Don’t assume fishing for King Salmon demands braving the rough seas. British Columbia’s Inside Passage is a breathtaking checkerboard of remote islands and protected waterways. At Sund’s Lodge, a fishing getaway is about a lot more than just fishing.
Located beneath the northern tip of Vancouver Island and tucked between two archipelago reserves, rests Sund’s Lodge. This luxury fishing destination is a getaway both the passionate angler and refined vacationer will love.
Owned and operated by husband-wife duo, Bruce and Lisa Barlean, the lodge is only accessible by boat or plane. Opened in 1984, the 38-acre spread on Malcolm Island is just across the water from Cormorant Island.
Between picking mattresses for their newly refurbished cabins and deciding between salmon or halibut for dinner, Bruce and Lisa shared some of their favorite bits about the lodge with me:
MC: Bruce, fishing’s not something new to you, right? You’ve been fishing for quite some time?
Bruce: Yes. My dad was a commercial fisherman. He founded Barlean’s Fishery in 1972. I first went out on the water for a few days when I was seven. But I started fishing full time when I was eight. We’d go out on the boats starting around the 4th of July. Then once school would start in September, I’d just go out on the weekends.
KA: What drew you two to Sund’s Lodge?
Bruce: I always dreamed of having a house on the water. Lisa always dreamed of having a home in the mountains. Sund’s Lodge gave us both the home we always dreamed of. We love living on a dead-end road with only four neighbors. You can sit here and watch the whales and seals go by. And of course, I have a passion for fishing.
Lisa: I have to second Bruce. The scenery here is just incredible. When we bring friends and family up, they have trouble wrapping their heads around what the experience is going to be like until they get here. Because it’s so much more than just fishing. Being here is breathtaking. We regularly hear visitors say this is one of the most incredible, surreal experiences they’ve ever had.
MC: Speaking of scenery Lisa, it seems you’ve really taken advantage of the setting with your photography.
Lisa: You could say photography is my very serious hobby. It’s extended into the lodge as we’ve needed images for building the website and on social media. Whenever I’m walking around the lodge or out fishing, I just can’t put my camera down. It’s that beautiful.
MC: Can you share a little about what fishing at Sund’s is like?
Bruce: We’re an all-inclusive lodge. The food. The alcohol. The guides. The boats. That’s just part of the deal. We even provide raincoats and boots. We just make it easy.
We have ACB boats (Aluminum Chamber Boats), which makes being out on the water significantly more enjoyable. Not only are the boats incredibly safe, they cut through the water really well, so it’s a much calmer ride. Plus, each boat has a cabin with a bathroom, so you can get out of the elements and be comfortable.
Lisa: I like to call it ‘princess fishing.’ You can do all the work if you want. Or you can stand on the boat, enjoy the scenery and wildlife, and let the guide do all the work. The guide gets the fish on the hook. Then they hand you the rod and you reel it in so that you get all the glory.
Bruce: Yeah. That’s one of the things guys often say to me. They say, “I could bring my wife to this lodge.”
The food here is top notch. The accommodations are good. There are a lot of people who think a fishing lodge is just where a bunch of guys go drink and fish. Here, it’s something the wives like too.
MC: So if it's ‘princess fishing’, what’s staying at the lodge like.
Lisa: The lodge was built in the early 1900s by Finish settlers. We have 38-acres, which is also home to a herd of alpacas and wild deer. So, there’s always plenty of wildlife around.
We can accommodate up to 18 guests at a time. Our 12 guest rooms are being updated this year with new mattresses, fresh linens, and new furniture. We also focus on bringing in highly skilled chefs who serve superb 5-course dinners, tasty breakfasts, and really great lunch