Light winds and calm seas have continued this week, with exceptionally favorable conditions experienced by QCL anglers. The theme for this week has been dominated by the large runs of Chinook salmon stopping in on all of the regular spots, with consistent catches had by our guests all across the fishing grounds, from Cape Edenshaw to the East and Green Point to the West. These constant pushes of fish are being held against the Northern Graham Island shoreline by massive numbers of schooling baitfish, which when viewed on our depth sounders are often covering the entire water column! More and more Coho salmon are also showing up on each tide, taking advantage of our extremely rich waters as they gorge themselves on the incredible abundance of needlefish and herring.
In on the feeding frenzy, the sea mammals that frequent our shoreline are providing photo opportunities for all of our guests. Humpback whales can be seen scooping up balls of needlefish and are holding tight to the kelp beds, often within a stone’s throw of our boats as they tack along the shoreline. Large groups of Orcas have also been passing through on a regular basis while hunting for sea lions, confirming their status at the top of the food chain. Gray whales have also been sighted this week, as they get in on the action, while black bears searching the shoreline for food are almost a daily occurrence and provide a momentary distraction from the singing Islander reels.
The fishing has been absolutely spectacular, with guests and guides alike complaining that they can only get one rod set before a salmon hits and starts peeling off line – a great “problem” to have! More and more large specimens have been showing up, and everyone is excited about the possibility of a record breaking fish this year. As of yesterday afternoon, just 3 days into our current trip, we have witnessed some majestic Chinook salmon hitting the dock. A big QCL hand goes out to Wayne Cherney, who rang the bell five times in celebration of his 51lb Chinook salmon; way to go Wayne! More hands were employed in this honor, with Jerry McCaffrey, Mark Atchison, Maria Hansma, Sevy Olson and Brad Black all having a turn at the bell to celebrate their Tyee-class Chinook salmon. Also on the list and worth considerable mention, are Shane Bondy and Paul Irving, who elected to release their 35lb and 36lb Tyees, respectively. It’s always nice to see those big fish swim away from the boat, and we hope they make their way back to their natal streams to spawn.
Halibut fishing has been great as usual, with so many fish still holding in shallow water that we continue to see incidental catches while targeting Salmon. A steady catch of “chicken” size halibut, along with the odd larger fish, are being caught in depths from 60’ to 180’, so you don’t have to venture far to add these tasty fish to your box.
With the steady runs of Salmon, abundance of ocean life and calm seas of 1m or less expected to hold through this weekend, our next trip looks very promising.