Ling-34-aer-b92w-1200x675.jpg

August 24, 2022 Duane Foerter0

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!


20804129hd1-1200x675.jpg

August 9, 2022 Duane Foerter0

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!


JHall_52_w-1200x675.jpg

August 3, 2022 Duane Foerter0

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!


20728270w-1200x675.jpg

August 1, 2022 Duane Foerter0

As we crest over the midway point of our summer season here at QCL, we find ourselves knee deep in Coho.  There appears to be no sign of slowing to the arrival of the acrobatic white gums.   As the flow of fish continues to increase, we have begun to see an increase in size as well.  Fish stretching into the double digits are becoming more and more common every week.  Yesterday a 14-pounder arrived at the Bell Ringer!  What a fish!

At the same time, I felt that Chinook fishing had been slower than usual last week.   But there has been no lack of quality when you do find a pocket of black gums!  Though the hookups on Springs have been hindered by the relentless hammering of Coho, the fish that are being caught are often up into the twenty-plus class and put up quite a battle for our visiting anglers!

This past week my guests and I were fortunate enough to connect with a trio of gorgeous Chinooks at Cape Naden.  On three consecutive passes we managed to find an eighteen pounder, followed by a fat 23-pounder.  Not much later, on our third tack through the shallow bay that divides Cape Naden and Hanna Bay, the portside rod popped off and began to strain from the heavy head shakes of what would turn out to be a stunning 37-pound Chinook!  After an exciting battle, punctuated by many long runs, the 27”x 38” chrome missile was carefully landed onto the deck of our 22’ Bridgeview.  After a quick measurement, this big beauty was successfully released to continue his long Journey home!

Tipper


20724034hd-1200x675.jpg

July 26, 2022 Duane Foerter0

Light winds and light tides were the norm over the past week, providing optimal conditions for anglers testing the waters of Haida Gwaii.  QCL guests made the most of it by exploring the offshore slopes and pinnacles for halibut and lingcod, trolling the 120-foot line for Coho and cruising inshore along points and kelp beds in search of those big Chinook!

Their efforts were rewarded with nice full fish boxes coming back to the Bell Ringer!   Coho salmon have quickly displaced Chum and Pinks in the box with huge numbers of 6 to 8 pounders feeding heavily right now.  We’ll see the average size increase steadily over the coming weeks!  The large quantity of smaller “feeder Chinooks” that dominated our catch earlier in the season have given way to fewer, but certainly larger salmon.  The proportion of fish over 20-pounds has come up quite nicely through July and most anglers are finding some real beauties to take home.  The Tyee count is still lower than what we’d call “normal”but the Tyee Bell is getting a few good cracks every day.

Big celebrations on Friday night at the Bell Ringer marked the catch & release of a marvellous giant Chinook landed by Petr P at Cape Naden. It was taped out to 54-pounds before being skilfully released by veteran QCL guide Kylie T, captured beautifully on iPhone by fellow guides! Congratulations Petr and thanks for choosing to let that amazing fish carry on with its journey to the river!  Petr’s efforts were echoed on Sunday with C&R Tyees for Tasha S who turned back a 34-pounder with guide Rob C and Matt M releasing a 37 with his guide Brett T.  Well done!


20714055w-1200x800.jpg

July 16, 2022 Duane Foerter0

It’s hard to believe but we are officially at the halfway point for the 2022 season up here at QCL!  After an unseasonably late start to “summer” in June, the past 2-3 weeks have been pretty awesome!  Lots of fish, better than average weather and so much fun on the water and back at the lodge.  We’ve enjoyed very healthy numbers of what we’d call “feeder salmon” in recent weeks.  Lots of Chinook salmon in the low-mid-teens and hungry Coho in the 6-8 pound class are keeping anglers busy throughout most of the fishing grounds.  The presence of larger Chinook has been increasing steadily with regular catches of those stunning twenty-somethings, and the Tyee Bell is ringing every night now in celebration of Tyee-class fish either kept or released. Everything is feeling more like a “normal” fishing season, just a little later this year.

We started off this week’s trip with a bang on Monday night at the Bell Ringer with David H cracking the bell four times after releasing a big beautiful Tyee that taped out to 43-pounds before guide Alex K carefully returned it to the water. Roger P celebrated releasing a 30-pounder with his partner and their guide Colton M and Dan B was turning heads with an impressive 42 lb Chinook that came back to the dock with guide Dan R.  We’ve been very fortunate to find solid salmon fishing off most every point of the fishing grounds, at the right stage of the tide, which have been especially large this week with ranges up to 18 feet!

However, nice calm seas on Monday thru Wednesday provided perfect conditions for any angler’s preference!  Halibut fishing is very reliable on most days and this week was no different with many anglers finding impressive fish over 30-pounds and some tangling with the proverbial “barn doors” out on the grounds. Finding that magic number where it’s “not too little but not too big” is a challenge that definitely comes with fishing and Dan S pretty much maxed out his opportunity, bringing a 55-pounder back to the Bell Ringer!  Lionel W turned back a 5-foot-long halibut that scored over 100 pounds and Matt C hauled up a 75-incher which scored 230-pounds!  But the big catch this week went to Josh P who battled an 87-inch behemoth that would weigh about 273 pounds if you could get it in the boat!  While not every angler wants to work that hard, there are endless possibilities out there for those who dream of catching a fish larger than themselves!  Up here we seem to do that every week.

This weekend the large tides will start to diminish and we’re enjoying light winds and a comfortable mix of cloud and sunshine… with the occasional shower tossed in for good measure!


10905069h-1200x675.jpg

September 7, 2021 Duane Foerter0

It’s fair to say that most anglers who travel to Haida Gwaii on a fishing trip dream of catching a big Chinook salmon, what we call a Tyee or, as our American friends like to say, “a big Kang”!  It’s easy to understand why.  In these cold northern waters, they are the kings, the royalty of the fish world!  Sleek and powerful and bright chrome silver, a large Chinook salmon over 30 pounds will certainly test the angler and their tackle.  And it’s never over until they’re lying in the bottom of the boat!

But if you ask these same anglers what fish they prefer on the dinner plate, the answer will often be halibut!  It might be the nice meaty texture, the brilliant whiteness when it’s cooked or the subtle, non-fishy flavour and aroma of fresh-cooked halibut that holds so much appeal.

In our early days when we used smaller boats and engines, we had no technology like depth sounders and GPS.  The halibut tackle was pretty light duty, and most anglers didn’t want to spend much time hunting for halibut.  In fact, many halibut were caught as bycatch while mooching with a weighted rod for salmon!   We’ve always been spoiled in Virago Sound, the halibut fishing is never too far from shore and anglers would make a quick run out to the “chicken coop” on the 180-foot line. They’d drop a herring down to the bottom and, in short order, they’d have their two fish limit – enough to keep a promise to their partner at home – and then it was back to working the kelp beds for that big Chinook.

But how the world has changed!  We used to use very rough triangulation to remember our halibut holes – line up that big old spruce snag with that point over there and stay even with that big rock on the beach, and you should be close to “the spot!” Well… maybe!

Nowadays we’ve planted so many X’s on the water that pretty well everyone has their own, favourite halibut hole!  Modern depth sounders synchronize with apps on your smartphone to actively upload depth and structure data to the cloud.  The detailed maps created of the seafloor have revealed a whole new underwater world, out beyond the kelp beds.  Sea mounts, pinnacles, rock piles and gravel benches provide habitats for all different species of fish and affect the tidal currents and feeding areas for baitfish.  What was, not long ago, a great, invisible, underwater mystery, is now a seascape for exploration and discovery.

We have lots of guests up here every trip who are quite happy to spend most of their time offshore doing just that.  We have larger, safer and more comfortable boats and tackle that can handle the proverbial “barn door” halibut.  We’re also able to find other species like lingcod and Pacific cod.  All of these fish are well managed and the limits are kept low to prevent overfishing of the stocks. And, of course, just because you know where they should be, doesn’t mean you’re going to catch them!  Afterall, it’s still called fishing… not catching!

All that being said, here’s a good fish story…

On Saturday morning, Curtis, Jen and Colin were salmon fishing, self-guided, near the Mazzaredo Islands. This is a location, well inside Virago Sound, where the water depth ranges between 30 and 70 feet.  It’s been very productive salmon water for much of the summer, so they were trolling for Chinook salmon with cut-plug herring.  Curtis had just rigged a new herring and tossed it into the water to set up the downrigger.  As the herring started to sink, he noticed some movement below it and leaned over to have a better look… just in time to see the dark shadow open up to reveal a huge white mouth that inhaled his shiny herring!  The shadow moved alongside the boat and then back down, flipping a wide brown tail that had to be 18-inches across!  In shock, Curtis grabbed the rod from the holder and hung on.  The sounder said 32-feet, so the giant fish couldn’t sound too far!  But the hook was in its mouth and the 11-foot mooching rod was soon arched over in a half-circle with the line singing tight.  Typically, a battle with a halibut is a weight-lifting exercise, with a short, 6-foot pool cue of a rod that bends a little at the tip.  It’s often a straight lift with lots of give and take and usually happens in 200-300 feet of water, so there’s lots of lifting to do!  In such shallow water Curtis’s fish had nowhere to go but out, so he held on as best he could while his boat-mates stowed the downriggers and made ready to chase down this sea monster.  Fortunately for them, the tug-o-war was over in about 15-minutes as Curtis was able to maneuver the huge halibut alongside their boat; quite a feat considering the noodly salmon rod!  They used another salmon rod as a measuring stick and after several attempts concluded that this giant was about six and a half feet long – 79 inches in length!  It was in no mood to have anyone poking around in its mouth to retrieve the barbless bronze salmon hook so they cut the line after taking a few photos and the giant halibut disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived!  A look at the IPHC Halibut Chart revealed that this big female weighed about 265 pounds!  Considering where halibut usually live, Curtis’s opportunity to witness this giant take the bait was a rare occasion indeed.  While it’s not unusual for us to catch halibut, even big ones, in close to shore like this, we’ve never seen one this big actually brought to the boat.  Well done Curtis, Jen and Colin!  Surprises like this keep us all interested and excited to get out on the water any chance we can!


095A9063w-1200x675.jpg

August 31, 2021 Duane Foerter0

Getting away and doing something fun and exciting (or relaxing) with friends and family this summer has been the biggest goal of most of our guests.  Seeing them leaving the helipad and having their first good look around is priceless… Off comes the mask, revealing a big smile, and the holiday has begun. (Not that we don’t still abide by the Covid rules – we have those too) But being in a beautiful, wild place with wide open spaces and abundant, fresh cool air is pretty exhilarating this summer!

So here we are at the end of August with the end in sight; the days are shorter – off the dock at 7 am just feels weird!  But we’re enjoying some really fine weather and exploring the fishing grounds in search of fish and wildlife and adventure.  Chinook salmon are still turning up inshore with opportunities to tackle a Tyee, ever-present off our favourite points. Fishing with her husband and their guide Jake off Bird Rock, Nadja M boated a nice 32-pounder on Wednesday as did Leesa A with her husband and their guide Tristan at Parker Point.  Anthony C landed a stunning 33-pounder on Tuesday and his wife Mimi followed suit with a 32 on Thursday, fishing with their guide Colten – quite an achievement!

Jaxon R turned eleven on Tuesday. We were thrilled that he celebrated here at QCL with his Dad, his Grandfather and his Great-Grandfather!  We are very fortunate to host family groups up here all the time – they’re a huge part of our guestlist every week.  But even for us, it’s rare to see four generations all in a boat together!  So the opportunity to get that photo to mark the occasion just couldn’t be missed!  Jaxon provided the key to putting it all together – catching a nice shiny Chinook salmon on his birthday and the moment was preserved!  We know you’ll remember it fondly Jaxon!

And late on Thursday, Marli J was still working the kelp beds off Yatze with her sister and her Dad, with guide DP at the helm.  A year ago, they had an epic encounter with a big salmon over at Cape Edenshaw and Marli was able to catch & release a beautiful Tyee.  You never expect these moments to repeat themselves but, sure enough, DP lured a big Chinook out of the kelp and it was Marli’s turn at the rod!  Her deft touch was still there and with some effort they managed to boat another Tyee Chinook together.  This one couldn’t be revived, as sometimes happens, but the group shared another momentous fishing experience that they’ll never forget. Whether you keep a fish, release it, or even lose it, there’s always a story that goes with it; to be shared (and maybe embellished!) with friends for years to come, and that’s one of the things we really like about fishing that never gets old!


10822002w.jpg

August 25, 2021 Duane Foerter0

We’ve been treated to some stunning moonlit nights up here for a change!  You don’t realize how seldom you see the moon until it just appears one night.  We’ve sure enjoyed it, but the big tides that come along with a full moon have a more dramatic effect.

Late August salmon fishing is typically divided between hunting along the rocky shores and kelp beds for big Chinooks or exploring the offshore tidelines for schools of migrating Coho.  The Chinooks prefer the protective cover and like to feed during the slack periods around tide changes or they’ll often cruise the current seams and tidelines picking off baitfish getting pushed around by strong tidal flows.  Tide swings of up to 16 feet this week have definitely provided those conditions!  But our guides and guests have been quite successful at finding them – the Tyee Bell has been fairly noisy in celebration! QCL guest Spencer A found a big beauty over at Slab Rock yesterday with guide Tristan O’Brian, who quickly taped the Tyee out to 43-pounds before releasing it to continue its journey to the river.  Tim G landed a similar prize off Bird Rock 1 which tipped the scale at an even 40.  Jeremy K released a 37-pounder at the Mazzaredos last week with guide Ryan Borschneck and Mike A boated a 35 with guide Colten Mochizuki off Parker Point.  Nico B didn’t make any mistakes battling his first big salmon on the weekend and celebrated at the Bell Ringer with his friends and guide Logan Allen, joining the QCL Tyee Club with a stunning 42-pound Chinook.

Offshore fishing has been no less productive, though the large number of Pink salmon passing through lately has certainly kept anglers out of their seats!  Coho have been found mainly out over the Pinnacles and on the halibut grounds.  We’re finally starting to see some of those larger, chrome bright Cohos that many of us get so excited about!  Bottom fishing times have to be carefully planned during these big tides and our guide team have that schedule very well dialed.  Most everyone manages to get their limit of halibut, and many are finding some of the larger “overs” in the 25-50 pound class, which is quite a thrill, and a serious workout! We haven’t been finding as many “barn doors” in the past couple of weeks but that will change next week when tide swings mellow to just 6 to 7 feet.

With September just around the corner, keep in mind that we’ve extended our 2021 season by 2 trips – adding a Monday-Friday trip – September 6-10 and a final weekend trip September 10-13.  There’s been so much demand this summer – everybody is loving the opportunity to escape and kick back up here at The Lodge!  If you can find a way, you should seriously consider jumping on one of these September trips – it’s absolutely the best way to finish the summer!


095A2602w-1200x675.jpg

August 15, 2021 Duane Foerter0

QCL anglers have enjoyed the best of both worlds recently with a return to our traditional summer westerlies but avoiding those big water days that can restrict access to the fishing grounds.  The salmon action has been quite consistent with anglers fishing all their favourite spots from Green Point all the way back to the Mazzaredos.  Bigger tides over the past week have helped to turn on “the bite” at various times of day and our guests are having good success with Chinook catches inshore.  While we’re still seeing lots of teen-sized feeders there have definitely been more twenty-somethings and Tyee-class fish in the mix. The stretch of awesome Virago Sound shoreline from “the Mazz” around to Bird 2 has turned out a lot of good fish this season, especially over the past 10 days.  Tim C, with his QCL guide Shawn Breau, did the dance with a powerful big Chinook at the Mazz last night before Shawn was able to get the net under it and finally have a good look.  Tim knew this fish had to get to the river and easily decided to let him go.  A couple of quick pics and Shawn soon had this beauty back on its way.  Great work guys – Congratulations Tim!

The Tyee bell has certainly been noisy this week with quite a few big fish being celebrated, some released and some coming back to the dock.  Reports of huge halibut catches are down recently with the bigger tides being a factor, but everyone is getting out to pick up some nice keepers to take home. The average is still around 15 pounds but we’re seeing several chunky ‘buts between 30 and 60 pounds on the scale every trip.  Coho fishing has come on strong in the offshore waters and it doesn’t take long to pick up a few nice ones.  We’re finding them from the 100 foot line all the way out to the Pinnacles and 250+ feet of water, fishing down 40-60 feet seems most consistent.  Coho in the double-digits are becoming more common now and Scott N boated a beautiful 14-pounder last week, so those amazing & feisty Northerns are starting to show up.  They have a huge fan club and we can’t wait to see more!