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June 20, 2018 Duane Foerter0

All this blue sky is a little overwhelming to most of us up here!  The temperature hit 21 degrees yesterday and we can hardly stand it!  (But I’m sure we’ll adapt!)  As we hoped and expected, the northwesterlies have been pushing bait into the sound and our salmon fishing is picking up noticeably every day.  Although it’s been a slow start throughout the north coast of Haida Gwaii, we’re seeing an abundance of herring and needlefish and the Chinooks are coming along.  Finding them is a test for many anglers though.

Halibut & Lingcod a PlentyToday Parker Point lit up nicely during the early flood tide with some nice mid-twenties Chinooks picked up.  But at the same time, guides are finding feeders offshore in 150-250 feet of water, fishing anchovies down 50-80 feet.  Sporadic salmon action but usually productive for the persistent!  A beautiful 28-pounder was released yesterday by Christopher D while fishing with guide Tristan O’Brian.  That’s a nice fish boys, well done!

We’re starting to see all the other salmon species showing up now with some mid-teen-sized Chum hitting the dock and reports of Pinks and a couple of Sockeye.  Every once in a while you get a surprise and that happened to day for guide Luke Wagner when his guest Nicole landed a stunning Coho that tipped the scale at 12-pounds!  A nice big one for so early in the season!

QCL Chinook Salmon fishingOur 16th Annual Kingfisher Derby wrapped up on Sunday with the usual suspense.  With an additional 7 anglers signing on at the last minute the purse grew nicely and the grand prize for largest Chinook released bumped up to $55,000!  Phil Mudge, fishing with guide Kevin Clough at Bird 2, was leading after Day 2 with a nice Tyee that scored 31.36.  But we knew there were more Tyees hanging around out there.  Sunday morning broke and around 0800 Randy Rognlin, fishing with guide Matt Burr at Cape Naden, registered a beauty that scored 32.91, taking the lead.  Later in the morning a non-derby angler held up a nice big Tyee at Parker Point that was even bigger, just a reminder that no one was quitting before the final bell at 1900 on Sunday night.

Salmon fishing at QCLIn the end however, Randy’s Tyee held to take the top prize and the Bell Ringer was rocking!  Derby Master Mike Reading presented cheques to all the winners with Phil Mudge getting $30000 with his 31.36, Chris Waters got $15000 for a 27.42 and 4th prize of $7000 went to Mike Lane for a Chinook scoring 26.8.  Interestingly the largest killed fish also scored 26.8 to take the $10000 prize for that category.  Another $7000 was awarded in day prizes.  A big thank you to all participants for coming up and we’re happy to hear that most of them are planning to return next year to try again!  It’s always a fun and exciting weekend!


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June 15, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Yay!  A shift in the winds to northwesterly this week is bringing some welcome sunshine and the promise of great fishing for the next couple weeks.  We’ve been able to get offshore regularly to check out our favourite halibut holes and are happy to report that all is well in that department!  But while we’re out there we’re seeing significant amounts of bait –big herring and mature sandlance –that persistent NW winds tend to drive south into Virago Sound and our inshore fishing grounds.  The Chinook fishing has not yet ramped up to “normal”but it is improving steadily.  Guests and guides are putting some time in at all the favourite haunts now and we’re seeing some nice fish come to the boat.  Another Tyee yesterday, a 31-pounder for veteran QCL guest Matt A was a nice addition to the chorus of Tyee bell ringers on the dock. Matt was joined by his son Trevor who was thrilled to haul up a chunky halibut that taped out to 60 pounds before being released.

A bit of novel news from this week is the success of two boats who chose to avoid some gnarly weather on Tuesday Chinook salmon fishing at QCLand fish inside the harbour.  One boat, guided by Sam Johnstone, was jigging for halibut and connected with a good fish alongside the deep channel leading north out to sea.  After a 20 minute tussle they discovered a big hali alongside the boat that they taped out to 100 pounds!  Congratulations to Mike N on a big catch in a little spot! Meanwhile, guide Kylie Tokairin was trolling along the same drop with guests–her own Dad and his friend, when they also hooked up with a big halibut, but on a salmon rod!  They got pulled around for over an hour but finally managed to coral the giant at the boat, taping it out to 62 inches length, scoring 121 pounds!  Way to go Brad!

QCL Grady WhiteThe 16thAnnual Kingfisher Derby kicked off today with $120,000 in the pot!  This annual Catch & Release derby attracts a strong following who compete every year for the largest released Chinook salmon.  With new bait and new fish moving into the sound it’s bound to get very interesting!  Stay tuned!


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June 11, 2018 Duane Foerter0

As we roll into the middle days of June we’re seeing more familiar faces and enjoying some of the many special events that have developed here over the years.  Fishing has always been all about tradition and we see a lot of them celebrated up here!  Friends from Calgary, here this weekend, always toast the conclusion of another successful fishing trip with a round of fine grappa on the final evening, pouring carefully from a spectacular 3-litre bottle that sits in a place of pride in the lodge.  They left this morning with some great memories, assorted boxes of fish and renewed friendships.  It’s an honour to play some small part in it.

Over the weekend the fishing showed signs of “progress”with the first signs of other salmon species arriving.  We saw a few big bright silver chum come to the dock; pound for pound possibly the toughest salmon out there.  There were also some small coho and pinks in the mix, that we haven’t seen to date.  Chinook fishing often requires patience and attention to detail and we’re certainly seeing that these days.  Active periods are often closely attached to the tides and successful anglers are those who manage to be on their favourite point just when the tide is right.

Magnificent Tyee Chinook salmon at QCLThat was the case for Josh K on Sunday morning as he was fishing with Red Baron and a couple of buddies just south of Klashwun Point.  They hooked up with the fish we all dream about at that spot and Josh handled it masterfully.  The stunning chrome bright Tyee tipped the scale at just over 37 pounds –what a beauty!  Nice fish guys!  While we haven’t seen a lot of larger salmon yet, the bulk of Chinook in the area are those feisty feeder springs in the 10-20 pound class.  We’re getting them more widely throughout the grounds now with Parker Point, Bird 2 and Eagle Rock providing some excitement around the slack tides.

We know that halibut are commonly found closer to shore in these early days of the season and savvy anglers are picking them up while trolling along the kelp for salmon.  The MV Driftwood has been anchored at the Mazzaredo Islands much of the time as we have boats spread out evenly to the east and the west.  They often drop a line off the side and it’s quite common for a guest aboard to catch their limit of halibut right there in less than 50 feet of water.

Sometimes they get more than they bargained for.  There was excitement galore after supper on Saturday night when the tip of the rod outside the Chef’s galley door jerked down hard. A mad scramble ensued as the crew were busy pressure washing the tenders and guest Jim S was charged to deal with the fish.  Problem was, once Jim grabbed the rod, the fish made a run toward the stern of the Driftwood, right under the swim grid and the crew working around it!  The only way to follow the fish was to pass the rod under ropes and around boats until he could get to the aft deck, where he and first mate Ryan Winger jumped into a tender and proceeded with the battle!  As the water depth was only 40 feet this fish was unable to sound and made long powerful runs out away from the boat instead.  When Jim finally managed to get it close, it was obviously way too big to keep.  Ryan and Chef Ricky managed to get a length measurement –a whopping 74 inches –before they released the giant, which scored out to 215 pounds!  What an amazing catch in such an exceptional circumstance! Way to go Jim and the DW crew! That’s a fish story for the record books, even by Driftwood standards!


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June 4, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Ahhh…it’s so great to get back on the water again!  That was definitely the consensus this weekend as we kicked off our first trip of the season.  The weather was very typical Haida Gwaii –a constant cycling of sunshine, showers and layers of clouds moving through all day and night!  Normal is good.

QCL Chinook fishingThe early season fishing has been similar to last year with teen-sized feeder Springs dominating the catch.  The action wasn’t hot, but most anglers bumped into a few over the course of the trip.  The best concentration of Chinook action has been on the eastern side of our fishing grounds with most boats working the inshore waters from Inskip Point around past Cape Edenshaw to Slab Rock.  Anchovy / flasher combinations or small spoons fished down 30 to 35 feet have  been most productive.  We’ve seen a number of nice Springs in the low to mid-20’s but we’re awaiting the first Tyee of the season.   Sandy O. came close with this beautiful 25 pounder!  Any day now!

QCL Chinook salmonModerate southerly winds on Saturday and Sunday saw most boats exploring the offshore waters to pick up some tasty halibut and lingcod.  We were finding lots of nice chickens for the fish box and, as usual, some anglers got a little more than they bargained for!  Our halibut fishery has emerged in recent years as some of the most exciting fishing out there and, true to that tradition, we recorded 4 fish over 100 pounds on our opening weekend.  The size champ of the season so far is Lorri S. (who not only bagged a perfect 22-pound Chinook) but also hauled up a classic “barn door”halibut that taped out to 75 inches –that’s 220 pounds!  Fabulous fishing Lorri!  Keeping “girl power”in the forefront, Aubrey C. brought a 108-pounder to the boat.  A 59-inch halibut for Jesse C. scored out to 105 pounds and John L’s big slab on Sunday was in the same league, coming in right around the 100 pound mark.  Jesse’s wife Marla was also in the running on Sunday when she landed a 57-inch halibut for a score of 93 pounds. The nice thing is that all of these very memorable fish (all females) went right back down to carry on with the business of making more halibut!  Fish stories to last a lifetime!

Making the most of that great fishery, today we kick off our second annual Jig-a-Pig Derby –dedicated to those who have a thing for jigging!  No doubt the Tyee Bell will be ringing a lot this week with tales of mighty battles going on out on the grounds!  We’ll keep you posted.


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May 30, 2018 Duane Foerter0
From the Desk of Paul T. Clough,
We at QCL are in support of conservation measures designed to enhance and promote our fisheries. We know that our guests have the same respect for the resource; we hear it all the time.
Effective June 1st 2018, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have updated Chinook Retention limits to 1 (one) Chinook per day and Possession 2 (two) Chinook for your trip. Overall Salmon limits have not changed. You can still catch 4 Salmon per day (of which 1 (one) can be a Chinook) and retain in your possession 8 Salmon for your trip (of which 2 (two) can be Chinooks).
Your time on the water is not reduced nor is your ability to fish for the amazing Chinook Salmon. Access to Halibut and Ling Cod is also available to round out your catch.
We hope that you will join us in supporting these enhancement measures announced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, to assist our Chinook stocks to rebound in numbers.
As always, we look forward to spending some time with you on your upcoming trip!

 



April 9, 2018 Duane Foerter0

With less than eight weeks to go before Opening Day there’s lots of excitement around here!  Are you ready?

Every day on the water is an adventure at Queen Charlotte Lodge! It might the fishing, or the magnificent environment, the good friends on board or the crazy stories you shared. But it’s something we all treasure and we love to do it at QCL!


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August 3, 2017 Duane Foerter1

Halibut fishing has become more popular than ever at QCL and with good reason.  “Back in the day” most of our guests picked up a couple of random halibut while mooching for salmon and they were happy with that; not going offshore to jig for halibut meant more time for catching salmon!  With the introduction of GPS mapping of the fishing grounds many anglers have found their own favourite fishing holes and return to them year after year.  Releasing all of those big breeding females over 75-pounds has been a good thing too.  As a result, many QCL guests make fishing for halibut and lingcod a priority during their stay.

We know that there are some big fish out there; some really big fish.  It’s not unusual for us to see a number of halibut in excess of 100-pounds released every week.  And sometimes they are massive – over 6-feet in length.  Well last week, working with some largish tides, lodge guest Derek Benson and his father spent some time in a couple of boats with friends, fishing offshore in the hunt for a big halibut.  They tried out a few of our favourite waypoints but found their best luck over a hump 215 feet down.  There was a fair bit of excitement when they returned to the lodge and shared their many photos and videos of the results!

Derek tells the story pretty well!

“We pulled up to our GPS mark at “Hali-wood”, knowing we were in a good spot from the sizable halibut lost there the day before.  Dropping back down to the same spot, my Dad hooks up.  Thirty minutes later we are cheering over the 254 lb. halibut lying alongside of the boat.  I had laid my 7-foot rod down to her and it was 6” short of the tip.  After a quick release, I reset on the GPS mark and dropped the same jig back down.  The fight started as I was adjusting the Lowrance sounder with one hand and jigging the rod with my other.  After 15 minutes of not raising the halibut up an inch, I asked my Dad to get the boat in gear and start circling around her.  My plan was to get momentum on the halibut to help angle her up, rather than trying to lift her straight up, with the boat in neutral.  An hour later (and 30 corkscrews later!) we gasp in disbelief at the width and length of this fish.  Again I laid my 7-foot rod on top of the fish, and there was still nearly a foot of fish extending past the rod!  It then took another 30 minutes to unhook it and 3 more times to the surface.  I was using my Shimano Teramar rod and Shimano Talica 16 2-speed, a tuna setup but multi-purpose.  Measuring out to 94 ½ inches it converted to 474 lb. on the IPHC chart.  This was definitely the fish of a lifetime, and I’m happy to say, it was safely released.”

Congratulations to Derek and his crew on a great angling achievement!  Two years ago we recorded a fish for Bruce Severson and George Best that measured out to 90 inches in length for a score of 405 pounds and we doubted that we would ever see another fish in that league.  This one certainly is and we’ll be happy to add Derek’s 474-pounder to the QCL record book!  We’ve seen a lot of great fish up here and we’re always in awe of the quality of our fishery!  Every time a new record is set, we’re happy to celebrate it!

QCL halibut 474QCL Halibut recordQCL Halibut 474QCL halibut record 474QCL Halibut Record


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June 17, 2017 Duane Foerter0

It’s another year in mid-June and it’s time again for Queen Charlotte Lodge’s annual Kingfisher Derby.

Anticipation and excitement among guests and guides was high for the shotgun start at Cape Naden. At 12 noon the horn went off and all participating boats raced to their favourite fishing spot between Cape Naden and Klashwun Point. Between my four guests from Quebec and myself we decided to fish Bird Rock One, a spot that doesn’t get hit hard and gets looked over by many. On the first pass we hit a shaker, a small feeder Chinook.  Over the first couple of hours the radio was fairly quiet, with only a few radio calls to the derby weigh boats. After a quick lunch break on the Driftwood the leading C&R fish was scored 28.9, a respectable leader for the early start of the 3-day trip.

With no boats at Bird Rock we went back and scraped the wall and worked the east bay. With an hour before the tide change Bird One was looking fishy and setting up really nice. After a few passes along the wall the outside rod went off, popped the clip and line started sizzling off of the reel. My guest Mathieu Savard was on the rod playing his first ever Chinook salmon and he was into a good one. Long screaming runs had the boys quiet as the concentration and focus was intense.  A lengthy battle ensued and after a 25-minute fight the big Chinook was in the bag.  After a brief discussion we entered the fish as a release, it scored 32.01, a solid fish to take the lead for Day One.  Shortly afterward a call to the weighmaster from another boat which scored 35.07 resulted in Mathieu’s fish getting bumped to second overall at the end of Friday.  Well done Mathieu, that was a fun ride to be a part of!

Best of luck to all derby participants over the rest of the trip…enjoy your time out there!  Keep your tip up, line tight and hang on for the ride.

Jeff ‘Smurf’


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June 16, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Heading into one of the more exciting weekends of the summer, today we kicked off our 15th Annual Kingfisher Derby and it’s the biggest ever!  Sixty-four anglers are vying for $128000 in prize money.  This is a catch & release derby where all Chinook salmon entered are officially scored, revived and released by derby weighmasters.  The 3-day event concludes on Sunday at 7:00 pm when the prizes will be awarded for the three largest salmon released, plus daily winners and a single $10000 prize for the largest killed fish.  Stay tuned for the results!

The past few days have been consistent with last week’s fishery – lots of feisty feeder springs in the 130-foot line offshore and the occasional larger fish showing up in the mix.  The big fish this week was a stunning 36-pounder for first timer Trista B – a particularly good omen in this instance as Trista answered her boyfriend Andrew’s proposal with a resounding YES!  It’s truly a celebration Tyee!  Congratulations!

QCL salmon fishingQCL salmon fishing

 

 

 

 

 

Our halibut fishery continues to be especially rewarding, whether you’re seeking some perfect “chickens and turkeys” for the table or you love the challenge of finding “Wally” the barn door out there.  We’ve got it all in that department… the waters of Virago Sound provide lots of perfect structure for halibut and other groundfish.  Several big keepers kept the Bell Ringin’ each evening.  Joining the venerable 100-Pounder Club this week were Kevin C who managed to haul up a 110 and a 120-pound halibut!  Brad H released a 148, Mike N battled a 122 pounder to the top and David C called up some real grit to raise a monster alongside the boat that taped out to 76 inches in length for a calculated weight of 234 pounds!  It’s often amazing to go jigging because you just never know what you might hook up with down there.  Well done David and Congratulations to you and your guide Jeevan for such an awesome achievement!

Naden Harbour in Haida GwaII


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August 19, 2016 Duane Foerter0

Rounding the dolphin I knew today was going to be a great day.  The sun was shining and the water was as calm as a lake, just the kind of day we dream about when we head out to go fishing.

60818242_wWe started the day fishing Bird 2. You could really cut the kelp hard in water conditions like today, and after a few passes by the west bay kelp bed we had our first Chinook on, and what a scrapper!  After a 5 minute fight it was in the net. A few more passes and a couple of pinks later we decided to go bottom fishing. It was slack tide so it was perfect time to jig up some lingcod and halibut. We went to the pinnacles off of Green Point where the bottom fishing has been spectacular, producing very good numbers of lingcod as well as some very large halibut. It wasn’t long before we had our first halibut on the line. Within an hour we had all 3 of our halibut and a lingcod in the boat… a perfect morning. Everyone was in great spirits going to the Driftwood at lunch. The day was filled with laughter, amazing weather, good fishing, good times with Reggie the eagle, sea lions, killer whales, and humpbacks.  I’m always looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings!

Randy “The Hitman” Zinck


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