Rivers

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Rivers, Pacific Northwest

Oyster River, Rivers
Oyster River, Photo By Bud Logan

The Pacific Northwest has many rivers, streams, and creeks, some are big, some are small. Some are long and some are short. They all are beautiful. We have rivers to canoe, rivers to raft, and some of the best steelhead rivers in the world. Some flow down from the mountains through untouched valleys and some are full of big, hard fighting fish. The shores of these systems are teaming with life that will reveal itself if you just sit quietly for a bit.

We have some of the most beautiful river systems in the world full of fish and dotted with incredible waterfalls, most have trails that allow easy access, so come on, take a hike along one of our river systems and see for yourself. The variety of natural formations found in rivers and streams support a wide range of plants and animals. Rapids and pools are important habitats and rearing areas for a wide range of aquatic species, and the river edges and lowlands support an abundance of wildflowers, grasses, shrubbery, and animals.

Nitinat River, Rivers
Nitinat River, Photo By Bud Logan

A healthy river system is created when all aspects of plant and animals are part of the plan. For example, if salmon disappear from a river system, the system breaks down, the plant life does not get the nutrients that are provided when various animals move the dead fish up the river banks, the bears move on to other food sources, deer that rely on a vigorous plant reproduction find less feed. The health of our river systems is vitally important to all animals and plants within the watershed.

Rivers also provide a wildlife corridor between the natural habitats and feeding areas located within rural farm areas. Animals have always used river paths as a means to get from the wilderness to feeding areas. Bears are one of the animals most commonly found traveling the river shores, heading to areas where they have traditionally fished for thousands of years. It is quite important to ensure they will always be able to use these corridors and any future usability studies must include the needs of bears and the other animals that use these river corridors.

Adam River
Adam River, Photo By Bud Logan
This is the Adam River on Vancouver Island and not the famous Adams River of the interior with its great sockeye salmon run. Although this river does have some great fishing. You can fish for steelhead, salmon, resident rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and some brown trout that can get to a good size.

One of my favorite spots to fish is where the Adam and Eve river join up, there are some nice pools here to try your luck in. But you know, its also just a great place to come and see nature in its finest, and the Adam River is set in some fine country.

The river is a catch and release only fishery above the Eve River confluence and there may be some gear restrictions, so please check your fishing synopsis. Hiking along the Adam river will put you into some pretty nice country, quite rugged, thick brush but the pools you will find to put a line in and the fish that you will find here will more than make this a memorable hike. You could get lucky and hook into a big brown trout or perhaps a big steelhead trout. Just remember that you must release all fish back into the river.

Adam River
Adam River, Photo By Bud Logan
This is a nice river where you can always see wildlife and there are many birds who nest in the area. Every time I have been here, I have seen black bears, blacktail deer, herds of elk, cougars, smaller animals like otters, pine martins and raccoons are also quite numerous and the bird life here would satisfy any birder who visits. So if you are heading to this river, bring your camera and expect to be amazed.

Brown River
Brown River, Photo By Bud Logan
The Brown River is located on Vancouver Island, in the Comox Valley area. It is an awesome little river with an incredible series of waterfalls called the medicine bowl falls. In the winter, these falls are just wild, but in the summer months, the water flow slows down and you can swim in the bowls that have been carved out by the water, the water gets nice and warm, it’s great.

The Medicine Bowls are also known as the Browns River Falls, to reach the falls, drive from Hwy 19 and take the Percy Road exit. From Courtenay, take the turnoff to Forbidden Plateau Road, and then take the overpass crossing Hwy 19.  Drive up the Forbidden Plateau Road for around 8 km until you see a gravel road to the right as Forbidden Plateau Road curves sharply to the left. Take this road and drive approximately 1.6 km to the end of this road where there is a parking lot. This is a 4×4 road, it is very rough and has some deep water-filled potholes and narrow sections along the route. Although my car, a Honda makes it in, l would not recommend you take cars in here.

Brown River
Brown River, Photo By Bud Logan

The trail that will take you to the Browns River Medicine Bowls waterfalls starts at the end of the road, Its a short path downhill, takes about 15 minutes. Please be careful if you go swimming, the waters can be fast with strong undercurrents and the rock canyon can be very slippery. There are three main pools at the Medicine Bowls. The top one is called the upper pool, the central one is the deep pool, and the bottom one down the river is called the peter pan pool.

The wildlife here can be awesome, l have seen bears, deer, raccoons and many types of birds, so bring your camera and take home some memories.

Harris Creek
Harris Creek, Photo By Bud Logan
Harris Creek joins the San Juan River, south of the bridge, close to the town of Port Renfrew on southern Vancouver Island. The creek is quite long and has varying types of flow, everything from raging canyon drops, to calm lowland flows at the San Juan Joining. The upper Harris Creek is a wild raging stream that has many drops, rapids and falls while the lower stream is much calmer. On its shore, you will see the Harris Creek Spruce, the biggest spruce in the world. This creek is a very popular kayak river with some small but continuous drops in a tight canyon run, very exciting to run, the run is a bit short though, that’s too bad.

The summer run of steelhead in the creek is during June and July and is a small run, but the winter steelhead run in February and March is much better. The Coho Salmon spawn in the fall is pretty awesome also. There are Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout and even a few Dolly Varden Char in the river.

Access to the creek is along Harris Creek mainline and is a decent road. You can access the creek on the Robertson and Hillcrest logging roads from the southern shore of Cowichan lake also. There are numerous rec sites and plenty of places to set up wilderness campsites along the creek. This a beautiful area of the island.

Harris Creek
Harris Creek, Photo By Bud Logan
There is plenty of wildlife including birds, plants and large animals like black bears, Roosevelt elk, cougars, wolves, and black tail deer, along with lots of the smaller creatures of the forest. The birds here are plentiful with a huge variety and there are wildflowers everywhere. When you come this way for a visit, remember to bring your camera.
The River runs through an awesome park of the same name, the White River Provincial Park. It is on northern Vancouver Island and is a small wilderness area of incredible beauty that protects an old growth forest and important Roosevelt elk and black bear habitat.
White River
White River, Photo By Bud Logan

This awesome 68-hectare park and its old rain forest are stunning enough that Hollywood took notice. Portions of the River were used as a film site for the movie, The Scarlet Letter, which was filmed here and at Myra Falls in 1994. Visitors to the park today will find remnants of the film set, including wide boardwalks designed to accommodate horse-drawn carriages.

A short 5-minute loop trail through the forest leads down to the river. Along the way, visitors will be standing in awe of the massive Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. These giants helped earn White River the nickname the Cathedral Grove of the North Island. I am always so impressed with not just the giant trees, but the beauty of this forest and the incredible River as it runs past here, this is something everyone should see at least once in their lives.

Fishing in the park is excellent, with summer steelhead, Coho, Rainbow Trout, and Dolly Varden found in the River. The park is undeveloped and there are no facilities available. There are ample places to pitch camp here though and its also an ideal place for an afternoon of fishing and picnicking.
White River
White River, Photo By Bud Logan

The Provincial Park is located on the White River. The park is accessed by the gravel White River Road off the Island Highway 19 from Sayward Junction. The River flows into the Salmon River near Highway 19, at Sayward on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

 

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