An escape to this remote corner of the world is on the wish list for a lot of people, and for good reason! It’s definitely an angler’s paradise; those gorgeous chrome-bright salmon sure make an impression on you! The wilderness seascapes of the fishing grounds are literally overflowing with an abundance of life –both above and below the surface. Sharing a breath of salt sea air with a feeding humpback whale just a rod’s length off your boat is a sure testament to that – especially while you’re reeling in a nice lingcod off the other side!
Guests staying with us this week got to experience all that and more. Among our guests we were thrilled to host Kevin Costner and his family who were able to enjoy the QCL Experience with us. We’re so pleased that we were able to show them some beautiful BC wilderness along with some warm QCL hospitality. While they’re returning home with a nice box of fish we hope that their whole family takes along many fond memories of their visit here.
June fishing continues to be very productive with good numbers of Chinook salmon in all weight classes. Sixteen lucky anglers got to ring the Tyee bell over the past 4 days, celebrating what most would consider the fish of a lifetime. But like we always say, there so much more to it than just fishing!
The winter season is often spent pre-planning tactics, tying leaders, and thinking of the memories that previous season have left imprinted within my memory. Now that the season is well underway these preparations have become invaluable. Leaders are used on a daily basis and I am eager to run the newest spoons, flashers, and hoochies that I have purchased.
The new moon has brought large tides to Area One and with these tides Chinook salmon have arrived as well. Numerous 40 pounders have already been hooked by keen anglers fishing the coastline of Graham Island. The Tyee bell has been sounding on a regular basis each night and the June fishing this year has started to remind me of the old days. Cape Naden has been my favorite point to fish this year. Tidal rips will form along this point bringing in baitfish and packs of Chinooks to follow. I have experienced sizzling lines still in the rod holder and can say that these fish are hard fighting and hungry. My excitement is growing each morning to get out onto the water and see what the 011 can produce. Haida Gwaii is known as the land of plenty and the start of this year is proving this to be true. I look forward to seeing familiar faces walking down the dock this summer and making dreams become reality.
It’s amazing that they can predict weather a week in advance and when the day comes, it actually happens exactly as promised! That brief 6-hour burst of southeasterly wind that sent us to the shelter of Cape Edenshaw yesterday was bang on the money. It didn’t blow quite so hard as we’d feared but it blew. All is well.
Guests on our third trip of the season were treated to beautiful days on Friday and Saturday and they sure made the most of it! Greasy flat water, skies just sunny enough and hungry fish everywhere. We’re starting to see the salmon species mix coming –we saw only Chinooks last week but now we’re getting some Coho, Chum and Pink salmon as well. The Tyee count continues with a 31 for Richard M, and a 34 pounder for Chris M on Friday.
Robert N caught and released our third 40+ Chinook while fishing with guide Tristan O’Brian at Yatze, taping the big beauty out to 42 pounds! Way to go Robert! Nice to see those amazing big Chinooks swim away from the boat! Five more Tyees on Saturday included yet another giant released! QCL guide Kylie Tokairin was working the legendary structure of east bay Parker Point when her guest Andrew M set the hook on a solid fish. Twenty thrill-filled minutes later Kylie was releasing a gorgeous big Chinook that they’d just taped out to 44 pounds! That makes four over forty in the first eight days of the season! Sure is nice to see! Congratulations to all involved and we’ll hope these big spawners find their way safely back to their home streams this summer!
With the departure of our second group of guests this morning we’re feeling pretty darn good about the weeks ahead. We’ve been treated to favourable weather and productive fishing. The trend has been toward light northwesterly winds and as result our salmon fishery has been most productive inshore along the rocks and kelp beds –“where they should be”as our guides like to say! All the favourite points are turning up salmon action, with a variety pack of sizes served up every day. Craig H and Sean C both hooked up with beautiful 30-pounders on Monday while Paul S boated a 33 on Tuesday.
QCL guest Eugene Knuttila, staying aboard the Driftwood with his son Jeff, had the ultimate salmon experience while fishing off the bay at Yatze with QCL guide Liam Longacre. On their second tack in glassy calm water Eugene’s rod dipped and he was soon onto a solid fish. The battle lasted about 20 minutes with lots of jumps and some tug-o-war from the bottom. But when the fish came to the boat and they saw that big head & shoulders, they knew this one was going back. After a quick measurement it was back in the water and only took Liam a few minutes to revive before it swam away with good strong strokes. It taped out to 46 pounds and proved to be the fish of a lifetime for Eugene, who was thrilled to experience such a moment with his son. It was definitely a high point for Liam as well –great job guys! Newlyweds Julia and Isaiah shared a similar experience when they tempted another big Chinook out of the kelp at Yatze, this one measuring out to 35 pounds before retreating to the shelter of the weeds after reviving. Beautiful fishing everyone… and Congratulations! This week marked the first edition of the White Gold bottom fishing derby with prizes for largest halibut and lingcod. Tide swings of 16-plus feet made for challenging conditions but determined anglers prevailed and a number of good fish came to the scale. A 37-pound lingcod took the top prize for John F while Eric H claimed the cash for halibut with a 33-pounder. There were several big halibut caught and released this week – a 78 for Syd C, an 80 for Raymond P, a 100-pounder for Justin C and a 160 for John S – but the derby is for keeper fish only and that sweet spot between 50 and 60 pounds was elusive this week. Good fun guys and we’ll maybe look for smaller tides for the next edition!
For this weekend light northwesterlies will prevail thru Saturday before we get a 10-hour dose of southeast that will steer us over to fish Cape Edenshaw on Sunday. Tides are moderating nicely so we should see much easier bottom-fishing today and tomorrow.
After a crackerjack opening weekend we’re happy to report that the fun just keeps on coming! QCL guests are enjoying fair weather and exploring the full fishing grounds, finding lots of great rewards!
The salmon fishing continues to be very good, especially in all the usual places. There is a significant quantity of 20-pound-plus fish in the mix with the usual teen-sized feeders we expect to see at this time. And we’re seeing a few Tyees every day so it’s pretty exciting to get out there and try your luck. Hangin’out at the Bell Ringer weigh scale in the evening is a biologist’s candy store; so many variations on a species – different sizes, shapes and colours of Chinook salmon, obviously coming from a range of river systems up and down the coast.
Andre T. and Chad B. each boated 35-pounders on Sunday while Chad’s partner Sonya released a beauty that taped out to 32 pounds. Jordan W released our first 100-pound halibut of the season and we’ve seen others tagged at 70, 78, 80, 82 and 85 pounds. This week we’re hosting the QCL White Gold Derby, focused on lingcod and halibut so it’ll be interesting to see how the numbers stack up by Friday.
With the largest “keeper”halibut this year –at max. length of 126 cm, scoring in the range of approximately 59 pounds, it’ll be fun to see how close the winner can come! Stay tuned for the results!
Opening Day 2019 dawned misty, moist and grey with barely a breath of wind. After a solid week of sunny skies and warm temperatures (by our standards 18 degrees is warm) our world returned to normal. The jet arrived at Masset on time and very soon the steady purr of those Sikorsky helicopters filled the harbour. Showtime!
Some of the new crew were a little anxious but the giddy enthusiasm of our arriving guests soon calmed them. Before long they were headed down the dock and out of the harbour. Those nice flat seas made for a very comfortable day on the water and our guides took advantage to focus on all of their favourite spots. A 10-foot flood and and 8-foot ebb provided lots of moving water, setting up some sweet lines around all those rocky points. And they caught fish. Lots of nice typical feeder Springs are in the area right now, feeding among the humpbacks and eagles on large schools of needlefish. We’re finding them at typical depths for the season, mostly from 35 to 45 feet inshore and 55 to 75 a little further out. Anchovies are our bait of choice and they’re working well but there’s always someone gettin’em on herring, spoons and assorted hardware.
Returning to the dock between 7 and 9, the Bell Ringer was abuzz with fish stories and photo ops. Between halibut and Chinooks they managed to keep the Bell ringing throughout the evening. Typical for June fishing, we had some big halibut releases, a 70 pounder for Randy P and an 85 for Jordan N. While lots of teen-sized “chickens”were caught, Andrew W found the perfect keeper, tipping the scale at 41 pounds.
For a first day, in May, we were thrilled to see 3 Tyees on the dock, as well as some in the mid to high twenties. A good range of sizes in the catch is always a positive sign. Fishing on their own, Vancouver bro’s Pat and Matt H came back with 32 and 29 pounders, creating a buzz among the guides! Great work fishing the tide at Parker Point boys! Mike K weighed a 32-pound beauty as well, fishing with guide Sam Johnstone. Two of our guests missed their connection and arrived about 4 pm. But their guide Aaron Lomax was ready to rumble when they got down the dock and on their first pass at beautiful Klashwun point Marc S tied into a nice heavy fish. It took some work but in the end Aaron slipped the net beneath Marc’s catch and lifted it into the boat. When it showed up at the Bell Ringer there was tons of interest and the volume soared as the scale registered 44.4 pounds. That’s quite a fish and a fantastic catch for Marc. Sometimes a live release isn’t an option but seeing such an amazing specimen up close is a dream come true for any angler. Congrats boys and welcome to the Tyee Club Marc. All in all it was an especially fine day on the water for our guests and we’re hopeful it’s an indication of a fantastic season ahead!
With only a couple days left to go before we open up for the 2019 season, you can imagine that we’re a pretty busy bunch around here! While the lodge staff and the kitchen crew are shining up their programs, it’s the guides that most people want to hear from right about now!
The weather has been stunning this past week and we’ve had boats on the water every day. The guides are treating the staff to some quality fishing time and everybody comes out a winner. Moderate northwesterlies come with all this sunshine so the water has been a little choppy at times. We’ve focused on the western grounds from Cape Naden to Klashwun Point, working the inshore tacks around the rocks as well as the offshore zone…doing the Haida Drift between the two points.
Most boats are getting into a few Chinooks; feisty feeders in the mid-teens are making up the bulk of the catch. We’ve seen a few in the twenties but haven’t found a Tyee yet! It’s only a matter of time! Anchovies and spoons are producing but so are the guys running herring. There was a 21 and a 25 on the dock last night so we’re finding the usual mix for this early in the season. It’s worth noting that we have not fished any prime time, no morning or evening fishing, and only for 4-hour blocks of time in mid-day. So the guides are keen to get started fishing full-time this weekend and really see what’s out there!
Tides will be moderate this weekend with swings of about 12 feet on the morning floods. These westerlies will give way to just a few hours of southerly weather on Friday (showers and very light wind) before returning to moderate west for Saturday and fading out to light variable on Sunday. Temperatures will be cool, just 12-14 degrees. Perfect fishing weather!
Approximately 20 years ago our managing partner of Queen Charlotte Lodge, Mr. Paul Clough, fulfilled his dream of owning a fishing resort. QCL was not just another investment, but something he had dreamed of having since 1992 when his float plane flew above QCL with his buddy Dave Bossons.
A year after the purchase of QCL in 2000, an unexpected opportunity came about for his eldest son Rob to get involved with the lodge. Rob took on the initial role of commission sales and part time guide, which is quite different than his Senior Vice President role of today. Sharing Paul’s passion for fishing and the lodge business, it didn’t take long for Rob to gain a loyal following among guests and crew.
Those who work with Paul know it is customary for him to keep a little book of notes. One midsummer day in 2017 Rob was enjoying a rare opportunity to fish with his father on the FishFinder, trolling offshore for Chinook salmon. As is his custom, Paul liked to fish and, at the same time, review some of the items on his list. During their conversation Paul went silent for a moment, closed his notepad and put it in his pocket. He tightened the drag on the reel that was set up in front of him, and then turned to Rob and asked, “Is this your dream son? Is working at QCL what you want to do?” “I know you love fishing, but QCL is my dream, what’s yours?”
Initially shocked by the question, Rob’s reply was as usual, honest and maybe a bit blunt. “Although I am super happy and still excited to be at QCL, my dream is to own my own fishing lodge. Something in the freshwater side of fishing. Fishing for Steelhead and Salmon either on the fly or with light tackle.”
For those who don’t know Paul, he usually knows the answer before asking the question! This time was no different. Paul responded, “Son, I know you’ve been wanting something of your own and I’m glad you’ve finally told me. I have an idea, why don’t we spend the next years trying to find something that fits for you and your family?”
That brings us to today and the fulfillment of another Clough fishing dream! Rob has just completed on a deal that will have him take over as owner of Nicholas Dean Outdoors, a guiding company offering world class guided fishing adventures for steelhead and salmon on the Skeena River and its tributaries near Terrace, BC.
Please have a look at the website www.nicholasdean.com and if you have any questions please send Rob and email at [email protected]. You may ask “Why does Rob still have a QCL email address?” Simple, he will always be part of the QCL family and will still be involved with QCL and Paul on a consulting basis… 19 seasons of information doesn’t just transfer overnight!
Congratulations Rob, we will miss seeing you every day at the resort. But knowing you will drop by from time to time and that you’re just a call or email away is comforting. All the best to you with Nicholas Dean Outdoors!
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, made his much anticipated 2019 Fisheries Plan public on April 16.
You may see headlines in the media that say that fishing in British Columbia is shut down. To set the record straight, that is not true. The fact of the matter is that our Department of Fisheries and Oceans is very concerned about the low return levels of Chinooks to the Fraser River. Conservation measures are being taken to protect Fraser River Chinooks. These measures include non-retention of Chinooks in certain southern areas of the province.
The fisheries on the north coast and in Haida Gwaii, adjacent to QCL, are not part of the area considered for these restrictions. We will start the season with normal salmon limits for Chinook – 2 Chinooks per day and 4 in possession. Total salmon limits will also be unaffected with 4 salmon permitted per day and 8 salmon in possession. We will also have no Commercial Fishery in our area. That is fantastic news.
Regarding non-salmon species, there are slight changes in the halibut regulations this season, which we think most anglers will see as positive. This season anglers will have a choice:
Halibut possession limit is either of:
—- one (1) halibut measuring 90 cm to 126 cm in length (head-on), OR
—- two (2) halibut, each measuring under 90 cm in length (head-on)
—- The daily limit for halibut is one (1).
Limits for Lingcod and Rockfish remain unchanged from 2018.