70820177w-1200x675.jpg

January 10, 2018 Duane Foerter1

Everyone buys a fishing trip with the idea they are going to “SMASH” them while on their fishing adventure.  All hoping their arms are sore from fighting fish, hands and fingers are sore from hooks and tying leaders and shins are sore from continually bashing them on gaff that is sticking out of the gunnel.  Oh the joys of fishing!

I personally have fished for salmon since I was two years old.  From the days of Grandpa raking herring and dumping them in the boat for his 2 year old Grandson to try and grab for the bait tank.  To the days of jigging herring, to fish from my 10 foot dinghy with my 2.5hp “Big Block” Mercury.  Now to my spoiled life at QCL and the dock staff preparing my boat for fishing daily.  Although the adventures of fishing with Grandpa and in my dinghy were great, the QCL experience is second to none!

44 years of salmon fishing, 18 seasons with QCL and the number one question asked over that period of time is without doubt, “When is the best time to go fishing?”  As the old adage says…”if I had a dollar…”

Rob, quit with the soliloquy and answer the question!  When is the best time to go fishing?

Well my favorite answers are always a bit cheeky:

  • “Last week was the best! You just missed it!”
  • “Next week is the best! You are a week early!”
  • “Right now is the best! Are you not getting them, maybe you need a guide?”

In all honestly, with every cheeky answer there is a truth.  Each river that holds Chinook or King salmon, from Alaska to San Francisco has a prime time of stock return, or when the majority of the species return to the river.  That timing varies from late March to late October with the bulk of the returns happening late April through October.  The return for Coho or Silvers varies but the bulk of these fish return mid-June through late October.

After being cheeky, usually I get to the true answer!  In all likelihood I stole my answer from someone but it accurately describes the truth when asked the question of best time to fish.  Here is my answer:

QCL has roughly 100 days of fishing during a season.  From year to year we have 12 to 15 of the greatest days of fishing one could hope for.  We also have 12 to 15 poor days of fishing when everyone second guesses themselves!  The issue is, I cannot tell you when either of these days are going to happen but what I can tell you is they will happen.  The rest of the 70 days are productive and success is varied.  Calling them average would make Grandpa turn over in his grave, he would have died for an “average” QCL day down on the south coast!

I know most of you were hoping for an exact window, an exact time as to when the fish are guaranteed to be there and biting, if I could tell you that my name would not be Rob, it would be Fish God!  What I can do is help you with how to pick a fishing adventure and the timing of it.  Here is the list:

  1. Choose QCL – If the fish aren’t biting, the service and people are amazing! They have 135 staff to deal with your every need.
  2. Call QCL and ask what dates are available. Remember, any date could have 1 of “those” days, good or bad!
  3. Continue to book the same date or close to the same date, year after year, you will run into one of “those” days eventually.

Two Examples of people who have gone on the same date year after year are below.  One of them produced the greatest day of fishing and one produced the lodge record at QCL:

When our family purchased the Lodge in the year 2000, my best buddies Bryan and Jason Killins were on the first trip of the season, May 29th to June 1st.  They continued on this trip for many years with varying success.  Some years’ crazy amounts of fish, some years, lots of empties in the boat.  On June 2nd, 2015 we got our regular early start, off the dock at the crack of 10am!  Being last off the dock has its advantages…um NO!  But this day did, we were approaching “The Maz” and we saw a massive bait ball with birds feeding on the surface.  We stopped to give it a “try” and 6 hours later, we had landed 76 Chinook with 14 double headers!  The greatest day of my fishing career!

One of the most memorable days for the lodge came in late August 2011, August 20th to be exact.  When our guest Mr. Chris Lewis caught and released an 84 pound Chinook with guide Derek “Demo” Poitras.  Chris has continued to fish this timeframe over the years and as luck would have it, they were graced with another monster of 49 pounds with his son Josh!

Any day can be your day, it can be on your first trip or your 30th trip, but if you don’t book, you will never know!  Hope to see you at the lodge this summer.  All the best and Happy New Year.

 

Rob “Fish God” Clough

(Kind of catchy…might have to drop Red Baron!)


70709422w-1200x675.jpg

October 30, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Mark the Date!  May 28 – June 1, 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 May 28th thru Friday June 1st.  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!


20170921_130022_001w-1200x1200.jpg

October 4, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Minke whale calfOn Thursday, Sept. 21st, a newborn Minke whale was beached in Naden Harbour on the sandy shore of the Kung village site in Haida Gwaii. Spotted by Andy Adams, caretaker of nearby Samson Lodge, at 10:30 am, he knew he would need a few pairs of hands to get him back into the water. Andy boated down the bay to Queen Charlotte Lodge and asked if we would be able to help. Operations Manager Brad Palmer cleared the rest of the work day so that we could go and assist. What an incredible opportunity! Eight staff members piled into the boat with buckets to see what we could do. The whale was very still when we got there and we were worried that he was sick or injured. He had a few scrapes on his back, which could have resulted from being separated from his mother by a pod of Orcas and chased into the harbour.

Minke whale calfWe’ll never know why he got there but we knew we had to help him. We kept pouring buckets and buckets of water on him to get his temperature down and after a while he perked up a bit and started breathing deeper and moving slightly. He was so young he still had part of his umbilical cord attached and pink pectoral fins. We dug a bit of the sand out from around him to let the water pool there to keep his temperature down as the tide was coming in. High tide was at 2:30 pm, and he was beached right at the high tide line so we knew we only had a brief window of time to get him back in the water. Very carefully we stood in the water with him and repositioned him towards the deeper water. He responded very well and got livelier as the water got deeper around him. We stayed with him in the water while he got his bearings again. In a big burst of energy he flipped his tail and swam out in a small circle, but came right back to us! I guess he wasn’t quite ready to go yet.

Minke whale calfAbout 15 minutes later he made his final exit to the deeper water and stayed around for a few minutes until we couldn’t see him any longer. What an amazing feeling to watch him regain his energy and swim back out into the ocean! What an incredible animal! With a bit of help, we hope he can now find his mother. What an absolute privilege to see a whale up close like that and be able to help him out. We all agreed that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Janelle Stapleton

 

For more information on Minke whales follow this link: http://wildwhales.org/classify/baleen-whales/minke-whale/

Minke whale calf

Minke whale calf


70827012w-1200x675.jpg

August 29, 2017 Duane Foerter0

QCL Salmon FishingAfter an exciting and busy night watching the big fight in the Bell Ringer most guests were ready to go bright and early for 7 am to be first off the dock.

I’d had a quick chat with my guests the night before and decided we were going to start our morning in Yatze bay.  The slight fog was lifting as the sun was starting to poke out. We could see the lighthouse on Shag Rock in the distance as we dropped in.  We were the first boat there. Right as we dropped in we hooked into a coho who launched out of the water multiple times.  Although it slipped the hooks and got away we were optimistic for the rest of the morning.QCL Bell Ringer

We were fortunate enough to hook 3 Chinooks over the next hour and landed 2 beautiful fish. Each guest boated a beautiful fresh Chinook that delivered an exciting fight.

This weekend and the excitement of the lodge guests was amazing with the great weather, the big fight and steady salmon fishing.  Weekends like this go to show why us guides spend the whole off-season talking about QCL and our time up in Haida Gwaii!

Ryan ‘R’ Kelly

 


70817232w-1200x675.jpg

August 22, 2017 Duane Foerter0

This past weekend trip was full of good times, as there were some fish around to be caught and the Bell Ringer was quite lively on a nightly basis. The fish coming in consisted of a combination of nice Chinook, Coho, and Halibut. Many boats decided to spend a good majority of their days offshore, targeting Coho with the odd Chinook and Pink salmon in the mix out there as well. This style of fishing certainly produced the most consistent action for anglers. Inshore, the waters surrounding Cape Naden and Bird Rock 1 produced some nice Chinook for those who chose to “stick, stay, and make it pay”, particularly through the afternoon low slack tide. This fishing was quite interesting at times, as it was often a race to sneak the fish in past a couple of hungry sea lions.

QCL Salmon FishingToday we had a new group of guests come in for our weekday trip and they were all very excited to get out on the water! While on our way out, my guests and I decided that today we were going to stick inshore in hopes of hooking into some large migratory Chinook salmon. After making this decision, I knew exactly where I wanted to drop the lines. A few minutes later we had three lines in the water at Bird Rock 1. As the day passed by, boats would come and go, with many choosing to make their way offshore in search of Coho and Halibut. After a slow start we decided to grab some lunch at the MV Driftwood. Then, following a short discussion, we decided to keep sticking it out inshore and back we went to Bird 1. Shortly after, we managed to put a nice 20-pounder in the box. With the low slack tide approaching I had a feeling that this was a sign that something good was about to happen. All of a sudden, right on top of the slack tide, our back line had a hard hit and my guest Dale was hooked into a real screamer. While clearing the other 2 lines we hooked a second fish that hit while I was popping the line out of the downrigger clip. Both of my guests were now into a couple beauties, with one screaming line off the bow and the other off the stern. After a couple of fun filled and chaotic fights this father-son duo managed to land their double header. In addition, Dale’s fish ended up being a 34 lb hawg! Although he had every intention to release any Tyee that he might catch on his trip, this one was hooked far too well for that to be a possibility. Regardless, he and and his group members were quite excited later on back at the Bell Ringer!

We are all looking forward to the remainder of the trip!

Tight Lines,

“Wacko Jacko”

QCL fishing adventure


70810072w-1200x675.jpg

August 15, 2017 Duane Foerter0

Today saw a mix of light variable winds which allowed QCL guests and guides to fish all corners and everywhere in between on all of our fishing grounds, both inshore and offshore. Chinook fishing close in to the kelp and rock structure is still producing results but at a slower pace. With patience and willingness to stay at one spot, most anglers will be rewarded when the bite finally does turn on. Get your lines back in the water as quickly as you can though and try to hook up again because these are mostly snap bites, lasting only a short period and you may have a chance at only a couple of fish at a time. The bonus though is that the average size of these Chinook are larger than the average size from earlier in the year with a chance at a fish of a lifetime. Coho fishing offshore is still producing results in the 160 to 300 foot lines while still trolling fairly shallow.QCL salmon fishing

It was changeover day and with my new guests for the trip aboard Grady 114 we headed out to the fishing grounds.  The water was in great condition and the starting options were endless. With only a few boats at Cape Naden we dropped in and set the gear. Over the radio I heard of a few caught here before we arrived and was hoping we could still cash in on the bite. After a couple of passes without a touch and without seeing any other boat hookup I was starting to think we missed our chance at the early afternoon bite.

QCL salmon fishingAfter an hour and thinking about a potential move, possibly offshore to find some Coho, the port rod goes off.  With two big heavy slams of the rod tip the down rigger clip pops and line starts peeling. We’re off to the races boys!  My guest carefully picked up the rod and let the fish continue to head for Alaska. Quickly we got to a point where I had to start reversing to chase this fish down. The tension on the drag was set just right and there didn’t seem to be any slow down at all. A bit faster on the chase and finally the line slowed down but was still creeping off the reel. This is a good one guys, don’t start reeling until this fish stops taking line! With well over half of the spool of line being pulled out to the open ocean my Islander finally stopped letting out line. I watched the rod tip as my guest was about to start reeling when one big head shake pulled the rod tip down and the the line went limp. Heartbreaking. Potential fish of a lifetime?? Who knows.  Didn’t see it once. Will never know. But it was fun while it lasted. We re-grouped, carried on and shared a high five over the one that got away.  Makes for a good fishing story anyways.

Till next time…

Keep your tip up, line tight and hang on for the ride.

Jeff ‘Smurf’ Smirfitt

QCL Haida Gwaii


70810059w-1200x675.jpg

August 12, 2017 Duane Foerter0

After a really nice stretch of northwesterly weather – sunny skies and some lumpy seas – QCL guests have been enjoying some pretty fine fishing action this week. Both bait and salmon moved back in closer to shore where we’re accustomed to finding them and the results showed up on the catch board as very good numbers of chunky twenty-something Chinooks.  While the Tyee bell hasn’t been ringing quite as often as usual, the fish boxes going home are nicely packed with those QCL portion-cut vac-pacs for our guests to share over the coming months!

Awesome QCL Coho FishingBeautiful calm seas on Friday found many of our boats fishing offshore again in the 130-200-foot zone, and having a blast hooking up with lots of aggressive Coho mixed with enough Chinooks to keep them on their guard, all in the top 50 feet.  Of course we’re starting to see the “silver princes of August” – those stunning teen-sized Coho that often smash the bait as soon as it hits the water.  Some nice 14-15 pounders have shown up at the Bell Ringer to grab everyone’s attention!  Of course we’re also weeding through a ton of Pink salmon as well this season – one way to ensure your bait is always fresh!Awesome QCL Coho Fishing

This weekend we’re on the flipside of the weather with moderate southeast & southwest winds, along with the rainfall that usually comes with.  The outlook for next week is light southerly winds going to moderate southwest by Thursday.  Tides are moderating with changes of only 8-10 feet.

 

QCL salmon fishing action


DJI_0052w-1200x675.jpg

August 9, 2017 Duane Foerter0

We love sharing the news of what’s up at QCL and this summer we’re having some fun “up” above – capturing new views of the lodge and the grounds with a camera drone.  Look for awesome new video content coming to the website this fall!  In the meantime, here are some still frames to share our new point of view!

QCL_aerial_viewQCL_aerial_viewSharing the fishing grounds


095A4802w-1200x675.jpg

August 3, 2017 Duane Foerter0

You never fully know what you are driving out to as you exit the harbour, heading for the fishing grounds, which always makes dropping your lines for the first time of the day exhilarating.

Today my guests and I started our morning off at Klashwun Point. The flat calm seas made for a quick drive and the blue skies had everyone smiling.

I had just finished explaining to my guests how to pop the line out of the downrigger clip when both lines started peeling. No need to pop the clip when fish hit that hard!  My guests landed a beautiful 21 lb. and a 19 lb. double header, which was not a bad way to start the day!  Following our exciting start we looked up and saw a boat getting pulled offshore as they fought a fish – this fight resulted in a Tyee release! The day continued with consistent Chinook action off the face of Klash, followed by some quick Coho bites in the tide lines around Shag Rock.

It’s exciting not fully knowing what’s coming down the pipe for tomorrow – I look forward to wetting the lines and finding out!

Ryan “Horsehoe” Winger


70720222w-1200x675.jpg

July 23, 2017 Duane Foerter0

This past week the trend of calm seas continued, which made for an enjoyable week of fishing. So far this season we haven’t seen any particular spot out produce the rest, which has resulted in boats being distributed throughout the fishing grounds. On most days, the best successes often come by picking your favourite spot and sticking it out using the “stick, stay and make it pay” method of salmon fishing.

Much like last season, I have continued to spend many hours each day working the kelp beds around the waters of Cape Naden. This past week my guests and I chose to spend nearly our entire days working Naden, with the occasional break to do some bottom fishing. We all felt that it looked really “fishy” and at times we enjoyed some great Chinook fishing with the odd Coho in the mix. On Thursday afternoon we decided to mix it up and give Parker Point a try after lunch. Although there were a couple fish around at Parker, we decided it was only fitting to finish the trip back at Cape Naden. Upon returning to Naden we watched another boat hook up on a couple of fish, but not much was happening for us. With only a couple of passes left, my guest was telling a funny story as we were trolling past the kelp bed off the point. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the rod tip dip down and then yelled “fish, fish, fish!!”. My guest grabbed the rod, set the hook, and the battle was on! This was the fish we had been looking for at Naden all trip…a real sizzler! After a few lengthy runs we tired the fish out and finally managed to put this 38lb Tyee in the bag to conclude a week of fishing.

Back at the dock there were a couple of other Tyees that came in, with a 45lber being the largest of the day and of the trip. Let’s hope this trend continues and we continue to see some nice Chinook rolling through!

Until next time,

“Wacko Jacko”


Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Keep up to date with QCL Newsletter for the latest fishing news and updates from Queen Charlotte Lodge.
ErrorHere