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July 31, 2019 Duane Foerter0

barotrauma in rockfishAt QCL we have always been known for our salmon fishing but we have seen a large increase in the past 5 years of our guests targeting rockfish.  If you didn’t know, many of these fish live up to 80 years with the Yelloweye species living up to 118 years or more!  Since 2017 we have seen changes in the catch and retention limits for rockfish as well as the species we are able to keep. These measures have been put in place to help keep these species of fish around forever.

When reeling rockfish up from depths over 200 feet they often get what is called barotrauma. This quick change in pressure causes their swim bladder to expand and protrude out of their mouth and their eyes to bulge out.

 

 

SeaQualizer for barotraumaEvery boat at QCL comes equipped with a descending device. These devices are designed to allow the fish to recompress and swim away at the desired depth the device is set for – for us that’s usually at 150 feet. The jaws of the device close on the fish’s lower lip and the device gets attached to your downrigger. The device is set to release at a select depth and the jaws will open once the downrigger gets there, letting the fish swim free.

barotraumaThere are many of these devices on the market now, all designed to allow these fish to recover and swim away. We are using the SeaQualizer device on all our boats.

There has been much debate as to if these devices work properly. I use this device every day and I was curious as to how well it worked.  So I started watching and recording the release using the image on the Lowrance HDS9 in my boat.  If you look at the photo of the screen, you can see the cannonball descending with the fish attached via the SeaQualizer.  At about 160-feet, you can see that the device opens up as designed and the rockfish (yelloweye) releases from the cannonball, swimming back towards the bottom.  It feels great to let these fish go back to their habitat to hopefully keep these species around forever!

Best Regards,
Ryan Kelly – Lead Guide


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July 19, 2019 Duane Foerter1

QCL salmon fishingWell, as much as we enjoyed (what feels like a record) 8 days of light variable winds and flat, flat water, it’s nice to get a little back to “normal”.  Southerly winds flanked the islands on both east and western shores leaving a giant flat zone on our northern coast.  The fog and glassy water were interesting but we like a little wind to move the bait around and concentrate the salmon.  And that’s what happened this week as the inshore salmon fishing improved steadily every day.  There are some big Chinooks in the water these days and QCL anglers enjoyed tangling with quite a few of them!  ( In the photo above, angler Will K celebrates briefly with QCL guide Nic Rasovic before they release a gorgeous 43-pounder! )  Cape Naden, Bird One, Parker, B2 , Klash…every point has turned out some beautiful Tyee-class fish this week.  Along the kelp we’re finding them fairly shallow at 25-35 feet much of the time, especially on this week’s morning ebb tides.  Offshore the pinnacles are seeing a lot of traffic as big schools of Coho are making their way through the grounds.  Trolling deep between 70 & 120 feet we’re picking up those nice silver bullets, with enough 15-20 pound Chinooks mixed in to  really make things interesting!

Halibut action has been busy but there are so many “chickens” QCL salmon fishingout there it’s taking some effort to weed through them to get those treasured 30-pounders! And of course, in the middle of all that, we find some giants.  Young Jarret C was jigging with his Dad and veteran QCL guide Derek Poitras when they hooked onto a monster that eventually taped out to just over 6-feet long, more than 200 pounds!  That makes quite an impression when you’re 12-years-old!  And for some anglers, winning a tug-o-war with a big ‘but is something of a fixation!  Such was the case for Roxy S this week.  For 17-years she’s been coming up to the Lodge and has certainly caught her share of big fish.  QCL salmon fishingBut the one prize that’s eluded her was the 100-pound halibut.  Well this was the week…on Monday, the eighth glassy calm day, Roxy coaxed her partner Cal out to the halibut grounds to give it another try.  She had to pull quite a few fish up from 200-plus feet but ultimately was rewarded with the one she was looking for.  With some help from the Fishmaster they taped the big fish out to 60-inches, scoring at 109 pounds, and Roxy had finally achieved her goal.  Congratulations Roxy!  That gold pin looks mighty fine on your shawl!


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July 2, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL salmon fishingIt seems like just yesterday as we watched our new fleet of 8 boats make their way into the harbour and to the docks after weeks of anticipation. It has been amazing how many guests have told me they watched the video of the boats arrival. I wanted to provide you an update on how these boats are to fish out of.

Over the past 5 years I have been lucky enough to run all of our aluminum boats so as you can imagine it has been a great first month running one of these beautiful new ones!

QCL Salmon fishingBuilt by Bridgeview Marine, they feature Mercury SeaPro 300 HP engines, 2 Lowrance HDS 9 sounder units, a head up front and even a built-in urinal! Our 4 cabin boats come equipped with Shockwave seats which make any waves feel obsolete. No feature was missed in the design of these boats. They handle the waves beautifully and provide tons of room for fishing!

Seeing these incredible boats out on the grounds has really transformed our fleet  and brought QCL to the next level.

Next time you are on the dock stop by boat 86 and have a tour! The next 2 months couldn’t be more exciting and it’s a great sight to see these stunning boats out on the water every day!

Best Regards,

Ryan Kelly
Lead Guide


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June 18, 2019 Duane Foerter0

One of the special privileges of being a guide is having the opportunity to be a part of some truly unforgettable moments on the water, creating memories that last a lifetime. Last Sunday morning, Father’s Day, Grady White 107 was cutting its way through the glassy ocean with myself and 3 generations of family, a classic father, son and grandfather fishing team.

Anticipation was high as we dropped in at Klashwun Point, low slack was approaching and there was hardly another boat in sight. As we began working the formidable structure of Big Point, reminiscent of an ancient ruined castle, we were treated to a show of humpbacks breaching and eagles dive bombing boiling balls of needlefish. The only thing missing were the salmon! After hours of fishing with only one feeder sized chinook landed and released, the current soon pushed all the baitfish out past the point. Our high hopes faded and we decided it was time to make a move.

Father's Day Fishing at QCLAfter the boys had a burger break on the MV Driftwood, we decided to roll the dice and cruise across Virago Sound to Cape Edenshaw. We set up in Piggy’s Bay and I only had time to put in one rod when it suddenly lurched violently. Fish On! After boating a beautiful 20 pounder, we set up again and quickly hit a double header. Looks like we found the spot! Pure pandemonium ensued over the next several hours, with beautiful, hard fighting Chinooks refusing to leave us alone. The highlight fish was a serious reel-melter that later weighed in at 29.4 pounds- a true “Tryee”! I for one can’t think of a better way to spend quality time with family and friends than experiencing this one-of-a-kind fishery in such a beautiful and remote corner of the world.  It’s my privilege to be able to introduce people to the amazing migratory salmon of Haida Gwaii every day – it’s a dream come true.

Rockfish Ron


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June 14, 2019 Duane Foerter2

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!


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June 10, 2019 Duane Foerter0

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.

Tyee Chinook releasedGuests 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.

Chinook salmon fishingRobert 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!

QCL salmon fishing


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June 7, 2019 Duane Foerter0

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 salmon fishingQCL 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!
QCL salmon fishingThis 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.QCL Haida Gwaii


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June 1, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL salmon fishingOpening 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. QCL halibut fishing 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.

 

QCL Bell RingerFor 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!

QCL salmon fishingQCL Bell Ringer


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May 29, 2019 Duane Foerter0

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!


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