June 30, 2015 Duane Foerter0

Splendid weather this weekend treated QCL anglers to a perfect storm of fishing opportunities! Light variable winds and partly sunny skies combined with moderate tides to open every possibility on our fishing grounds. Prevailing westerly’s continue to push the bait into the many little bays and pockets along our shoreline. And we’re talking LOTS of bait! Ten days ago we were absolutely plugged with herring. Now the needlefish (what we’re most accustomed to) are the main feed drawing in the salmon and the whales. There seems to be a humpback in just about every bay, cruising and feeding right off the kelp and the rocks. Then every once in a while, one or two want to celebrate and they’ll move off just beyond the boats. They put on a show that loads up every smartphone on the water! We never get tired of these gentle giants and are constantly in awe of their presence.

Talking about awesome… the Chinook salmon fishery this summer continues to amaze. While those teen-sized feeder Springs have kept us busy for weeks now, we’re definitely seeing some changes in the mix and the larger fish are appearing more regularly. We peaked at the Bell Ringer last night with seven big beauties recorded over 30 pounds! Top Chinook for the weekend was a stunning 40 pounder landed at Klashwun Point by David H with his guide Tegan Baxter. That big fella took a herring at 8 pulls off the back rod! Darrel M released another stunning fish that taped out to 39 pounds – well done Darrel! It was a tough day on the water for Laurel M, fishing with partner Trevor and their guide Nick Mercer. Laurel boated a handsome 32 pounder at Bird 2 in the morning and finished the afternoon releasing 2 more Tyees, scoring 30 and 34 pounds! That’s a fishing day to remember! Well done!

Splendid 40 pound Chinook!

Our halibut fishery continues to impress all of us – new and returning guests alike! There were lots of perfect keepers in the 20-40 pound class and several in the 50’s and 60’s. Breaking the 100 pound mark this weekend, Megan W teamed up with Robin B to reel up a very memorable fish that taped out to 102 lb.. Congratulations! If course it’s a good thing they were able to find some nice keeper-sized fish to enjoy back home while they tell their stories!

Perhaps the story of the weekend was the absolutely giant halibut that was hauled up by Chris L with guide Mark Kasumovich. This fish had taken a commercial halibut bait and broken off, dragging the heavy ganglion cord with it. They managed to cut off all the line but couldn’t maneuver the fish well enough to remove the large circle hook. That may have been because this halibut measured out to 74 inches long – that translates to 215 pounds! Quite a feat guys and well done! That big female will produce about 3 million eggs when she spawns next winter!


June 28, 2015 Duane Foerter0

As we rolled out on the water this morning it was glass calm, ol’ 104 was slicing through the water with the hum of the twin 150 Yamaha’s behind her. As always when it’s calm out I was torn when passing the dolphin to go east or stick to plan to start fishing at Cape Naden. After a quick internal debate I continued west and as we passed the Maz there were only two boats there and both were already fighting fish. This was going to be a good day.

Coming up on Naden I could see the water quivering with bait, the needle fish were pushed in there and they were thick. I set my gear and we made our first pass and had three quick hits, one on all three rods. Working the bait deep in the west bay by ourselves we got a little show from the Humpback that was feeding in there. After a morning of steady Chinook action we decided it was time to make one last pass before heading to the Hali grounds.

As we got in tight to the kelp I set my gear at 25 and 33 feet. Right as we worked into the honey hole the outside rod fired off, and the reel started screaming and it’s game on. After a few strong runs and lots of dogging the large Chinook shows himself for the first time, the 602 spoon hanging out of his mouth. I’m thinking… “Got one” and as that 33 pound Tyee slides into the bag I’m again grateful to be able to share moments like these with good guys and good friends. I know it’s been a great start to what can only be another fine day that can only be experienced in the Gwaii.

Gettin em!


June 27, 2015 Duane Foerter0

As you have been reading our blog you may have wondered what some of our fishing terms mean!
I’ve made a short glossary of the most commonly used terms…

1) Pig, hog, cannon, tiger: all of these terms refer to a large fish or a Tyee
2) Chicken, Turkey or barn door: these are the various sizes of Halibut; barn door being the largest
3) Kelp bong: a device made from bull kelp to drink beer (beer bong)
4) Rock dog / rock sausage: another name for seals
5) Black bomber: another name for a black rockfish
6) Long-line release / farmed: terms describing the unintentional loss of a fish. Used in a sentence – “Man, I just farmed a hog and snapped the line!”
7) Sizzler: a word used to describe either the size or the strength of a fish that is running quickly
8) Corked: used to describe the bend in a rod when playing a fish.
9) Bell Ringer: the Bell Ringer is the name of our dock bar and fish weighing area. A Bellringer is a Tyee or a fish over 30 lb. which deserves at least 3 rings on our QCL Tyee bell.

As the season goes on I’m sure new terms will be used and I will make an update of the fishing dictionary.

Tight lines for now,
Chelsea – Fishmaster


June 27, 2015 Duane Foerter0

Hello Fish “Fin-atics”,

Have you ever wondered what the difference between yelloweye, black and quillback rockfish might be?

Well, they are all good eats, they do have that in common! These fish are normally found near rocky bottoms, so they can hide in the nooks and crannies of the ocean floor.

Yelloweye rockfish, also known (incorrectly) as red snapper, are the largest of the rockfish and can grow to 36 inches. These delicious fish can actually live up to 115 years old! You can identify these rockfish by the yellow coloring in their eye and their vibrant deep orange colour. We typically catch them only when fishing for halibut in water over 170 feet deep. Unfortunately the pressure change from reeling them in when caught causes their swim bladder to expand and they rarely survive release so be sure to add them to your catch.

Black rockfish (sometimes called sea bass or black bass) are the most popular rockfish we see at the scale. These little guys are found swimming in deep water but leave their habitat from the rocky bottoms to feed. The lifespan of these fish is around 50 years. They are dark neutral grey in color and are typically 12 to 16 inches long. They don’t get any bigger than 10 lbs. The firm white flesh of black rockfish is delicious any way it’s prepared and is especially good as sashimi!

Lastly, Quillback rockfish, these rockfish are named after their sharp, venomous quills or spines on the dorsal fin, so beware of that spikey spine! Though we rarely see them larger than 12 inches in length the small filets are delicious deep-fried!

These three rockfish may have different characteristics to pin-point the type of rockfish they might be, but they all have similar flesh; they have white, flaky meat with a delicate flavor. The best way to cook these fish would be to pan fry them or enjoy them as fish & chips!

Hope to catch you all at the scale,


June 25, 2015 Duane Foerter0

Tuesday was another fishy day for QCL guests and guides. While fishing for “Smilies” (big Chinooks) was still fairly consistent, the anticipation of 35 knot gales coming overnight kept the guide team on edge when scraping the kelp beds today.

Since my last post there have been even more Tyee Chinook landed, including one for my guest Brandon, who successfully landed a fantastic salmon today that tipped the scale at 30.2 pounds! Congratulations to Brandon for a bell ringer on his first day ever of ocean salmon fishing!

The excessive amount of bait at all major points on our grounds has humpbacks putting on a show for everyone to have photo and video moments to remember for life. They seem to have split up this week with one or two whales feeding in each little bay that holds schools of needlefish. Our guests are really enjoying the moment out there.
I hope to see you all up here soon.

Keep your rods bent, nets ready and hang on for the ride!

Jeff ‘Smurf’


June 24, 2015 Duane Foerter0

Wow! The summer is flying by! As we slip into the final week of June it’s a good time to look at a snapshot of the 2015 fishing season so far.  Anyone who’s been up to the lodge this month, especially in the last 2 weeks, has taken home fishing memories that they’ll be talking about for a long time!  The massive amount of bait in the area has drawn incredible numbers of Chinook salmon and they’re often on a feeding frenzy, producing 50-fish days in many boats.  Add to that the presence of humpback whales feeding all around us – the experience has been quite magical.

This week the fish are more dispersed and the larger Chinooks are moving into the area.  We’re still getting lots of action from the 15-22 pound feeders but 25-35 pounders are appearing in all of the favourite haunts.  Eagle Rock has turned out a number of nice Tyees this week and Cape Naden is producing well on both sides of the tide.  While many anglers have a preference for herring, we’re seeing huge success with “green & glo” spoons and anchovy-teaser combinations.  Preferred depths throughout are generally 35 to 45 feet and we’re in a moderate tide phase right now with fairly long periods of feeding activity.

Starting off our current trip on Monday, some of our new anglers really hit the water running!  Larry H. and Steve M., Texan newcomers to the lodge, arrived at the Bell Ringer with a boatload of beauties.  Guide Kraig C. kept them reeling all day to produce their limit of Chinooks and a couple of super 50-plus pound halibut.  Larry also cracked the Tyee bell with his first ever, a stunning 33 pounder! Welcome to fishing at QCL Haida Gwaii fellas!  The bell’s been getting a workout with several Tyee salmon and halibut over 30.  We were offshore on Monday and Tuesday for bigger halibut and Peter H. hauled up a big slab that scored 109 pounds and yesterday Glen B. released a 100 pounder.  It’s so nice to see anglers enjoying the opportunity to play such heavy fish and then share their stories at the Bell Ringer!

Our long string of northwesterly weather has given way to a period of southeast winds from today into Friday and then swinging back to light to moderate NW Saturday and Sunday.  Anglers are exploring Cape Edenshaw today but should be back on the whole grounds by Thursday morning.


June 21, 2015 Duane Foerter0

Well, what more needs to be said, it was another unreal day at Queen Charlotte Lodge.   I woke up in the morning to flat water, clear skies and the sun shining off of the pearl white of my Grady 114.  The flat seas made for some ideal conditions for bottom fishing out on the Hali grounds during the slack tides. There wasn’t any lodge record breakers hauled up from the depths today but there was still several good sized slabs to be had. Yesterday my guest Bill C. reeled up the first big Hali of the trip, a perfect five bell ringer fifty pounder.

Back in shore QCL guests are still all smiles from playing Chinook after Chinook with a few coho thrown in the mix. Salmon fishing has slowed down slightly since last trip but there is still many bent rods at all of the major points throughout the day, especially during the tide changes. Day by day there are more and more tyees added to the board as well. Today Bills son Mike landed a beauty 34 pounder at Bird 2 early in the a.m. aboard 109 along with two of his brothers and QCL guide Andrew ‘fuzz show’. Beauty of a fish… well done Mike!

Hope to see you all up here soon.   Keep your rods bent, nets ready and hang on for the ride.

Jeff  ‘Smurf’


June 20, 2015 Duane Foerter1

So you wanna talk about big fish?  How about really BIG fish?

We’ve always been pretty well renowned as “the place to go” for big salmon and that’s still the case.  But in recent years we’ve been exploring our halibut fishing opportunities and have steadily discovered that our halibut fishery is pretty impressive too!

Historically most QCL guests caught their limit of halibut incidentally while they were mooching for salmon.  Many didn’t want to be bothered going out to deeper water to jig for bottom fish, as long as they had a couple in the box to take home for the family!

But as our guide team has grown we’ve brought expert anglers on board that have a love for these big flatties and they’re keen to go out and find them!  The waters of Virago Sound are relatively shallow and we do most of our halibut fishing in less than 200 feet of water – tons of fish and not much work to get them.  But these halibut hunters have dotted our charts with several undersea features that harbour the storied “barn-door” sized fish.  We’ve set them up with the heavy tackle required to handle fish over 100 pounds and they regularly go out there and find them!  Now QCL guests are hooking into giant halibut every week!

Last year between June 4th and August 26th we awarded 36 anglers the QCL Gold Halibut pin for fish over 100 pounds.  Our 13-year-old record of 183 lb. was broken 6 times!  This week the bar was raised once again.  The 2014 record of 255 pounds was broken by lodge angler Dave Bossons, fishing with QCL staff Rob Clough and Ryan Ashton.  Fishing a Gibbs Mudraker at 280 feet, they hooked up almost as soon as it reached bottom.  But that started a tug of war shared by all 3 guys that lasted an hour and forty minutes before they saw the giant fish on the surface!

Of course everybody wants to catch a big fish… Dave wanted to catch a big fish too.  The question is what do you do once you’ve caught it?  That was exactly the dilemma facing them.  Can you describe how big this fish really is?  How can we measure it?  How best to release it?  All large halibut are breeding females and any over 133 cm. length must be released.  These guys are all very experienced anglers but the shear size of this fish blew them away!  After several minutes of carefully maneuvering the halibut around the surface they were able to take a measurement with the long handle of the salmon net before removing the hook.

The length from nose to tail was 80 inches (203 cm.) and it was 48 inches across the widest point.  According to the chart published by the International Pacific Halibut Commission that fish was 277 pounds!  Incredible catch fellas!  And of course the nice thing is, it’s still swimming around out there!  Congratulations to Dave, Rob and Ryan on an awesome fish!  And remember, it’s only the middle of June!

June 17, 2015 Duane Foerter0

So many special things happened today it’s hard for me to know where to start this blog!  I decided today to take my guests to Green Point to start our day off salmon fishing. It’s such a beautiful place to fish.  As soon as I arrived there, everything about it felt right…beautiful lake like conditions, sunshine, what a start!  It couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes when the rods were in the water and the first fish of the day was ripping line off the reel!  After an incredible fight the fish was on the deck weighing in at 24 pounds but it had the heart of a fifty the way it fought. The next few hours were nonstop action. It was the 9th day of the most phenomenal fishing I’ve ever experienced.

After lunch we went Hali-fishing with Skywalker and his guests. I noticed right away his guest was into a monster! We ventured over to take a look. When we got up to his boat Luke was in the process of tying up a beast to the side of his boat. He then told us all he was going to jump in the ocean and measure it!!  Sure enough, he cannonballed off the side of his boat and laid the tape across the huge halibut. After climbing back into his boat and drying off he informed us all it measured out to 109 pounds! Congrats guys! We caught all our halibut really quickly and decided to go back to Green to finish off our day. The fishing continued to be stellar!

Then the humpbacks showed up! 4 of them bubble feeding and tail slapping right beside the boat for almost an hour!  This day couldn’t have been more incredible!  I love my job!!!

Randy “the Hitman” Zinck


June 16, 2015 Duane Foerter1

While the weekend Kingfisher Derby was drawing to a close, anglers on the QCL fishing grounds yesterday could be forgiven for being more than a little distracted!  It truly had to be one of the most stellar days most of us have ever spent on the water.

The conditions were about perfect with just the slightest westerly ripple on the water and bright, broken sunny skies.  We’re absolutely flooded with feed right now, lots of needlefish near shore and tons of large herring boiling up throughout the grounds. Where there’s bait, there’s life and the water is full of it right now.  Humpback whales were having a hay day, scattered throughout the area feeding intently.  One group of 6 were cruising back and forth all day, just off Parker Point and Bird 2.  They’d go tails up and dive below a school of herring, some creating a net of rising bubbles around the feed.  Then, suddenly, the whole pod would erupt from the water with their mouths wide open to engulf tons of seriously panicked herring.  A totally awesome sight in the truest sense of the word.

Amazing Humpback whales at QCL


Then, after lunch, the Orcas came through.  We haven’t seen much of them recently but knew that they’d be around soon with so many salmon present.  They didn’t linger but there were several colourful reports of salmon stolen from the hooks of lodge guests.  At that stage most of us were releasing everything anyway so there were no hard feelings!  (As exciting as the experience is, this is something that anglers are asked to avoid.  Orca are very intelligent and will teach their young to associate fishing boats with an easy salmon meal.)

The derby itself was suspense-filled as always.  Newcomer Laurie Mackinnon set the bar on Saturday with a nice Tyee that taped out to 35 pounds while fishing with veteran QCL guide “Rainman” Dan at Cape Naden.  There were lots and lots of fish caught but few contenders. Some anglers made smart strategic moves entering “close” fish in the killed fish category or aiming for day money.

QCL Kingfisher Derby 2015

Fishing was fantastic all weekend with lots of action but feeders of 15-25 pounds dominate the population currently in the area.  We did see our first 50 pounder and there were other big non-derby fish but Tyees were tough to find. As the final minutes ticked away there was the usual flurry of calls for a Weighmaster, just in case this was the one, but in the end Laurie’s 35 pounder prevailed and he was crowned champion of our 13th annual derby.  Perennial derby participant Jim Roberts landed a 31 pounder on day 3 to claim second place, bumping Mark Fitzgerald’s 28.5, caught on Day 1 with Red Baron, to third place.  The largest killed salmon, at 26 pounds, was boated by Doug Martin with guide Luke Wagner on Day 3 as well.  Congratulations to all participants and thank you for helping to make the weekend such a marvelous success!