Flash Back Fridays

THE TYEE CAMP AT GOLD RIVER 1961

Jim with a big one!

Jim with a big one!

We had a fishing camp of three tent cabins at the mouth of the Gold River from 1961 until 1964. Every fish that was caught was weighed and counted by Stan Sharcott, a Fish- eries employee. We were leas- ing the land off the nearby Indian band for $300 a year. Our brochure stated at the time: The Department of Fisheries will verify our statement that this is the best place to catch Tyee Salmon (spring salmon) weighing over 30 pounds in the Pacific Northwest. Through our L odge is the only way you can fish this area. The road from Campbell River to Gold River is closed to private cars. We can have you there by boat and bus in one hour and you can return to the comforts of the L odge in the evening or stay at our tent camp to catch the very late and very early fishing. We will look after you there. Food, bedding, boat, guide and tackle are provided. After trout fishing, plan to spend two days in the West Coast/ Gold River area and catch sea run cut-throat and summer steelhead as well as Tyee.

Sam Johnson, a native fisherman, was our main guide. As long as he was sober he could catch the big ones like no one else. The Tyee Camp was wiped out in a tsunami in 1964. We lost our $300 a year leasing arrangement with the natives because powers greater than ours were going to build a pulp mill close by, at the head of Muchalat Inlet. The pulp mill construction was started in 1965 as a partnership between East Asiatic Company and Canadian International Paper. The natives were treated in a shabby fashion by big busi- ness. They lived for years beside the mill and had poisonous particulate matter and smoke splayed out where they lived. Many became ill and demoralized. More than once Jim went to bat for them to complain. It was not until years later that a new reserve was built, but it was miles inland. Gone was their traditional fishing spot. The waters were polluted and made unattractive. Today, in 2009, the mill is closed and the site ruined