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August 12, 2019 Duane Foerter0

Tyee Chinook at QCLModerate northwesterlies through last week gave way to light variable conditions through the weekend, but we’re expecting another week of westerlies to start on Wednesday.  All this means is that the fishing has been fantastic and should remain so.  There’s lots of bait inshore now and we’ve seen excellent volumes of Coho as well as Chinooks move inshore with it.  Lots of really feisty 18-24 pounders are in the current mix. As a result, more anglers are fishing the usual rocks and kelp beds, leaving the offshore and pinnacles turf for bottom fishing.  Moderate tides this week are extending the productive fishing periods around points like Cape Naden, Parker, Klashwun and Eagle Rock.

Bell Ringer celebrations at QCLIt’s been a great week for Tyees with lots of bell ringin’going on down at the dock. Gorana B was the queen last week, releasing her first Tyee over 40, a chrome beauty that was taped out to 41-pounds by veteran QCL guide Derek Poitras.  Marie G did just fine as well, boating 30 and 31 pounders with guide Jeff Smirfitt on Monday and Tuesday.  Deborah B completed her mission on Thursday, releasing a solid 31-pounder with her guide Nic Rasovic.  The guys weren’t left out…we had several fish in the low-30’s, some kept and some released.  Josh K returned to the Bell Ringer with a nice 36 lb Tyee and Taylor R turned back a 34. The most noise at the bell was made by Keith B who hauled up one of those barn-door halibut, this one scoring out over 200 pounds!

Tyee Chinook C&RThe weekend catch was no less impressive… with Devon W releasing a beautiful 45-pound Chinook at Cape Naden on Sunday morning, fishing with guide Neil Wood.  Saturday saw Don T release a 40-pounder with his son Brett on the net.  That was the encore to the 33-pounder they released on Friday!  And the annual Tyee derby between brothers Conrad, Gerhart and Willy saw 31, 32, 33 and 32 pounders caught and released with their guides Kylie Tokairin and Danny Hollins.  That means a lot of action down at the Bell Ringer!  Great job folks!


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June 24, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL diningSo it has been a busy start to the 2019 season in the food program for special events and derbies. We have had amazing guests in the private houses and I have enjoyed cooking and coming up with some new dishes.  Now in my fifth season at the lodge, I’m thrilled to see so many returning guests and this year I get to share the experience with my husband Mark Ross. This place has changed our lives.  Every day of every trip, we have the opportunity to create something new and exciting on the culinary front!

QCL diningOur first big event was the Appy Walk to start the season with a bang. We built 3 action food stations offering flaming prawns, a grill station, and a raw bar with many other tasty treats along the Totem House walkway.   Even little projects like a breakfast smoothie bar for groups using the conference center are a source for personal satisfaction.

For the White Gold Derby we smoked a whole 50-pound pig for 20 hours, then plattered and walked it all the way from the main lodge to the dock for the wrap up party. It was a huge hit.

For some groups we bring in fun ingredients and create new dishes and “show food”stations for nightly events.

QCL special eventsNo matter whether I am cooking an intimate dinner for eight in Totem House or 16 on the lawn at the Charlotte House, there is an amazing culinary team with me. We enjoy collaborating to deliver memorable dining events to enhance the fishing and adventure activities our guests are here for.

I love hearing about guest experiences on the water and get excited for all who get to catch the big one. This place is something special for both guests and staff to create a unique and special experience. I am so excited for the months ahead with so many groups left to cook for!

Amanda Ross –Private Event Chef


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June 18, 2019 Duane Foerter0

One of the special privileges of being a guide is having the opportunity to be a part of some truly unforgettable moments on the water, creating memories that last a lifetime. Last Sunday morning, Father’s Day, Grady White 107 was cutting its way through the glassy ocean with myself and 3 generations of family, a classic father, son and grandfather fishing team.

Anticipation was high as we dropped in at Klashwun Point, low slack was approaching and there was hardly another boat in sight. As we began working the formidable structure of Big Point, reminiscent of an ancient ruined castle, we were treated to a show of humpbacks breaching and eagles dive bombing boiling balls of needlefish. The only thing missing were the salmon! After hours of fishing with only one feeder sized chinook landed and released, the current soon pushed all the baitfish out past the point. Our high hopes faded and we decided it was time to make a move.

Father's Day Fishing at QCLAfter the boys had a burger break on the MV Driftwood, we decided to roll the dice and cruise across Virago Sound to Cape Edenshaw. We set up in Piggy’s Bay and I only had time to put in one rod when it suddenly lurched violently. Fish On! After boating a beautiful 20 pounder, we set up again and quickly hit a double header. Looks like we found the spot! Pure pandemonium ensued over the next several hours, with beautiful, hard fighting Chinooks refusing to leave us alone. The highlight fish was a serious reel-melter that later weighed in at 29.4 pounds- a true “Tryee”! I for one can’t think of a better way to spend quality time with family and friends than experiencing this one-of-a-kind fishery in such a beautiful and remote corner of the world.  It’s my privilege to be able to introduce people to the amazing migratory salmon of Haida Gwaii every day – it’s a dream come true.

Rockfish Ron


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August 24, 2018 Duane Foerter0

August fishing… oh boy!   It seems that everything really comes together by the time August rolls around.  Certainly the catch board would say so!  The inshore fishery, mainly focused on Chinooks, has turned out lots of beautiful big salmon every day.  Those brawny 20-something pounders are the backbone of the action but there always a few surprises lurking in the kelp!  The Tyee bell gets a workout every night with a couple big Chinooks caught and/or released.  Lately the median-sized Tyees have been in the low to mid 30’s with the occasional giant making an appearance.   Last week we were thrilled to see 3 of our largest salmon of the season caught – and released  – at 3 different locations.

Working a herring along the wall at Bird 2 has to be one of the most effective ways to find a Tyee anywhere on the west coast!  QCL guide Brett Towers was doing it right the other day, as the pressure was on!  He had his Dad on board with a couple of friends.  Making the turn along the kelp, deep in the bay, that herring worked its magic and Don was onto the fish of his dreams!  It took them on a bit of a hayride but in the end, Brett was able to get the net under it and lift it into the boat.  With a quick photo and a measurement, they had the silver giant back in the water.  Taped out to 47 pounds, it was the largest Chinook we’ve seen this season and cause for some serious celebration back at the Bell Ringer that night!  Fantastic work guys!  Well done Brett!

Catch & Release TyeeA couple of days later, Driftwood guest Stan T was over at Cape Edenshaw with his guide Mark Kasumovich when they also teased a big slab away from the shelter of the kelp.  Nice and vigourous when they got it in the net, Stan chose to send it back as well.  This one scored out to 45 pounds and was yet another proof of Edenshaw’s reputation for holding big fish under the right conditions.  Nice work guys and Congratulations to you Stan!   Not far away, on the very same day, Dave R was fishing Cape Naden on board 97 with guide Jackson Jane, when they connected with a big Tyee.  As Jackson reported in his post, it took the bait trolled on the back rod and gave them quite a workout before coming to the net.  David was quick to choose releasing this beauty and it swam off with strong strokes of its tail after measuring out to 46 pounds!  Amazing fish!

Catch & ReleaseWhen these Chinooks aren’t bleeding and are properly revived, the survival rate is apparently very good.  So it’s quite an extraordinary feeling to watch a big Tyee swim out of your grip and return to the depths.  We have always believed that big fish breed big fish, and while we fully respect the angler’s right to choose, we try to ensure that they make an informed choice.  Many anglers dream of having that opportunity and we support anything that can help to ensure those opportunities continue in the future.


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August 6, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Well it’s early August and our new guests arrived in bright sunshine and blue skies this morning, excited and smiling at their good fortune.  With a forecast of light variable winds and favourable tides, they know they could be in for something very special this week.  We’ve recently experienced some ups and downs weather-wise and have certainly seen how it can affect the anglers’success.  Fortunately our track record is pretty solid and it’s very rare to get a “bad”weather day without getting a “good”one in return.

Our two most recent trips are good examples. Last week moderate to strong northwesterlies limited access to some of the fishing grounds over the first couple of days and the catch record confirmed it.  But along came Thursday and everything changed.  We got out early and enjoyed a full day of fantastic fishing, enjoying the whole of the grounds and catching lots of fish.  Everyone picked up some Chinooks and got into some nice Coho offshore.  Most had managed to get one halibut earlier in the week and practically everyone got out to get a second on Thursday.  There was a buzz in the dining room that night with the energy provided by a banner day on the water.

Exciting Chinook action at QCLOvernight the winds swung to southeast and threatened to corner everybody at Edenshaw for the weekend.  Our new guests arrived and headed out, prepared for what Mother Nature was about to serve up.  Friday weather turned out to be pretty moderate and we saw a very respectable catch on the dock that night.  Saturday was definitely the test and the eastern grounds were not rewarding us with many treasures.  Oh, there were fish caught, but there was considerable time between bites.  At dinner we shared a favourable forecast for Sunday and surely everyone went to bed with their fingers crossed!

At 6:00 am, dawn broke with a patchy blue sky and just a light breeze.  It was a quick breakfast for sure and everybody was on their way.  Once again, easy access to any of your favourite spots feels fantastic and every guide had a plan.  Tides were moderate but still a factor to plan around, whether fishing for salmon inshore or bottom fishing on the outside.  Over the course of the day the Fishmaster reported decent catches going on practically everywhere; not much chatter on the radio, everybody was busy!

The beautiful sunny weather and great fishing saw most anglers lingering on the water right until the 8:00 pm call. Meanwhile, back at the Bell Ringer, the totes were lined up out the door.  The atmosphere down there was electric with cheers, jeers and high-fives going off all the time.  We didn’t weigh any monsters last night but the bell was ringing pretty steadily for some 30-something Chinooks, teen-sized Coho and a few halibut just too big to bring home!  The last fish hit the scale at 10:34 pm and the dining room was busy well after that!

In most of our daily lives we’ve created a  world with few limitations; we can get pretty much anything we want when we want it.  Part of the appeal of the fishing adventure is that lack of control.  Just being out in a wild place and experiencing everything it has to offer –“good”and “bad”- is a huge attraction for many of us.  And here at the Lodge, we’re privileged to watch that story unfold day after day!


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July 29, 2018 Duane Foerter0

from our Fish Handling Supervisor

Each day I put on my signature red boots and head down to the dock, never too sure what is in store for me that day, but always eager to find out. I start my day in the freezer, sorting the previous day’s catch into each guest’s bin. A quick check against the catch boards, everything matches, perfect.

QCL Bell RingerEarly evening arrives and boats are starting to come back from the fishing grounds, ready to weigh in the day’s take and enjoy a beverage and some appies. The totes are lining up in the Bell Ringer, full of fish ready to be weighed. The music is on and the drinks are flowing. I look back and see a silver tail peeking up over the edge of a tote; it looks big. Standing nearby, an excited guest and guide can barely contain their smiles. Will it go 30? As each guide lays out the fish, I’m sure to check the tags to ensure the angler will receive their own fish, cut exactly the way they want. Fillet? Portion cutting? Smokehouse? Then it’s time to snap a quick photo with the catch before it’s recorded. By now, I know the guides well. I can usually guess which guest’s fish they’ll weigh first, second, third. In between weights, I catch snippets of fishing stories; the good one that got away, the near-misses and the close saves. A few times each night, it’s time for a ‘Bell Ringer’. Whether it be the perfect ‘turkey’ halibut, or a coveted ‘hog’, we celebrate just the same. After each fish is weighed, it is sorted into bins by cut, then off to the processing room it goes, where it is cut, washed and vacuum packed. From there, it hits the freezer, flash frozen for freshness for months to come.

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It’s the last night of the trip, and once all of the fish have been recorded, processed and sorted, it’s time to box them up to send out the following morning. The boxing team and I pack up every guest’s fish, checking the catch and recording the outgoing weight. As the morning sun is rising, we load the boxes onto “The Q”, sending them out to Masset, where they’ll fly south and be waiting for their owner in Vancouver.

Every day I am fortunate to be at the centre of the ruckus, recording each fish, celebrating each victory with guide and guest alike. This season has been one for the books, with near-daily Tyees, and many multiple-Tyee days. Our largest thus far has tipped the scale at 40.4 lbs. Coho fishing has been on, right from the get-go. We’ve seen plenty of ‘Silvers’ in the double digits all through July, and even some pushing close to the 15-pound mark moving into late July. The season high stands at 13.4 lbs, but I suspect we’ll see some bigger ones moving into August. This season has also brought an unusually high number of the most elusive salmon: the Sockeye. We had ten in one week! With the increase in Sockeye numbers, three boats have been able to complete the ‘Grand Slam’ of salmon fishing, one of each species. This season has also been strong for bottom fishing. Numerous Halibut north of the 50-pound mark have been released, and several have even taped out to more than 200 pounds, a real ‘barn door’ of a Halibut. June also brought about a large quantity of Pacific Cod. We caught more in one day than the entirety of last season! We also got to see a new kind of fish this year, landing our very first Alaskan Pollock. You never know what you’ll pull up when you drop a line down to the bottom!

I am lucky to have this unique vantage point which affords me the privilege of taking care of each and every fish brought back to the dock. The excitement of the scale draws the attention of veteran anglers and first-timers alike. Whether someone is looking for a guess on weight, a crash course in salmon identification, or just to take a photo, I’m always happy to help.

Breanne C


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June 23, 2017 Duane Foerter0

What a fine week of fishing we’ve just come through!  Not that there were loads of giant Chinooks jumping into boats or non-stop bites on the slack tides, but it was a full spectrum of the QCL experience that made it outstanding.  True, there were some awesome fish caught; a couple of beautiful Tyees in the mid-forties amongst a number in the low thirties and lots in the twenties.  We logged five more anglers into the Halibut 100 Pounder Club, one of them scoring 225 pounds with a length of 76 inches!  We discovered numerous patches of hungry Coho scattered throughout the fishing grounds at a time when we usually don’t expect them.

The weather was fine and sometimes outstanding – with mostly calm water conditions due to light south and southwest winds – sometimes with the bouts of liquid sunshine that usually come with southerlies.  We had several humpback whales feeding and traveling throughout the grounds and eagles jostling with gulls as they foraged on boiling schools of needlefish along the tidelines.

Haida Gwaii black bearAmong our groups of guests this week were a fair number of first-timers, eagerly taking in all the wonders of the place. They were thrilled at all the excitement of getting out onto the ocean and catching some fish of their own to take home and share with friends and family, deliciously spiced with stories of the ones that got away.

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The Bell Ringer was rockin’ each evening with celebrations of success and, of course, tales of woe over those fish that didn’t quite get in the boat.  Guests from all over – Brampton and Boucherville, Saskatoon and Dartmouth, San Diego and Spruce Grove – discovered our little corner of the world and enjoyed our hospitality.  We had a great week, and it sounded like our guests did too.  We’d love to see them all again next year!

Team Tyee on the Driftwood


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