The tides of August have been generous so far and QCL anglers have certainly enjoyed the benefits! The salmon action has been outstanding, particularly for beautiful strong Chinooks in the 15-25-pound class. We’re getting them inshore in all the favourite places too. Coho action has been productive but more widespread, with anglers generally targeting waters a little farther offshore in 150-225 feet, fishing from the surface down to around 60-feet. The numbers are there but the bulk of Coho are still averaging under 10-pounds, a little lighter than normal for this time of the season. But no one is complaining with these chrome-silver bullets providing tons of exciting action wherever we find them! Down at the Bell Ringer, the sound of the Tyee Bell is pretty common each evening with a few over-30’s being either reported or weighed-in every trip.
This week our two largest Chinooks, both scoring out at 42-pounds, were released. Fishing with veteran QCL guide Tegan Baxter, Ray P turned back a stunning fish on Monday and on Thursday an equally impressive Tyee was released by Odon D and his guide Kyle Bell. Great work guys and thanks for choosing to release those amazing fish!
With only 5 trips left to go for the 2019 season we’re super-thrilled to see such consistent fishing and particularly good weather! There’s no space left this year but we’d certainly encourage anyone hoping to come up next summer to make plans now as most everyone is talking about their return trip in 2020!
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!
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.
Opening Day 2019 dawned misty, moist and grey with barely a breath of wind. After a solid week of sunny skies and warm temperatures (by our standards 18 degrees is warm) our world returned to normal. The jet arrived at Masset on time and very soon the steady purr of those Sikorsky helicopters filled the harbour. Showtime!
Some of the new crew were a little anxious but the giddy enthusiasm of our arriving guests soon calmed them. Before long they were headed down the dock and out of the harbour. Those nice flat seas made for a very comfortable day on the water and our guides took advantage to focus on all of their favourite spots. A 10-foot flood and and 8-foot ebb provided lots of moving water, setting up some sweet lines around all those rocky points. And they caught fish. Lots of nice typical feeder Springs are in the area right now, feeding among the humpbacks and eagles on large schools of needlefish. We’re finding them at typical depths for the season, mostly from 35 to 45 feet inshore and 55 to 75 a little further out. Anchovies are our bait of choice and they’re working well but there’s always someone gettin’em on herring, spoons and assorted hardware.
Returning to the dock between 7 and 9, the Bell Ringer was abuzz with fish stories and photo ops. Between halibut and Chinooks they managed to keep the Bell ringing throughout the evening. Typical for June fishing, we had some big halibut releases, a 70 pounder for Randy P and an 85 for Jordan N. While lots of teen-sized “chickens”were caught, Andrew W found the perfect keeper, tipping the scale at 41 pounds.
For a first day, in May, we were thrilled to see 3 Tyees on the dock, as well as some in the mid to high twenties. A good range of sizes in the catch is always a positive sign. Fishing on their own, Vancouver bro’s Pat and Matt H came back with 32 and 29 pounders, creating a buzz among the guides! Great work fishing the tide at Parker Point boys! Mike K weighed a 32-pound beauty as well, fishing with guide Sam Johnstone. Two of our guests missed their connection and arrived about 4 pm. But their guide Aaron Lomax was ready to rumble when they got down the dock and on their first pass at beautiful Klashwun point Marc S tied into a nice heavy fish. It took some work but in the end Aaron slipped the net beneath Marc’s catch and lifted it into the boat. When it showed up at the Bell Ringer there was tons of interest and the volume soared as the scale registered 44.4 pounds. That’s quite a fish and a fantastic catch for Marc. Sometimes a live release isn’t an option but seeing such an amazing specimen up close is a dream come true for any angler. Congrats boys and welcome to the Tyee Club Marc. All in all it was an especially fine day on the water for our guests and we’re hopeful it’s an indication of a fantastic season ahead!
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.
Published in the Vancouver Sun on: May 12, 2018 | Last Updated: May 16, 2018 3:02 PM PDT
The new season opened with a bang on Friday, guided and unguided boats hit the fishing grounds with great excitement. The first 2 days of the season proved to be a busy time! Guests have been scrapping with feisty 15-25 lb Chinooks throughout the day. There have been a few Humpback whales hanging around and their consistent feeding is a good sign for bait in the water around Cape Naden and Bird 1. The MV Driftwood made her way to Naden Harbour on Friday and has taken up her position on the fishing grounds for hungry fishermen and fisher ladies. On the weekend guests fought against some northwest winds but most made it out on the Hali grounds. Some great chicken and turkey-sized halibut made their way to the dock.
With a shift in the winds to southeast we’re fishing Cape Edenshaw today; it proved quite productive on Monday for our new guests who arrived for the week. Lots of bait, really small needlefish predominantly, are hanging in close around the Mazzaredo Islands. Fishing small spoons like a Coho Killer on the rigger at 17-22 feet in only 30-45 feet of water has been too much fun! Jim B boated a 30 pound beauty near the Mazz on Monday to get a crack at the Tyee Bell on the dock last night. Great fish Jim!
One of the coolest things about our early season fishery is the presence of larger-sized “keeper” halibut in close to shore. Big flatties in the 40-60 pound range cruise around the kelp beds to feed on the millions of needlefish that hold there. It’s not unusual to bump into one of these while trolling for salmon so be ready! Ask Troy R about it! With his guide Jordan G just trolling for salmon along the kelp, it was WHAM and he was on the business end of a halibut that tipped the scale at 49 pounds last night. Total bonus fish. Great job guys!
The Bell Ringer is in full swing with delicious appies and tasty treats while fish are limed up at the scale. Never a dull moment down there!
Season 2016 is underway big time and we look forward to seeing you up here soon!