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June 7, 2024 Tayler Fuerst0

Welcome to the 2024 Season, It’s a Guide’s Life, blog series.

A little different than our Kingfisher Report, this blog will provide insights into what a day in the life of a guide at Queen Charlotte Lodge entails! Whether it be a big fish, amazing wildlife or just a great day with guests having fun. For this first entry I wanted to share what my favorite part of the day is and surprisingly it happens before even hitting the water.

Each morning, the excitement of every angler and guide on the dock is truly amazing – No matter the weather or the misfortune of a lost fish from the day prior.

Every day is a chance at the fish of a lifetime. The enthusiasm and optimism is what keeps bringing me back.

I look forward to seeing you all, every morning, and talking about what spot we are headed to! Keep an eye out for all the fishing tales coming your way over the course of our first class fishing season.

Lead Guide, Ryan Kelly


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June 3, 2024 Tayler Fuerst0

After welcoming staff mid-May to get things ready for our first round of guests, we finally made it! We’ve been saying it for months now, and though we’re only one week into the 34th season here at QCL, it truly is turning out to be the best season yet.

The Lodge has been filled with energy and already many exciting moments that won’t soon be forgotten. From the Northern Lights putting on a splendid show for the crew during “rig up”, to the Orcas visiting the dock on the first trip, the magic of the QCL Experience is in full force.

In typical Haida Gwaii fashion, the weather has provided a full range of conditions. The sun has shined, the rain has hit and when we’re sick of the grey, the sun does its thing and a rainbow appears just beyond the dock.

We have been fortunate to see favorable fishing conditions. Chinook fishing has been productive, with the majority of our guests experiencing multiple opportunities at some fresh and strong fish. The average size of Chinooks have ranged from 10 to 15lbs but we have seen some lucky anglers catching in the high 20s! Our biggest Chinooks of the season, so far, came a couple days apart from one another, both weighing in at 36lbs. Lastly, our bottom fishing has been productive with halibut and lingcod ranging from all sizes – Most notable being a 260lbs halibut and 47lbs lingcod. We are loving the exciting early fishery and look forward to seeing more as the season continues.

But fishing is not the only thing that makes your QCL Experience, all that it is. Each of our venues have come to life with guests enjoying the delicacies that our incredible team of chef’s create daily. The team in the Bell Ringer had a blast welcoming each guest as they return to the dock with stories of their day, kelp bongs have been flowing and the echo of the Tyee bell ringing has been almost daily. The Angler’s Club Lounge remains a favourite meeting place for most to grab a cocktail and warm up next to the crackling fireplace. The hot tub and sauna have also seen their fair share of use with even some brave souls taking cold plunges in Naden Harbour.

It’s hard to believe we’re only one week in. We cannot wait for you to arrive and experience this place we call home each summer. Here’s to many more incredible moments to come!


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May 1, 2024 Tayler Fuerst0

The 34th season of operation for QCL is swiftly approaching and soon the doors will be open, reels will be screaming and smiles will be plenty.

Every season we welcome guests from around the world for the fishing adventure of a lifetime. From opening day to closing, our guests are in constant awe of the thought and consideration that goes into their vacation. Beyond the rich waters, that offer some of the best fishing grounds in the world, QCL is known for incredible hospitality.

With May 24th just around the corner now, the months of working behind the scenes, both in our Richmond Office and on-site at the Lodge, will soon come to an end. Like every year, our team has been implementing your suggestions and bringing continued improvements to life.

We’re excited to share with you a few updates taking place at the Lodge – new boats, exciting programs (new and revised), and on-going upgrades to our infrastructure.

In 2023 we saw the addition of 10 boats to our fleet, and this year will see an additional 3! Partnering with Bridgeview, we have added to our premium vessel class with one 26” Cabin boat, and two 22” Centre Consoles.

As a testament to the high standard of client care and satisfaction that our guides provide on the water, this year will also see our largest guide team to date!

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting program additions this year is the introduction of our new Tyee Release Club! Designed to promote sustainable fishing by encouraging our guests to engage in salmon conservation, QCL will make a donation towards Salmon Enhancement for each Tyee released.

With our on-water program only a portion of your QCL Experience, the Lodge has seen updates across property.

Continuing to put an emphasis on sustainable choices across the whole property, don’t forget to pop your head into the Kingfisher Gallery or Pro Shop to see the new additions to our retail program. Our team has worked hard to partner with sustainable brands that continue to offer the best in the industry.

Now in the final push, Operations is in the midst of refinishing logs, replacing walkways, and updating finishings. Among these smaller projects, we have also seen completed larger projects – namely replacing the roof on the Main Lodge, and cosmetic changes to select guest rooms. Whether these changes are small or large, the Operations team works alongside the Hospitality team, ensuring guest rooms are well-appointed and comfortable after a full day of being on the water.

Although, these are only a handful of the noticeable updates happening at QCL this year there are plenty that we are anxiously awaiting to share. Together, we are certain that this season will be the best season yet.

With just under a month until Opening Day, we cannot wait until your helicopter lands.


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September 6, 2023 Tayler Fuerst2

“And when we hear the call of the geese in the harbour, we know that it’s time to wrap it up for another season…”  That time has come!  We sent off our final group of guests yesterday, followed by a large portion of our crew.  Wow!  Is it ever a different place when they’re not here!

Our 33rd season at QCL was pretty epic.  We were able to welcome back quite a number of guests who’ve missed us over the past 4 years, as well as many newcomers who wanted to know what this place was all about. Our core group of QCL guests, whom we’re very fortunate to see almost every summer, were thrilled with many of the tweaks, both large and small, that we implemented this year.

Certainly, our new Coho Class of boats had to be a highlight for many, combining great functionality and performance with lots of comforts and convenience – for both guided and self-guided anglers.  New menu features and hospitality treats balanced out the program when our guests returned to the lodge at the end of the day.

Conversations among the guide team this past week were consistently positive about the fishing.  Huge volumes of feeding Chinook and Coho were present through the first half of the summer, and as the number of migratory salmon increased, the Tyee Bell was ringing more frequently every trip.  In short, it was busy on the boats!  Bottom fishing for halibut, lingcod and rockfish always balances out the fishing experience and provides a tasty variety of filets to enjoy at home.

But we have to say, at the end of every trip, and at the end of every season, what our guests always go out of their way to speak with us about, is essentially the QCL Experience.  That’s the very special combination of this amazing place and what people are able to do here, fully enveloped in the enthusiasm of our wonderful staff and the hospitality that they provide. That’s what puts a smile on everyone’s face up here.  We’re very thankful for the efforts of each of our team members and the continued support of our awesome guests.

We can’t wait to get back up here again next season and see you all again!

 


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August 26, 2023 Bre Guolo0

With the sun gleaming over Naden Harbour, guests and guides start the day keen on finding Chinook and Coho salmon. With these northwest winds, the fish and bait have been pushed into Cape Naden and the Mazarredo Islands – Where most of our fleet has been tacking hard on each tide putting guests into action. Guides have been running hearing and anchovy to entice the fish in to their gear.

Today for Boat 99, the sun was shining and though the wind had died down the swells were strong; forcing us to start our morning at the top of Cape Naden. with the flooding tide we had no issues running a cut plug on one side and a whole herring on the other, 23-39 ft on the rigger and 8 pulls on the back rod.

10 minutes into our first tack at Naden our deep rod goes off!  My guest Tyson jumped up and ran to the rod not knowing what to expect! 25 minutes later we landed a beautiful Chinook salmon, tapped out to 42 pounds! Tyson made the decision to release this Tyee. Thanks for letting this big one go!

It was a team effort –  From pulling gear to holding the net. Guests Lyndon and David, also onboard, played a large role in successfully getting this fish to the boat. This is how memories are made!

Tight lines and don’t forget to keep your tip up,

Guide, Karly Skakun

 


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July 31, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

As the Northwest winds start to settle down this week, the fishing continues to thrive.

With the odd kelp line rolling through being our biggest obstacle, the inshore Chinook fishing has been consistent, and with Coho still being caught at most points. Keeping your hooks in the water, as much as possible, has been key around the kelp beds at slack tides, while hog-hunting for the big one. Most anglers don’t need to travel far to get bites but weeding through the Pink salmon looking for Chinook continues to keep all anglers busy!

The slow moving flood tides give anglers plenty of opportunity to get out bottom fishing for longer periods, allowing most guests to get all of their halibut done in one trip offshore.

Outlook for the week – Overall we’re expecting light W to NW winds, mixed skies with sunny period with some of the largest tidal range of the year over the Tuesday full moon (.4 to 18.7ft).

With July in the rearview, the excitement continues to build as step into August. Here’s to incredible fishing and unforgettable memories!

Lead Guide, Chris Manning

 

 


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July 20, 2023 Bre Guolo0

If the 2023 fishing season will be remembered for any one particular thing, it’s very likely to be the shear abundance of fish!  From the early masses of needlefish we’ve encountered inshore since May and the dense schools of herring now over the pinnacles and halibut grounds, it’s no wonder there are so many salmon around!  Throughout the first half of the season we’ve been awash in feeding Chinook and Coho.  These early fish have been smaller than the migratory version we’re more accustomed to, but they’ve more than made up for it with their aggressive nature and persistent hunger for whatever we put in front of them!  Translation… our guests haven’t been sitting down much!

Now that we’ve passed the mid-point of the season, we’re seeing more of what we expect in July, with strong numbers of beautiful, chunky, 20-something Chinooks and those summer Coho are getting up into the 10 pound-plus class.  The Tyee Bell is tolling every evening at the Bell Ringer in celebration of memorable catches… for larger salmon, halibut and lingcod.

Another observation is the interest that our guests are showing in all things ocean and fishery related.  Whether it’s speculation on why so many “feeders” are inshore this summer, to questions about kelp beds and sea urchins, or the difference between resident and transient orcas… there’s a new level of awareness in the air.  And it’s a good thing… we all have a role to play in protecting the health of the oceans and marine life and it starts with being interested.  There’s much to learn and to understand and it’s exciting to share all of this with our guests who come to enjoy the QCL Experience every summer!

Duane Foerter


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June 17, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

I really do have the best job in the world.

As the Vice President of Sales and Corporate Relations for Queen Charlotte Lodge, I get to do some incredible things.

Every year has its cycle and rhythm. In the fall, after a busy summer, the Lodge is put away for the winter and our team of Sales Executives begin the huge task of selling the next season. Reaching out to potential guests to gauge their interest in hopes we can introduce them to the QCL Experience; and reaching out to previous guests to secure their spot for the upcoming year. Throughout this process, we get to hear our guests’ stories from past trips and their excitement for the next. We strive to curate exceptional memories, and hearing about them firsthand is one of my favourite things about the off-season.

It truly is the best feeling to be able to introduce or reintroduce guests to QCL, and to describe to them the first class experience they are about to have; only to have them come back after their trip to tell us we undersold the adventure and what an unforgettable time they had.

The work put in behind the scenes is nothing compared to the on-season component. Having the opportunity to create, firsthand, those special moments at the Lodge, is what makes my job the best. I leave our offices in Richmond, and head North to the Lodge spending about 40 days on property each season. The first visit is to assist in guide training. While I work in sales, my passion for fishing has developed over the 51 years of on-water experience, and I aim to share the knowledge I’ve gained with our team. After that comes the season itself. A wild, organized, all hands on deck, 120 day period. I have made so many friends over the years and to share the joy of fishing in beautiful Haida Gwaii, there truly is no job that quite compares.

Seeing the awe in the faces of our guests as they arrive onsite, the friendships made and sharing the joy of fishing in such an incredible corner of the world are all parts of what makes my job the best. QCL is a magical place. I am grateful to be involved in such an operation, to experience the best job in the world. Come on up and see what I mean!

Brian Clive

 


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June 13, 2023 Bre Guolo2

So far there are few surprises with our early season fishing.  As you would expect this time of year, the fishing grounds are flush with large numbers of aggressive feeder Springs.  These are not the migratory spawners that we see through much of the summer but young fish in their ocean phase, bulking up on the incredible shoals of needlefish and herring in these northern waters.  There certainly is a lot of bait around, evidenced by multiple Humpbacks feeding in the area. There’s lots of amazing eagle action; we’re sometimes seeing dozens of eagles circling over boiling bait balls, swooping down in turn to grab fistfuls of wriggling needlefish and eating them in mid-air.  It’s really quite a spectacle. The shallow basin that is Virago Sound is especially productive for needlefish or Pacific Sand Lance.  This year they seem to be especially abundant and all of their predators know it!

Salmon action in the past week has been consistent throughout the fishing grounds. Anglers are finding no shortage of feisty, teen-sized  Chinook salmon and occasionally they get a surprise when a 20-plus pounder goes screaming off the rigger.  It’s great to find relatively steady salmon action with a good shot at a bigger fish at any time.  Plus, we’re already seeing several Coho, Chum and Pink salmon in the catch log every day.

QCL anglers are still encountering halibut while trolling inshore, sometimes huge ones!  Over the weekend there were several flatties boated around Capes Naden and Edenshaw.  Long time QCL guest FJ certainly got more than he bargained for while trolling an anchovy along the shoreline from Eagle Rock to Green Point with his guide Jon Landry.  What certainly felt, initially, like a big strong salmon went screaming down the shoreline in 75 feet of water. By the time FJ and Jon were able to get the boat over it they sure knew why this fish could pretty much do what it wanted!  A massive halibut lie alongside the Grady and they called the Fishmaster for assistance.  Using a salmon rod as a yardstick, they concluded FJ’s catch was a 78-inch halibut!  That works out to about 254 pounds – caught on a salmon rod with and anchovy!  So we continue to be in awe of the wonders of these amazing waters – You just never know what could happen next!

We’re experiencing some classic northwesterly conditions this week with our anglers fishing the west side below Klashwun Point.  Last week’s big tides are easing and after today we’ll enjoy light to moderate west to southwest conditions, providing easy access to the full fishing grounds.  Look for more news from the offshore fishery in the next report!

Fishmaster


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June 10, 2023 Bre Guolo0

This past trip was distinguished by four excellent weather days with calm seas, two full days of sunny skies, and no precipitation – Haida Gwaii summer vibes all around! Fishing was good overall with most guests picking up their limit of Chinooks and most had two halibut plus some assorted bottomfish.

Halibut fishing is also heating up and while much of our halibut are caught inshore at present, the favourite offshore haunts are starting to produce predictably. FJ H released a 74-inch halibut (215 pounds), caught on salmon gear while trolling towards Green Point with guide Johnny Moonshine! James F released a 120lbs halibut and Lorne released a 65!

Salmon fishing inshore was well distributed from Cape Edenshaw and Cape Naden, around Bird 2 and Parker Pt., all the way through Yatze and Klashwun Point, and out to Green – all sections producing. Chinook action seemed most productive at Cape Edenshaw, Green Pt., Bird 2 and Eagle Rock.

We’ve also seen several Coho, Chum and Pink hit the dock – All found offshort at 35-50ft depths.

The Kingfisher Derby weekend is officially here and with over $90,000 in prize money up for grabs and the , we’re in for an exciting for few days! Best of luck to all Derby participants!