The Tyee Spirit 14 Fishing row boat originates from Campbell River, a small community on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Every summer a large run of Chinook Salmon return to the river to spawn. Those fish that have matured to over 30 lbs are called “Tyee” salmon. A guide at the oars slowly working the rowboat through the tidal currents, a guest or two seated aft all anticipating a strike any second. Senses sharp and tuned with every sound clearly audible, even the water drops dripping off the oars. This is rowboat fishing!
About 1910 Ned Painter, a local boatbuilder, began turning out beautiful lapstrake cedar planked rowboats 14’ in length and 4’2” in beam. Painter’s row boats were renowned for the way they carried a load and comfortably handled the choppy tidal waters around Campbell River.
A local industry grew up around this row boat featuring professional salmon guides who worked the “Tyee Hole” every season. In 1924 the world famous “Campbell River Tyee Club” was founded. To qualify as a member one must, while fishing from a rowboat handled under oars alone, land a Tyee salmon.
The Tyee Spirit lines were taken from Doc Murphy’s original fishing boat owned by professional fishing guide Bill Herkus who has guided for over forty seasons. In 1988 Bill Herkus and Mike Barker insisted we build a Whitehall quality Tyee row boat for themselves and other fishing guides. We called this row boat the “Tyee Spirit”. Professional guides appreciate the fact that this boat has sufficent bouyancy in the stern to handle an outboard motor which gets them out to the hot spots quickly.
These boats are now being used for muskie fishing in Wisconson where the use of outboards is prohibited. With enough stability to stand while fly fishing, the Tyee Spirit offers diverse fishing possibilities.
The Tyee Spirit row boat has recieved great acceptance in both North America and Europe as a traditional rowboat, slide seat sculling boat and sailboat. This is an exceptionally versatile rowboat, check out the various models of the Tyee Spirit by clicking on the links below.