Photo: With the abrupt and premature close of our 2020 season our Guide Team chose to express themselves! Like the photo? Check out the video: https://youtu.be/nK7-KOPtFG0
After months of intensive preparation and so much anticipation, we managed to open the lodge to commence our 30th season on Friday July 10th. For 3 wonderful weeks we hosted hundreds of guests from BC and Canada who came and enjoyed the QCL Experience here in remote Naden Harbour. They caught lots of fish, were held in awe of the beautiful environment and its wildlife and were treated to the wonderful hospitality of our staff.
The detailed protocols that we developed to protect everyone from Covid-19 proved effective and there were zero signs or incidents of any infection. With five more weeks to go, our program was running perfectly and everyone was supercharged to deliver an amazing experience to new guests arriving by helicopter directly from Prince Rupert Airport on Digby Island via our Vancouver-chartered 737.
And then… it was over.
Please read the statement below and if you feel inclined, please express your concerns to the Premier in Victoria [email protected] and your local MLA.
We would greatly appreciate your support! Thank you!
The QCL Kingfisher Derby has been annual tradition for many years. In fact, many of the participants have been fishing this derby for more than a decade! The Kingfisher is a Catch & Release salmon derby that happens in mid-June – so that means Chinook salmon. Fish guided or self-guided, weighted rods or downriggers; Go with what you know! All entered fish are measured, scored, revived and carefully released by derby marshals. Guides may not touch the rod. It’s 3 exciting days of intense fishing effort, right down to the wire on the last day. More than once the winner was netted in the final hours of the derby! To spice up the competition a bit, there is one prize for largest killed salmon; often a strategic decision! With an entry fee of $2000 per angler the top prize has ranged from $40K to over $60K.
This year’s event, our 18th Annual, is our biggest yet, with the richest prize pool ever! It’s a highlight of the summer with over $100,000 up for grabs for anglers pursuing the largest Catch & Release salmon. Top prize for the largest salmon released will be minimum $50,000 and there are prizes for runners up as well as daily catch. It’s a party all weekend with special treatment from the food & beverage department as well! Tons of fun! At this time there are still a few spaces left so if you enjoy a little competition in your fishin’ you should give us a call today!
This week members of our sales team are attending the annual Washington Sportsmen’s Show in Puyallup; look for Roger, Craig and Kevin at Booth #621. We’ll be at the Pacific Northwest show in Portland on February 5-9. At the same time we’ll be in Reno for the big Safari Club International show. Remaining spaces for the 2020 season are going even more quickly now with show season in full swing. If you haven’t reserved your dates for this year you’d best not delay any longer!
Thanksgiving, whenever you celebrate, is absolutely the perfect time for reflection. As we gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving it’s wonderful to share some of the stories and the memories of the year that is coming to an end. And in reflection we’re reminded to be thankful for those memories. Our lives are so rich and we often forget how very fortunate we are. At QCL we feel that our guests and staff all have something very important in common… our experiences at the Lodge in Haida Gwaii and especially our stories.
We feel especially privileged to be able to share a few days with our Queen Charlotte Lodge family each summer. Thank you all for allowing us that privilege.
For the past 29 years Queen Charlotte Lodge has helped to create those memories for adventure seekers of all generations. Families and friends make up a large part of our guest list on virtually every trip of the summer. With all that experience, we make it really easy for you to come visit!
As our American friends celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, it’s the perfect time to start planning one of those escapes! We still have some space available for next summer but people are talking and planning and select dates are filling up. Explore around our website to learn more and feel free to give us a call to enquire.
QCL Moments is our new slideshow series featuring the many memorable experiences that QCL guests enjoy every summer. It could be fishing, dining, wildlife or wild life! It’s all about the QCL Experience – every day is a new day at the Lodge! You never know what’s going to come your way.
QCL and the rest of the Sport Fishing Industry were notified in mid-September that one of our major competitors were suspending operations. This was definitely a shock as they have hosted thousands of guests since opening their doors in 1994. West Coast Resorts operated two lodges on the west coast of Haida Gwaii, so we know that their customers will miss fishing at Englefield Bay and Hippa Island.
QCL estimates that 2000 or more avid WCR clients will be looking for a new home in Haida Gwaii. It would be an understatement to say that our phones and Sales Executives have been busy since this announcement. As the dust starts to settle and we review our 2020 bookings we see that we are just now over 70% booked for 2020. Another way to look at things is that we only closed our doors for the 2019 season 30 days ago and we are already almost three quarters full.
We are excited to be booked to this level as the 2020 season is still almost a year away. We are happy with this up-turn in business, however, we are also worried about our existing, loyal guests. We have made every attempt to reach out and let folks know about WCR and the effect this has had on our available space. We want to make sure our existing QCL clients have a chance to reserve their preferred space so we urge you to reach out to us and let us know what your thoughts and plans are for 2020. After a great 2019 fishing season we want to see you make it back up to QCL in Haida Gwaii for another amazing trip next year. Help us help you! We strongly suggest you call us soon at 1.800.688.8959
The bears have moved to the streams and the sound of the geese staging in the estuary rings across the harbour…Autumn has arrived. Our lodge guests have been home for a while now, sharing their tasty fish dinners with friends and family, spiced with lively stories of how they managed to catch such wonderful food. Another summer of fishing, friendship and fun has concluded at QCL, for the 29thyear!
It’s amazing how each season unfolds. As familiar as it is to those of us fortunate enough to be here every year, there is always some mystery in how it will all turn out. The weather and the fish are the obvious wildcards…cross your fingers on that! But the parts that are within our control are what we have the most fun with. It’s thrilling to roll out a new program each season and see how everyone likes it. Sometimes it’s a facility change, like the beachside sauna and hot tub or Smoke & Oak –our whisky and cigar retreat on the hill. Last year we launched a Steak & Lobster dinner at The Bell Ringer. This season we introduced an exciting fleet of 8 beautiful new boats to help bring our guided fishing program up to where we want it. Next summer…who knows?
Certainly, we hope that our guests enjoy our programs and facilities; and by all accounts we think they do, but it’s the hospitality of our people that they appreciate the most. We feel that our QCL staff truly enjoy being here, helping to create a memorable QCL experience for all of our guests. At the end of the day, and at the end of the season, that’s what matters most. Thanks ever so much to all of our guests who joined us in Naden Harbour this summer and to all of our staff and management who made it all come together! We hope to see you next year!
It’s crazy realizing you are in the good old days. That these times here in beautiful Haida Gwaii will someday be just a fond memory. Tomorrow I leave this place after a great season with new scars, memories, pictures and fish – none of which can do it justice. This is a place full of endless adventure, almost untouched wilderness and 140 like-minded co-workers to experience it all alongside. When you come here you take a step back from reality and the hustle and bustle of concrete and traffic. An amazing escape that keeps people coming back year after year. As somebody once said to me, this is not the real world it’s the “reel” world.
Moderate northwesterlies through last week gave way to light variable conditions through the weekend, but we’re expecting another week of westerlies to start on Wednesday. All this means is that the fishing has been fantastic and should remain so. There’s lots of bait inshore now and we’ve seen excellent volumes of Coho as well as Chinooks move inshore with it. Lots of really feisty 18-24 pounders are in the current mix. As a result, more anglers are fishing the usual rocks and kelp beds, leaving the offshore and pinnacles turf for bottom fishing. Moderate tides this week are extending the productive fishing periods around points like Cape Naden, Parker, Klashwun and Eagle Rock.
It’s been a great week for Tyees with lots of bell ringin’going on down at the dock. Gorana B was the queen last week, releasing her first Tyee over 40, a chrome beauty that was taped out to 41-pounds by veteran QCL guide Derek Poitras. Marie G did just fine as well, boating 30 and 31 pounders with guide Jeff Smirfitt on Monday and Tuesday. Deborah B completed her mission on Thursday, releasing a solid 31-pounder with her guide Nic Rasovic. The guys weren’t left out…we had several fish in the low-30’s, some kept and some released. Josh K returned to the Bell Ringer with a nice 36 lb Tyee and Taylor R turned back a 34. The most noise at the bell was made by Keith B who hauled up one of those barn-door halibut, this one scoring out over 200 pounds!
The weekend catch was no less impressive… with Devon W releasing a beautiful 45-pound Chinook at Cape Naden on Sunday morning, fishing with guide Neil Wood. Saturday saw Don T release a 40-pounder with his son Brett on the net. That was the encore to the 33-pounder they released on Friday! And the annual Tyee derby between brothers Conrad, Gerhart and Willy saw 31, 32, 33 and 32 pounders caught and released with their guides Kylie Tokairin and Danny Hollins. That means a lot of action down at the Bell Ringer! Great job folks!
Here it is…August! It’s prime time for many fisheries on the coast with all salmon species on the move. Last week we had a “Salmon Grand Slam”–Audrey C came all the way from Quebec and during her weekend stay she caught all 5 species of Pacific salmon! Surprisingly we don’t see that very often, mainly because we don’t catch many sockeye.
Our salmon fishery has been outstanding this summer, with solid salmon populations feeding and moving through Virago Sound. The last 3 weeks of July were dominated by light variable and mainly southerly winds so the days on the water have been especially comfortable! Those conditions do tend to let the bait drift out into the open water though and our efforts have definitely been rewarded out there. More than half the salmon catch in July was taken out where we would traditionally fish for halibut. We’re finding lots of Coho in the top 60 feet as we would expect but Chinook fishing has been especially productive in the same areas, just down deeper at 100 to 140 feet.
The classic inshore fishery for Chinooks has really turned on lately. Anglers working the kelp beds and the rocky points are finding beautiful Tyee-class fish at all the favourite spots. Cape Naden, Parker Point and Bird 2 have probably been the most consistent spots but we’re also seeing big fish coming from Cape Edenshaw, B1, Yatze, Eagle Rock and Klashwun Point. No surprises there! The Tyee Bell has been ringing most every night with a mix of big Chinooks in the 30’s and 40’s recorded. Each trip we’ve managed to release a number of these big beauties and lots of anglers are discovering how great it feels to watch a huge salmon swim away with strong sweeps of its tail! This week Mark A. released a 46-pound Tyee at Parker Pt. with guide Jake Harach and Dick R. turned back a stunning big female that taped out to 47-pounds with guide Kylie Tokairin. Last week John M. released a 40-pounder with guide Tristan O’Brian and Chris P., fishing with Kevin Clough, also released a real nice 40-pounder at Bird Two. Congratulations All!
So far we’ve seen only a few of those hook-nosed “Northern”Coho come through and as we move into August we’re sure to encounter lots more of them in the coming weeks. But there’s certainly no shortage of nice fish out there to stock up the freezer with some nice filets and portion-packed chunks!
We’re just coming off a period of huge spring tides with last week’s new moon –18.0 foot high and 0.3 foot low –and we’ve got 6-7 days of moderate northwesterlies going on right now. So it’s all coming together for some epic salmon action as we head into the second week of August –already! Stay tuned!