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August 15, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Today saw a mix of light variable winds which allowed QCL guests and guides to fish all corners and everywhere in between on all of our fishing grounds, both inshore and offshore. Chinook fishing close in to the kelp and rock structure is still producing results but at a slower pace. With patience and willingness to stay at one spot, most anglers will be rewarded when the bite finally does turn on. Get your lines back in the water as quickly as you can though and try to hook up again because these are mostly snap bites, lasting only a short period and you may have a chance at only a couple of fish at a time. The bonus though is that the average size of these Chinook are larger than the average size from earlier in the year with a chance at a fish of a lifetime. Coho fishing offshore is still producing results in the 160 to 300 foot lines while still trolling fairly shallow.QCL salmon fishing

It was changeover day and with my new guests for the trip aboard Grady 114 we headed out to the fishing grounds.  The water was in great condition and the starting options were endless. With only a few boats at Cape Naden we dropped in and set the gear. Over the radio I heard of a few caught here before we arrived and was hoping we could still cash in on the bite. After a couple of passes without a touch and without seeing any other boat hookup I was starting to think we missed our chance at the early afternoon bite.

QCL salmon fishingAfter an hour and thinking about a potential move, possibly offshore to find some Coho, the port rod goes off.  With two big heavy slams of the rod tip the down rigger clip pops and line starts peeling. We’re off to the races boys!  My guest carefully picked up the rod and let the fish continue to head for Alaska. Quickly we got to a point where I had to start reversing to chase this fish down. The tension on the drag was set just right and there didn’t seem to be any slow down at all. A bit faster on the chase and finally the line slowed down but was still creeping off the reel. This is a good one guys, don’t start reeling until this fish stops taking line! With well over half of the spool of line being pulled out to the open ocean my Islander finally stopped letting out line. I watched the rod tip as my guest was about to start reeling when one big head shake pulled the rod tip down and the the line went limp. Heartbreaking. Potential fish of a lifetime?? Who knows.  Didn’t see it once. Will never know. But it was fun while it lasted. We re-grouped, carried on and shared a high five over the one that got away.  Makes for a good fishing story anyways.

Till next time…

Keep your tip up, line tight and hang on for the ride.

Jeff ‘Smurf’ Smirfitt

QCL Haida Gwaii


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August 12, 2017 Duane Foerter0

After a really nice stretch of northwesterly weather – sunny skies and some lumpy seas – QCL guests have been enjoying some pretty fine fishing action this week. Both bait and salmon moved back in closer to shore where we’re accustomed to finding them and the results showed up on the catch board as very good numbers of chunky twenty-something Chinooks.  While the Tyee bell hasn’t been ringing quite as often as usual, the fish boxes going home are nicely packed with those QCL portion-cut vac-pacs for our guests to share over the coming months!

Awesome QCL Coho FishingBeautiful calm seas on Friday found many of our boats fishing offshore again in the 130-200-foot zone, and having a blast hooking up with lots of aggressive Coho mixed with enough Chinooks to keep them on their guard, all in the top 50 feet.  Of course we’re starting to see the “silver princes of August” – those stunning teen-sized Coho that often smash the bait as soon as it hits the water.  Some nice 14-15 pounders have shown up at the Bell Ringer to grab everyone’s attention!  Of course we’re also weeding through a ton of Pink salmon as well this season – one way to ensure your bait is always fresh!Awesome QCL Coho Fishing

This weekend we’re on the flipside of the weather with moderate southeast & southwest winds, along with the rainfall that usually comes with.  The outlook for next week is light southerly winds going to moderate southwest by Thursday.  Tides are moderating with changes of only 8-10 feet.

 

QCL salmon fishing action


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August 9, 2017 Duane Foerter0

We love sharing the news of what’s up at QCL and this summer we’re having some fun “up” above – capturing new views of the lodge and the grounds with a camera drone.  Look for awesome new video content coming to the website this fall!  In the meantime, here are some still frames to share our new point of view!

QCL_aerial_viewQCL_aerial_viewSharing the fishing grounds


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August 7, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Over the last few days we have been getting some constant Northwest winds. Although it makes for some more difficult fishing conditions we find that the wind and water mixing blows in bait and salmon, and this time the winds did not disappoint.

This morning the seas were flattened out while the tide was flooding and as we made our way out to Bird 2 the sky was clear and the sun was just poking out on the horizon. As we came off plane we saw another one of the Grady Whites hook up deep in the bay and one of the Broadwaters get into a double header right off the point. As we dropped in things were looking good.

Although it took a few passes on the inside wall until we hooked up we got into a nice fish eventually. As a few more boats showed up we decided to pull gear and run to some less crowded fishing grounds. Up in Yatze bay we ended up hooking into quality Chinooks on every pass. In the wind and waves I always find it most effective to drift, pick up and run back up to drift again and today that was the ticket. We had all our Chinooks and a couple of good Coho before lunch and just drifted for the rest of the day.

Even though the northwest winds can be difficult, they are always welcomed!

Dan “Rainman”

QCL salmon fishingQCL halibut fishing


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August 5, 2017 Duane Foerter0

August has roared in with the welcome return of some northwesterly winds and it’s marvelous! What we generally think of as the prevailing summer winds have been strangely absent this year. Weeks of southerlies – swinging from southeast to southwest – have made for nice gentle seas and easy access to the expansive fishing grounds. But northwest winds serve to drive the bait to the northern shores of Haida Gwaii and into our home waters of Virago Sound in particular. And we all know that where there’s bait… there’s great fishing! Of course we won’t sneeze at the gorgeous sunshine and warm temperatures that are mighty uplifting for all of the staff around the lodge as well!

QCL salmon fishingAs a result we’re quite happy to report that the fishing has turned on quite nicely this week. Chinook action has moved back onshore and QCL anglers are finding lots of nice chunky salmon in all the traditional haunts – Bird 2 has seen some nice hot bites in recent days, the waters from Cape Naden to Bird 1 have produced some Tyee action and the kelp beds in front of Yatze bay are providing pretty steady results, especially on the flood tides. Derald W boated a stunning big Tyee while fishing with veteran QCL guide Ryan Winger on Tuesday. He always tries to release his big fish but unfortunately this one couldn’t be revived and at the Bell Ringer it tipped the scale at 42 pounds. We also saw several nice Tyees in the 30-plus range on the board this past week. We’ve been trolling up Coho all over the offshore waters recently but are now seeing decent numbers showing up closer to shore. The average size is still 7-9 pounds but we are getting some beauties over 10 pounds starting to appear, as we would expect for this point of the season.

QCL halibut fishingThe halibut fishing continues to be a nice reliable part of the experience and lodge guests have been happily picking up some nice “chickens” for the fish box while releasing a number of big females over 60 pounds. Andre C released a giant that taped out to just over 100 lb., Eric S. reeled up a 134 and Haydn S. got a serious workout pulling up an 82 pounder followed by a bigger one that taped out to 123! Lots of great fish stories go along with these catches to be sure.

Looking ahead, the northwesterlies are forecast to continue right through next week so we’ll keep the sunscreen on the table and be ready in the Bell Ringer to celebrate many more great catches! Stay tuned!


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August 3, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Halibut fishing has become more popular than ever at QCL and with good reason.  “Back in the day” most of our guests picked up a couple of random halibut while mooching for salmon and they were happy with that; not going offshore to jig for halibut meant more time for catching salmon!  With the introduction of GPS mapping of the fishing grounds many anglers have found their own favourite fishing holes and return to them year after year.  Releasing all of those big breeding females over 75-pounds has been a good thing too.  As a result, many QCL guests make fishing for halibut and lingcod a priority during their stay.

We know that there are some big fish out there; some really big fish.  It’s not unusual for us to see a number of halibut in excess of 100-pounds released every week.  And sometimes they are massive – over 6-feet in length.  Well last week, working with some largish tides, lodge guest Derek Benson and his father spent some time in a couple of boats with friends, fishing offshore in the hunt for a big halibut.  They tried out a few of our favourite waypoints but found their best luck over a hump 215 feet down.  There was a fair bit of excitement when they returned to the lodge and shared their many photos and videos of the results!

Derek tells the story pretty well!

“We pulled up to our GPS mark at “Hali-wood”, knowing we were in a good spot from the sizable halibut lost there the day before.  Dropping back down to the same spot, my Dad hooks up.  Thirty minutes later we are cheering over the 254 lb. halibut lying alongside of the boat.  I had laid my 7-foot rod down to her and it was 6” short of the tip.  After a quick release, I reset on the GPS mark and dropped the same jig back down.  The fight started as I was adjusting the Lowrance sounder with one hand and jigging the rod with my other.  After 15 minutes of not raising the halibut up an inch, I asked my Dad to get the boat in gear and start circling around her.  My plan was to get momentum on the halibut to help angle her up, rather than trying to lift her straight up, with the boat in neutral.  An hour later (and 30 corkscrews later!) we gasp in disbelief at the width and length of this fish.  Again I laid my 7-foot rod on top of the fish, and there was still nearly a foot of fish extending past the rod!  It then took another 30 minutes to unhook it and 3 more times to the surface.  I was using my Shimano Teramar rod and Shimano Talica 16 2-speed, a tuna setup but multi-purpose.  Measuring out to 94 ½ inches it converted to 474 lb. on the IPHC chart.  This was definitely the fish of a lifetime, and I’m happy to say, it was safely released.”

Congratulations to Derek and his crew on a great angling achievement!  Two years ago we recorded a fish for Bruce Severson and George Best that measured out to 90 inches in length for a score of 405 pounds and we doubted that we would ever see another fish in that league.  This one certainly is and we’ll be happy to add Derek’s 474-pounder to the QCL record book!  We’ve seen a lot of great fish up here and we’re always in awe of the quality of our fishery!  Every time a new record is set, we’re happy to celebrate it!

QCL halibut 474QCL Halibut recordQCL Halibut 474QCL halibut record 474QCL Halibut Record


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August 3, 2017 Duane Foerter0

You never fully know what you are driving out to as you exit the harbour, heading for the fishing grounds, which always makes dropping your lines for the first time of the day exhilarating.

Today my guests and I started our morning off at Klashwun Point. The flat calm seas made for a quick drive and the blue skies had everyone smiling.

I had just finished explaining to my guests how to pop the line out of the downrigger clip when both lines started peeling. No need to pop the clip when fish hit that hard!  My guests landed a beautiful 21 lb. and a 19 lb. double header, which was not a bad way to start the day!  Following our exciting start we looked up and saw a boat getting pulled offshore as they fought a fish – this fight resulted in a Tyee release! The day continued with consistent Chinook action off the face of Klash, followed by some quick Coho bites in the tide lines around Shag Rock.

It’s exciting not fully knowing what’s coming down the pipe for tomorrow – I look forward to wetting the lines and finding out!

Ryan “Horsehoe” Winger


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July 23, 2017 Duane Foerter0

This past week the trend of calm seas continued, which made for an enjoyable week of fishing. So far this season we haven’t seen any particular spot out produce the rest, which has resulted in boats being distributed throughout the fishing grounds. On most days, the best successes often come by picking your favourite spot and sticking it out using the “stick, stay and make it pay” method of salmon fishing.

Much like last season, I have continued to spend many hours each day working the kelp beds around the waters of Cape Naden. This past week my guests and I chose to spend nearly our entire days working Naden, with the occasional break to do some bottom fishing. We all felt that it looked really “fishy” and at times we enjoyed some great Chinook fishing with the odd Coho in the mix. On Thursday afternoon we decided to mix it up and give Parker Point a try after lunch. Although there were a couple fish around at Parker, we decided it was only fitting to finish the trip back at Cape Naden. Upon returning to Naden we watched another boat hook up on a couple of fish, but not much was happening for us. With only a couple of passes left, my guest was telling a funny story as we were trolling past the kelp bed off the point. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the rod tip dip down and then yelled “fish, fish, fish!!”. My guest grabbed the rod, set the hook, and the battle was on! This was the fish we had been looking for at Naden all trip…a real sizzler! After a few lengthy runs we tired the fish out and finally managed to put this 38lb Tyee in the bag to conclude a week of fishing.

Back at the dock there were a couple of other Tyees that came in, with a 45lber being the largest of the day and of the trip. Let’s hope this trend continues and we continue to see some nice Chinook rolling through!

Until next time,

“Wacko Jacko”


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July 21, 2017 Duane Foerter0

The Tyee Bell was ringing last night in celebration of a couple of the season’s largest catches.  We just love celebrating at the Bell Ringer!

Joe & Ruth H spent some quality time on the halibut grounds this week with their guide Jake Harach… and they made the most of it!  Ruth boated a perfect “over” at 51 pounds but Joe had to contend with some serious heavy lifting.  He got his 30-minute workout wrangling a massive fish that taped out to 71 inches in length for a calculated weight of 187 pounds.  A few quick photos alongside the boat and a measurement and then she was gone with a splash!  Eighteen cracks of the bell on Thursday night and presentation of a gold halibut pin capped a great week of fishing.

Ten-year-old Hayden B returned to the lodge this week with his Grandpa Sam and his Aunt & Uncle to share their annual fishing adventure.  Hayden was learning to use the single-action salmon gear that we use on the BC coast and he was making good progress, albeit with a few bruises and mixed success.  On Thursday morning their veteran guide “Rainman” Dan chose to “turn right” to fish the kelp beds past Cape Edenshaw and they hooked up with “a real good fish.”  It was Hayden’s time.

And he was up to the task – kept the tip up and didn’t lock up on the Islander!  Twenty minutes of tug-o-war and Dan slipped the net beneath a very sizable salmon.  Here was one excited young man!  Of course he was dying to know how big his fish was but managed to stay out all day.  When his turn at the scale came at the Bell Ringer last night there were lots of bets on the size of Hayden’s fish.  “Rainman” hoisted the big beauty onto the hook and covered the numbers while the scaled settled.  Seconds later he lifted his hand… 45-pounds was the weight!  Welcome to the Tyee Club Hayden!  That’s a marvelous catch and quite an achievement for a young angler.  Congratulations!  With a little boost from his guide he gave the Tyee Bell four good dings to a huge round of applause from the crowd, a moment that we’re sure he’ll remember for a very long time.


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July 18, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Mixed fishing catch at QCLIt was another gorgeous day in Haida Gwaii as my guests and I drove out on flat calm waters to one of the spots that has been fishing really well known as “the Nursery”. As soon as we dropped in we noticed multiple boats around us had fish on. It didn’t take long before one of our rods doubled over… Fish On!  We kept busy for over an hour with a mix of Chinook and Coho pushing needlefish in just 50 feet of water. After playing lots of smaller Chinooks we finally hooked into a better one. Seeing it jump a few times right away, I knew this was a good fish and after a 10 minute fight it was in the boat. There was no doubt it was a heavy fish but wasn’t sure it was quite a Tyee. But when we returned to the dock my and got it on the scale, first-time guests were ecstatic when it went 30.0 lbs, a real Bell Ringer!

Big Coho at QCLWith lots of what we call “cookie cutter” Chinook and the odd bigger fish around it makes for a fun day. The offshore Coho fishing has been producing really well, with guides often trolling in from halibut fishing and getting limits of coho, with the odd spring mixed in too. It’s shaping up to be another awesome week!

Tight lines. Kashes Redfern

 

 


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