Fishing Boats of the BC Coast

Fishing Boats of the BC Coast

Fishing boats do not have anything to do with lighthouses you say!

Well they do, because without fishing boats (plus vessels of other types) and the men that man them we would have no need for manned lighthouses, so fishing boats are important for lighthouses and the British Columbia (BC) economy.

Trolling, Seining, Gillnetting – don’t know one fishboat or fishing method from the next? Well take a look at this page from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It will help clarify things.

Commercial Salmon Gear Types in the Pacific Region   Fisheries and Oceans Canada


One type of fishboat that was most interesting to me was the troller as every year they came in limited numbers to the area of the BC coast around my lighthouse at McInnes Island to fish. We got to know some of the skippers really well – one being Bruce Arundel of the Lyndona.

The FV Lyndona was mentioned in my article of a year ago Return of the Fishboats.

cockpitThis article, the Trolling Cockpit, gives nomenclature and photos of the equipment used on a troller – it is definitely not sports fishing! It is a lot of heavy work.




A new book released by BC book publisher Harbour Press, and the reason for this article, is called Fishing the Coast – A life on the water by Don Pepper. It is available from Amazon.com.

A book review from Amazon states:

Here, at last, is a book about commercial salmon fishing, by well-known fisherman and industry analyst Dr. Don Pepper–one that is sure to become a West Coast classic. Pepper fished salmon as a crewman every season from 1953 to 1969. After a hiatus in the ’70s, he returned to fishing in the ’80s, balancing his life at sea with a career as a professional economist, before finally retiring in 2007. Over the years he experienced technological change from table seiners, with nets pulled using muscle power, to the Puretic power block, to the modern drum seiner. These were profound changes that would not only affect the lives of individual fishermen, but the balance of the world’s oceans and economies.

Fishing for a living is dangerous. Boats sink, men are swept out to sea, lines snap and sometimes just standing up is a chore. Nature conjures up storms and rocks and reefs; overloaded boats capsize and tired men fall asleep at the wheel or fall overboard. And yet it is pleasurable too, a world of catastrophic beauty, camaraderie, and sometimes financial reward.

Pepper captures the fishing life of an era now past in a lively and informative manner. From catching Adams River sockeye in Johnstone Strait (legal) to pit-lamping herring (illegal), Pepper explains how, and in fascinating detail. Mainly, as one old salt proclaimed, “You have to know where the fish aren’t.”


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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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