Mid-season fishing is living up to expectations with the arrival of plentiful Coho salmon offshore to augment the Chinook action we’ve enjoyed off the kelp beds. Though we’re seeing some big ones up to 13 pounds, they’re averaging about 6½and we’re getting them from the surface down to 120 feet so it’s an adventure hunting for them! Most anglers are seeing success on Chinooks in closer to shore in all the favourite spots. Cape Naden has been productive, fishing shallow through the ebb tide, QCL guests have done very well there recently. Likewise, the busy water in the rip between Klashwun Point and Shag Rock has turned out some really good Chinook action – with all the challenges that come with fishing a rip! In the past week we’ve seen quite a few nice Tyees in the high 30’s and some in the low 40’s come to the boat. These are such stunning fish and we’re especially happy when a guest elects to turn them back in hopes that they’ll return to their home streams.
Halibut fishing has been reliable as always with most anglers taking their limit home. The regulation change for this season is going over very well –anglers can choose to take either – two fish under 90 cm length or one between 90 and 126 cm length. That’s a maximum halibut size of roughly 55-pounds for those who like the big ones! We’re still seeing a few of those 100 pound-plus giants alongside the boat this summer –loads of excitement whenever that happens!
Talk about exciting, how about doing battle with a sea lion over a 75-pound halibut! That happened to Nancy & Tim L while they were fishing off the Little Peanut last weekend. Nancy had hooked a pretty big halibut and almost had it to the boat. They knew it was oversized and were prepared to release it when a sea lion grabbed it by the tail before they got it to the boat! It was literally a tug of war with the sea lion pulling the halibut around by the tail and Nancy reeling away on its lips! This went on for a few minutes; the halibut was too big for the sea lion to do his usual damage, especially with Nancy yanking it away every time he released his grip. Unbelievably they eventually boated the halibut; it was quite alive and the teeth of the sea lion had not even penetrated the skin! They had to release it but there was no way they were giving it back to the sea lion. So they put the boat in gear and drove off a few hundred yards in hopes of eluding the hungry sea lion. But he was right there with them. Luckily the Fishmaster was close by so they recruited him to distract the sea lion and they were able to release it! Great job you two! Hopefully the free-swimming halibut got away okay. Crazy stuff happens when you’re fishing!
Hey everyone it’s Kraig “Konezone” Coulter here up in the Charlottes at QCL with a fishing update. The bottom fishing has been very consistent for the great tasting Pacific Cod in the past week! Of course there have been some nice-sized halibut released and some nice turkeys coming in to the dock as well. As for the salmon there are good numbers of feeder Chinook offshore along with a few Coho. There are Tyees coming to the dock every day. All in all fishing has been very consistent in the last week which indicates to me that July fishing up here is going to be dynamite.
Tight Lines everyone!
As we roll into the weekend fishing trip we’re happy to report that all is well in the Gwaii! The usual mixed bag of weather has given QCL guests plenty of opportunities to explore the fishing grounds and discover all that they offer. The Chinook numbers are growing steadily with a continuous variety of sizes and strains. Most guests are getting 3 or 4 to go home with and the average size is running in the high teens these days –perfect filets for those 1-pound chunks! The Tyee bell is still ringing every night, celebrating those larger salmon, halibut and lingcod catches. We saw a couple more 40-pounders this week and several in the mid-thirties. It’s been nice to see some hefty lingcod on the dock these past few days with some keen jigging-anglers working around the pinnacles, pulling up tasty fish in the mid to high twenties. Halibut action saw an uptick this past trip as well with 5 fish measuring out to more than 100 pounds.
The BIG story however is the proverbial “barn door” halibut pulled up by California angler David Machinski, fishing with veteran guide Ryan “R”Kelly. This one taped out to 81 inches in length for a calculated weight of 291 pounds! That’s a lot of work but the view when she comes to the top is amazing! Fortunately David managed to find a 32-pound keeper later on the next day! Well done boys!
The 17thAnnual Kingfisher Derby wrapped up on Sunday with $100,000 in prize money up for grabs. With all the Tyees we’ve seen this month we knew it would shape up to be a great derby and they didn’t disappoint. In the end the $50K first prize for largest Chinook salmon released went to Randy Rognlin (again!) for his 35.42 scoring Tyee. Following closely to claim 2ndprize was Jordan Smith with a 32.92 and 3rdwent to Dmitri Brunislav for a 32.72. So so close! Congratulations guys and a big Thank You to everyone who came up to participate! This derby is always a highlight of our season.
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.
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!
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.
Thanksgiving Weekend is coming!
Enjoy some of that delicious white fish you caught this summer! Lingcod and halibut provide some of the tastiest seafood you can find anywhere and we are always catching them up at QCL. They’re so versatile and can be prepared a hundred different ways. While you maybe planning for a turkey dinner this weekend, we recommend white fish for lunch! Here’s a nice light recipe – perfect for a family gathering. ( from our latest cookbook, A Taste Of QCL Vol2 )