Twenty-five years ago, a phone rang somewhere in the offices of Kenmore Air. The then marketing director picked up the phone and answered my query, “Where can I go to catch a lot of fish?”
He suggested Blackfish Lodge. It was a new lodge and he didn’t know much about it personally. But, the pilots were reporting lots of salmon had been coming back from this remote BC destination. I booked my trip.
Within moments of our plane easing into the dock, I was stuck by the lodge’s intimate beauty. Floating among lush, rugged landscape, it offers access to some of the best saltwater and freshwater fishing in the world. That trip, the fish were indeed biting.
Over the years there have been countless salmon hooked and, let’s be honest, some lost. There have been great meals and wonderful people met. There have been those who have learned to fly-fish and those who have perfected their techniques, jaw-dropping vistas and never-ending shows of coastal animal life. And somewhere in there, I became a minority owner.
Fast forward to 2015, our kids are married and might start having kids of their own. We’ve been to graduations and funerals, gone through break-ups and job changes. We’ve lived. Through it all, Blackfish Lodge has always been intertwined with our family’s life.
Cousins, nieces, nephews, sisters, parents, and friends have all fallen under the lodge’s spell. Rarely does a family get-together occur without talk of the lodge. Rarely do our daughters (now in the latter part of their 20’s) and their husbands miss a chance to pester us about “When are we going up to the lodge again?” Even though only one out of the three girls actually fishes, the trips to the lodge when they were younger established a permanent spot in their hearts for this wonderful and unique place.
Maybe it’s the startling exhalation of an unseen orca whale surfacing a few yards away on a foggy morning, or feeding the eagles. Perhaps it’s the otters that live under the lodge or the bears prowling the shoreline, turning rocks over in search of a snack. It might be the talking herring at “the hot spot,” or the adrenaline rush when, after hours of trance-like trolling, the fishing rod suddenly bucks like something possessed and chaos ensues.
It could be the stunning flight from Seattle up the Inside Passage. One day we were near the colorfully-named “Mortgage Lifter Bay” and my wife had hooked the first fish of her entire life. Two and a half hours later, just as we got it near the surface, the hooks pulled out of what was well over a 150 pound halibut. That was truly something else.
But to say it’s any one of those things would diminish it. It’s all of those things that make this our second home.
Author: Rick Groman
A Seattle native, Rick Groman’s been fishing at Blackfish Lodge for more than 25 years. He and his lovely wife, Bronwyn, remain captivated by its remote beauty and intimacy. So too, do their daughters Rachel, Kinsey and Emily.
The entire family regularly fishes together and when they do, Rick can’t be without potato chips. They’re his go-to fishing snack.