Silver and Gold! Those are the colours of the Tyee pins we’ve been awarding this week. Big fish are the story at QCL these days with a lot of very impressive salmon appearing throughout the fishing grounds. Fishing the major gateway to the coast for so many salmon stocks migrating to their home streams has distinct advantages for QCL anglers!
Chinook salmon over 40 pounds are especially impressive animals. They are the royalty of the salmon family – the Chiefs, the Queens and Kings. They are typically 5, 6 or even 7 years old, their biological clocks somehow out of synch with the rest of their race who mature and spawn at age four. While some rivers are famous for their returns of these giant salmon, we hear about lots of smaller systems that usually see a handful of 45 and 55 pounders make it to the spawning gravel. One thing we know for sure, these monarchs make up a very select group, a small fraction of the salmon population.
On our fishing grounds we’re very fortunate to encounter more than our fair share of these big Tyees. While there often are peak times, the possibility is always there throughout the summer to tangle with a fish over 40 pounds. That’s part of the mystique of fishing… expectation and opportunity. You just have to be there.
And over the past week there have been many opportunities! Sometimes the fish wins outright, managing to spit the hook or break the line, leaving the angler with a strange mix of awe and disappointment that the feeling was so short-lived. Others come to the boat and return to the lodge in the fish box, a deserved source of pride and accomplishment for the successful angler.
Increasingly we’re finding some middle ground – after the battle has been fought, the angler and the salmon part ways after some careful resuscitation – and hopefully both come out as winners. Research has shown that survival rates can be very high for released fish. QCL guides are instructed in proper catch & release techniques and will work very hard to ensure that a released fish will have the best chance at a good recovery after it swims away from their boat. Measurements provide an excellent indication of fish size and we’re especially pleased to recognize those anglers who choose to let a big fish go. We just prefer that anglers consider the options and make an informed choice. Whichever the outcome, the value of the “Big Fish” is never diminished. They are prized, sought after, enjoyed and revered.