At the break of dawn I headed out to the pier at Painter’s Lodge. The water was calm and the air was cool. I was greeted by my guide, Joe Watson, who was going to teach me the traditional technique of Tyee Fishing. This is the purest form of fishing. There are no motors involved and I am fully responsible for setting my own hook and reeling my fish in without any help from my guide.
HISTORY OF TYEE FISHING
In 1910, a boat builder named, Ned Painter, built beautiful cedar plank boats. His oar boats quickly became popular among the sport fishermen for their ability to carry heavy loads and handle the choppy waters at the mouth of the Campbell River.
The Tyee Club was then established out of Campbell River by a few men who wanted to celebrate and protect the Canadian salmon species by using traditional fishing methods. In 1925, the club was officially created with special regulations and limitations for members to make fishing more challenging. The anglers row out in classic row boats because motor power boats are prohibited in the Tyee pools between July 15 to September 15.
The Tyee Club’s objectives are:
1. Fostering the interest in Canada’s Chinook Salmon.2. Emphasizing the ideals of sportsmanship 3. Standardizing fishing tackle, encouraging young people into the craft of guiding and good sportsmanship.
ANGLER’S SKILL SET
Salmon that are over 30 lbs are given the name “Tyee.” In short, the definition of Tyee Fishing is fishing for salmon that weighs 30 lbs or more in the Tyee pools on an oar boat. There are several regulations that the Tyee Club have put in place. Tyee anglers use a rod that is between 6 to 9 feet long and the line must have the breaking strength of 20 pounds or less. All fish must be caught on a single barbless hook with an artificial lure. It is up to the angler to single-handedly set the hook and reel in the fish. The guide cannot help or touch the rod as he is there only to keep the boat in a good position for the angler. He can assist in netting the fish and answer any questions the angler might have.