Another beautiful day in the Gwaii. With light winds forecasted we make our way onto the grounds and fish our favourite spots with ease. Fishing may not always be easy, but when you hear the release measurements of another healthy Tyee, you always get a good feeling. While fishing in shore has been on and off, the ones who “stick n’ stay, make it pay” have been rewarded. The morning bite has been especially productive for the early bird, just as my Papa taught me. For those that prefer a little more consistent action, off shore fishing has produced a variety of fish coming from all depths. Halibut and other bottom fish have been productive on both the ebb and the flood tides. In the case you decide neither are up to par, the MV Driftwood whips up a mean burger and chowder. Looking forward to seeing you in Area One. Tight lines!
Well, as much as we enjoyed (what feels like a record) 8 days of light variable winds and flat, flat water, it’s nice to get a little back to “normal”. Southerly winds flanked the islands on both east and western shores leaving a giant flat zone on our northern coast. The fog and glassy water were interesting but we like a little wind to move the bait around and concentrate the salmon. And that’s what happened this week as the inshore salmon fishing improved steadily every day. There are some big Chinooks in the water these days and QCL anglers enjoyed tangling with quite a few of them! ( In the photo above, angler Will K celebrates briefly with QCL guide Nic Rasovic before they release a gorgeous 43-pounder! ) Cape Naden, Bird One, Parker, B2 , Klash…every point has turned out some beautiful Tyee-class fish this week. Along the kelp we’re finding them fairly shallow at 25-35 feet much of the time, especially on this week’s morning ebb tides. Offshore the pinnacles are seeing a lot of traffic as big schools of Coho are making their way through the grounds. Trolling deep between 70 & 120 feet we’re picking up those nice silver bullets, with enough 15-20 pound Chinooks mixed in to really make things interesting!
Halibut action has been busy but there are so many “chickens” out there it’s taking some effort to weed through them to get those treasured 30-pounders! And of course, in the middle of all that, we find some giants. Young Jarret C was jigging with his Dad and veteran QCL guide Derek Poitras when they hooked onto a monster that eventually taped out to just over 6-feet long, more than 200 pounds! That makes quite an impression when you’re 12-years-old! And for some anglers, winning a tug-o-war with a big ‘but is something of a fixation! Such was the case for Roxy S this week. For 17-years she’s been coming up to the Lodge and has certainly caught her share of big fish. But the one prize that’s eluded her was the 100-pound halibut. Well this was the week…on Monday, the eighth glassy calm day, Roxy coaxed her partner Cal out to the halibut grounds to give it another try. She had to pull quite a few fish up from 200-plus feet but ultimately was rewarded with the one she was looking for. With some help from the Fishmaster they taped the big fish out to 60-inches, scoring at 109 pounds, and Roxy had finally achieved her goal. Congratulations Roxy! That gold pin looks mighty fine on your shawl!
Well it was WTF (Women that Fish) Derby weekend here at QCL, with 13 ladies from various locations across North America. The conditions have been excellent with calm seas and fairly clear skies. This has made for a very amusing couple of days on the water, with some decent fish being caught and lots of laughs!
Today we decided to spend the morning grinding it out at Cape Naden in hopes of hooking a derby winner. After a slow start we managed to put three teen-sized Chinook in the box before lunch. We also had the privilege of watching an amazing show put on by a Humpback whale that was feeding out on the horizon. All in all in it was a great morning on the water!
After lunch we decided to grab a couple halibut and then finished the day back at Naden, where we managed a nice 20lber that put up a very acrobatic fight! With another beauty day in the forecast to finish off the WTF Derby, I am looking forward to spending another day searching for the big one that the ladies have been referring to as “Walter”.
Mid-season fishing is living up to expectations with the arrival of plentiful Coho salmon offshore to augment the Chinook action we’ve enjoyed off the kelp beds. Though we’re seeing some big ones up to 13 pounds, they’re averaging about 6½and we’re getting them from the surface down to 120 feet so it’s an adventure hunting for them! Most anglers are seeing success on Chinooks in closer to shore in all the favourite spots. Cape Naden has been productive, fishing shallow through the ebb tide, QCL guests have done very well there recently. Likewise, the busy water in the rip between Klashwun Point and Shag Rock has turned out some really good Chinook action – with all the challenges that come with fishing a rip! In the past week we’ve seen quite a few nice Tyees in the high 30’s and some in the low 40’s come to the boat. These are such stunning fish and we’re especially happy when a guest elects to turn them back in hopes that they’ll return to their home streams.
Halibut fishing has been reliable as always with most anglers taking their limit home. The regulation change for this season is going over very well –anglers can choose to take either – two fish under 90 cm length or one between 90 and 126 cm length. That’s a maximum halibut size of roughly 55-pounds for those who like the big ones! We’re still seeing a few of those 100 pound-plus giants alongside the boat this summer –loads of excitement whenever that happens!
Talk about exciting, how about doing battle with a sea lion over a 75-pound halibut! That happened to Nancy & Tim L while they were fishing off the Little Peanut last weekend. Nancy had hooked a pretty big halibut and almost had it to the boat. They knew it was oversized and were prepared to release it when a sea lion grabbed it by the tail before they got it to the boat! It was literally a tug of war with the sea lion pulling the halibut around by the tail and Nancy reeling away on its lips! This went on for a few minutes; the halibut was too big for the sea lion to do his usual damage, especially with Nancy yanking it away every time he released his grip. Unbelievably they eventually boated the halibut; it was quite alive and the teeth of the sea lion had not even penetrated the skin! They had to release it but there was no way they were giving it back to the sea lion. So they put the boat in gear and drove off a few hundred yards in hopes of eluding the hungry sea lion. But he was right there with them. Luckily the Fishmaster was close by so they recruited him to distract the sea lion and they were able to release it! Great job you two! Hopefully the free-swimming halibut got away okay. Crazy stuff happens when you’re fishing!
Fishing with family is always fun. This past weekend I had the pleasure of guiding my father, Ross, and my great uncle, Pat. With flat calm water forecasted for the weekend we had only one thing on our mind, catching a Tyee. We’d had a couple of good days on the water but before we knew it, Sunday morning came and although fishing had been productive, we still hadn’t found what we were looking for. We decided to head to my “office”, Yatze Bay. The water was flat, and a low fog hung in the trees; perfect weather for a hog. We dropped in at slack tide and our rods were bouncing immediately. Over the next hour we released many mid-teen-sized Chinooks and put a beautiful 18 pounder in the box.
Eventually, the tide started to push, and there was a short lull in the fishing. But it didn’t last long, as we tacked along the kelp our inside rod popped off and started screaming out line. This was the fish we were looking for. A few hard runs later, it was in the net. We taped it out to 31 pounds, snapped a quick photo and quickly had it back in the water. Watching a Tyee swim away with strong strokes is always an incredible moment, but doing it with family was really something special.
Wow! July! Already? Like they say…Time flies when you’re having fun! Our 29thseason –the 20thunder the stewardship of Paul Clough –has pretty much been a banner one so far. Fair weather (for the most part), a terrific staff assembled for the summer, shiny new boats and, oh yeah, great fishing! Lots of baitfish inshore with the requisite numbers of salmon, Humpbacks and eagles to go with it, even a couple of sea lions around at times to add the “on safari”component to the QCL Experience!
This week we’re seeing a major bump in the Coho numbers, just a little offshore and throughout the water column from surface down to 120 feet. June Coho were all around 5-8 pounds but now the 10-pounders are pretty common so that certainly spices up the fishing action between the tides!
Chinook fishing remains very solid throughout the grounds, all the way from Cape Edenshaw to Green Point. Most anglers are able to successfully target their favourite spots. Light to moderate northwesterlies have been predominant this summer; that steady push keeping the bait in Virago Sound where we (and the salmon) like it. The new moon this week has the tidal range up to 15-feet so being in the right place at the right time is fairly critical for success. That said, our guests leaving tomorrow will go home with lots of tasty filets to enjoy and share over the coming months!
It seems like just yesterday as we watched our new fleet of 8 boats make their way into the harbour and to the docks after weeks of anticipation. It has been amazing how many guests have told me they watched the video of the boats arrival. I wanted to provide you an update on how these boats are to fish out of.
Over the past 5 years I have been lucky enough to run all of our aluminum boats so as you can imagine it has been a great first month running one of these beautiful new ones!
Built by Bridgeview Marine, they feature Mercury SeaPro 300 HP engines, 2 Lowrance HDS 9 sounder units, a head up front and even a built-in urinal! Our 4 cabin boats come equipped with Shockwave seats which make any waves feel obsolete. No feature was missed in the design of these boats. They handle the waves beautifully and provide tons of room for fishing!
Seeing these incredible boats out on the grounds has really transformed our fleet and brought QCL to the next level.
Next time you are on the dock stop by boat 86 and have a tour! The next 2 months couldn’t be more exciting and it’s a great sight to see these stunning boats out on the water every day!
Hey everyone it’s Kraig “Konezone” Coulter here up in the Charlottes at QCL with a fishing update. The bottom fishing has been very consistent for the great tasting Pacific Cod in the past week! Of course there have been some nice-sized halibut released and some nice turkeys coming in to the dock as well. As for the salmon there are good numbers of feeder Chinook offshore along with a few Coho. There are Tyees coming to the dock every day. All in all fishing has been very consistent in the last week which indicates to me that July fishing up here is going to be dynamite.
It’s another beautiful June day in Haida Gwaii and guests David, Ariel and myself have formulated our game plan for the day. We’re headed to Bird Rock One excited to ‘stick and stay and make it pay’. As we run out to the fishing grounds the blue sky pokes its head through the clouds, weather is warm, drinks are cold and we’re excited. Dropping in on the west side of Bird One to fish the eddy forming in the bay we look around to see we are the only boat; however we are not quite alone as we are greeted by a big black bear combing the beach beside us. While watching the bear enjoy the beautiful beaches along the fishing grounds we drop our gear and begin trolling. First pass through and we hook into our first fish of the day, a nice 15 pound chinook! The boys get the gear back in the water quickly and we drop in for another pass. Shortly after working along we hook into our second fish of the day. This time we were able to land a nice and very scrappy 25 pounder! Spirits and excitement are even higher now as we drop in again to troll between Bird Rock One and Cape Naden. This time it takes a little longer but the fish hits and takes off running! After peeling 100 feet of line three separate times we are able to get this fish closer to the boat and get a look at it… and it’s a good one! Dave keeps his cool playing the fish as Ariel and I look at each other with excitement. After a long and well fought 10 minute battle, the fish is in the net and the Tyee beers are being cracked in celebration of this beautiful 32 pound Chinook!
As the tide begins to slack off we decide to go out halibut fishing and head off shore. After some hard work jigging at a few hundred feet the boys land two nice halibut and it’s off to the Driftwood for lunch. They’d worked up quite the appetite! Once refuelled and recharged we head out hunting for that last chinook. Working along the face of Parker Point we are able to get a couple bites but nothing stuck right away. However, we resort back to our stick and stay plan and after an hour land our fourth and final Chinook. Next stop was back to the Bell Ringer to celebrate another great day out on the water full of many laughs and some great fish! While there’s no such thing as a bad day out on the waters of Haida Gwaii, this one was definitely a day to remember!
So it has been a busy start to the 2019 season in the food program for special events and derbies. We have had amazing guests in the private houses and I have enjoyed cooking and coming up with some new dishes. Now in my fifth season at the lodge, I’m thrilled to see so many returning guests and this year I get to share the experience with my husband Mark Ross. This place has changed our lives. Every day of every trip, we have the opportunity to create something new and exciting on the culinary front!
Our first big event was the Appy Walk to start the season with a bang. We built 3 action food stations offering flaming prawns, a grill station, and a raw bar with many other tasty treats along the Totem House walkway. Even little projects like a breakfast smoothie bar for groups using the conference center are a source for personal satisfaction.
For the White Gold Derby we smoked a whole 50-pound pig for 20 hours, then plattered and walked it all the way from the main lodge to the dock for the wrap up party. It was a huge hit.
For some groups we bring in fun ingredients and create new dishes and “show food”stations for nightly events.
No matter whether I am cooking an intimate dinner for eight in Totem House or 16 on the lawn at the Charlotte House, there is an amazing culinary team with me. We enjoy collaborating to deliver memorable dining events to enhance the fishing and adventure activities our guests are here for.
I love hearing about guest experiences on the water and get excited for all who get to catch the big one. This place is something special for both guests and staff to create a unique and special experience. I am so excited for the months ahead with so many groups left to cook for!