Wildlife to Watch for While Staying at British Columbia Lodges

Visiting British Columbia lodges is a great chance to try your hand at casting for Pacific salmon, halibut, and other fish. But in between reeling in a record catch, you’ll also likely catch sight of at least a few of the incredible animals that call remote British Columbia home.

In fact, at Sointula Lodge, we even offer fully customizable Wilderness Tours. On these trips, guests can choose to spend more time going in search of wildlife in the water and on land, in addition to hiking, swimming beneath stunning waterfalls, and still spending some time fishing, if you choose. Our Wilderness Tour guests still enjoy our delicious gourmet dinners, Beach Bistro picnics, and other luxurious amenities.

Looking forward to your next fishing lodge adventure? Keep reading to learn more about some of the wildlife you’ll want to watch for on the shoreline and in the water during your trip.


One of the most popular creatures to spot whether you’re fishing or going in search of wildlife is whales. Coastal British Columbia is home to several species of whales. Among the most common to spot are Minke, Humpback, Grey, and Fin whales.

Once endangered in British Columbia, the Humpback whale has made a comeback. Sightings have become more common, but are still a fairly rare and treasured experience for guests. Humpback whales can grow to a whopping 62 feet in length and weigh more than 40 tons. These whales are known for their majestic leaps, which cause an equally majestic splash.

Much smaller than Humpbacks, Minke whales are the smallest species of baleen whales. These are even rarer to see than the Humpback, partly because they only come to the surface for a few seconds to get a breath before diving back down.


Often mistaken for whales, Orcas are actually a species of dolphins, and are the largest of their species. These large predators are easy to spot for their black bodies with white markings.

You might get lucky enough to spot Orcas leaping or hunting off-shore. But Malcolm Island, Sointula Lodge’s home, is also known for its world-famous Whale Rubbing Beach. Each summer, pods of Orcas return to this beach, located just off-shore at Bere Regional Park, to rub their stomachs on the rocky bottom.


Orcas aren’t the only species of dolphin that you might spot during your Sointula Lodge trip. Pacific White-Sided Dolphin are a common sight. These dolphins, which reach up to 8 feet in length and can weigh as much as 440 pounds, often travel in large groups, which can top 100 dolphins, all swimming and hunting together! You’ll definitely want to grab your camera quickly if you’re lucky enough to spot these playful creatures while out on the water.

Seals and Sea Lions

This next animal that you might spot is one that you could see in the water or on land! British Columbia is home to both seals and sea lions, and both are a common sight around fishing lodges throughout the region.

While both are related and are members of the pinniped family, they are distinct in appearance and personality. Seals are much smaller and have very short front feet and web flippers that help to propel them quickly through the water.

Sea Lions are not only much larger than Seals but are also much louder! You may hear their loud calls long before you spot them lounging on rocks, beaches, docks, and anywhere else that’s in the sunshine. Sea Lions have large front flippers that help them “waddle” across land. They also often congregate in large groups — in fact, they’ve been known to lounge in groups of as many as 1,500!

Bald Eagles

As you cruise along the water on your Fishing Tour or stroll the beach in the morning as you sip your coffee, don’t forget to look up. Bald Eagles are native to British Columbia and are one of the region’s most successful stories of conservation success. Once a rare sight in the area, British Columbia has seen a strong resurgence of the beautiful Bald Eagle. 

Found throughout much of Canada, you might spot Bald Eagles soaring above the water or perched in their oversized nests, which are often located high up in trees near the edge of the water.

Sea Otters

Besides dolphins, another playful animal you could spot in the water is a Sea Otter. More than 6,000 Sea Otters live throughout British Columbia. They thrive in the bays and along the coast, where they hunt in kelp forests. Larger than many other North American otter species, Sea Otters can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh up to 50 pounds. They’re known for floating on their backs while eating, sleeping, or caring for their young.

Black Bears

One of the most common large mammals you could spot during your time in British Columbia is a Black Bear. Experts estimate that more than 120,000 live in British Columbia, with more than 7,000 calling Vancouver Island home. This is one of the smaller species of bears in Canada. There are actually 6 subspecies of Black Bears in British Columbia, though they are tough to tell apart from one another.

Black Bears aren’t usually aggressive towards people, though it is important to keep your distance if you spot one during your visit.

Visiting British Columbia Lodges

Visiting remote British Columbia lodges like Sointula Lodge is a great chance to experience the unique and stunning natural beauty of the region. Whether you choose to spend most of your trip fishing or opt for a Wilderness Tour to customize your trip, you’ll no doubt spot at least a few of the animals on this list during your stay.

Ready to start planning your own British Columbia adventure? Now is a great time to start thinking about your summer 2023 visit to Sointula Lodge. Drop us a message today to learn more about our upcoming trip dates and package options.