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August 16, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL salmon fishingThe 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.

QCL salmon fishingThis 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!

QCL Haida Gwaii


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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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July 26, 2019 Duane Foerter0

Beep* beep* beep* beep*

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.

Jake Harrach


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July 19, 2019 Duane Foerter1

QCL salmon fishingWell, 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” QCL salmon fishingout 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.  QCL salmon fishingBut 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!


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July 11, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL salmon fishingMid-season fishing is living up to expectations with the arrival of plentiful Coho salmon offshore to augment the Chinook action we’ve enjoyed off the kelp beds.  Though we’re seeing some big ones up to 13 pounds, they’re averaging about 6½and we’re getting them from the surface down to 120 feet so it’s an adventure hunting for them!  Most anglers are seeing success on Chinooks in closer to shore in all the favourite spots.  Cape Naden has been productive, fishing shallow through the ebb tide, QCL guests have done very well there recently.  Likewise, the busy water in the rip between Klashwun Point and Shag Rock has turned out some really good Chinook action – with all the challenges that come with fishing a rip!  In the past week we’ve seen quite a few nice Tyees in the high 30’s and some in the low 40’s come to the boat.  These are such stunning fish and we’re especially happy when a guest elects to turn them back in hopes that they’ll return to their home streams.

QCL Halibut fishingHalibut fishing has been reliable as always with most anglers taking their limit home.  The regulation change for this season is going over very well –anglers can choose to take either – two fish under 90 cm length or one between 90 and 126 cm length.  That’s a maximum halibut size of roughly 55-pounds for those who like the big ones!  We’re still seeing a few of those 100 pound-plus giants alongside the boat this summer –loads of excitement whenever that happens!

Talk about exciting, how about doing battle with a sea lion over a 75-pound halibut!  That happened to Nancy & Tim L while they were fishing off the Little Peanut last weekend.  Nancy had hooked a pretty big halibut and almost had it to the boat.  They knew it was oversized and were prepared to release it when a sea lion grabbed it by the tail before they got it to the boat!  It was literally a tug of war with the sea lion pulling the halibut around by the tail and Nancy reeling away on its lips!  This went on for a few minutes; the halibut was too big for the sea lion to do his usual damage, especially with Nancy yanking it away every time he released his grip.  Unbelievably they eventually boated the halibut; it was quite alive and the teeth of the sea lion had not even penetrated the skin!  They had to release it but there was no way they were giving it back to the sea lion.  So they put the boat in gear and drove off a few hundred yards in hopes of eluding the hungry sea lion.  But he was right there with them.  Luckily the Fishmaster was close by so they recruited him to distract the sea lion and they were able to release it!  Great job you two! Hopefully the free-swimming halibut got away okay. Crazy stuff happens when you’re fishing!


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July 9, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL salmon fishingFishing with family is always fun. This past weekend I had the pleasure of guiding my father, Ross, and my great uncle, Pat. With flat calm water forecasted for the weekend we had only one thing on our mind, catching a Tyee.  We’d had a couple of good days on the water but before we knew it, Sunday morning came and although fishing had been productive, we still hadn’t found what we were looking for. We decided to head to my “office”, Yatze Bay. The water was flat, and a low fog hung in the trees; perfect weather for a hog.  We dropped in at slack tide and our rods were bouncing immediately. Over the next hour we released many mid-teen-sized Chinooks and put a beautiful 18 pounder in the box.

Celebrating a Tyee releaseEventually, the tide started to push, and there was a short lull in the fishing. But it didn’t last long, as we tacked along the kelp our inside rod popped off and started screaming out line. This was the fish we were looking for. A few hard runs later, it was in the net. We taped it out to 31 pounds, snapped a quick photo and quickly had it back in the water. Watching a Tyee swim away with strong strokes is always an incredible moment, but doing it with family was really something special.

 

Tight lines and tips up,

Liam


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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 21, 2019 Duane Foerter0

Barn Door Halibut at QCLAs we roll into the weekend fishing trip we’re happy to report that all is well in the Gwaii!  The usual mixed bag of weather has given QCL guests plenty of opportunities to explore the fishing grounds and discover all that they offer.  The Chinook numbers are growing steadily with a continuous variety of sizes and strains. Most guests are getting 3 or 4 to go home with and the average size is running in the high teens these days –perfect filets for those 1-pound chunks!  The Tyee bell is still ringing every night, celebrating those larger salmon, halibut and lingcod catches.  We saw a couple more 40-pounders this week and several in the mid-thirties.  It’s been nice to see some hefty lingcod on the dock these past few days with some keen jigging-anglers working around the pinnacles, pulling up tasty fish in the mid to high twenties. Halibut action saw an uptick this past trip as well with 5 fish measuring out to more than 100 pounds.

The BIG story however is the proverbial “barn door” halibut pulled up by California angler David Machinski, fishing with veteran guide Ryan “R”Kelly.  This one taped out to 81 inches in length for a calculated weight of 291 pounds!  That’s a lot of work but the view when she comes to the top is amazing!  Fortunately David managed to find a 32-pound keeper later on the next day!  Well done boys!

QCL salmon fishingThe 17thAnnual Kingfisher Derby wrapped up on Sunday with $100,000 in prize money up for grabs.  With all the Tyees we’ve seen this month we knew it would shape up to be a great derby and they didn’t disappoint.  In the end the $50K first prize for largest Chinook salmon released went to Randy Rognlin (again!) for his 35.42 scoring Tyee. Following closely to claim 2ndprize was Jordan Smith with a 32.92 and 3rdwent to Dmitri Brunislav for a 32.72.  So so close!  Congratulations guys and a big Thank You to everyone who came up to participate!  This derby is always a highlight of our season.


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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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