EKnuttila_46CR_w-1200x675.jpg

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


90602166w-1200x675.jpg

June 5, 2019 Duane Foerter0

QCL salmon fishingAfter 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. QCL salmon fishing

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!QCL salmon fishingQCL salmon fishing


095A8607-w-1200x675.jpg

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


70831067w-1200x675.jpg

April 17, 2019 Duane Foerter1

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.


095A0642w-1200x675.jpg

October 4, 2018 Duane Foerter0

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 )

Cedar Plank Halibut

 


80902330w-1200x675.jpg

September 11, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Well here it is, September already, and once again we’re making the annual fall migration south to “the real world.”  Gone are those beautifully casual 5-minute commutes down the beach to the lodge or to the dock.  (You don’t want to hear what the alternative is like!)  The early morning light is now delayed past 7:00 and it’s coming later and later every day.  (Fun fact:  In June we enjoy 17 hours of daylight… in December it’ll be just over 7 hours!)

The Chinook salmon challenge!The 2018 season will be noted for exceptional Coho fishing (offshore), a windy July, smaller Chinooks, Steak & Lobster in the Bell Ringer, friendly medical doctors onsite 24/7, more GPS hotspots on the map, quick & easy halibut, fresh sushi on the deck and a 4th beautiful big red boat on the water!   QCL guests returned home with more varieties of fish in their boxes and many of them opted to add some tasty BC specialties like smoked sablefish and spot prawns.  It seems we saw fewer whales overall this summer and the same 5 sea lions were roaming around the grounds much of the time.

Chinook salmon success!The staff this summer was outstanding.  We had the benefit of several leaders returning in key positions to maintain consistency in training and operations.  And it’s always exciting to watch the stars emerge from the ranks of new staff as the season gets rolling.  Some of the most memorable moments come when we welcome the return of a guest who was here 10 or 20 years ago.  Their impressions of the “new QCL” are pretty wonderful and their recollections of “how it was” are heartwarming.  While we’ve made a lot of changes to the program and marked improvements to the facility, we’ve tried very hard to maintain the quality and the style of service that we built our reputation on.  That will always be priority #1.


80805634w-1200x675.jpg

August 6, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Well it’s early August and our new guests arrived in bright sunshine and blue skies this morning, excited and smiling at their good fortune.  With a forecast of light variable winds and favourable tides, they know they could be in for something very special this week.  We’ve recently experienced some ups and downs weather-wise and have certainly seen how it can affect the anglers’success.  Fortunately our track record is pretty solid and it’s very rare to get a “bad”weather day without getting a “good”one in return.

Our two most recent trips are good examples. Last week moderate to strong northwesterlies limited access to some of the fishing grounds over the first couple of days and the catch record confirmed it.  But along came Thursday and everything changed.  We got out early and enjoyed a full day of fantastic fishing, enjoying the whole of the grounds and catching lots of fish.  Everyone picked up some Chinooks and got into some nice Coho offshore.  Most had managed to get one halibut earlier in the week and practically everyone got out to get a second on Thursday.  There was a buzz in the dining room that night with the energy provided by a banner day on the water.

Exciting Chinook action at QCLOvernight the winds swung to southeast and threatened to corner everybody at Edenshaw for the weekend.  Our new guests arrived and headed out, prepared for what Mother Nature was about to serve up.  Friday weather turned out to be pretty moderate and we saw a very respectable catch on the dock that night.  Saturday was definitely the test and the eastern grounds were not rewarding us with many treasures.  Oh, there were fish caught, but there was considerable time between bites.  At dinner we shared a favourable forecast for Sunday and surely everyone went to bed with their fingers crossed!

At 6:00 am, dawn broke with a patchy blue sky and just a light breeze.  It was a quick breakfast for sure and everybody was on their way.  Once again, easy access to any of your favourite spots feels fantastic and every guide had a plan.  Tides were moderate but still a factor to plan around, whether fishing for salmon inshore or bottom fishing on the outside.  Over the course of the day the Fishmaster reported decent catches going on practically everywhere; not much chatter on the radio, everybody was busy!

The beautiful sunny weather and great fishing saw most anglers lingering on the water right until the 8:00 pm call. Meanwhile, back at the Bell Ringer, the totes were lined up out the door.  The atmosphere down there was electric with cheers, jeers and high-fives going off all the time.  We didn’t weigh any monsters last night but the bell was ringing pretty steadily for some 30-something Chinooks, teen-sized Coho and a few halibut just too big to bring home!  The last fish hit the scale at 10:34 pm and the dining room was busy well after that!

In most of our daily lives we’ve created a  world with few limitations; we can get pretty much anything we want when we want it.  Part of the appeal of the fishing adventure is that lack of control.  Just being out in a wild place and experiencing everything it has to offer –“good”and “bad”- is a huge attraction for many of us.  And here at the Lodge, we’re privileged to watch that story unfold day after day!


80628012w-1200x675.jpg

July 29, 2018 Duane Foerter0

from our Fish Handling Supervisor

Each day I put on my signature red boots and head down to the dock, never too sure what is in store for me that day, but always eager to find out. I start my day in the freezer, sorting the previous day’s catch into each guest’s bin. A quick check against the catch boards, everything matches, perfect.

QCL Bell RingerEarly evening arrives and boats are starting to come back from the fishing grounds, ready to weigh in the day’s take and enjoy a beverage and some appies. The totes are lining up in the Bell Ringer, full of fish ready to be weighed. The music is on and the drinks are flowing. I look back and see a silver tail peeking up over the edge of a tote; it looks big. Standing nearby, an excited guest and guide can barely contain their smiles. Will it go 30? As each guide lays out the fish, I’m sure to check the tags to ensure the angler will receive their own fish, cut exactly the way they want. Fillet? Portion cutting? Smokehouse? Then it’s time to snap a quick photo with the catch before it’s recorded. By now, I know the guides well. I can usually guess which guest’s fish they’ll weigh first, second, third. In between weights, I catch snippets of fishing stories; the good one that got away, the near-misses and the close saves. A few times each night, it’s time for a ‘Bell Ringer’. Whether it be the perfect ‘turkey’ halibut, or a coveted ‘hog’, we celebrate just the same. After each fish is weighed, it is sorted into bins by cut, then off to the processing room it goes, where it is cut, washed and vacuum packed. From there, it hits the freezer, flash frozen for freshness for months to come.

QCL Bell Ringer

It’s the last night of the trip, and once all of the fish have been recorded, processed and sorted, it’s time to box them up to send out the following morning. The boxing team and I pack up every guest’s fish, checking the catch and recording the outgoing weight. As the morning sun is rising, we load the boxes onto “The Q”, sending them out to Masset, where they’ll fly south and be waiting for their owner in Vancouver.

Every day I am fortunate to be at the centre of the ruckus, recording each fish, celebrating each victory with guide and guest alike. This season has been one for the books, with near-daily Tyees, and many multiple-Tyee days. Our largest thus far has tipped the scale at 40.4 lbs. Coho fishing has been on, right from the get-go. We’ve seen plenty of ‘Silvers’ in the double digits all through July, and even some pushing close to the 15-pound mark moving into late July. The season high stands at 13.4 lbs, but I suspect we’ll see some bigger ones moving into August. This season has also brought an unusually high number of the most elusive salmon: the Sockeye. We had ten in one week! With the increase in Sockeye numbers, three boats have been able to complete the ‘Grand Slam’ of salmon fishing, one of each species. This season has also been strong for bottom fishing. Numerous Halibut north of the 50-pound mark have been released, and several have even taped out to more than 200 pounds, a real ‘barn door’ of a Halibut. June also brought about a large quantity of Pacific Cod. We caught more in one day than the entirety of last season! We also got to see a new kind of fish this year, landing our very first Alaskan Pollock. You never know what you’ll pull up when you drop a line down to the bottom!

I am lucky to have this unique vantage point which affords me the privilege of taking care of each and every fish brought back to the dock. The excitement of the scale draws the attention of veteran anglers and first-timers alike. Whether someone is looking for a guess on weight, a crash course in salmon identification, or just to take a photo, I’m always happy to help.

Breanne C


095A3321w-1200x675.jpg

July 12, 2018 Duane Foerter0

QCL salmon fishing successAs we enter the middle days of July, (and of the season!) we’re happy to report that things are cooking along just fine.  Fishing has been exceptional lately with incredible amounts of bait and salmon showing throughout the fishing grounds.  Herring, in particular, has been the common denominator that draws so much life around it.  Besides the extraordinary volume of salmon in the area, Humpback whales, white-sided dolphins and Dall’s porpoise are regular attendees at the party.  Anglers who find themselves in the midst of all this excitement return home with stories and memories to share for years.

Tyee Chinook salmon at QCL Haida GwaiiWhile the bulk of this bounty is found offshore in what would traditionally have been called the “halibut grounds” it’s nice to see that the inshore fishery is back on track.  Regular catches of 20-pound-plus Chinook salmon around the shoreline structure and kelp beds are the preferred pastime of many anglers and they’re happy too.  The Tyee bell has been ringing nightly, reporting nice catches of those larger fish in the 30-plus range.  Parker Point, Bird 2 and Green Point have been productive lately around the tide changes.  Veteran QCL angler John V released a big beauty last weekend that taped out to 39-pounds and yesterday Timothy M brought a big chrome beauty back to the Bell Ringer that tipped the scale at 39 as well.  Those are stunning fish guys!  Congratulations!

Halibut are completely distributed throughout Virago Sound and we catch them absolutely everywhere.  The regular flow of the tides in and out of Naden Harbour push the needlefish around and halibut love to come inshore to feed on them, providing exceptional opportunities to catch giant halibut in shallow water.  Many a giant has been played off the deck of the MV Driftwood as she’s anchored up in 40-feet of water at the Mazzaredo Islands.  Of course, when you drop your halibut bait to the bottom in search of the perfect 30-pounder you never know what you might find!  Such was the case for Sharon & Ward M yesterday when they hooked up with a heavy fish just east of “the Mazz” in 50-feet of water.  The excitement of pulling a big halibut up alongside the boat is soon accentuated by the anxiety of how to deal with it!  Thankfully in this case, QCL Dock Manager Ryan Ashton was in the area and jumped aboard to help out.  Sometimes the fish cooperates and a quick measurement is possible before an uneventful release.  Not this time.  They did manage to come up with a length of about 60-inches and they were able to remove the hook from the giant’s lip – but at a price!  Getting up close and personal to attend to business got Ryan well doused, repeatedly, and he returned to the lodge completely soaked, eager for a warm shower!  But the estimated 109-pounder was safely back on the bottom and Sharon & Ward had to drop down and try again for the perfect take home model.  Great job – well done!


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