Wildlife Report 2022 In Review

2022 was a wonderful season, after being more or less shut down by covid.  It was wonderful to welcome guests and staff back to the lodge and enjoy some great wildlife sightings.

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.  Our steady viewing continued, but the real treat was starting to see good numbers of salmon entering the river systems by late July.  After a few years of mediocre runs this was great news.  We took guests to the viewing platforms starting on August 25th and had some great sightings of bears actively feeding on salmon.  During mid September we had some very dry weather.  This led to many of the fish holding in the deeper pools and although our sightings remained good they did become a bit more sporadic.  Thankfully we received some rain later in the month and had some great viewing into early October.  We are hopeful with some well fed bears this season we should be seeing more cubs emerging next spring..

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 decent and we also saw good number of Coho Salmon.  There was some phenomenal viewing at the falls with “Moira” staging in the chute area.  Later on in the season we saw a lot of “Andy” and a few other bears that we are not familiar with.  After a couple years of not being out consistently it was very rewarding to see some bears that we haven’t come across in a couple of years.  The bears in this system looked to be in excellent condition by the season end, which is great news moving forward.

It was also a great year for marine mammals in both Knight Inlet and Johnstone Strait. The resident (fish eating) Orca showed up in mid July and were around until late September 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.  On several occasions we had Humpbacks right in front of the lodge, as well as Humpbacks in the Inlet, particularly in late September.   In addition White Sided Dolphins, Stellar Sea Lions and Porpoise were common sightings.  Big news this year were the rafts of Sea Otters we viewed near Queen Charlotte Strait.  In the past Sea Otters have been an occasional sighting, but as their numbers improve it seems like we are starting to have more “resident otters” in the area.  This is great news as they are a key species in preserving kelp forests.  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.

Melinda, Molly, Felix and myself are all looking forward to 2023.  Looking forward to getting some projects completed around the lodge in the spring.  We are working on some trails around the lodge, as well as some added dock space and room upgrades.  Hope to see you guys in 2023

Angus Reid (owner)

Grizzly bears looking for dry land

Grizzly Bear

The same grizzlies from the December 28th post have left the water and are heading for higher ground. You can tell that this is a mid August grizzly by the lack of “belly”.  By the early October and more than a month of eating salmon her legs will appear much shorter.  Grizzlies can increase their body weight by one third to one half before they den up for the winter.



Killer Whales – aka Orca

Killer whales

The orcas in our whale watching area arrive in late June and stay through mid-October. The most common orca / killer whales in the area are the residents. Residents or fish eating orca live in large family groups called pods, with multiple pods making up a population or community. The pods consist of multiple related matrilines, with each matriline often containing 3 or more generations. Each pod is led by the head female or matriach, as orca are a female dominated species. The matriarch tends to be the oldest female in the extended family. Her experience and knowledge guides the pod, and the matriach teaches younger whales about everything from parenting skills, feeding tactics, and navigation through the vast territories that they cover. Marc & Solange and family from France provided the photo and I know enjoyed their time with the orca.



Grizzlies Cool off


Grizzly and cub

All grizzly bear trips from the lodge prior to August 25th view bears along the shore of Knight Inlet and in the Glendale River estuary. Mother grizzlies start to bring their cubs to these areas in late May and stay for the salmon that arrive in late August. Grizzly cubs are naturally playful and if there is more than one the mother gets some rest as they play together but in this case it is all about mom. If there is not much shore remaining then lets play in the water.  Can you think of a better way to cool off in August? Thanks again to Marc & Solange from France for the photo.

Black Bear Swimming

Black Bear Swimming


On the first evening in the lodge guest go for a tour to look for black bear. This wildlife trip lasts a little over an hour and we normally see eagles, seals and black bear. However all tours from the lodge are by water and therefore we look for black bears. This was one of our lucky days.  I remember, coming back from whale watching we had stopped for a few minutes to look at a fish farm and the other boat got about five minutes ahead of us.  They must have just passed through this narrow channel when we came upon large male black bear swimming between islands. This was a fat bear because it was swimming high in the water in the early spring only their head is above water. Thanks to Marc & Solange from France for the photo.

Grizzlies Share Bounty

Grizzly Claws

Grizzly bears are omnivores, and their diet can vary widely. They may eat seeds, berries, roots, grasses, fungi, deer, elk, fish, dead animals and insects. In the late summer and early fall, grizzlies enter hyperphagia, a period of 2-4 months when they intensify their calorie intake to put on weight for winter denning. During this time period they can gain more than three pounds a day! Because of their diet grizzly bears have long claws between 3 and 5 inches, which are used for digging, picking fruits, catching prey and this case for holding salmon for their cub. Thanks to Lindy Taylor for another great picture.


Grizzly Cub Waiting

Grizzly cub Waiting Dry

Not all grizzly bears enjoy the water especially the first year cubs. In the spring along the shore of Knight Inlet the mother grizzlies often have a hard time coaxing the cubs into the water. At times we have seen them swim away form the cubs forcing them into the water. This cub is about nine months old and still prefers to stay dry while waiting for mother to provide food. Tomorrow’s post shows that food.

Grizzly Bear Enjoying a Salmon

Grizzly with Salmon

Great photo from Lindy Taylor of a Grizzly Bear having just caught a salmon and looking for a safe place to eat. The abundance of salmon in the area reduces the fighting between grizzlies but it pays to be cautious. Most bears just move to the bank of the river to eat however some use one of the many rocks located in the river. It is estimated that there are between 45 and 50 grizzlies that come to the Glendale River to take advantage of the salmon that spawn in late August through October.


Grizzly Bears Fatten for Hibernation

Two Grizzly Eating

“Grizzly bears feeding on Salmon. Photo taken from the viewing platform.”
Lynn is correct that the grizzly bears seems to have the catching and eating part down pretty good.  Some grizzly become selective in what part of the salmon they will eat.  Some prefer only the eggs, others the brain or skin and others “everything”.  The parts they tend to eat often are determined by how close they are to hibernation.


Humpback Whale for Lunch

Visiting Humpback Whale


“This photo was taken as we sat in the boat with George having lunch in the Inside Passage.
I can only describe this as the most perfect setting I have ever had lunch in. Beautiful perfectly calm sea, stunning scenery and total silence, but for the sound of the Humpbacks surfacing & blowing SO close to the boat.
Yet more Humpbacks near the boat!!”

Lynn is right but the key to “great pictures” is patience.  On our whale watching day we often sit and have lunch in the same areas that the humpback whales are feeding.  By being still in one area (motors turned off) we pose no threat or danger and end up with some incredible memories.