Painter's Lodge
Courtesy of Golf Vancouver Island
Painter's Lodge is the Pebble Beach of fishing resorts.
By
updated 9/5/2008 11:00:35 AM ET 2008-09-05T15:00:35

As rain pelted Storey Creek Golf Club, emptying the parking lot and transforming a round of golf into a test of endurance, the group of 16 still out on the fairways kept turning to each other with one thought.

"I hope the weather's better when we're fishing tomorrow."

And you thought golfers' minds never ventured far from the fairways?

Think again. If you love to golf and fish, Vancouver Island is one of the best places in the world to practice both. Vancouver Island's golf offers an interesting mix of courses — including one designed by Jack Nicklaus (Bear Mountain and another soon-to-be-opened layout by Greg Norman Cliffs Over Maple Bay — and Canadian countryside.

Its fishing is even better.

Vancouver Island has what's widely regarded as some of the best salmon fishing in the world along the Campbell River. And that's just one of the spots on this island where you can do big-time fishing. It's possible to stay right in downtown Victoria — the hip, happening, water-surrounded city that serves as Vancouver Island's capital and tourist hub — and take a half-day fishing trip while still having plenty of time to play golf courses like Olympic View.

You can take fishing charters right from Victoria's picturesque harbor.

Vancouver Island's golf tourism center calls these fishing and golf combination trips Fins & Skins. You'll just call them fun. You may also find your priorities suddenly changing. Like that large group at Storey Creek golfing through the rain with little moaning, only hoping that their fishing trip isn't spoiled.

Vancouver Island + salmon fishing = Painter's Lodge
Those 16 guys at Storey Creek were staying at Painter's Lodge, a fishing retreat that's world renowned among serious anglers, one that attracted celebrities like John Wayne and Bob Hope back in the day.

"If you know about fishing, you know Painter's Lodge," fishing guide Andrew Woods said. "It's a pretty special place."

Painter's Lodge is fishing's version of Pebble Beach. Not that they're going to put on any airs. One of the best things about Painter's Lodge is how unpretentious it remains. This place is still firmly focused on fishing, first, foremost and always.

The setting for the lodge is striking, right on the Discovery Passage waterway with a long wooden dock leading right from the main building to the water. But no one feels the need to spruce up rooms with plush, high-thread-count sheets or a hulking HDTV.

Fishing Vancouver Island
Courtesy of Golf Vancouver Island
Fishing charters run right out of Victoria's harbor on Vancouver Island.

You're here to fish, and while you'll be comfortable, you'll also get a rustic feel. The rooms right near the aquatic center provide a great view of the dock and other guests getting into the 17-foot Boston Whalers (three seats, including one for the guide, and a motor) that are small enough to zoom into the tight spots where salmon run.

You don't have to be a diehard fisherman to fall in love with the scene, though, and you definitely don't have to watch those fishing competitions on ESPN.

"We do get a lot of guys who are going to fish and golf," said Andrew Gilchrist, the general manager at Storey Creek, the golf course that's closest to Painter's Lodge. "You'll get the big-time regular fishermen, the guys who are fishing a lot at home too. But you'll also get the golf lovers who just want to fish because they're in British Columbia and they want to try something different.

"A lot of times those golf guys cannot stop raving about what the fishing was like though. It's so different from what they're used to from every other golf trip."

Vancouver Island's fish/golf convenience
There are other destinations where you can golf and fish, of course. But there may not be another one where you can do this type of world-class salmon fishing with such ease on a golf trip.

Painter's Lodge supplies all the gear. All you have to do is go to that aquatic center at the resort to buy your fishing license (it's less than $15).

During prime salmon season (which is running right now), dock jams can be more common than tee-time rushes.

The difference is there's a lot of ocean. You're not going to have to wait for somebody else to finish fishing to take your shot.

Bear Mountain golf course
Chris Baldwin  /  WorldGolf.com
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Bear Mountain is one of the standout golf courses on Vancouver Island.
Of course, at Painter's Lodge sometimes you don't even have to be fishing to get a close encounter of the aquatic kind. Taking the water taxi across to Painter's Lodge's sister resort April Point (guests at either one get full use of the other's facilities), the captain of the tiny boat noticed some dolphins in the water nearby.

After checking with his six passengers to see if it was all right, the water taxi suddenly turned into a dolphin viewing excursion with the detour bringing the taxi within feet of jumping, playful dolphins.

Arriving at April Point brought a dinner sitting along the water in a setting romantic enough that one vacationing couple changed into a suit and tie and frilly dress.

"You golfers probably think this is roughing it," one guy cracked when he recognized a few golfers getting into their second bottle of wine.

Hey, nobody noticed the devout fishermen vacationers eating with their hands on the docks.

Besides, you're on Vancouver Island. The line between golfers and fishermen can blur quickly. So much so that you're playing through a downpour — more than happily, if that means the weather will be fine the next day on the boat.

For more information on Vancouver Island's Fins & Skins golf and fishing vacation options, visit call (866) 992-5566 or visit http://www.golfvancouverisland.ca/worldgolf/.

Photos: Vancouver, B.C., 2010

loading photos...
  1. Vancouver, British Columbia, played host to the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Albert Normandin / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A couple strolls through Stanley Park on a spring afternoon near the city's main boat marina. One of the city's most visited parks, visitors can also enjoy the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center and zoo at the park. (Joe Mcnally / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rowers glide past a line of yachts at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.It is said that in Vancouver, it is possible to ski in the morning, sail in the afternoon and take a sunset dip in the Pacific. (Mary Peachin / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Planning to soak up some art while in town? Consider staying at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which is located right behind the Vancouver Art Gallery. The hotel is located on the VIA Rail route for those who plan to travel to the city by train. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The Granville Island Public Market is perhaps the most well-known market in Vancouver. Dozens of vendors offer food-loving tourists and locals produce, seafood, meats, sweets and European speciatly foods. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. The steam-powered Gastown clock blows out clouds of steam during its hourly sounding of Westminister Chimes. Gastown is located in the northeast corner of Vancouver, and is known as the birthplace of the city. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is "acclaimed for its spectacular architecture and unique setting on the cliffs of Point Grey," its Web site proclaims. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Totem poles and other artifacts are on display at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The museum, founded in 1949, is world renowned for its collections. (Kevin Arnold / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. While in the city, check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. The bridge spans 450 feet across and is situated 230 feet above the Capilano River. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A totem pole decorates Stanley Park in Vancouver. The park covers about 1,000 acres, and offers residents and tourists a wealth of options, including walking, running or biking the 5.5-mile seawall path, a pitch-and-put golf course and more. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A young girl interacts with a sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium. Tickets for adults cost $22, $17 for seniors (65+) and youths (13-18), $14 for children (4-12) and kids get in free. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Pedestrians walk by Aritizia on Robson Street, the famous shopping street in Vancouver's west end. In the stretch of three blocks, tourists looking for retail therapy can find stores specializing in shoes, clothes, lingeri, candy, souvenirs and luggage, not to mention hair salons, currency exchanges and restaurants. (Christopher Herwig / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. The Library Square building in Vancouver houses the city's public library. (Danniele Hayes / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Patrons eat in the dining room of Six Acres, a pub and restaurant located in Gastown. Six Acres is "tucked in the oldest brick building in Vancouver," its Web site claims. (Christopher Herwig / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A traditional pagoda sits on the shore of a pond in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden in the downtown area of Vancouver. Though Canada's third largest city, Vancouver has historically been thought of as the "terminal city," the end of the line and the last remote town before the continent comes to an end at the Pacific Ocean. (Ross Barnett / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Granville Entertainment District is an area in Downtown Vancouver known for its vast assortment of bars, danceclubs and nightlife. The entertainment district is centered on a seven-block stretch of the Granville Mall and immediately surrounding streets. (Tourism Vancouver) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre was built in 1968, and was a gift from the lumber magnate to Vancouver's citizens. If you're visiting Vancouver on a Friday or Saturday night, you can catch laser shows to music from Green Day, Radiohead and Pink Floyd. (Christopher Herwig / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Olympic rings are illuminated in the harbor outside the Vancouver Convention Centre. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. The Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver is set on the waterfront of Vancouver. (Stephanie Lamy / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. The Richmond Oval, located south of Vancouver, served as the long-track speed skating venue for the 2010 Winter Games. (Ben Hulse / Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Skiers and snowboarders gather on top of Whistler Mountain. Whistler was the official alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic Games. (Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Norway's Johan Remen Evensensoars through the air during the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup skiing event in Whistler, British Columbia, in 2009. The venue was the site of ski jumping events during the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. (Darryl Dyck / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Cypress Mountain hosted the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. (Tourism B.C.) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Canada's Mellisa Hollingsworth zooms around a corner during the sixth training run for the World Cup skeleton race in Whistler, B.C., in 2009. (Frank Gunn / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. The Vancouver skyline, Burrard Inlet and Lion's Gate bridge is pictured at sunset. The Lion's Gate Bridge connects North and West Vancouver with downtown. The suspension bridge is 5,890 feet in length. (Robert Giroux / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments