By Steve Joseph
In salmon fishing-crazed British Columbia, Nootka Island is right in the heart of the action.
Just off the west coast of Vancouver Island, some of B.C.’s best fishing starts right from the port here. Among the top guide services and lodges in this area is Nootka Wilderness Lodge (250-850-1500; nootkawildernesslodge.com), which is run by Brian and Kelly Gage and their kids. We caught up with Brian Gage for more on their business.
Steve Joseph How long has the lodge been around?
Brian Gage The current Nootka Wilderness Lodge has been in Nootka Sound since 1994.
SJ How long have you and your wife been in the fishing industry?
BG Kelly and I have been involved in the fishing industry for 30-plus years now. I started guiding when I was 16.
SJ Is this a total family affair?
BG NWL is a family-run lodge with a capacity for 26 guests, keeping it quaint and personal. I am at the lodge for every group, and that’s really what I enjoy about the business: meeting new people and getting to know them. We like to say, “Arrive as guests and leave as a friends.” Ninety percent of our guests return to NWL, something we are very proud of!
SJ What area do you fish?
BG We have a fantastic area for fishing. Nootka Wilderness Lodge is located in the heart of Nootka Sound, with salmon fishing only minutes away on calm, protected waters. We also have the open ocean with an amazing coastline of kelp beds and rock structure for our more adventurous fishing guests. Our bottomfishing for halibut, red snapper and lingcod is also world class and a “guaranteed” catch for those who enjoy action-packed bottomfishing.
SJ Tell us about your fleet and the lodge.
BG Our lodge, our staff, our location and our fleet are what sets us apart from other lodges. Our fleet of boats is primarily Grady Whites, ranging from 24 to 28 feet in length. We also have one 40-foot offshore vessel for larger groups that want to stick together. All of our boats are covered and have twin four-stroke power and trolling motors. All of our boats have bathrooms onboard. Our 10,000-square-foot lodge features sprawling decks, private bathrooms, spacious rooms, a lounge area and bar. It’s a floating lodge tucked in a picturesque bay with a southwest exposure. We enjoy beautiful sunsets over Vancouver Island’s coastal mountains into the early evening hours. We actually see very little rain throughout our season, so don’t forget your sunscreen!
SJ In one word describe the whole experience.
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