July 29, 2014 Duane Foerter0

Stories about big fish are creating quite the buzz around the lodge these days with super-sized salmon encounters happening almost every day!  Over the past few days we’ve welcomed 7 new members to the 50 Pounder Club and one to the Kingfisher Club with a 68 pounder.  On top of that there have been 18 big Chinooks over 40 pounds, many of which were released.  Klashwun Point has been the source for many of these catches, particularly early in the flood tide, fishing halfway down in 90 feet of water.  Herring, anchovies and spoons are producing equally well.  Parker Point and Bird 2 have also turned out some nice big salmon, more from out off the face than back inside the bay.

Paul Hautamaa started things off east of Klashwun with a big chrome beauty that taped out to 52 pounds before his guide Matt Brown carefully released it.  The next day saw four fish in the 50 pound class released.  At Parker Point Ted Wilson and his guide Brett Clarke released a big Tyee that scored 49.1 to be matched exactly by another fish for angler Brad Rieland, fishing with guide Nick Mercer at Klashwun Point.  Ralph Ettles and his son Greg turned back a hefty Chinook that scored 51 pounds only minutes earlier.  First thing in the morning Jan Ettles boated a 45 pounder and later that afternoon Thad Zipp released one the same size.  Almost unbelievably, Brad Rieland gave a repeat performance at Klashwun later in the day, catching and releasing a second huge Chinook that also taped out to 49 pounds!  Not to get left behind, Brad’s fishing partner Art Ducherer caught and released a 44 pounder on Thursday!  To cap it all off Driftwood angler Steve Plamondon sent back another big Tyee that measured out to 51 pounds.  Congratulations to all and a huge thank you goes out to all of those anglers and guides who chose to let these amazing big fish go!

While the big Chinooks created lots of excitement, the catch board filled up nicely with loads of Coho, Chinooks and Halibut.  It’s nice to see the average size of both species of salmon increasing steadily as the summer rolls along.

Fish QCL Haida Gwai!


July 24, 2014 Duane Foerter0

Last weekend’s trip carried on with a most excellent finish on Sunday. Light winds out of the northwest provided perfect conditions and the fish certainly cooperated.  The Tyee bell was pretty noisy Sunday evening with over a dozen big fish making an appearance at the weigh station.  Shawn Tracy enjoyed a fairly good day on the water, teaming up a 40 lb. halibut and a 49 lb. Chinook!  That’s a day he’ll not soon forget!   Dean Melnyk impressed with a max-sized 72 lb. halibut.  But the big stories were the fish that didn’t come to the dock!

Kirk Cottrell, with his guide Mike Langley, released his second big Tyee of the trip, this one taping out to 39 lb. Up at Klashwun Point Dan McHugh was fishing with guide Andrew Simpson where they spent some quality time with a big Chinook that they measured out to 52 pounds before releasing it.  Great job guys!  Veteran QCL angler Julian Mannix shared a similar experience with an even bigger fish while fishing with his Mom and QCL guide Oliver Massey.  Julian landed a stunning chrome Tyee that taped out to 54 pounds, a new personal best for angler and guide alike.  Well done and congratulations!

Bird Two continues to produce some of the best opportunities on the coast for giant Chinook salmon, as Phil Goldsney discovered midday on Sunday.  Making the turn around the famous kelp hump on the corner of B2, guide Ryan Winger put the right bait in just the right place and Phil was ready when the big bang happened.  The 30-minute fight carried them offshore away from the safety of the kelp and when Ryan finally got the big salmon in the net they quickly did their measurements and grabbed a few photos.  The release went exceptionally well and the giant swam away from their Grady with ease.  At 58 pounds Phil’s big beauty capped off a stellar weekend of incredible salmon adventure at QCL Haida Gwaii.  A special thanks goes out to all these anglers who, without a second thought, chose to let these amazing big fish go in the hope that they will find their way safely to spawn in their natal streams, hundreds of kilometers away.

QCL 58 lb Tyee released


July 22, 2014 Duane Foerter0

The Bell Ringer was really rockin’ this weekend as lodge guests celebrated a splendid fishing escape weekend at QCL Haida Gwaii.  Arriving on our 737 charter direct from Calgary, they got right down to business with great salmon action turning on at Parker Point and later, over at Green Point.  Chinook catches had been overshadowed by the plentiful numbers of Coho last week (and no one’s complaining about the action) but it was great to see the big fish come back to normal levels.  Adam Dufresne had it going on already on Wednesday when he and guide Luke Wagner taped out a big beauty to 47 pounds before carefully releasing it. We also saw our first 15 pound Cohos on the dock Wednesday with Janice Bratz and Charlie Peebles both tagging one of these spectacular silver bullets.

 Friday night saw several fish in the 30’s on the scale and some impressive releases reported.  Fred Mannix released a sleek 32 pounder and Kirk Cottrell returned a big salmon that taped out to 43 pounds!  Great work guys!  On Saturday, 2014 Kingfisher Derby winner Bruce Severson returned to Klashwun Point with his guide Kraig Coulter and fishing buddy George Best.  They hadn’t been on the water more than an hour when Bruce’s herring-rigged offering was slammed by a heavy fish.  After a 40-minute dance, Kraig slipped the net beneath the deep chrome body of a massive salmon and their cheers went up!  These guys have caught some big fish but this looked to be a new high – and it was.  After careful measurements and a patient revival, the huge Chinook drove away from the boat with strong sweeps of its broad tail.  The numbers worked out to a season high fish of 68 pounds. A fantastic catch and a marvellous release!  Thanks guys and congratulations Bruce on becoming the newest member of the exclusive Kingfisher Club at Queen Charlotte Lodge!


July 17, 2014 Duane Foerter0

Stunning sunshine and magically flat water were a treat for lodge guests this past weekend as they sorted through schools of silver coho and Chinook salmon to find the perfect size for the barbeque.  The action this week continues to be dominated by a healthy mix of high-teen-sized Chinooks and a huge variety of cohos ranging 6 to 12 pounds, spread pretty evenly over the fishing grounds.  Down at the Bell Ringer we’re seeing enough of those legendary big Tyees to keep the bell chiming well into the evening!  Kevin Armon joined the ranks of the QCL 50 Pounder Club with our 7th of the season, a brilliant 51 pounder taken at Parker Point on Friday with his guide Mark Callaghan.  Other big salmon highlights were Robert Shippy’s 42 lb. Tyee and Gerry Brandt’s 39.  Out on the Driftwood Bill Harris returned to the swimgrid with a hefty 40 pounder.  Rob Blackwell kept a nice 30 on Friday but chose to release an even bigger fish on Saturday after his guide Andrew Simpson taped it out to just over 39 pounds!  Well done guys!

The halibut fishing this summer continues to be simply outstanding.  We’ve always enjoyed reliable halibut catches but this year continues a trend to heavier fish overall and excellent opportunities for big fish at a variety of locations.  Many anglers are getting a crack at reeling up a giant over 100 pounds, then releasing it after some photos and usually a lot of splashing!  But along with the giants are coming many fish in the 30 to 70 pound class, which fall within the retention regulation, and are impressive both on the rod and on the plate!

Moonrise at QCL Haida Gwaii

We’ve just gone through the peak tide period this week with changes in the 16 foot range (and some incredible full moonrises!) Looking ahead to the weekend we’re anticipating light to moderate westerlies, giving comfortable access to the full fishing grounds and an even chance of showers after all this sunshine we’ve been having!


July 12, 2014 Duane Foerter0

QCL anglers combed the fishing grounds this week, taking advantage of beautifully calm waters and massive volumes of baitfish in the area. Depth sounders revealed dark clouds of large herring 90 feet deep and twice the size of football fields with schools of Coho and Chinook salmon mixed throughout.  The huge amount of feed in the area perhaps didn’t help the fishing but certainly revealed the incredible health of the ecosystem!  Salmon action was very solid for nice coho ranging 8-12 pounds, fishing off shore a bit, down 70-90 feet in 125 feet of water.  While less plentiful, the bulk of Chinooks were generally shallower and sized 15-20 pounds.  The big Tyees were hanging in closer to the kelp beds at Bird 2, Green Point and Parker Point.  We saw a number of nice fish released this week with Caleb Smith turning back a 34 pounder and Ian Bryce a hefty fish that taped out to 37 pounds.  Great work guys!  40710193a

The big salmon story this trip, however, belongs to Texan angler Shawn Gosdin, fishing solo with his guide Jo Brakefield.  These guys go back a ways, fishing together at a couple of other BC lodges before Jo joined the guide team at QCL this summer.  They’ve always done pretty well but Jo had a hunch that they would do something special this week.  That hunch came to fruition on Wednesday morning when they made their first pass around the point at Bird 2 and the inside rod dipped abruptly. Shawn took the rod and held on tight as a heavy fish pulled them out and away from the wall.  Jo stayed on top of the action and steered the boat away from other anglers in the quiet water behind the rock.  Shawn’s deft touch on the rod and some measured patience paid off with Jo carefully slipping the net beneath the huge silver salmon.  They opted not to boat the fish and Jo did the measurements hanging head down in the net before finally removing it from the soft mesh. The giant Chinook came around pretty quickly while the guys held on and revived it.  Taping out to 57 pounds, the photos definitely describe a massive trophy Chinook that is a new personal best for angler and guide alike!  Our congratulations go out to Shawn and Jo for sharing a personal landmark in their fishing careers!  Definitely one of those moments that neither will ever forget!


July 10, 2014 Duane Foerter0

The southeasterly weather systems that have prevailed so much this summer gave way to some welcome westerlies this week.  Guests and especially the staff are enjoying the sunshine that comes with it!  A change in the winds comes along with a new push of bait into the fishing grounds so we’re seeing massive schools of herring and needlefish in many different locations.  Guides are happily scooping up giant 12-inch herring and prepping them for bait.  So the salmon are happy too!

 Over the past week QCL anglers have divided their time between the east and west sides of the fishing grounds; some of them fishing Cape Edenshaw for their first time.  Edenshaw did not disappoint and produced solid numbers of both salmon species as well as reliable catches of halibut.  This week we’ve focused largely on the waters off Cape Naden, Bird 2 and Shag Rock, which has been a real hotspot on the flood tide.  We’re seeing more Chinooks in the 20-plus pound class this week and the Tyee bell has been getting a good workout each evening!  Anglers are finding equal success with herring, anchovies and spoons, generally fished down 35-45 feet in 90 to 125 feet of water.  As we approach the full moon this weekend the increasing tide range will have more influence on the fishing so anglers should plan accordingly.

 Looking ahead to the weekend we’re expecting light variable winds over the grounds and maybe some more sunshine!  


July 10, 2014 Duane Foerter0

It’s hard to believe that June has come and gone and we’re already more than a third of the way through our 24th season!  To summarize, June 2014 has been above average for volume of fish, both salmon and halibut.

Like last year, the abundance of Chinook salmon in the 14 – 20 lb class has created tons of great fishing action. The numbers of larger salmon increased through the month to the point that on last weeks trip we saw 25 Tyees on the dock.  Five fish over 50 pounds up to July 1st is very encouraging too!  Coho showed up in numbers in the 3rd week and from that point on most guests have been able to take their share.

Halibut catches are always pretty reliable in these waters and this month the weather has cooperated on most trips to allow anglers to fish many of the favoured “hali-holes” in depths of 200 feet or more. The results are larger fish on average than we typically see closer to shore, including 55 fish over 50 lbs, 9 of those over 100.

Stay tuned for the latest catch news from this weekend!


July 2, 2014 Duane Foerter0

Canada Day fishing at QCL proved to be just the latest highlight of the 2014 season with glassy calm water, a little liquid sunshine and 2 new members joining the 50 Pounder Club.  Al Slaughter and his son Steven proved it was worth getting out early Tuesday as they worked the kelp beds between Klashwun Point and Yatze.  The result was a handsome Tyee which tipped the scale just over 50 pounds, the 5th at QCL this season.  Late in the day Kraig Coulter was doing a little after-hours fishing with fellow guides Matt Williams and Trevor Harris when they hooked up with a silver giant at Klashwun Point.  After a quick measurement Kraig carefully revived the big Chinook and released it with a score of 52 pounds.  Well done guys!

We’ve seen tons of bait in close throughout the fishing grounds this past week, drawing hungry salmon to favourite points like Cape Naden and Parker.  The tasty mix of needlefish and herring in these spots has provided excellent catches of both Chinook and Coho.  Plentiful feeder springs still dominate much of the activity, regularly punctuated by twenty-somethings and the occasional Tyee-class fish over 30 pounds.  In recent years late June has provided a very solid Coho fishery and guests at the lodge have been happy to add a few of these scrappy gamefish to their catch. While the typical Coho this time of year is around 8 pounds, we’ve seen several fish up to 12.

Our halibut fishery continues to provide extra excitement for lodge guests, with fish in the 30 – 60 pound class showing up at the Bell Ringer regularly. The guides are getting very good at in-the-water measurements using old rods as yardsticks.  Veteran QCL angler Dennis McCann released a big fish measuring 108 pounds on the weekend while Francis Moezinia sent back an 87 and Robert Rand released one scoring 142 pounds.  It’s quite a thrill to see these giants come up alongside the boat and it’s fantastic that they are so quick to swim back down once released!  The flipside is the plentiful supply of 15 – 25 pounders that are so perfect to take home for the dinner table!

We’re posting lots of great photos weekly to our Flickr page so be sure to visit often and see what’s going on up here!  Go to qclshooter to check it out!