July 8, 2022 Duane Foerter4

What Does Guiding Mean to Me?

Now in my early 60’s, I can honestly say I have almost seen it all on the water.  Starting as a guide in Campbell River when I was 13 in the early 70’s until today guiding at QCL when I get the chance, I can see how much things have changed. And for the better I might add!!

As a guide you are a jack of all trades. First, but not most importantly, you know how to fish. The mechanics, the theories, and the techniques. When I was a young guide, that was all there was. Use your skill to catch as many, and as big a fish as possible. Make yourself look good and beware to the guest that lost the big one or could not learn how to set the hook!  Looking back now, it was all about the guide and not the guest.

Thankfully that is changing. A great guide asks more and talks less. He finds out what a guest wants out of their experience and then strives to match that expectation. A guide becomes a teacher and instructs as much or as little as the guest wants. A guide does not yell at or intimidate his guests. If he does, he leaves the rest of the day with the guest feeling uneasy, inadequate, paranoid or just sad or angry. None of these emotions are conducive to a fun environment on the boat. The magic is quickly lost and it is oh so difficult to find again.

If the highlight of the trip is to see a Humpback or Killer Whale and the guide ignores the Fishmaster or another guide when they see whales, and doesn’t offer to take the guests to catch a glimpse, then the guide is not doing his job. There is lots of time to fish and to miss maybe that one chance is almost unforgiveable. The great guides know what is important and how to deliver. Throughout the day the guide effortlessly applies his fishing skills and simultaneously looks for any and all things that he can add to the day to increase guest’s enjoyment.  It could be a bit of Haida history and culture, pointing out a jellyfish, or explaining how a halibut’s eye moves across their body as they grow. (They really do!) Each one is a little thing, but taken as a whole, so much is added to the day.

To work at QCL as Vice President Sales is extremely rewarding.  But to spend a few days on the water and have the opportunity to reconnect to my guiding roots is the highlight each summer. You can never get too much of watching a person catch their first or biggest salmon, see something that Mother Nature has on display each day in Haida Gwaii, or simply know that you have made someone’s day. As a guide you get to do that. I guess I have the best job in the world. Fun to think of one’s self as the Old Man and the Sea and watch the guiding profession at QCL transitioning to what guiding should all be about.

Brian Clive


August 19, 2018 Duane Foerter0

There is no better way to get up each morning than having your hands on the steering wheel and a crisp breeze on your cheeks,  smoothly carving through the waters of Naden Harbour.

This week I have the pleasure to share my boat with Rick and Michelle, who are about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary!  We started our day on the west side of our fishing grounds at one of my favourite areas to fish; Yatze bay, which is on the east side of Klashwun Point. We dropped lines and were blessed with a hit within moments, the lines singing and the thrill of the fight gleaming in our eyes. Unfortunately, after several minutes the fish shook the hooks, but we did not let that dampen our spirits. Our day on the water had just begun after all! It wasn’t long thereafter that we landed and released a beautiful 12 pound Chinook, sending it on its way and telling it to bring its big daddy. But the flurry wasn’t over yet. As we worked together to drop our lines once more I heard Michelle pipe up from the front of the boat where she was watching the rod behind me as I was finishing dropping the third line.  “Jaxon, is the rod supposed to be doing that?”

Salmon fishing at QCLWhipping around I see the rod tip rising as the fish took our bait from below and rush towards the surface. Yelling “Fish On!” Rick and I raced to prepare the boat, clearing lines and steering downwind of where the fish was running. But it wasn’t long before it wrapped itself around the prop and the back line as it ripped through the water around us. It was desperate to get off our line. But it was no match for us. It was like the three of us had fished together our entire lives as Michelle masterfully maneuvered the rod around the prop, Rick raising the engine while I quickly cut the back line while helping Michelle keep the line away from the engine as the fish jumped around us. It was a show for the ages, with only the eagles as our audience. It wasn’t long after that we landed the stunning 20 lb Chinook for the box.  High fives and beaming smiles filled the boat.

We ended our day with four beautiful fish;  25, 20, 19 and 13 lb Chinooks, the smallest of which had unfortunately taken our hooks through the gills. Ecstatic with the amazing start to the trip we called it a day and headed back to the barn to celebrate our success, and prepare for the next!

Tight Lines,

Jaxon “Mr. Clean”