QCL offers access to some of the most sought-after salmon fishing grounds in the world. It’s the northern Haida Gwaii waters that home a rich salmon population due to a combination of the remote wilderness and geography.
After hatching, salmon spend time growing in and around the rivers before venturing out into the open ocean. Once in the ocean, their search for prey such as herring and squid leads them north. After years of growing, they begin their journey south to return to the river they hatched in, for spawning.
Geographically, our fishing grounds are the prime spot for fish making their journey south. Situated along the north coast of Graham Island, salmon on their way to spawn, must pass through these waters. For others trying to gain their last few pounds of weight before beginning their trek, our healthy kelp beds and unique shorelines provide shelter for many of these fish to rest.
As the fishing grounds are the first stop for majority of southbound salmon, this creates multiple advantages for our guests. The first being that we are among the first to encounter these fish, giving us first pick. Fish are fresh and energetic when they arrive, providing some of the best battles an angler can experience with a wild salmon. As they have not traveled far, they are still focused on feeding, creating the perfect fishing scenario! At this point in their migration, salmon have not become accustomed to boats or fishing gear which allows us to fish where they like to hide. Without the threat of spooking them, we can approach shallow depths around kelp beds and rock structures close to shore.
Of all the advantages, the best may be that we have access to all salmon genetics. All salmon of one species do not share the same genetics. Many of the Chinook salmon that spawn in northern rivers in BC are genetically bigger than many of the Chinooks that spawn in the southern rivers. Our location has us perfectly positioned to have the best shot at some of the largest Chinook Salmon swimming in the Pacific.
In a world that is adjusting to the realities that the past few years have brought upon us, we as a community have faced challenges and made realizations. Through uncertainty and isolation, many people have developed a desire for connection and adventure. As the world has reopened, these desires bring forth the perfect opportunity to try new things, visit new places and create memories. Often we think about crossing oceans, flying to tropical places, but the travelling limitations the pandemic created had Canadians exploring their own backyard. While the tropical vacation is tempting, there are a few experiences worth having right here, in the Pacific Northwest.
We often talk about the QCL Experience, something you won’t experience anywhere else. For those who have visited us, it’s a magical feeling when thinking about the memories created while at the Lodge. And while it’s a feeling that can only be experienced firsthand, we have put together a few reasons we believe the QCL Experience to be unmatched.
1. The Legendary Fishing
Along with our remote location in what is known as, the Galapagos of Canada, our fishing grounds are located in the gateway to the Northern Pacific. The Virago Sound shoreline is rugged, with rocky outcrops forming little coves and providing the perfect
place for hungry salmon. The relatively shallow waters and kelp beds offer plenty of baitfish and plankton which continuously draw in salmon on their migration homeward. Offering some of the best salmon fishing in the world, our guests see multiple species and genetics. The fishing opportunities don’t end with salmon, as our guests have the chance to bottom fish for Lingcod or Pacific Halibut, which has been known to grow up to 400lbs.
Do it yourself or opt to fish with a professional guide. QCL offers something for every level of angler. Whether you’re starting your fishing journey or continuing it, join us at QCL to hear your reels scream and the ever continuous “Fish On!”
2. The Beauty of Haida Gwaii
We’re perched on the far western edge of Canada, surrounded by a lush oasis of old growth forests, rich waters and abundant with wildlife. This paradise is Haida Gwaii and we know the beauty of these islands is unparalleled. Eagles soar overhead, diving down to enjoy their catch on the rocky beach. Blacktail deer graze on the lawn at all hours, and swallows fly past you to show off their beauty. Starfish and Dungeness crab are scattered through the water on your walk down to the dock. While out on the
water, coffee in hand, a humpback waves hello. Venture into the mossy forest to breathe in the fresh air or wake up early to soak in a majestic sunrise. The beauty of Haida Gwaii is apparent at anytime of day or night, and never ceases to amaze.
3. Top-of-the-line Equipment and Fleet
We believe in continuous development, learning from our guests and our staff. Over the years, QCL has meticulously chosen the best equipment and boats to ensure our guests have the fishing adventure of their dreams. While keeping safety top of mind, our guests have the opportunity to choose from 6 different style vessels.
Each style of boat comes with different features to meet each guest’s need, including, sheltered cabins, private washrooms, the ability to walk around a center console, etc. Each vessel is diligently maintained and outfitted with the new motors each season. Guests visiting in 2023 will also see the new boats that are joining our fleet this year.
4. MV Driftwood
Serving as the hospitality center on the water, the MV Driftwood is unique to QCL.
The perfect accommodation for adventure seekers and die-hard anglers, and a place all QCL guests can gather for lunch. The Driftwood, or DW, accommodates 12 guests with a crew dedicated to providing attentive, genuine hospitality. Take in the untouched wilderness the coast offers. Catch the sunrise over Cape Edenshaw, or a sunset from the aft deck.
Typically anchored in the quiet waters behind Bird Rock 1 or 2, the wooden vessel is the liveliest place on the water. Offering full lunch service and beverages to all guests – Take a break, enjoy a drink and swap fishing tales with new friends.
5. Food + Beverage Program
QCL is a place where modern-day travelers can revel in the taste of wilderness perfectly blended with the comfort of attentive hospitality, and this shines true through our F+B program. Our approach is simple, we aim to create unforgettable dishes with the freshest ingredients in the best of settings. Through an emphasis on the local seafood, a nod to a classic steakhouse and an array of dining experiences, there is something for every guest.
Whether you’re interested in a sit down breakfast, or to grab-n-go, we’ve got your morning covered. Grab a Starbucks specialty beverage, pack some snacks for the day and catch the sunrise on your
commute to the fishing grounds. When you return to the dock, grab your favourite cocktail at the Bell Ringer, and celebrate the day with friends.
Finally, finish off your evening with one of our dining experiences – whether it be our BBQ buffet, a la carte service or an exclusive experience, there is something to exceed your expectations. Offering a unique take on remote dining, The Buoy Teppanyaki House or Bell Ringer Seafood Boil dinners will leave you in awe. With chefs selected for their expertise, each meal is prepared for you by the best. Dining experiences that extend beyond the dining room, to the ocean and back.
6. The Bell Ringer
While our Food + Beverage program is a highlight all to itself, the Bell Ringer is deserves its own spot light. An experience imitated but never replicated. One of the favourite venues across property, the Bell Ringer, is our very own social house. Before heading out on the water, grab a spiked coffee and share in the anticipation for the day. After returning, head to the Bell Ringer for your cocktail of choice, hot appies and to cheers when the Tyee bell rings. A place for meeting, eating and drinking, the Bell Ringer is the place to be. There is nothing quite like it.
7. First Class Service
We’ve shared with you some of our favourite reasons to visit QCL, premier fishing, remote dining, incredible wildlife, and experiences like no other. However, we need to discuss perhaps the most integral part of your visit to QCL, the team. From the moment you book, to stepping off the helicopter, before you leave the dock to the time you go to sleep, the QCL crew is there for you.
Time and time again when asked, our guests say the best part of their QCL experience is the service. We know it takes a certain type of person to live remote for our 100 day season, and to do it with a smile is what truly sets our staff apart. It is our passion to curate the first class fishing experience of your dreams, and helping see that through is your servers, chefs, housekeepers, guides, dock hands, fish processors and operations crew. Whatever adventurous luxury means to you, that is our goal.
Everything we’ve mentioned, and so much more, is a part of the QCL Experience. While no one can truly know the magic of our first-class fishing experience, until they feel it for themselves, we hope these words paint a picture of what is waiting for you at the Lodge.
Everyone’s reasons for taking a vacation or quick getaway vary. However, we recognize that over the last several years there are certainly common themes we can all relate to. From isolating due to the pandemic, long work hours, refreshed desire to try new things or simply because living in a connected world leaves no time to truly disconnect and reunite with our passions.
There are so many options for one to consider when planning a getaway. Everyone’s reason why and what they define as a dream trip is unique but maybe QCL will tick a few of those required boxes of interest.
Each year, thousands of guests venture to the remote Lodge that is QCL, in one of the most beautiful locations in the world – Haida Gwaii. The Lodge and associated fishing grounds have attracted anglers for over 32 years.
While QCL previously attracted fisherman and women from across the globe for a world-class fishing experience, QCL is now being recognized for so much more. Located in the lush oasis of Haida Gwaii, this archipelago is sometimes referred to as the Galapagos of the North – A destination for nature lovers to take in the natural beauty of the rugged coastline and exceptional wildlife. Our guests have the opportunity to experience this all with friends and family, creating endless memories and enhancing a sense of connection.
Imagine watching the sunrise over Naden Harbour while hearing the screech of bald eagles as they feast on their freshly caught fish. Heading out to the fishing grounds with a coffee in hand and seeing a humpback whale breach in the distance. Picture your crew yelling “Fish On!” before you set the hook and play the salmon of your dreams. Think of returning from your day on the water and being met with a hot towel before joining the crowd celebrating their day in the Bell Ringer. All before relaxing in the hot tub as you watch the local deer graze and ending your day around the dinner table indulging in an exceptional menu.
The QCL Experience, wilderness, and wildlife of Haida Gwaii provides memories one will treasure forever.
From the moment you step off the helicopter upon arrival, to waving goodbye, you will feel that whatever decision brought you to QCL was the right one. Peace, exhilaration, or connection – no matter the feeling you were searching for, we hope to provide it for you. Maybe QCL can be your Perfect Adventure.
The beginning of a new calendar year always feels like something new is about to happen. Whether that’s true or not, it’s always a little bit exciting.
Here at QCL it creates a buzz; but it’s not like at the start of a race… it’s more like the final leg! We’ve been working on our 2023 season since September; a lot of plans have been made, and now it’s time to execute. Opening Day is officially in sight!
We have some practice at this… it will be our 33rd season! And over those years, how things have changed! In the early days of fishing lodges on BC’s north coast, it really was all about the fish. Transportation was a challenge, comforts were few, food was often basic, but the fishing was good! Potential guests would tell us: “As long as I have a good boat and lots of bait, I would sleep in a tent!” The success of their trip was mostly defined by the number of pounds in their box. But as word spread and more folks wanted to check it out, we soon discovered that they would be much happier in a well-appointed log cabin with a warm fireplace! So, that’s where we started.
Over time, we’ve made many changes and have come a long way. New and varied accommodations have created a range of venues offering something for everyone; from the extraordinary opportunity to stay right on the fishing grounds aboard the MV Driftwood, to enjoying the convenience of a comfortable room in the Main Lodge to private, tailor-made luxury in the Totem House. We’re constantly upgrading our boat fleet to provide the best on-the-water experience for our guests and offering more and improved options in fish processing. On the hospitality side, we now offer dining in at least seven different venues and work with several BC suppliers to deliver top quality groceries to our QCL kitchens every week.
Huge strides in our transportation program let us deliver a full complement of guests from Vancouver to the Lodge in less than 4 hours and have them out fishing within 30 minutes of arrival (if they like)!
While the scale and scope of QCL has certainly grown and evolved over the past 30+ years, we’ve worked very hard to retain the most important ingredient in our recipe. Back when we had only 48 guests and half that many staff, we always regarded visitors to the Lodge as our guests. They were never customers or clients. They were our guests in our house and every one of our staff understood that, treating them accordingly. If there is one rule that dictates our relationship with our clientele, that is it. These days we certainly have more guests and ample more staff but that connection between them is paramount. It has grown and evolved to create something that we call the QCL Experience, a very exceptional combination of friendship, adventure, wilderness, comfort, and fun in a truly unique and magical part of the world. Many people first come here for the fishing, but it’s the QCL Experience that brings them back.
And the fishing is still a big deal! Being in the gateway to the north Pacific always has the unique benefits of favourable ocean currents, abundant food supply, major migration routes for salmon and year-round habitat for groundfish. QCL anglers continue to enjoy excellent angling opportunities and most always go home with as much fish as they want.
However, we recognize that the earth is in a state of constant change that affects everything we do. The health of the oceans and of the lands adjacent are part of a delicate balancing act that we all have a part in. In recent years we’ve seen increased awareness and interest among our guests, who have come to love these places immensely and are concerned about them. We have many more conversations about the food chain, ecosystems, the life cycles of salmon, and the abundance of whales and herring. It’s great to see this engagement in what’s so important to us all. We encourage our guests and staff to learn more, to get involved and support organizations working to preserve habitat and rehabilitate species. The local Haida people are also engaged in this area, and we will be working with them more in the future to learn, to educate and practice good stewardship of the local ecosystems and environment. Raising awareness among people who have been part of the QCL Experience is the best first step in preserving it. Remember, we’re all in this together!
We look forward to seeing you back in Haida Gwaii this summer. The countdown to opening day is on!
Happy Holidays + New Year to all of you, our incredible Guests!
This is always the perfect time to reflect upon all that has happened in the past year. We are so thankful to have operated our 2022 season normally – the first in two years! We enjoyed every moment and memory created with you all – this year we welcomed a record number of guests to the Lodge; we have never been busier!
We watched you make your way down to the dock at the crack of dawn: a result of your commitment. We watched you smile and experience the pride that comes along with watching your days catch at the weigh scale: a result of your persistence. And we watched you laugh and share stories of your time on the water at dinner: a culmination of everything we love about the QCL experience.
On behalf of the QCL family, thank you for choosing us as your fishing destination. We wish you quality time and precious moments with your loved ones during this special time of year. And more importantly, we are already counting down the days to next season and looking forward to amazing you this summer!
2022 was a monumental year for us, our staff and our guests. Cheers to what will surely be an even better and more exciting one in 2023!
The holiday season is here, and the winter weather has certainly arrived with it. Now’s the time to surround yourself with the people that matter the most, while filling up on delicious food and drink!
Take some of the guess work out of your holiday preparations and try two recipes our F+B team has put together – The famous Bell Ringer Fish + Chips and a festive Bourbon Apple Cider.
These recipes remind us of those lively summer evenings spent at the Bell Ringer, after an epic day on the water. The Tyee bell is ringing, Fish + Chips are on the table and a drink is in hand.
Though we’re a handful of months out from opening day yet, hopefully these recipes spark some joy and fill that QCL void in the meantime!
BELL RINGER FISH + CHIPS
Part A | Batter mix
250g rice flour
5g Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
8g baking powder
341ml lager or pilsner
Part B | Dredging mix
75g rice flour
5g Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
2g Old Bay seasoning (optional)
Part C | Fish
1kg firm whitefish (pacific cod, lingcod, halibut), cut into 55g strips, about 2cm x 6cm
Part D | Hand-cut double fried chips
400g kennebec potatoes
5g Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
Part E | Fryer set up
3 litres Canola oil
1ea Candy thermometer
Part F | Tartar Sauce
15g cornichons, finely minced
15g onion, finely minced
5g capers, finely minced
2g Worcestershire sauce
1. In a deep stainless steel pot, gently heat oil over medium low heat; clasp the candy thermometer to the edge of the pot to gauge the temperature 2. Wash the potatoes, then cut into French fries, not larger than 1cm x 1cm; any length is fine, and will depend on your potatoes 3. Once the oil is at 250F blanch the french fries for 5 minutes, then remove onto a paper towel lined bake sheet and cool. You’ll cook them one more time to make them crispy just before eating. Increase the oil temperature to 350F, ensuring to do so over medium heat 4. Combine dry ingredients in Part A; mix thoroughly, then add the can of beer. Very gently whisk together ensuring not to overmix; let stand for 15 minutes while you finish other tasks 5. Combine part B and reserve in a shallow dish; this will be your dredging mix 6. Butcher fish into strips about three times as long as they are wide; about 55g 7. Dredge the fish until it is uniformly dusted by the dredging mix, then dip into the wet batter 8. Carefully lower the fish pieces into the hot oil, and fry for 4-5 minutes; generally you will know they are done when they float, and are producing fewer bubbles; desired colour is a deep golden brown. Remove fish from the hot oil onto a paper towel lined tray and lightly salt 9. Return the cooled french fries to the 350F oil for 3-4 minutes, until they too are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil when done and toss in kosher salt 10. Serve the hot fish and chips with lemon wedges, malt vinegar, and tartar sauce
FESTIVE BOURBON APPLE CIDER
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce apple cider
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
Garnish: apple slices (optional), sprig of thyme
Combine the bourbon, cider, sweet vermouth and lemon juice in mixing glass of ice
Stir and strain it into cocktail glass
Add a dash of orange bitters; garnish with apple slices (if desired, spritz them with a little lemon juice to prevent browning!) and a sprig of thyme
The weather has officially shifted and the holiday season is nearly upon us! Like most, the QCL team is looking forward to all the upcoming festivities. While an amazing time for reflection and getting together with loved ones, we also know it can be overwhelming – Ensuring you have the right ingredients for family gathering meals and picking out the perfect gifts (especially for the ones who say they don’t need anything) can be time consuming endeavors. We’ve put together the QCL Holiday Gift Guide in hopes that we can help make finding the perfect gift for the angler in your life a smooth (and maybe an easier) process!
Connect with Kristine Renaud to order | email@example.com 688 8959
FOR THE BEST DRESSED
If you’re familiar with QCL, you’d know that every year we feature a new guest hat design. This tradition is 30+ years strong and typically reserved as an on-season exclusive.
Our 2022 hat was a fan favourite so we’ve made an exemption! Snag one before they’re gone!
FOR THE AVID ANGLER
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you or someone you know love to fish and any angler would appreciate an Islander reel. Available in 5 colours, the Islander MR3 mooching reel is sure to impress. Warning, fishing with an Islander might turn a hobby into a passion and passion into an obsession.
FOR THE ADVENTURE SEEKER
Go above and beyond, surprise your loved one with the fishing adventure of a lifetime. Connect with our team of Sales Executives to inquire about the limited opportunities remaining for 2023 or plan well in advance and explore the many options in 2024!
FOR THE FOODIE
Whether you’re buying for a seafood lover, aspiring chef or a master entertainer, Taste of B-Sea has something for all. Perfect for those who are looking to supplement their 2022 catch or for a friend that hasn’t yet had the chance to visit QCL, you can’t go wrong with the gift of premium seafood. QCL’s Taste of B-Sea program delivers Ocean Wise products from some of the most sustainable fisheries on the West Coast of British Columbia, straight to your door. https://www.queencharlottelodge.com/luxury-fishing-lodge/amenities/taste-of-b-sea/
Our Pre-Holiday Sale includes Lingcod ($29), Halibut ($40), Spot Prawns ($49) and Dungeness Crab Meat ($65). Stock up on these great options and check out what else Taste of B-Sea offers!
FOR THE TECH LOVER
As the world becomes more connected than ever, it’s important to keep that connection safe. Rep your favourite fishing adventure and protect your tech with our water and stain resistant laptop case – It’s a win, win!
FOR THOSE VISITING QCL
For those who already have a trip booked to QCL, we’ve added in a few of our favourite items to have at the Lodge.
We always want our guests to remain as comfortable as possible on the water. Time flies when you’re having fun and catching fish, but not if you’re a little cold or wet. A warm pair of gloves, warm toque or wool socks would make for a perfect stocking stuffer!
For the beginner or veteran, every angler needs a pair of sunglasses. Protection on the water is a necessity – Plus, everyone can do with a stylish pair of polarized glasses to reduce the glare and create a clearer view of the water.
While it’s the middle of summer during our season’s, we never really know what the weather will be in the Pacific Northwest. Sneaking base layers under the tree is a sure fire way to ensure your loved one stays warm in between all the rod action or until reeling in the fish of their dreams!
Haida Gwaii is full of abundant wildlife both on and off the water. A pair of waterproof binoculars would not be a bad item to pack!
And just like that, the 2022 season has come and gone, helicopters have departed with our final guests and the sound of Canada geese is ever present. Most of our staff have returned to the “real world” and gone are the days where the commute to work is a quick 5-minute walk from one side of property to the other. Our rig-down crew is readying the property for the off-season and pretty soon our lively property will become a sleepy hideaway. Until next summer that is.
This season marked a monumental one for us. After 2 years riddled with challenges due to Covid and surrounding restrictions, it was our first “normal” summer since 2019. It was also our 32nd season of operations and it certainly did not disappoint.
Though many of us are fortunate enough to be here every year, there is always a bit of mystery that surrounds how it will all play out. We welcomed guests from across the globe to the Lodge this season, the weather played mostly in our favour and the fishing, while an obvious wildcard, was consistently active. It felt pretty incredible doing what we love and to experience a “normal” summer once again.
We want to thank each and every one of you who visited QCL this season and to those who helped make it one for the books. To the hardworking and passionate QCL crew, none of this would be possible without you.
We hope that you left with many precious memories of your time spent with friends and family (both new and old), full bellies and fish to share throughout the next many months. We’re so lucky to experience the magic of Haida Gwaii and are so appreciative of you all for allowing us to open our doors and to do what we love.
Continuously improving the guest experience is something management and ownership is committed to – We look forward to a busy off-season working to better all that we can. The countdown to 2023 has officially begun….
Well, here we are into the final week of the ‘22 season and we’re happy to say that all the wheels are still on the bus! It’s been our biggest and busiest season ever with all the attendant challenges (and, of course, a few surprises too!). We’re still enjoying an outstanding summer and it’s looking to be pretty fine right through the weekend, save for a little southeasterly blow through Friday night.
The salmon catch is getting a little more random with anglers finding five salmon species all over the fishing grounds… top water Coho chasing everything near the surface (but there’s good ones down 30-50 as well) and aggressive Pinks hitting whatever they can get their teeth into in the top 20 feet. We’ve got Chinooks of all sizes – migratory spawners and local feeders – showing up inshore, and offshore while we’re fishing halibut! And just to keep everyone on their toes, we’re finding a few Chum and even a couple of Sockeye on every trip. Carl P released a beautiful 32-pound Tyee with his guide Tommy G last trip while we had several nice fish in the low 30’s come to the Bell Ringer over the past week. With the help of his guide Ryan K, Mike F boated an impressive big buck that tipped the scale at 44-pounds on the weekend. Halibut fishing continues to be solid with most anglers happy to pick up a third teen-sized hali for the freezer.
The humpback whales that have been keeping us company all summer are still feeding constantly in the quiet bays from Wiah Point around to Inskip Pt, and from Hannah Bay all the way around past Green Point. We’ve even had one or two feeding regularly right inside Naden Harbour since June! While their constant presence is something we’re so accustomed to, we never get tired of the pure awesomeness of it!
As the season progresses at full speed towards the metaphorical finish line known as Labour Day, I find myself getting more nervous, almost disappointed, rather than excited. A lot of people would probably assume I am ready to go home, ready for a change of scenery, ready to do anything other than go fishing. But a lot of people don’t know what it’s like to be a fishing guide at QCL.
Being a fishing guide, to me, means a lot more now than it did 4 years ago when I started. It’s not just about the fishing. It’s about the atmosphere, the surroundings, the laughter and entertainment amongst the crashing waves. The people you meet over the course of the summer and the connections that are created are irreplaceable, even if they are short lived. The most cherished memories that I take away from this experience always seem to revolve around the people first.
With the beautiful weather, bountiful coho catches and Tyees still coming in every trip, I can find excitement knowing that there are still three trips left in the season. This past week, the DFO increased the halibut retention limit to three fish, if they are all under 90 centimetres in length or one fish between 90 and 133 centimetres in length. The opportunity to take an additional halibut home is a significant bonus for an angler. It’s another great example of why fishing later in the season is never a bad idea up here at QCL.
The abundance of humpback whales breaching, sunfish sightings and big Chinooks lurking by the kelp beds are just a few of my favourite takeaways from the 2022 season. As unsettling as it may be to see my QCL summer come to an end, I am thankful for this experience and know that it will live with me for years to come. I also need to keep reminding myself…
The memories can’t start until the experience ends.