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!
As we roll into the weekend fishing trip we’re happy to report that all is well in the Gwaii! The usual mixed bag of weather has given QCL guests plenty of opportunities to explore the fishing grounds and discover all that they offer. The Chinook numbers are growing steadily with a continuous variety of sizes and strains. Most guests are getting 3 or 4 to go home with and the average size is running in the high teens these days –perfect filets for those 1-pound chunks! The Tyee bell is still ringing every night, celebrating those larger salmon, halibut and lingcod catches. We saw a couple more 40-pounders this week and several in the mid-thirties. It’s been nice to see some hefty lingcod on the dock these past few days with some keen jigging-anglers working around the pinnacles, pulling up tasty fish in the mid to high twenties. Halibut action saw an uptick this past trip as well with 5 fish measuring out to more than 100 pounds.
The BIG story however is the proverbial “barn door” halibut pulled up by California angler David Machinski, fishing with veteran guide Ryan “R”Kelly. This one taped out to 81 inches in length for a calculated weight of 291 pounds! That’s a lot of work but the view when she comes to the top is amazing! Fortunately David managed to find a 32-pound keeper later on the next day! Well done boys!
The 17thAnnual Kingfisher Derby wrapped up on Sunday with $100,000 in prize money up for grabs. With all the Tyees we’ve seen this month we knew it would shape up to be a great derby and they didn’t disappoint. In the end the $50K first prize for largest Chinook salmon released went to Randy Rognlin (again!) for his 35.42 scoring Tyee. Following closely to claim 2ndprize was Jordan Smith with a 32.92 and 3rdwent to Dmitri Brunislav for a 32.72. So so close! Congratulations guys and a big Thank You to everyone who came up to participate! This derby is always a highlight of our season.
One of the special privileges of being a guide is having the opportunity to be a part of some truly unforgettable moments on the water, creating memories that last a lifetime. Last Sunday morning, Father’s Day, Grady White 107 was cutting its way through the glassy ocean with myself and 3 generations of family, a classic father, son and grandfather fishing team.
Anticipation was high as we dropped in at Klashwun Point, low slack was approaching and there was hardly another boat in sight. As we began working the formidable structure of Big Point, reminiscent of an ancient ruined castle, we were treated to a show of humpbacks breaching and eagles dive bombing boiling balls of needlefish. The only thing missing were the salmon! After hours of fishing with only one feeder sized chinook landed and released, the current soon pushed all the baitfish out past the point. Our high hopes faded and we decided it was time to make a move.
After the boys had a burger break on the MV Driftwood, we decided to roll the dice and cruise across Virago Sound to Cape Edenshaw. We set up in Piggy’s Bay and I only had time to put in one rod when it suddenly lurched violently. Fish On! After boating a beautiful 20 pounder, we set up again and quickly hit a double header. Looks like we found the spot! Pure pandemonium ensued over the next several hours, with beautiful, hard fighting Chinooks refusing to leave us alone. The highlight fish was a serious reel-melter that later weighed in at 29.4 pounds- a true “Tryee”! I for one can’t think of a better way to spend quality time with family and friends than experiencing this one-of-a-kind fishery in such a beautiful and remote corner of the world. It’s my privilege to be able to introduce people to the amazing migratory salmon of Haida Gwaii every day – it’s a dream come true.
An escape to this remote corner of the world is on the wish list for a lot of people, and for good reason! It’s definitely an angler’s paradise; those gorgeous chrome-bright salmon sure make an impression on you! The wilderness seascapes of the fishing grounds are literally overflowing with an abundance of life –both above and below the surface. Sharing a breath of salt sea air with a feeding humpback whale just a rod’s length off your boat is a sure testament to that – especially while you’re reeling in a nice lingcod off the other side!
Guests staying with us this week got to experience all that and more. Among our guests we were thrilled to host Kevin Costner and his family who were able to enjoy the QCL Experience with us. We’re so pleased that we were able to show them some beautiful BC wilderness along with some warm QCL hospitality. While they’re returning home with a nice box of fish we hope that their whole family takes along many fond memories of their visit here.
June fishing continues to be very productive with good numbers of Chinook salmon in all weight classes. Sixteen lucky anglers got to ring the Tyee bell over the past 4 days, celebrating what most would consider the fish of a lifetime. But like we always say, there so much more to it than just fishing!
The winter season is often spent pre-planning tactics, tying leaders, and thinking of the memories that previous season have left imprinted within my memory. Now that the season is well underway these preparations have become invaluable. Leaders are used on a daily basis and I am eager to run the newest spoons, flashers, and hoochies that I have purchased.
The new moon has brought large tides to Area One and with these tides Chinook salmon have arrived as well. Numerous 40 pounders have already been hooked by keen anglers fishing the coastline of Graham Island. The Tyee bell has been sounding on a regular basis each night and the June fishing this year has started to remind me of the old days. Cape Naden has been my favorite point to fish this year. Tidal rips will form along this point bringing in baitfish and packs of Chinooks to follow. I have experienced sizzling lines still in the rod holder and can say that these fish are hard fighting and hungry. My excitement is growing each morning to get out onto the water and see what the 011 can produce. Haida Gwaii is known as the land of plenty and the start of this year is proving this to be true. I look forward to seeing familiar faces walking down the dock this summer and making dreams become reality.
It’s amazing that they can predict weather a week in advance and when the day comes, it actually happens exactly as promised! That brief 6-hour burst of southeasterly wind that sent us to the shelter of Cape Edenshaw yesterday was bang on the money. It didn’t blow quite so hard as we’d feared but it blew. All is well.
Guests on our third trip of the season were treated to beautiful days on Friday and Saturday and they sure made the most of it! Greasy flat water, skies just sunny enough and hungry fish everywhere. We’re starting to see the salmon species mix coming –we saw only Chinooks last week but now we’re getting some Coho, Chum and Pink salmon as well. The Tyee count continues with a 31 for Richard M, and a 34 pounder for Chris M on Friday.
Robert N caught and released our third 40+ Chinook while fishing with guide Tristan O’Brian at Yatze, taping the big beauty out to 42 pounds! Way to go Robert! Nice to see those amazing big Chinooks swim away from the boat! Five more Tyees on Saturday included yet another giant released! QCL guide Kylie Tokairin was working the legendary structure of east bay Parker Point when her guest Andrew M set the hook on a solid fish. Twenty thrill-filled minutes later Kylie was releasing a gorgeous big Chinook that they’d just taped out to 44 pounds! That makes four over forty in the first eight days of the season! Sure is nice to see! Congratulations to all involved and we’ll hope these big spawners find their way safely back to their home streams this summer!
With the departure of our second group of guests this morning we’re feeling pretty darn good about the weeks ahead. We’ve been treated to favourable weather and productive fishing. The trend has been toward light northwesterly winds and as result our salmon fishery has been most productive inshore along the rocks and kelp beds –“where they should be”as our guides like to say! All the favourite points are turning up salmon action, with a variety pack of sizes served up every day. Craig H and Sean C both hooked up with beautiful 30-pounders on Monday while Paul S boated a 33 on Tuesday.
QCL guest Eugene Knuttila, staying aboard the Driftwood with his son Jeff, had the ultimate salmon experience while fishing off the bay at Yatze with QCL guide Liam Longacre. On their second tack in glassy calm water Eugene’s rod dipped and he was soon onto a solid fish. The battle lasted about 20 minutes with lots of jumps and some tug-o-war from the bottom. But when the fish came to the boat and they saw that big head & shoulders, they knew this one was going back. After a quick measurement it was back in the water and only took Liam a few minutes to revive before it swam away with good strong strokes. It taped out to 46 pounds and proved to be the fish of a lifetime for Eugene, who was thrilled to experience such a moment with his son. It was definitely a high point for Liam as well –great job guys! Newlyweds Julia and Isaiah shared a similar experience when they tempted another big Chinook out of the kelp at Yatze, this one measuring out to 35 pounds before retreating to the shelter of the weeds after reviving. Beautiful fishing everyone… and Congratulations! This week marked the first edition of the White Gold bottom fishing derby with prizes for largest halibut and lingcod. Tide swings of 16-plus feet made for challenging conditions but determined anglers prevailed and a number of good fish came to the scale. A 37-pound lingcod took the top prize for John F while Eric H claimed the cash for halibut with a 33-pounder. There were several big halibut caught and released this week – a 78 for Syd C, an 80 for Raymond P, a 100-pounder for Justin C and a 160 for John S – but the derby is for keeper fish only and that sweet spot between 50 and 60 pounds was elusive this week. Good fun guys and we’ll maybe look for smaller tides for the next edition!
For this weekend light northwesterlies will prevail thru Saturday before we get a 10-hour dose of southeast that will steer us over to fish Cape Edenshaw on Sunday. Tides are moderating nicely so we should see much easier bottom-fishing today and tomorrow.
After a crackerjack opening weekend we’re happy to report that the fun just keeps on coming! QCL guests are enjoying fair weather and exploring the full fishing grounds, finding lots of great rewards!
The salmon fishing continues to be very good, especially in all the usual places. There is a significant quantity of 20-pound-plus fish in the mix with the usual teen-sized feeders we expect to see at this time. And we’re seeing a few Tyees every day so it’s pretty exciting to get out there and try your luck. Hangin’out at the Bell Ringer weigh scale in the evening is a biologist’s candy store; so many variations on a species – different sizes, shapes and colours of Chinook salmon, obviously coming from a range of river systems up and down the coast.
Andre T. and Chad B. each boated 35-pounders on Sunday while Chad’s partner Sonya released a beauty that taped out to 32 pounds. Jordan W released our first 100-pound halibut of the season and we’ve seen others tagged at 70, 78, 80, 82 and 85 pounds. This week we’re hosting the QCL White Gold Derby, focused on lingcod and halibut so it’ll be interesting to see how the numbers stack up by Friday.
With the largest “keeper”halibut this year –at max. length of 126 cm, scoring in the range of approximately 59 pounds, it’ll be fun to see how close the winner can come! Stay tuned for the results!