QCL offers access to some of the most sought-after salmon fishing grounds in the world. It’s the northern Haida Gwaii waters that home a rich salmon population due to a combination of the remote wilderness and geography.
After hatching, salmon spend time growing in and around the rivers before venturing out into the open ocean. Once in the ocean, their search for prey such as herring and squid leads them north. After years of growing, they begin their journey south to return to the river they hatched in, for spawning.
Geographically, our fishing grounds are the prime spot for fish making their journey south. Situated along the north coast of Graham Island, salmon on their way to spawn, must pass through these waters. For others trying to gain their last few pounds of weight before beginning their trek, our healthy kelp beds and unique shorelines provide shelter for many of these fish to rest.
As the fishing grounds are the first stop for majority of southbound salmon, this creates multiple advantages for our guests. The first being that we are among the first to encounter these fish, giving us first pick. Fish are fresh and energetic when they arrive, providing some of the best battles an angler can experience with a wild salmon. As they have not traveled far, they are still focused on feeding, creating the perfect fishing scenario! At this point in their migration, salmon have not become accustomed to boats or fishing gear which allows us to fish where they like to hide. Without the threat of spooking them, we can approach shallow depths around kelp beds and rock structures close to shore.
Of all the advantages, the best may be that we have access to all salmon genetics. All salmon of one species do not share the same genetics. Many of the Chinook salmon that spawn in northern rivers in BC are genetically bigger than many of the Chinooks that spawn in the southern rivers. Our location has us perfectly positioned to have the best shot at some of the largest Chinook Salmon swimming in the Pacific.
In a world that is adjusting to the realities that the past few years have brought upon us, we as a community have faced challenges and made realizations. Through uncertainty and isolation, many people have developed a desire for connection and adventure. As the world has reopened, these desires bring forth the perfect opportunity to try new things, visit new places and create memories. Often we think about crossing oceans, flying to tropical places, but the travelling limitations the pandemic created had Canadians exploring their own backyard. While the tropical vacation is tempting, there are a few experiences worth having right here, in the Pacific Northwest.
We often talk about the QCL Experience, something you won’t experience anywhere else. For those who have visited us, it’s a magical feeling when thinking about the memories created while at the Lodge. And while it’s a feeling that can only be experienced firsthand, we have put together a few reasons we believe the QCL Experience to be unmatched.
1. The Legendary Fishing
Along with our remote location in what is known as, the Galapagos of Canada, our fishing grounds are located in the gateway to the Northern Pacific. The Virago Sound shoreline is rugged, with rocky outcrops forming little coves and providing the perfect
place for hungry salmon. The relatively shallow waters and kelp beds offer plenty of baitfish and plankton which continuously draw in salmon on their migration homeward. Offering some of the best salmon fishing in the world, our guests see multiple species and genetics. The fishing opportunities don’t end with salmon, as our guests have the chance to bottom fish for Lingcod or Pacific Halibut, which has been known to grow up to 400lbs.
Do it yourself or opt to fish with a professional guide. QCL offers something for every level of angler. Whether you’re starting your fishing journey or continuing it, join us at QCL to hear your reels scream and the ever continuous “Fish On!”
2. The Beauty of Haida Gwaii
We’re perched on the far western edge of Canada, surrounded by a lush oasis of old growth forests, rich waters and abundant with wildlife. This paradise is Haida Gwaii and we know the beauty of these islands is unparalleled. Eagles soar overhead, diving down to enjoy their catch on the rocky beach. Blacktail deer graze on the lawn at all hours, and swallows fly past you to show off their beauty. Starfish and Dungeness crab are scattered through the water on your walk down to the dock. While out on the
water, coffee in hand, a humpback waves hello. Venture into the mossy forest to breathe in the fresh air or wake up early to soak in a majestic sunrise. The beauty of Haida Gwaii is apparent at anytime of day or night, and never ceases to amaze.
3. Top-of-the-line Equipment and Fleet
We believe in continuous development, learning from our guests and our staff. Over the years, QCL has meticulously chosen the best equipment and boats to ensure our guests have the fishing adventure of their dreams. While keeping safety top of mind, our guests have the opportunity to choose from 6 different style vessels.
Each style of boat comes with different features to meet each guest’s need, including, sheltered cabins, private washrooms, the ability to walk around a center console, etc. Each vessel is diligently maintained and outfitted with the new motors each season. Guests visiting in 2023 will also see the new boats that are joining our fleet this year.
4. MV Driftwood
Serving as the hospitality center on the water, the MV Driftwood is unique to QCL.
The perfect accommodation for adventure seekers and die-hard anglers, and a place all QCL guests can gather for lunch. The Driftwood, or DW, accommodates 12 guests with a crew dedicated to providing attentive, genuine hospitality. Take in the untouched wilderness the coast offers. Catch the sunrise over Cape Edenshaw, or a sunset from the aft deck.
Typically anchored in the quiet waters behind Bird Rock 1 or 2, the wooden vessel is the liveliest place on the water. Offering full lunch service and beverages to all guests – Take a break, enjoy a drink and swap fishing tales with new friends.
5. Food + Beverage Program
QCL is a place where modern-day travelers can revel in the taste of wilderness perfectly blended with the comfort of attentive hospitality, and this shines true through our F+B program. Our approach is simple, we aim to create unforgettable dishes with the freshest ingredients in the best of settings. Through an emphasis on the local seafood, a nod to a classic steakhouse and an array of dining experiences, there is something for every guest.
Whether you’re interested in a sit down breakfast, or to grab-n-go, we’ve got your morning covered. Grab a Starbucks specialty beverage, pack some snacks for the day and catch the sunrise on your
commute to the fishing grounds. When you return to the dock, grab your favourite cocktail at the Bell Ringer, and celebrate the day with friends.
Finally, finish off your evening with one of our dining experiences – whether it be our BBQ buffet, a la carte service or an exclusive experience, there is something to exceed your expectations. Offering a unique take on remote dining, The Buoy Teppanyaki House or Bell Ringer Seafood Boil dinners will leave you in awe. With chefs selected for their expertise, each meal is prepared for you by the best. Dining experiences that extend beyond the dining room, to the ocean and back.
6. The Bell Ringer
While our Food + Beverage program is a highlight all to itself, the Bell Ringer is deserves its own spot light. An experience imitated but never replicated. One of the favourite venues across property, the Bell Ringer, is our very own social house. Before heading out on the water, grab a spiked coffee and share in the anticipation for the day. After returning, head to the Bell Ringer for your cocktail of choice, hot appies and to cheers when the Tyee bell rings. A place for meeting, eating and drinking, the Bell Ringer is the place to be. There is nothing quite like it.
7. First Class Service
We’ve shared with you some of our favourite reasons to visit QCL, premier fishing, remote dining, incredible wildlife, and experiences like no other. However, we need to discuss perhaps the most integral part of your visit to QCL, the team. From the moment you book, to stepping off the helicopter, before you leave the dock to the time you go to sleep, the QCL crew is there for you.
Time and time again when asked, our guests say the best part of their QCL experience is the service. We know it takes a certain type of person to live remote for our 100 day season, and to do it with a smile is what truly sets our staff apart. It is our passion to curate the first class fishing experience of your dreams, and helping see that through is your servers, chefs, housekeepers, guides, dock hands, fish processors and operations crew. Whatever adventurous luxury means to you, that is our goal.
Everything we’ve mentioned, and so much more, is a part of the QCL Experience. While no one can truly know the magic of our first-class fishing experience, until they feel it for themselves, we hope these words paint a picture of what is waiting for you at the Lodge.
Happy Holidays + New Year to all of you, our incredible Guests!
This is always the perfect time to reflect upon all that has happened in the past year. We are so thankful to have operated our 2022 season normally – the first in two years! We enjoyed every moment and memory created with you all – this year we welcomed a record number of guests to the Lodge; we have never been busier!
We watched you make your way down to the dock at the crack of dawn: a result of your commitment. We watched you smile and experience the pride that comes along with watching your days catch at the weigh scale: a result of your persistence. And we watched you laugh and share stories of your time on the water at dinner: a culmination of everything we love about the QCL experience.
On behalf of the QCL family, thank you for choosing us as your fishing destination. We wish you quality time and precious moments with your loved ones during this special time of year. And more importantly, we are already counting down the days to next season and looking forward to amazing you this summer!
2022 was a monumental year for us, our staff and our guests. Cheers to what will surely be an even better and more exciting one in 2023!
The holiday season is here, and the winter weather has certainly arrived with it. Now’s the time to surround yourself with the people that matter the most, while filling up on delicious food and drink!
Take some of the guess work out of your holiday preparations and try two recipes our F+B team has put together – The famous Bell Ringer Fish + Chips and a festive Bourbon Apple Cider.
These recipes remind us of those lively summer evenings spent at the Bell Ringer, after an epic day on the water. The Tyee bell is ringing, Fish + Chips are on the table and a drink is in hand.
Though we’re a handful of months out from opening day yet, hopefully these recipes spark some joy and fill that QCL void in the meantime!
BELL RINGER FISH + CHIPS
Part A | Batter mix
250g rice flour
5g Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
8g baking powder
341ml lager or pilsner
Part B | Dredging mix
75g rice flour
5g Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
2g Old Bay seasoning (optional)
Part C | Fish
1kg firm whitefish (pacific cod, lingcod, halibut), cut into 55g strips, about 2cm x 6cm
Part D | Hand-cut double fried chips
400g kennebec potatoes
5g Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
Part E | Fryer set up
3 litres Canola oil
1ea Candy thermometer
Part F | Tartar Sauce
15g cornichons, finely minced
15g onion, finely minced
5g capers, finely minced
2g Worcestershire sauce
1. In a deep stainless steel pot, gently heat oil over medium low heat; clasp the candy thermometer to the edge of the pot to gauge the temperature 2. Wash the potatoes, then cut into French fries, not larger than 1cm x 1cm; any length is fine, and will depend on your potatoes 3. Once the oil is at 250F blanch the french fries for 5 minutes, then remove onto a paper towel lined bake sheet and cool. You’ll cook them one more time to make them crispy just before eating. Increase the oil temperature to 350F, ensuring to do so over medium heat 4. Combine dry ingredients in Part A; mix thoroughly, then add the can of beer. Very gently whisk together ensuring not to overmix; let stand for 15 minutes while you finish other tasks 5. Combine part B and reserve in a shallow dish; this will be your dredging mix 6. Butcher fish into strips about three times as long as they are wide; about 55g 7. Dredge the fish until it is uniformly dusted by the dredging mix, then dip into the wet batter 8. Carefully lower the fish pieces into the hot oil, and fry for 4-5 minutes; generally you will know they are done when they float, and are producing fewer bubbles; desired colour is a deep golden brown. Remove fish from the hot oil onto a paper towel lined tray and lightly salt 9. Return the cooled french fries to the 350F oil for 3-4 minutes, until they too are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil when done and toss in kosher salt 10. Serve the hot fish and chips with lemon wedges, malt vinegar, and tartar sauce
FESTIVE BOURBON APPLE CIDER
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce apple cider
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
Garnish: apple slices (optional), sprig of thyme
Combine the bourbon, cider, sweet vermouth and lemon juice in mixing glass of ice
Stir and strain it into cocktail glass
Add a dash of orange bitters; garnish with apple slices (if desired, spritz them with a little lemon juice to prevent browning!) and a sprig of thyme
The weather has officially shifted and the holiday season is nearly upon us! Like most, the QCL team is looking forward to all the upcoming festivities. While an amazing time for reflection and getting together with loved ones, we also know it can be overwhelming – Ensuring you have the right ingredients for family gathering meals and picking out the perfect gifts (especially for the ones who say they don’t need anything) can be time consuming endeavors. We’ve put together the QCL Holiday Gift Guide in hopes that we can help make finding the perfect gift for the angler in your life a smooth (and maybe an easier) process!
Connect with Kristine Renaud to order | firstname.lastname@example.org 688 8959
FOR THE BEST DRESSED
If you’re familiar with QCL, you’d know that every year we feature a new guest hat design. This tradition is 30+ years strong and typically reserved as an on-season exclusive.
Our 2022 hat was a fan favourite so we’ve made an exemption! Snag one before they’re gone!
FOR THE AVID ANGLER
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you or someone you know love to fish and any angler would appreciate an Islander reel. Available in 5 colours, the Islander MR3 mooching reel is sure to impress. Warning, fishing with an Islander might turn a hobby into a passion and passion into an obsession.
FOR THE ADVENTURE SEEKER
Go above and beyond, surprise your loved one with the fishing adventure of a lifetime. Connect with our team of Sales Executives to inquire about the limited opportunities remaining for 2023 or plan well in advance and explore the many options in 2024!
FOR THE FOODIE
Whether you’re buying for a seafood lover, aspiring chef or a master entertainer, Taste of B-Sea has something for all. Perfect for those who are looking to supplement their 2022 catch or for a friend that hasn’t yet had the chance to visit QCL, you can’t go wrong with the gift of premium seafood. QCL’s Taste of B-Sea program delivers Ocean Wise products from some of the most sustainable fisheries on the West Coast of British Columbia, straight to your door. https://www.queencharlottelodge.com/luxury-fishing-lodge/amenities/taste-of-b-sea/
Our Pre-Holiday Sale includes Lingcod ($29), Halibut ($40), Spot Prawns ($49) and Dungeness Crab Meat ($65). Stock up on these great options and check out what else Taste of B-Sea offers!
FOR THE TECH LOVER
As the world becomes more connected than ever, it’s important to keep that connection safe. Rep your favourite fishing adventure and protect your tech with our water and stain resistant laptop case – It’s a win, win!
FOR THOSE VISITING QCL
For those who already have a trip booked to QCL, we’ve added in a few of our favourite items to have at the Lodge.
We always want our guests to remain as comfortable as possible on the water. Time flies when you’re having fun and catching fish, but not if you’re a little cold or wet. A warm pair of gloves, warm toque or wool socks would make for a perfect stocking stuffer!
For the beginner or veteran, every angler needs a pair of sunglasses. Protection on the water is a necessity – Plus, everyone can do with a stylish pair of polarized glasses to reduce the glare and create a clearer view of the water.
While it’s the middle of summer during our season’s, we never really know what the weather will be in the Pacific Northwest. Sneaking base layers under the tree is a sure fire way to ensure your loved one stays warm in between all the rod action or until reeling in the fish of their dreams!
Haida Gwaii is full of abundant wildlife both on and off the water. A pair of waterproof binoculars would not be a bad item to pack!
Amazing August! QCL guests have enjoyed so much epic adventure up here this summer that it’s hard to see how it could get any better. But these past weeks have delivered that “trip of a lifetime” experience for many. The fishing overall has been steady… the big fish are not as plentiful as we’ve come to expect, but the action is consistent, and anglers aren’t spending too much time in their seats! Going home with a nice box of beautiful wild salmon, halibut and lingcod is a precious treat that will be shared and savoured for months to come.
Small tides and light winds in the past week have really opened the door all day to bottom fishing, so our guests are really getting their fill of jiggin’ the deep! It’s yielding outstanding catches of halibut, lingcod and Pacific cod. This coincides nicely with a recent regulation change from DFO allowing sport anglers to retain a third halibut under 90 cm if they don’t have one larger than 90.
While most of our guides are still committing some part of their day to fishing inshore in search of big Chinooks, they’re finding good success on all salmon species while trolling offshore in 200-240 feet of water. That’s typical for late season salmon and the results have been good! We’re finally seeing more Coho in the 10-plus class, mixed in with powerful 16-20 pound Chinooks. Every so often a big, bright Chum hooks up and delivers that outstanding battle that they’re known for! Back at the Bell Ringer the Tyee bell is ringing every night for a wide array of big catches – from 40-50 pound halibut, to 30-pound-plus Lingcod and, of course, Tyee Chinooks over 30-pounds, some retained and some released. There’s always cause for celebration down there!
August weather has been particularly warm and dry, so long days spent out in a boat are pretty sweet… especially with a nice social lunch break at the Driftwood to catch up with friends and compare notes. With only 3 trips remaining in this 2022 season after Friday, we’re thankful that the fishing and the weather continue to cooperate and all of our guests, some of whom have waited since 2019 to get here, are getting the QCL adventure experience that they were hoping for!
I guess we could call it the height of our summer! The past few days of brilliant sunshine delivered some of those iconic deep colours that say it’s summer at the lodge! The fishing effort was largely focused on the waters from Yatze east to the Mazzaredos and the salmon action was quite steady overall. Anglers were busy reeling in lots of nice Coho mixed with a bunch of Pinks; punctuated by a chunky Chinook every so often! We managed to find a few Tyees in the mix, between 30 and 36 pounds – and lots of those amazing 20-somethings, the top target of our salmon anglers! We caught a break on Thursday and the winds died right off to send the entire fleet offshore to load up on halibut and lingcod, which they did quite successfully.
Seeing as it’s already August 13th (or Foggust as many call it) we’ve been really lucky to avoid much fog in the area so far. But a big bank rolled in late Thursday; we usually watch it creep in from the north and settle over the east side of Naden Harbour. Combined with a brilliant super-full-moon, it made for another dramatic visual this week.
I hope you enjoy this eclectic collection of photos that pretty much describe how the week went! But don’t worry, the weekend, so far, has been different! Tune in next week for the update!
A classic northwesterly system is bringing us big blue skies this week – the staff are enjoying our version of beach life and our guests are doing the great drift on the seas rolling down from Shag Rock past Cape Naden. While there are excellent opportunities hunting for Chinooks that lurk around the kelp beds at Yatze, the Bird Rocks and Parker Point, the offshore drift along the 120-foot line is usually quite productive and fairly unpredictable in these conditions. Depending on your depth you can hit good numbers of Cohos and Chinook, but you can also find lots of action from Pink and Chum salmon along the way. Bottom fishing will have to wait for Thursday when we will be able to access the offshore waters again.
We’ve seen some great Chinook action this past week with a number of big Tyees in the area. Normand B masterfully brought a huge Chinook to the net for his guide Alex K on Thursday… after a measurement and a quick pic Alex carefully revived the big beauty to watch it pull away with a few strokes of its massive tail. She scored at 49-pounds and was cause for some serious celebration at the Bell Ringer on the final night of the trip! Great job guys and Congratulations!
On the weekend Myron N was able to follow suit, releasing a stellar 33-pounder with his guide Chris M. Bill G celebrated a 31 on the dock on Sunday along with a nice 32-pounder for John M to cap off a terrific weekend of salmon action. We also had outstanding lingcod catches on Friday when Mo N returned to the dock with an impressive 32-pounder, only to be upstaged by his fishing partner Scott N, who weighed a 42 – the largest of the season so far! Kudos to their angling skills – and those of their guide Alex!
In 2020 I had been involved in rowing for close to half my life. I had rowed as an athlete for ten years and transitioned into coaching after a spinal injury in the lead up to the Rio Olympic Games ended my career. I spent 2015 to 2020 as the head coach and then general manager of the rowing centre where I first learned to row, on the gorge in the heart of Victoria. I loved my role working with people and had no plans to change my chosen career.
When COVID closed the club I had worked so hard to build I went back to my first passion in life, fishing! I grew up in Jasper, Alberta. I learned to love fishing in the family canoe with my father, fishing for pike on Talbot lake with the goofiest spinning frog lure you’ve ever seen. I still have one. As I got older I got into fly fishing and spent most days that the water wasn’t frozen chasing trout on the fly.
When I got into rowing at age fifteen, fishing largely fell out of my life with the exception of a few days swinging for salmon and steelhead in the rivers of Vancouver Island. With Covid opening the horizon, as it did for so many, I dove head first back into the sport. I’m still fairly young in my guiding career but it feels very familiar to me because to be a guiding is to be a coach. You are enabling success, achieving goals and teaching guests to the skills to take their QCL experience in their own hands and make the most of it.
Just like coaching you need both “soft skills” and “hard skills” guiding salmon fishing. The hard skills are the tangible things like knowing where the fish will be, what they’ll be feeding on and when they’ll be feeding. The soft skills are more subtle such as a hand on the back when a good one pops off. Soft skills are needed to build relationships to enable your guests to learn and land the fish of their dreams. I love both sides of the job but strongly believe that the softs skills are where the guides at QCL set themselves apart.
We see all kinds of guests and each have their own expectations and goals. Just like coaching, our job is to learn those goals and impart the knowledge and skill for the guests to achieve them. I grew up in a team environment and I have enjoyed being a part of this guide team immensely. Knowledge is power on the water and I’ve been humbled to learn from some of the best rods on the west coast while I’ve been here and what I continually find amazing is their willingness to teach and enable newer guides like myself.
If you asked me in March 2020 where I would be in two year years, I never would have thought I’d be tough tacking Cape Naden in ten foot seas and scraping kelp beds for a clip popping hog but after the first time I came around the dolphin I’ve never looked back. Every time I see the joy in my guests eyes when “that fish” hits the bag I fall in love with fishing all over again because just like coaching shared success is always sweeter than individual success.
Tight lines and I hope I see you out there this season! Alex W
The mid-summer stretch is treating QCL guests to some really excellent fishing adventure these days! Very favourable weather conditions have added some icing on the cake – some of us are wearing t-shirts! We even had 3 guests go for a dip off the lodge beach before enjoying the hot tub! Life is good!
It was especially good for veteran anglers Joe H & Brad R as they first set their gear at Green Point Tuesday morning. Joe’s rod had the twitch before Brad even managed to get his in the water! But together these fellows would share an epic battle with a massive salmon that they’ll remember for a long time. Brad finally slipped the net below the big beauty and when they lifted it aboard, they were super thrilled! Finally returning to the dock last night, the scale at the Bell Ringer revealed a weight of 52 pounds! Cause for celebration for sure! Nice fish boys!
While big Tyees over 50 pounds aren’t as common as they used to be, we’ve certainly seen a nice bump in the big fish department recently with several Tyees kept or released. Jeff W released a 33-pounder on the weekend and Jason N boated a 38 on Saturday, followed by a 30 on Sunday! Zack J followed up with nice 31-pounder and Ryan O returned to the Bell Ringer with a stunning 14 lb Coho, the largest of the season so far! When we have the right tide and wind conditions the halibut grounds are a wonderland! On Saturday we saw lots of nice keepers land back on the dock but the Tyee Bell was ringing big-time with released giant halibut reports! Richard K released an 87-pounder, Janet B recorded a 69-inch halibut that scored 168 lb and Clint C turned back a full-on barn door that measured 75-inches to score 220 pounds! Amazing! Coho catches remain very strong with the average size creeping up around 8-pounds now so everyone is enjoying the awesome salmon action on the water.
Light to moderate winds wavering from southwest to northwest are to continue right into next week with very little precipitation and the odd sunny period – so we have pretty perfect conditions to look forward to. Peak tides will return around the 12th when we’ll see 17-foot swings, so hold on for that one! Stay tuned!