experience. However, I would have to say the variety of aquatic species and rolling offshore swells never cease to amaze me. Also, the amount of coastal wildlife here is beyond breathtaking. From sea lions, sea otters, monstrous jellyfish, soaring albatross to bears and more – there is an array of wilderness sights for one’s eyes’.
After a long and eventful day of fishing, the Murphy fleet makes it back to the lodge one by one. As guests, you are greeted again at the dock where your day’s catch is reviewed and processed to your liking. Refreshments and daily soup du jour await anglers on the dock, where stretched and true fish stories are shared amongst one another. To top off these world class fishing days, another outstanding meal is prepared for guests in the dining room, where visitors from far and wide continue to mingle and soak in their daily happenings.
Leaving Kyuquot is always so difficult. It instantly becomes that “home away from home” and something about it just captures a piece of your heart. With fish bags and coolers in tow, guests are escorted back to the boats and transported back to Fair Harbour where vehicles had remained.
As soon as I leave, I start planning as to when I can come back. Naturally this west coast destination leaves a lasting impression for most and Murphy’s Sportfishing Lodge simply sets the bar high.
Thank you again to the whole team for your well noted efforts and hospitality.
Until we meet again, tight lines!