Thanksgiving, whenever you celebrate, is absolutely the perfect time for reflection. As we gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving it’s wonderful to share some of the stories and the memories of the year that is coming to an end. And in reflection we’re reminded to be thankful for those memories. Our lives are so rich and we often forget how very fortunate we are. At QCL we feel that our guests and staff all have something very important in common… our experiences at the Lodge in Haida Gwaii and especially our stories.
We feel especially privileged to be able to share a few days with our Queen Charlotte Lodge family each summer. Thank you all for allowing us that privilege.
For the past 29 years Queen Charlotte Lodge has helped to create those memories for adventure seekers of all generations. Families and friends make up a large part of our guest list on virtually every trip of the summer. With all that experience, we make it really easy for you to come visit!
As our American friends celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, it’s the perfect time to start planning one of those escapes! We still have some space available for next summer but people are talking and planning and select dates are filling up. Explore around our website to learn more and feel free to give us a call to enquire.
The bears have moved to the streams and the sound of the geese staging in the estuary rings across the harbour…Autumn has arrived. Our lodge guests have been home for a while now, sharing their tasty fish dinners with friends and family, spiced with lively stories of how they managed to catch such wonderful food. Another summer of fishing, friendship and fun has concluded at QCL, for the 29thyear!
It’s amazing how each season unfolds. As familiar as it is to those of us fortunate enough to be here every year, there is always some mystery in how it will all turn out. The weather and the fish are the obvious wildcards…cross your fingers on that! But the parts that are within our control are what we have the most fun with. It’s thrilling to roll out a new program each season and see how everyone likes it. Sometimes it’s a facility change, like the beachside sauna and hot tub or Smoke & Oak –our whisky and cigar retreat on the hill. Last year we launched a Steak & Lobster dinner at The Bell Ringer. This season we introduced an exciting fleet of 8 beautiful new boats to help bring our guided fishing program up to where we want it. Next summer…who knows?
Certainly, we hope that our guests enjoy our programs and facilities; and by all accounts we think they do, but it’s the hospitality of our people that they appreciate the most. We feel that our QCL staff truly enjoy being here, helping to create a memorable QCL experience for all of our guests. At the end of the day, and at the end of the season, that’s what matters most. Thanks ever so much to all of our guests who joined us in Naden Harbour this summer and to all of our staff and management who made it all come together! We hope to see you next year!
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!
Moderate 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.
It’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!
The 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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The sound of my alarm clock marks the beginning of another day in Haida Gwaii. Before I can turn off my alarm salmon are already on the brain. What are the tides doing? What is the wind direction? Where were they “gettin’ em” yesterday?
I meet my guests on the dock and brimming with excitement we head back out onto the fishing grounds. With a great first days catch under our belts were feeling confident and can’t wait to do it all over again.
We come around the corner of Naden and realize the flat calm water of yesterday has been replaced with rain, wind and waves but we don’t let it dampen our spirits and my guests are already into the beers.
Out of nowhere a humpback launches itself clean out of the water and we are all left speechless. Not long later the reels are screaming and we’ve hooked our first Chinooks of the day.
Four great days and countless fish later the trip is over and my guests return to their lives surely never to forget their time up here.
What a job, I can’t believe they pay me to do this.
Another trip for the books and I crash back into bed…
Beep* Beep* beep* beep*
What will today hold?
I don’t know but I know it will surely be incredible.
Well, as much as we enjoyed (what feels like a record) 8 days of light variable winds and flat, flat water, it’s nice to get a little back to “normal”. Southerly winds flanked the islands on both east and western shores leaving a giant flat zone on our northern coast. The fog and glassy water were interesting but we like a little wind to move the bait around and concentrate the salmon. And that’s what happened this week as the inshore salmon fishing improved steadily every day. There are some big Chinooks in the water these days and QCL anglers enjoyed tangling with quite a few of them! ( In the photo above, angler Will K celebrates briefly with QCL guide Nic Rasovic before they release a gorgeous 43-pounder! ) Cape Naden, Bird One, Parker, B2 , Klash…every point has turned out some beautiful Tyee-class fish this week. Along the kelp we’re finding them fairly shallow at 25-35 feet much of the time, especially on this week’s morning ebb tides. Offshore the pinnacles are seeing a lot of traffic as big schools of Coho are making their way through the grounds. Trolling deep between 70 & 120 feet we’re picking up those nice silver bullets, with enough 15-20 pound Chinooks mixed in to really make things interesting!
Halibut action has been busy but there are so many “chickens” out there it’s taking some effort to weed through them to get those treasured 30-pounders! And of course, in the middle of all that, we find some giants. Young Jarret C was jigging with his Dad and veteran QCL guide Derek Poitras when they hooked onto a monster that eventually taped out to just over 6-feet long, more than 200 pounds! That makes quite an impression when you’re 12-years-old! And for some anglers, winning a tug-o-war with a big ‘but is something of a fixation! Such was the case for Roxy S this week. For 17-years she’s been coming up to the Lodge and has certainly caught her share of big fish. But the one prize that’s eluded her was the 100-pound halibut. Well this was the week…on Monday, the eighth glassy calm day, Roxy coaxed her partner Cal out to the halibut grounds to give it another try. She had to pull quite a few fish up from 200-plus feet but ultimately was rewarded with the one she was looking for. With some help from the Fishmaster they taped the big fish out to 60-inches, scoring at 109 pounds, and Roxy had finally achieved her goal. Congratulations Roxy! That gold pin looks mighty fine on your shawl!