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May 17, 2018 Duane Foerter0
A few decades ago, it was all about catching a big fish. Most visitors to remote fishing resorts and lodges were only hooked on fishing; accommodations and amenities were barely a thought. Nowadays people come for the experience. In fact, some guests don’t even care if they catch a fish. Being there, immersing yourself in nature is reward enough.

Some resorts have no trouble baiting travelers angling for luxury. After you’ve been out on the briny blue, celebrating over cocktails with your new fishing chums, immerse yourself in a hot tub, tuck into chef-prepared superb cuisine with fine wines and then drift off under plump duvets and sheets made of the finest Egyptian cotton next to your private bathroom. Several fishing lodges are land-based, where you can stroll pristine sandy beaches, hike through old growth forest. Or spend the afternoon watching wildlife—whale sightings are the norm.

However, there’s nothing like the thrill of reeling in a big fish. For beginning anglers, a good day’s fishing can be a crapshoot, but not in the waters surrounding these resorts. The rugged shoreline of the Central Coast, the west coast of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii provide ideal habitat for vast shoals of baitfish. There are countless nooks and crannies for salmon, as well as gravel banks and pinnacles for halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. Snagging a salmon is more the rule than the exception – the resort guides know exactly where ocean fish are biting.

There are fishing lodges and resorts throughout B.C. that can provide all-inclusive packages– including accommodation, meals, fishing gear and service– to meet most budgets. Here are a few of B.C.’s finest…

Queen Charlotte Lodge, Haida Gwaii

This remote part of the world is a welcome escape from daily life, and Queen Charlotte Lodge (QCL), on the northern shores of Haida Gwaii in Naden Harbour, offers a unique mix of adventure and comfort, friendship and fun.

Once the site of an old whaling station, QCL sits on 20 acres, surrounded by old-growth forest and beachfront. It offers five different kinds of accommodation, from the main lodge with 24 rooms to private chalets with private chefs. While nowhere can guarantee that you’ll catch a fish, QCL guarantees you’ll never be hungry, and you’re spoilt for choice.

For instance, the main dining room offers three appetizers, six entrees and three desserts, with a big barbecue buffet the night you arrive. Variety kicks in at other venues:  Chef at the Buoy Teppanyaki House will prepare surf ‘n’ turf at your table, or maybe you prefer to hang out at the Bell Ringer and pick a lobster from the live tank after enjoying just-prepared salmon and albacore tuna sushi (all Ocean Wise) at the Kingfisher lounge…

A typical day:

4.30 a.m. Full-on breakfast in the main lodge or if you need to be on the water before dawn, cappuccino and breakfast sandwich to go at the dock.
6 a.m.: Catch 20lb chinook salmon
9 a.m.: Stop by the Driftwood (anchored on the fishing grounds) for a bathroom break, coffee and muffin.
11 a.m. -2 p.m.: BBQ lunch on the Driftwood, including salad bar, chowder and chili.
5 p.m.: Cocktails (go for the Twin Creek Smash) and pub snacks at the Bell Ringer, a social house with a weigh scale and excellent bartender. Here is where you tell stories and trade lies and your catch is weighed. Party central.
7 p.m.: Main lodge for dinner: Ponzu-cured Albacore or BC spot prawns followed by herb-crusted halibut and an extensive wine list.
9 p.m.:  Kingfisher Lounge downstairs with port and cheese or Irish Coffee around the fireplace.
Charters depart Fridays and Mondays from Vancouver to Masset for three- or four-night stays from June through August.  All-inclusive fly-in fishing packages start at $4,895.

queencharlottelodge.com

Jane MundyJANE MUNDY


April 9, 2018 Duane Foerter0

With less than eight weeks to go before Opening Day there’s lots of excitement around here!  Are you ready?

Every day on the water is an adventure at Queen Charlotte Lodge! It might the fishing, or the magnificent environment, the good friends on board or the crazy stories you shared. But it’s something we all treasure and we love to do it at QCL!


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January 10, 2018 Duane Foerter2

Everyone buys a fishing trip with the idea they are going to “SMASH” them while on their fishing adventure.  All hoping their arms are sore from fighting fish, hands and fingers are sore from hooks and tying leaders and shins are sore from continually bashing them on gaff that is sticking out of the gunnel.  Oh the joys of fishing!

I personally have fished for salmon since I was two years old.  From the days of Grandpa raking herring and dumping them in the boat for his 2 year old Grandson to try and grab for the bait tank.  To the days of jigging herring, to fish from my 10 foot dinghy with my 2.5hp “Big Block” Mercury.  Now to my spoiled life at QCL and the dock staff preparing my boat for fishing daily.  Although the adventures of fishing with Grandpa and in my dinghy were great, the QCL experience is second to none!

44 years of salmon fishing, 18 seasons with QCL and the number one question asked over that period of time is without doubt, “When is the best time to go fishing?”  As the old adage says…”if I had a dollar…”

Rob, quit with the soliloquy and answer the question!  When is the best time to go fishing?

Well my favorite answers are always a bit cheeky:

  • “Last week was the best! You just missed it!”
  • “Next week is the best! You are a week early!”
  • “Right now is the best! Are you not getting them, maybe you need a guide?”

In all honestly, with every cheeky answer there is a truth.  Each river that holds Chinook or King salmon, from Alaska to San Francisco has a prime time of stock return, or when the majority of the species return to the river.  That timing varies from late March to late October with the bulk of the returns happening late April through October.  The return for Coho or Silvers varies but the bulk of these fish return mid-June through late October.

After being cheeky, usually I get to the true answer!  In all likelihood I stole my answer from someone but it accurately describes the truth when asked the question of best time to fish.  Here is my answer:

QCL has roughly 100 days of fishing during a season.  From year to year we have 12 to 15 of the greatest days of fishing one could hope for.  We also have 12 to 15 poor days of fishing when everyone second guesses themselves!  The issue is, I cannot tell you when either of these days are going to happen but what I can tell you is they will happen.  The rest of the 70 days are productive and success is varied.  Calling them average would make Grandpa turn over in his grave, he would have died for an “average” QCL day down on the south coast!

I know most of you were hoping for an exact window, an exact time as to when the fish are guaranteed to be there and biting, if I could tell you that my name would not be Rob, it would be Fish God!  What I can do is help you with how to pick a fishing adventure and the timing of it.  Here is the list:

  1. Choose QCL – If the fish aren’t biting, the service and people are amazing! They have 135 staff to deal with your every need.
  2. Call QCL and ask what dates are available. Remember, any date could have 1 of “those” days, good or bad!
  3. Continue to book the same date or close to the same date, year after year, you will run into one of “those” days eventually.

Two Examples of people who have gone on the same date year after year are below.  One of them produced the greatest day of fishing and one produced the lodge record at QCL:

When our family purchased the Lodge in the year 2000, my best buddies Bryan and Jason Killins were on the first trip of the season, May 29th to June 1st.  They continued on this trip for many years with varying success.  Some years’ crazy amounts of fish, some years, lots of empties in the boat.  On June 2nd, 2015 we got our regular early start, off the dock at the crack of 10am!  Being last off the dock has its advantages…um NO!  But this day did, we were approaching “The Maz” and we saw a massive bait ball with birds feeding on the surface.  We stopped to give it a “try” and 6 hours later, we had landed 76 Chinook with 14 double headers!  The greatest day of my fishing career!

One of the most memorable days for the lodge came in late August 2011, August 20th to be exact.  When our guest Mr. Chris Lewis caught and released an 84 pound Chinook with guide Derek “Demo” Poitras.  Chris has continued to fish this timeframe over the years and as luck would have it, they were graced with another monster of 49 pounds with his son Josh!

Any day can be your day, it can be on your first trip or your 30th trip, but if you don’t book, you will never know!  Hope to see you at the lodge this summer.  All the best and Happy New Year.

 

Rob “Fish God” Clough

(Kind of catchy…might have to drop Red Baron!)


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September 2, 2017 Duane Foerter0

It’s crazy to think that another fishing season is almost in the books. With that being said, fishing is still going strong here at QCL. Although there is still the odd Chinook being picked up inshore, most boats are now spending the majority of the day working “the salmon highway” along the 300-foot contour line. This has resulted in very consistent Coho fishing on a daily basis and on some days the Chinook fishing has been just as good out there, resulting in action-packed fishing days. In that mix of consistent Coho fishing there has been some real lunkers, with several nice mid-teen Cohos hitting the dock last trip. This photo features a gorgeous 17-pounder caught by Arnot T.  Congratulations!  With the calm waters that we have continued to see lately, many nice halibut continue to be caught on a daily basis. All in all, guests, guides, and everyone else involved seem to be very happy with how things are going out on the water!

Today we had a new group of guests arrive for our final weekend trip of the season. Again, the offshore fishing was very productive, especially on the ebb tide. Although the Chinook were fewer in number out there today, a fair number of Chum salmon were caught. These powerful fish often provide an acrobatic and unpredictable fight that our guests really seem to enjoy. With the Coho fishing remaining strong today, there were certainly some real beauties around. The highlight of our day was when one of my guests hooked into a nice fish that took a couple of lengthy runs. I figured that we for sure had a nice Chinook on the line, but to our pleasant surprise it ended up being a large 15 lb Coho. What a fish and what a day!

Tight lines everyone!

“Wacko Jacko”


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August 29, 2017 Duane Foerter0

QCL Salmon FishingAfter an exciting and busy night watching the big fight in the Bell Ringer most guests were ready to go bright and early for 7 am to be first off the dock.

I’d had a quick chat with my guests the night before and decided we were going to start our morning in Yatze bay.  The slight fog was lifting as the sun was starting to poke out. We could see the lighthouse on Shag Rock in the distance as we dropped in.  We were the first boat there. Right as we dropped in we hooked into a coho who launched out of the water multiple times.  Although it slipped the hooks and got away we were optimistic for the rest of the morning.QCL Bell Ringer

We were fortunate enough to hook 3 Chinooks over the next hour and landed 2 beautiful fish. Each guest boated a beautiful fresh Chinook that delivered an exciting fight.

This weekend and the excitement of the lodge guests was amazing with the great weather, the big fight and steady salmon fishing.  Weekends like this go to show why us guides spend the whole off-season talking about QCL and our time up in Haida Gwaii!

Ryan ‘R’ Kelly

 


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August 25, 2017 Duane Foerter

QCL Coho SalmonLast week we were talking about “special combo” fishing and the great variety of fishing experienceLast week we were talking about “special combo” fishing and the great variety of fishing experiences there are to be had up here. Well this week we had a father & son angling team at the lodge that really took it to heart! Ronald and Dan R not only found the variety but, with the help of their QCL guide Jake Harrach, they found the quality as well!QCL Lingcod Fishing

Over the past 4 days they managed to catch the largest fish of the trip in each of 3 species and the 2nd largest in a 4th! On Tuesday Dan caught and released the big halibut of the trip, a big slab that taped out to 163 pounds. On Wednesday Ron boated a nice big lingcod that tipped the scale at 35 pounds which, in most weeks would be the big one! But he came second to a 50-pounder landed by Lino P! That’s only 6 pounds short of the lodge record! Congrats Lino! On the same day Ronald caught the largest Coho of the week, coming in at 16-pounds – a beautiful fish for sure! Then on Thursday, making that famous “just one more pass” at Cape Naden on the way in, Dan hooked up with a big Chinook that really put him to the test. After a twenty-minute tussle, Jake slipped the net beneath the chrome beauty and they knew there would be some more Bell-ringing back at the dock that night! At 39-pounds, this big Tyee would add to Dan’s record of success as the largest Chinook of the trip. Congratulations guys! That’s an amazing catch report! It’s a good thing you’re going home for the weekend to get some rest!QCL Tyee Salmon

The weekend forecast is for more southerly weather and calm seas (with a regular dose of liquid sunshine.) The inshore Chinook fishing has certainly picked up in the past week with the best action during the first and last hours of the day. Offshore the Coho catch remains strong and we’re seeing more of the larger Coho coming to the scale. Bottom fishing has been getting easier with the tidal range diminishing every day since Monday’s new moon. QCL anglers released 6 halibut over 100 pounds this trip and we’re still seeing nice 30-plus fish at the Bell Ringer every night. These are great days to be fishing at QCL!


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August 22, 2017 Duane Foerter0

This past weekend trip was full of good times, as there were some fish around to be caught and the Bell Ringer was quite lively on a nightly basis. The fish coming in consisted of a combination of nice Chinook, Coho, and Halibut. Many boats decided to spend a good majority of their days offshore, targeting Coho with the odd Chinook and Pink salmon in the mix out there as well. This style of fishing certainly produced the most consistent action for anglers. Inshore, the waters surrounding Cape Naden and Bird Rock 1 produced some nice Chinook for those who chose to “stick, stay, and make it pay”, particularly through the afternoon low slack tide. This fishing was quite interesting at times, as it was often a race to sneak the fish in past a couple of hungry sea lions.

QCL Salmon FishingToday we had a new group of guests come in for our weekday trip and they were all very excited to get out on the water! While on our way out, my guests and I decided that today we were going to stick inshore in hopes of hooking into some large migratory Chinook salmon. After making this decision, I knew exactly where I wanted to drop the lines. A few minutes later we had three lines in the water at Bird Rock 1. As the day passed by, boats would come and go, with many choosing to make their way offshore in search of Coho and Halibut. After a slow start we decided to grab some lunch at the MV Driftwood. Then, following a short discussion, we decided to keep sticking it out inshore and back we went to Bird 1. Shortly after, we managed to put a nice 20-pounder in the box. With the low slack tide approaching I had a feeling that this was a sign that something good was about to happen. All of a sudden, right on top of the slack tide, our back line had a hard hit and my guest Dale was hooked into a real screamer. While clearing the other 2 lines we hooked a second fish that hit while I was popping the line out of the downrigger clip. Both of my guests were now into a couple beauties, with one screaming line off the bow and the other off the stern. After a couple of fun filled and chaotic fights this father-son duo managed to land their double header. In addition, Dale’s fish ended up being a 34 lb hawg! Although he had every intention to release any Tyee that he might catch on his trip, this one was hooked far too well for that to be a possibility. Regardless, he and and his group members were quite excited later on back at the Bell Ringer!

We are all looking forward to the remainder of the trip!

Tight Lines,

“Wacko Jacko”

QCL fishing adventure


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August 19, 2017 Duane Foerter0

QCL Fishing AdventureIt’s “Special Combo” fishing at QCL these days!  The return of more southerly weather has sent many QCL anglers offshore to enjoy a totally mixed bag of fishing adventures.  While we’re still finding some nice Chinooks inshore, the angling opportunities found out in water depths over 200 feet are amazing.  We’ve put quite a lot of effort into mapping these offshore fishing grounds in recent years and we’re certainly seeing the results.

QCL Fishing AdventureWe’re blessed with a huge selection of underwater structure out there.  We’ve discovered that they it not only holds traditional bottom fish like halibut and lingcod, but tends to help anglers target on the migrating schools of salmon species as well.  Underwater “hills and valleys” provide reference points that we use in trolling at a range of depths – generally from 50 to 120 feet down – and QCL anglers are finding all 5 species of salmon.  The traditional target fish for our offshore trolling has been coho but down a little deeper we’re getting into beautiful 15-25 pound Chinooks as well.   And while we’re out there, it’s so easy to just take a little break from trolling and drop a jig down on one of these hilltops for nice halibut, rockfish and lingcod.

QCL Fishing Adventure


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August 15, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Today saw a mix of light variable winds which allowed QCL guests and guides to fish all corners and everywhere in between on all of our fishing grounds, both inshore and offshore. Chinook fishing close in to the kelp and rock structure is still producing results but at a slower pace. With patience and willingness to stay at one spot, most anglers will be rewarded when the bite finally does turn on. Get your lines back in the water as quickly as you can though and try to hook up again because these are mostly snap bites, lasting only a short period and you may have a chance at only a couple of fish at a time. The bonus though is that the average size of these Chinook are larger than the average size from earlier in the year with a chance at a fish of a lifetime. Coho fishing offshore is still producing results in the 160 to 300 foot lines while still trolling fairly shallow.QCL salmon fishing

It was changeover day and with my new guests for the trip aboard Grady 114 we headed out to the fishing grounds.  The water was in great condition and the starting options were endless. With only a few boats at Cape Naden we dropped in and set the gear. Over the radio I heard of a few caught here before we arrived and was hoping we could still cash in on the bite. After a couple of passes without a touch and without seeing any other boat hookup I was starting to think we missed our chance at the early afternoon bite.

QCL salmon fishingAfter an hour and thinking about a potential move, possibly offshore to find some Coho, the port rod goes off.  With two big heavy slams of the rod tip the down rigger clip pops and line starts peeling. We’re off to the races boys!  My guest carefully picked up the rod and let the fish continue to head for Alaska. Quickly we got to a point where I had to start reversing to chase this fish down. The tension on the drag was set just right and there didn’t seem to be any slow down at all. A bit faster on the chase and finally the line slowed down but was still creeping off the reel. This is a good one guys, don’t start reeling until this fish stops taking line! With well over half of the spool of line being pulled out to the open ocean my Islander finally stopped letting out line. I watched the rod tip as my guest was about to start reeling when one big head shake pulled the rod tip down and the the line went limp. Heartbreaking. Potential fish of a lifetime?? Who knows.  Didn’t see it once. Will never know. But it was fun while it lasted. We re-grouped, carried on and shared a high five over the one that got away.  Makes for a good fishing story anyways.

Till next time…

Keep your tip up, line tight and hang on for the ride.

Jeff ‘Smurf’ Smirfitt

QCL Haida Gwaii


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August 7, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Over the last few days we have been getting some constant Northwest winds. Although it makes for some more difficult fishing conditions we find that the wind and water mixing blows in bait and salmon, and this time the winds did not disappoint.

This morning the seas were flattened out while the tide was flooding and as we made our way out to Bird 2 the sky was clear and the sun was just poking out on the horizon. As we came off plane we saw another one of the Grady Whites hook up deep in the bay and one of the Broadwaters get into a double header right off the point. As we dropped in things were looking good.

Although it took a few passes on the inside wall until we hooked up we got into a nice fish eventually. As a few more boats showed up we decided to pull gear and run to some less crowded fishing grounds. Up in Yatze bay we ended up hooking into quality Chinooks on every pass. In the wind and waves I always find it most effective to drift, pick up and run back up to drift again and today that was the ticket. We had all our Chinooks and a couple of good Coho before lunch and just drifted for the rest of the day.

Even though the northwest winds can be difficult, they are always welcomed!

Dan “Rainman”

QCL salmon fishingQCL halibut fishing


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