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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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October 30, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Mark the Date!     NOW   Monday June 4 – Friday June 8, 2018

Last June we held our first ever fishing derby targeting only bottom fish – halibut and lingcod specifically – and it was a resounding success!  Where salmon has been “king” for decades, we’re certainly seeing our time divided among lots of different fisheries.  The early season in Haida Gwaii has proven to be an excellent time to go after large-size lingcod and halibut.  They have voracious appetites and feed quite aggressively.  QCL guests have really taken to exploring the offshore waters and have been jigging up a storm!  New and improved depth sounder and GPS technology have added a whole new dimension of experiences to a QCL fishing trip.

The 2017 Derby produced some impressive catches last June.  John F took the prize for largest Lingcod with a 37-pounder while the largest halibut to the dock for the derby weighed in at 55 pounds for Kyle Q.  Anglers in the derby probed around all sorts of structure on our fishing grounds to find a wealth of fantastic bottom fishing.  Released halibut were not part of this tournament so some most impressive catches were carefully turned back to swim again.  Alan S released a 100-pounder on Wednesday and on Thursday we recorded halibut releases by Keith B – 115 lb. and Jeff F – 118 lb..  A forty-five minute battle concluded early Thursday morning with the measurement of a 78-inch halibut caught by Dana A which translates to 255 pounds!  His guide Mark Kasumovich was able to get the proverbial “barn door” stretched out peacefully at the surface long enough to get some accurate numbers along with photos and some video.  All in all, it turned out to be a fantastic week.

The 2018 Jig-a-Pig Derby is set for Monday June 4th thru Friday June 8th.  Many of this year’s participants are booked to return and they’re bringing friends!  If you’d like to get in on this fun and exciting event be sure to contact us soon!


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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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June 12, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Up here in Haida Gwaii we’re fortunate to have such a long productive fishing season.  While the makeup of the fishery changes as the weeks go by, we generally have pretty consistent action in comparison to most other locations.  We refer to these waters as the gateway from the open North Pacific through which pass so many different runs of salmon on the return journey to their natal streams.  Potentially every day we see salmon on their way to different river systems and the differences in strains can be noticeable.  These days, in the early season, we commonly see lots of “feeder Springs” – powerful fighters and aggressive feeders, they’re generally in the 12-18 pound class.  But it’s rarely just one run coming through at a time.  This weekend we noticed an increase in the number of fish in the low twenties and we’re getting the odd Tyee (over 30) as well.  And to top it off, really huge salmon can pass by anytime.  In 26 years we’ve literally caught a 50+ pound salmon during every trip of the season.  Every day we head out on the water we’re eager to discover just who’s swimming our way!  With access to so many runs, we never know.  That’s just another part of what makes fishing so exciting!

While most anglers manage to get their fill of salmon it was the bottom fishing that garnered all the recognition this weekend.  Several nice halibut and lingcod showed up at the dock and the Bell Ringer was rockin’ every night.  Quite a few halibut in the 30-50 pound size were taken and notable releases were a 77 pounder for Andrew M, a 90 for Curtis L and a 121 pound prize for Remo T.  The big halibut this week scored 148 lb and Aubrey C was the successful angler, receiving her gold halibut pin and a place on the QCL Halibut Club board along with Remo.  Lingcod are a popular catch for QCL anglers as well and we saw some wonderful 20-pound-plus fish at the scale on the weekend with the largest being a 32 for Anita A.  Well done!  We enjoy hosting derbies for many of our groups and this weekend saw the top salmon prize for the Annual Legends Cup go to Ken K for his stunning 33-pound Tyee, caught while fishing with guide Isaiah Dahl.  Congratulations Ken!

Looking at the week ahead we’ve got a mixed bag of weather in the forecast, winds west to south to southeast to east and back to west by Friday.  Tides are moderate with swings of 7-12 feet.

QCL fishing for halibut and salmon


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June 30, 2016 Duane Foerter0

Energy was high on the dock this changeover, a new group of guests were arriving and the weekend brought in the first big fish of the season. There where multiple Tyees caught on the weekend, capped off by a 54 on Friday and a 61 on Sunday! As guides, this is exactly what we have been waiting for! As a whole we are all just a little bit more on edge, aware that any bite could be that fish of a lifetime.

Getting Started(Thanks! Roger Baker for the photo!)

 

 

60623164_wEvery day we are seeing more bait, more diving birds and more seagulls on large bait balls. Yesterday while fishing in Yatze bay there where huge bait balls for over three hundred yards in the tide line and you could see salmon slashing through them just under the surface of the water. Things are setting up real nice and it’s time to start grinding for those trophy class slabs.

 

Dan “Rainman”


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June 21, 2016 Duane Foerter0

Persistent westerly winds have been pushing tons of bait into the fishing grounds this week and with the bait comes all forms of sea life!  Humpback whales are a constant presence in the quiet coves between the Mazzaredo Islands and Green Point.  It’s amazing to watch them work their massive bodies around the rocky outcrops, doing headstands underwater, their broad tails waving at us as they corner schools of needlefish against the rocky walls below.  They go about their business patiently, moving back and forth along the shore for hours.  Savvy anglers recognize the feeding whale as a good sign that the salmon will also be there to get their share.  Many a good salmon catch has come right from the whale’s dining room!

Cape Naden continues to be the most productive spot on our grounds, partly because it’s seen the most boats but also because the bait is hanging in that area. Parker Point, Bird 2 and Yatze have all produced decent action at some time during the day.  While we haven’t had much problem with sea lions this summer, there were a couple of busy ones at Cape Naden and Bird 2 on Sunday, helping themselves to the odd Chinook.  With the approaching full moon the flood tides have been more productive than the ebbs and the slack periods are brief but rewarding for those who get their timing right!

We’ve seen some nice big Chinooks come to the scale in the past few days – 35, 35, 36 on Tuesday, 30, 31, 37, 38, 46 on Wednesday, and 32, 38, 38, 43 on Thursday.   It promised big things for the weekend Kingfisher Derby, our 14th annual.  But the action slowed considerably and derby participants worked very hard to find Tyee-class salmon for our popular Catch & Release event.  A handful of Tyees were recorded but no one was able to best Steve Rule’s catch on Saturday that taped out to 33.3 pounds, winning him the $40,000 top prize.  Miles D boated the largest salmon of the weekend with a beautiful 37 pounder on Sunday afternoon, but he wasn’t in the derby! (shades of 2015 when Russ B weighed in a 50-pounder to not win the derby for the same reason!)  Congratulations go out to Steve and his Denver team who did very very well in the overall scoring!


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