July 28, 2016 Duane Foerter0

I’d like to welcome all QCL family, and fellow anglers to another addition of the Guide’s report.

Today was a spectacular day to be fishing in Haida Gwaii, better known on the west coast as the “Mecca” of salmon fishing. With a fresh push of fish entering the grounds, we knew we were in for a treat today!

Tyee in the netMy guest was just shy of a Tyee last year, so I promised I’d make it up to him this season. It seemed after the initial push of the afternoon flood tide, Bird Rock 2 came to life with action. And after a few strips of line and some patience, we were onto one!  The big Chinook took a piece of herring at 6 pulls off the point, pretty textbook stuff for B2. The fight was heavy and lethargic, with the fish making multiple deep runs for the kelp. Fortunately, we were able to cut him off with the Grady every time. About 25 minutes into the fight we found ourselves in the west bay of B2, with a hungry sea lion in hot pursuit of our fish. Tyee salmon at QCLThankfully we were able to scoop him up before the rock dog was able to do any real damage. When we motored offshore in an attempt to release the fish, we realized he had swallowed the hooks. Looks like he was coming back to the Bell Ringer with us after all! This one turned out to be a 34-pounder, a great way to finish the day and an unforgettable trip at QCL.

Until next time, tight lines!

Ryan “Horseshoe” Winger


July 26, 2016 Duane Foerter0

As we roll through the final days of July we’re seeing some big fish popping up in all the usual places.  Bird 2, Klashwun Point and Parker Point have turned out some stunning catches this week.  Doug R started off the trip on Friday with a nice 39-pounder while fishing with veteran guide Ran Rainville.  Augustin D had quite a battle with a 51 pounder up at Klashwun Point but got it to the boat with some expert boat handling by guide Brian Bowles.  And Kendall and Hans had a fantastic first day with the ultimate double – a 34 lb. Tyee and a 62 lb. halibut – while fishing with their guide Ryan Kelly!

Guests who choose to stay on the Driftwood may not have all the amenities of the Twin Creeks Spa and the Bell Ringer and Luke’s Limousine service, but they happily trade all that for something pretty special.  They get the whole fishing grounds to themselves after all the lodge boats have left the water.  There’s something magical about sitting in the glassy calm behind Bird 2; the eagles are harassing the gulls, bears often come down to the beach and the humpbacks love to cruise right alongside the ship, scooping up needlefish along the way.  But fishing the point and that tack along the wall inside B2 is some of the most productive water on the coast!  DW guests Brent S and Matt M confirmed that once again as they enjoyed a little after dinner fishing derby on Saturday night.  Matt hooked up with a big beauty sometime after 9:00 and played it to the boat with Driftwood guests viewing from the deck.  Brent got the whole thing on video and then assisted with the netting, measurement and the release.  The stunning Tyee Chinook scored out to 57.4 and swam away strongly after some revival time from Matt.  Beautiful job guys!  Congratulations Matt and welcome to the 50 Pounder Club!

Tyee Chinook at QCL51 pounder at QCL

Catch & Release TyeeDouble Treat at QCL


July 24, 2016 Duane Foerter1

Today’s forecast of mild southerly windsFamily Fishing Success at QCL! held true, and with southerly winds, rain is usually expected in Dixon Entrance. Today was no different. For some guests and guides who left the dock early in the AM, a morning bite at a couple of our fishing points proved to be worthy of the early wake up.  But, as has proven to be the case over the past couple of days, once this morning bite is over most of the Chinook action has been in deeper water as the day carries on. Unconventional methods, as compared to the in-close, shallow depth, and “hugging the kelp” method, seem to be more productive as the day carries on. Running your gear deeper down in deeper water can prove successful.Family Fishing Success at QCL!

Coho action is still mostly an offshore affair. Working the 200-plus foot line with the riggers down 20 to 50 feet can lead to double or triple headers once a school of these silver acrobats are found. The key is to keep covering water, following tide lines and looking for feeding birds. Double back or drive the boat in large circles until the bite ends…after that, follow the tide line for another chance at silver.

Sunday’s forecast is for more light southerly winds. Guests and guides will be anticipating the final day of the trip.  Hopefully it will be a day filled with plenty of fish and lots of action…new friends…memories to last a lifetime and a chance hog hiding in the kelp. See you out on the water!

’till next time…

Keep your tip up…line tight…and hang on for the ride!

Jeff “Smurf”


July 21, 2016 Duane Foerter1

Southerly winds have given QCL guests some glassy calm seas to enjoy this week and they’ve certainly taken advantage of them!  Having lodge boats scattered all over the fishing grounds confirms every time that there are just so many great options out there for the adventurous angler!  The guides have identified numerous favourite spots in the offshore zone where they’re finding excellent opportunities for halibut, lingcod and yelloweyes.   Improved sounder technology has helped us “see” structure down 200+ feet that we never knew was there!  Now that we’re releasing all those big breeding halibut over 70 pounds we’re catching more of the prime 25 to 45 pounders that are so perfect for the freezer.   It’s especially good when they go home in beautifully vac-packed 1 lb. chunks from our licensed fish processing facility!  Our guests enjoy quality packed fish all year long.

But it’s mighty exciting when you drop your jig down 220 feet and quickly hook up to a fish the size of a door!  That happened to Alan J and Edison K while fishing yesterday with veteran guide Jackson Jane.  Sharing turns on the rod through a 45-minute battle they finally got “eyes-on-the-prize” when a massive halibut came alongside the boat.  With some effort they were able to tape the huge female out to 192 cm for an estimated weight of 230 pounds!  That’s more than 6-feet long!  And the beauty of it is that they swim away with such vigour!  Most of them make sure you get a good soaking in the process!  Well done lads! (Stay tuned for pics!)

Ted's 51-pound Tyee at QCLChinook salmon fishing has turned up the volume nicely this week with some very impressive catches recorded at the Bell Ringer.  We’ve added 3 new members to the QCL 50-Pounder Club in the past 3 days!  After first-timer Danny B started his QCL experience with a a 50-pound beauty on Monday, long-time QCL angler Ted W landed a 51 on Wednesday morning.  Ted likes to release his big fish but unfortunately this one had damaged the gills and guide Jordan Grames had to keep it on board.  What a gorgeous salmon guys!  Congratulations Ted!  50 pound Tyee for Gabrielle

And on Wednesday evening Gabrielle K had better luck with her release of another beautiful Tyee that taped out to just over 50 pounds, watching it swim away with nice strong strokes of its big spotted tail!  Awesome!



July 20, 2016 Duane Foerter0

There was a large number of QCL guests and guides gearing up for an early 5:30 departure this morning, leaving Naden Harbour and heading out into the damp fog of Virago Sound. Except for a light residual NW swell from yesterday, the fishing grounds were fairly flat which made for a nice change of pace from the previous four days of strong northwest winds.

The early morning tide change brought on a Chinook snap bite on most of our major fishing points. With larger tides it’s these snap bites most QCL guests are relying on to fill their Chinook quota. Patience, skill and luck all play a factor but with the right combination a few of these black mouthed salmon can be had at each tide. Coho salmon have moved offshore into the deeper water, following large schools of needle fish. If one is willing to search out different depths in 200 plus feet of water…you might be rewarded with a nice supply of Coho chrome in the 7 to 12 lb. range.

Some interesting news to hit the QCL VHF radio waves over the past few days is that DFO is searching for a humpback whale which has a fishing net and a buoy attached to it and it may be located in our waters. Out on the halibut grounds today while we were looking for a couple of chickens, we saw a DFO zodiac tracking a humpback whale. I wondered if this was the whale in danger but the boat eventually left and the humpback breached right close to ”One-Fourteen.”  Definitely no fishing net on this one and what a show!

The flat waters made for comfortable bottom fishing and most QCL guests were able to get one of their two Halibut for the trip. With light winds forecast for the rest of the trip, guests and guides should be able to fish close to the kelp and rock structure in search of that Chinook of a lifetime or a screaming smiley!

Till next time… Keep your tip up, line tight, and hang in for the ride!

Jeff ‘Smurf’

Halibut fishing heaven


July 19, 2016 Duane Foerter0

Having a case of the Monday blues? Not here in Haida Gwaii – what a fishy week it has been so far! With the heavy weekend winds settling down to 5-10 mph, QCL guests and guides started the week out right – with lots of sun, loaded fish boxes, and big smiles to match!

With the mid-season approaching, QCL staff are definitely in the rhythm of the game – getting to enjoy some sunny weather and staff fishing charters is putting everyone in great moods!

Coho are still running rampant through the fishing grounds, with some beautiful 10-12 lbers coming through to the scale. It’s easy fishing if you’re looking to limit out on these Silvers!

While 15-20 lb feeder-sized Chinook are also consistent throughout the grounds, the real action this week began on Monday with four Tyees caught by our QCL guests!

QCL 50-PounderWe don’t mean to brag (well, just a little), but the following anglers were nothing but winners at the weigh scale! Guest Jim T. was lucky enough to land a beautiful 37 lb Chinook – Adam D. caught and released a 45 pounder – Guest Danny B. landed a stunning 50 pounder (on a Tiger Prawn  spoon!) with his guide Kyle Hedican – and last but certainly not least – Santiago C. scooped up a nice 41 lb Chinook to take home! Congratulations and well-done to these fishermen!

We’re looking forward to seeing the rest of the Catch from this trip! Tight lines!


July 18, 2016 Duane Foerter0

Leaving the dock this morning we all knew we were going to be in for some rough seas. We were having a northwest wind today and the waves were going to stack up pretty high.  But the positive part about this direction of wind is it usually pushes in a new run of Chinook. How we fish this type of sea is what is called the Haida drift. We run up to Klashwun Point and turn the boat with the waves, then drift past all our major points of land. It is quite comfortable going with the waves and it is a very productive way of fishing.

By the time we got through most of the drift, we had 2 Coho in the box, released a few pinks, which were fun to play with, and had some great laughs. We cruised by Bird 1 and saw the huge bull sea lion and his female sitting on the edge. “Man, I sure hope he stays there” I thought to myself as I took some pictures of them.

As soon as we reached the west bay of Cape Naden we hooked our first big Chinook of the trip!  What a screamer! Line was ripping off the reel!  Now the awkward part of fighting a big fish in big waves is maneuvering the big Grady around to stay on top of the fish. The waves were crashing all around us, but it sure makes for a lot of fun!  After a 15-minute fight, the fish was almost at the boat when my guest made me aware of the huge sea lion coming at the boat. “Oh no! I knew it!” I grabbed the net and told him we had to get this fish to the boat as fast as we could, he had to horse it.  So much could go wrong doing this but we had no choice. Either lose it by pulling too hard or to the lion.

The big salmon surfaced just out of reach of the net and we finally saw how big it really was. This was without a doubt mid 30’s or more. It was so big we couldn’t get the fish to budge.  I stretched out as far as I could and just started dipping the net under the head of the fish and was thinking “We got this!”  Then there was a massive explosion of water beside the boat and the sea lion grabbed the fish!  It was something right out of National Geographic. We stood there in absolute disbelief. After we took a few minutes to take in this experience, my guest spoke up and said regardless of how big it was, that was an incredible experience!!

Sea Lion at Bird RockWhat a day, filled with great times, fun memories! We had a few Chinook and a couple Coho in the box, a very exciting dolphin experience right beside the boat.  We headed back to the barn so the guys could enjoy their evening with friends having an incredible dinner at the Charlotte House by our chef Mark, relax in the hot tub, and relive the day’s events like all fisherman do, talking about the big one that got away!

Until next time,

Randy “the Hitman” Zinck


July 15, 2016 Duane Foerter0

We’ve been enjoying a nice spell of fair weather this past week and anglers have responded by making full use of the entire fishing grounds! We’ve been “grinding” the kelp beds at the major points for Tyees (and finding some) and doing the offshore drift to intercept those schools of feeding Coho, which are now getting into the 9-10-pound class. The guides are continually finding more halibut hotspots throughout the offshore waters. This week, we’ve had a number of expert “jiggers” mapping small pinnacles and other structure full of beautiful lingcod and groundfish.

Between all of this fishing effort, QCL guests have found time to enjoy some spectacular humpback whale shows and even feed the odd sea lion in a rather up-close-and-personal kind of way! Never a dull moment around here!

Mike J and 50 lb TyeeWe celebrated our newest member of the QCL 50 Pounder Club this week with a great catch by veteran QCL guest Mike J, staying aboard the MV Driftwood. Mike and his fishing partner Dan were working the kelp around Cape Naden with QCL guide Griffin Barlow when the big one hit. The fourth fish of 2016 in this exclusive club tipped the scale at just over 50 pounds and Mike celebrated with some mighty strikes to the ship’s Tyee Gong!

Tyee Chinook


While we haven’t seen huge numbers of Tyees so far this year, the big ones continue to show up pretty regularly in all of our favourite places! On Tuesday Leonard R boated a 46 pounder with his wife Arlene and assistance from his guide Oliver Massey. Later in the week we saw more fish over thirty with 35, 38 and 39 pounders boated on Thursday. Beautiful fish!

Moderate north westerlies forecast for most of the coming week will bring sunshine and temperatures soaring to 19 or 20 degrees! It’s summertime in the Gwaii!


July 12, 2016 Duane Foerter0

Friday afternoon left us with one of the most picturesque days that we have seen thus far. We experienced a flat calm day and sunny skies.  The bait swarmed our western fishing grounds and the fish followed suit. Klashwun Point was the center of most of the activity with many large Chinooks being caught within the area. The Coho arrived in large schools over the past 2 weeks, flooding our grounds with fish.  We have been fishing “Klash” the past couple of afternoon’s and the action has been steady.

When the Coho start coming into our grounds in numbers it marks a time of high activity. Coho salmon will spend their first year of life within specific rivers or streams along the West Coast. They will return to that same stream to spawn 3-4 years later. The Coho Salmon has even been transplanted into the freshwater great lakes of North America. The main features of the Coho are their white gums and acrobatic style of fighting when hooked. Unlike the Chinooks they have very little spotting on the lower lobes of their tails and are smaller in size. The average Coho that we have been seeing has been weighing 6-8 pounds but there are also 10 – 12 pounders mixed in there as well.  Boy do they hit hard!

Now all throughout the grounds the Coho are here and the guests can look forward to topping up their fish box with a Coho limit as well!




July 10, 2016 Duane Foerter0

There was lots of excitement out on the grounds this past week with the annual Slaughter Group Team Fishing Derby.  One hundred and five keen anglers came from six different provinces to participate in one of the biggest events we host each summer.  The fish were quite cooperative much of the time, generating lots of numbers to populate the team score spreadsheets!

QCL Chinook fishing Chinook fishing picked up nicely, particularly with early morning bites at Bird 2, Parker Pt. and off Yatze.  Huge tides flooding through the middle of the day tended to slow down the Chinook action. But with large schools of Coho gathering just offshore, keen anglers were able to stay busy much of the day.  Top catches were a pair of hefty 42 pounders – one for Steve F at Yatze and one for John M up near Klashwun Point.  Two forty pounders tied for second largest; taken by Mike K and David G.  We actually saw a nice bump up in the number of Tyee-class fish caught this week to complement the strong numbers of feeders in the 15 to 22 lb. group.  Coho have definitely arrived in a big way and we’re seeing the average size creep up around 8-9 pounds with a respectable number of 10-11 pounders in the mix.  Always exciting, these silver bullets are being found in schools throughout the grounds with the greatest concentration outside the 100-foot depth line and fishing the top 30 feet of water.

Halibut fishing at QCL

Beautiful warm summer weather has also made an appearance this weekend with temperatures soaring to 19 or maybe 20 degrees!  That’s enough for us!  The staff are celebrating with beach wear and the brave are getting right out there and jumping in!  Hurray for July!

Looking ahead to next week it’s a mixed bag of weather with moderate winds from south and southeast thru Wednesday and mainly cloudy skies.  Tides are mellow with changes in the range of 6 to 8 feet.

QCL staff swimming