Wildlife Report 2016 In Review

In 2016 we enjoyed another great season with excellent Grizzly Bear and whale sightings in both Knight Inlet and Johnstone Strait.

Bear viewing was great right from the start of our season in late May until the end in mid October.  In the spring we were able to view the bears feeding on sedge grass in the estuary and various marine creatures such as shore crab, mussels and barnacles.  “Bella” is a long time resident female grizzly bear in the Glendale Cove area of Knight Inlet.  Last year we saw several male bears showing interest and low and behold this spring she emerged with three young cubs of the year.  Lenore was also out with her yearling cub and many other bears greeted us on the shores and lower river this spring.  The salmon were very early this year with pink salmon entering the river by mid July.  Some of our July guests were lucky to view bears feeding on salmon ahead of schedule.  We began viewing the bears from the viewing stands on August 25 and there were an incredible number of bears feeding on the pink salmon.  The viewing platforms remained strong right through the season.  We had more rain this season then we have had in a few years.  For the salmon this is a good thing as the river was in great shape for the spawning fish which should make for good salmon returns in the future.

On the Kakweiken River trip we had some great Grizzly Bear viewing, particularly from late July through August.  The salmon were early here as well and so were the bears.  Pink numbers were so-so, but there was a huge return of Chum Salmon which are much bigger.  Emily was spotted often with her new cub as well as Burtrum, Andy, Cathy, Roy and a few others.  There was some excellent black bear viewing on the way to the river when the tide was out and frequent humpback whale sightings too.

It was also a great year for marine mammals in both Knight Inlet and Johnstone Strait. The resident (fish eating) Orca showed up in early July and were around until early October feasting on salmon.  The transient (mammal feeding orca) were around quite a bit this year and we were lucky to see them hunting both harbour seals and white sided dolphins on several occasions . The Humpback Whales were amazing once again and were very abundant throughout the entire season.  As usual there were large numbers of humpbacks in Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound.  Last year saw a huge increase of humpbacks in Knight Inlet and this year there were even more.  One of the nice things this season was to see a lot of whales returning to the Inlet with new calves.  These young whales will likely return to these same waters year after year.  On several occasions we hade Humpbacks right in front of the lodge.   In addition White Sided Dolphins, Stellar Sea Lions and Porpoise were common sightings. For the avid birders there was plenty to view as well. Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Storm Petrels, Surf Scoters, and Osprey to name a few.

Our guides and cook (Glen, Cam and Madeline) will all be back again in 2017.   After many years of service George will be retiring to spend time with his grandkids.  We thank him for his many years of guiding and memorable experiences.  Joe will also be returning, helping out behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly.  We look forward to another great season and hopefully we will see many of you in the coming season. Angus.