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November 29, 2022 Bre Guolo0

The weather has officially shifted and the holiday season is nearly upon us! Like most, the QCL team is looking forward to all the upcoming festivities. While an amazing time for reflection and getting together with loved ones, we also know it can be overwhelming – Ensuring you have the right ingredients for family gathering meals and picking out the perfect gifts (especially for the ones who say they don’t need anything) can be time consuming endeavors. We’ve put together the QCL Holiday Gift Guide in hopes that we can help make finding the perfect gift for the angler in your life a smooth (and maybe an easier) process!

Connect with Kristine Renaud to order | [email protected] 800 688 8959

 

FOR THE BEST DRESSED

If you’re familiar with QCL, you’d know that every year we feature a new guest hat design. This tradition is 30+ years strong and typically reserved as an on-season exclusive.

Our 2022 hat was a fan favourite so we’ve made an exemption! Snag one before they’re gone!

 

FOR THE AVID ANGLER

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you or someone you know love to fish and any angler would appreciate an Islander reel. Available in 5 colours, the Islander MR3 mooching reel is sure to impress. Warning, fishing with an Islander might turn a hobby into a passion and passion into an obsession.

 

FOR THE ADVENTURE SEEKER

Go above and beyond, surprise your loved one with the fishing adventure of a lifetime. Connect with our team of Sales Executives to inquire about the limited opportunities remaining for 2023 or plan well in advance and explore the many options in 2024!

 

FOR THE FOODIE

Whether you’re buying for a seafood lover, aspiring chef or a master entertainer, Taste of B-Sea has something for all. Perfect for those who are looking to supplement their 2022 catch or for a friend that hasn’t yet had the chance to visit QCL, you can’t go wrong with the gift of premium seafood. QCL’s Taste of B-Sea program delivers Ocean Wise products from some of the most sustainable fisheries on the West Coast of British Columbia, straight to your door. https://www.queencharlottelodge.com/luxury-fishing-lodge/amenities/taste-of-b-sea/ 

Our Pre-Holiday Sale includes Lingcod ($29), Halibut ($40), Spot Prawns ($49) and Dungeness Crab Meat ($65). Stock up on these great options and check out what else Taste of B-Sea offers!

 

FOR THE TECH LOVER

As the world becomes more connected than ever, it’s important to keep that connection safe. Rep your favourite fishing adventure and protect your tech with our water and stain resistant laptop case – It’s a win, win!

 

FOR THOSE VISITING QCL

For those who already have a trip booked to QCL, we’ve added in a few of our favourite items to have at the Lodge.

  1. We always want our guests to remain as comfortable as possible on the water. Time flies when you’re having fun and catching fish, but not if you’re a little cold or wet. A warm pair of gloves, warm toque or wool socks would make for a perfect stocking stuffer!
  2. For the beginner or veteran, every angler needs a pair of sunglasses. Protection on the water is a necessity – Plus, everyone can do with a stylish pair of polarized glasses to reduce the glare and create a clearer view of the water.
  3. While it’s the middle of summer during our season’s, we never really know what the weather will be in the Pacific Northwest. Sneaking base layers under the tree is a sure fire way to ensure your loved one stays warm in between all the rod action or until reeling in the fish of their dreams!
  4. Haida Gwaii is full of abundant wildlife both on and off the water. A pair of waterproof binoculars would not be a bad item to pack!

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August 24, 2022 Duane Foerter0

Amazing August!  QCL guests have enjoyed so much epic adventure up here this summer that it’s hard to see how it could get any better.  But these past weeks have delivered that “trip of a lifetime” experience for many.  The fishing overall has been steady… the big fish are not as plentiful as we’ve come to expect, but the action is consistent, and anglers aren’t spending too much time in their seats!  Going home with a nice box of beautiful wild salmon, halibut and lingcod is a precious treat that will be shared and savoured for months to come.

Small tides and light winds in the past week have really opened the door all day to bottom fishing, so our guests are really getting their fill of jiggin’ the deep!  It’s yielding outstanding catches of halibut, lingcod and Pacific cod.  This coincides nicely with a recent regulation change from DFO allowing sport anglers to retain a third halibut under 90 cm if they don’t have one larger than 90.

While most of our guides are still committing some part of their day to fishing inshore in search of big Chinooks, they’re finding good success on all salmon species while trolling offshore in 200-240 feet of water.  That’s typical for late season salmon and the results have been good!  We’re finally seeing more Coho in the 10-plus class, mixed in with powerful 16-20 pound Chinooks.  Every so often a big, bright Chum hooks up and delivers that outstanding battle that they’re known for!  Back at the Bell Ringer the Tyee bell is ringing every night for a wide array of big catches – from 40-50 pound halibut, to 30-pound-plus Lingcod and, of course, Tyee Chinooks over 30-pounds, some retained and some released.  There’s always cause for celebration down there!

August weather has been particularly warm and dry, so long days spent out in a boat are pretty sweet… especially with a nice social lunch break at the Driftwood to catch up with friends and compare notes.  With only 3 trips remaining in this 2022 season after Friday, we’re thankful that the fishing and the weather continue to cooperate and all of our guests, some of whom have waited since 2019 to get here, are getting the QCL adventure experience that they were hoping for!


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August 9, 2022 Duane Foerter0

A classic northwesterly system is bringing us big blue skies this week – the staff are enjoying our version of beach life and our guests are doing the great drift on the seas rolling down from Shag Rock past Cape Naden.  While there are excellent opportunities hunting for Chinooks that lurk around the kelp beds at Yatze, the Bird Rocks and Parker Point, the offshore drift along the 120-foot line is usually quite productive and fairly unpredictable in these conditions. Depending on your depth you can hit good numbers of Cohos and Chinook, but you can also find lots of action from Pink and Chum salmon along the way.  Bottom fishing will have to wait for Thursday when we will be able to access the offshore waters again.

We’ve seen some great Chinook action this past week with a number of big Tyees in the area.  Normand B masterfully brought a huge Chinook to the net for his guide Alex K on Thursday… after a measurement and a quick pic Alex carefully revived the big beauty to watch it pull away with a few strokes of its massive tail.  She scored at 49-pounds and was cause for some serious celebration at the Bell Ringer on the final night of the trip!  Great job guys and Congratulations! 

On the weekend Myron N was able to follow suit, releasing a stellar 33-pounder with his guide Chris M.  Bill G celebrated a 31 on the dock on Sunday along with a nice 32-pounder for John M to cap off a terrific weekend of salmon action.  We also had outstanding lingcod catches on Friday when Mo N returned to the dock with an impressive 32-pounder, only to be upstaged by his fishing partner Scott N, who weighed a 42 – the largest of the season so far!  Kudos to their angling skills – and those of their guide Alex!


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July 27, 2022 Duane Foerter0

While we’re enjoying big blue skies and bright, sunny conditions this week, northwesterly winds blowing 15 to 25 are keeping anglers down inside the shelter of Virago Sound.  Salmon fishing continues to be productive with consistent catches of Coho and Chinooks in the near-shore waters.  An 11-foot morning flood tide moving with the westerlies provides decent opportunities to get offshore far enough to pick up some bottomfish, before the ebb starts and the sea gets a bit lumpy for comfort!

Given good conditions, QCL anglers do very well on halibut and lingcod while they’re here.  Modern Navionics and depth sounders have mapped the undersea world to the point that guides are able to navigate an amazing world down 200-300 feet below.  With the right skillset and some creative planning, they’re finding excellent catches of tasty lingcod and halibut.  Challenges enough remain to keep it a very interesting exercise for anglers to put a few in the box!  But those rewards are some of the finest fish dinners they’ll ever have!

Lingcod are very common and plentiful in the area and are carefully managed by Fisheries & Oceans.  Anglers may retain 3 lingcod per day so the possession limit on a trip is 6.  They can be found in less than 100 feet of water near shore but we typically fish for them offshore among pinnacles at depths of 200-300 feet.  They are extremely structure-oriented so anglers must work hard to get on the structure long enough to present the jig/bait before drifting off with wind or tide.  Lots of repositioning of the boat, lots of reeling and, lots of reeling!  But the medium-firm, moist, and flavourful white flesh of lingcod is well worth the effort!

Lingcod can live 20-25 years and females mature at 3-5 years of age at an average length of 24-30 inches.  They spawn in nests / crevices from December into March, and the males guard the nests until the eggs hatch.  That’s why lingcod season is closed mid-November thru April 1st – they guard aggressively and are extremely vulnerable to anglers.  Lingcod are highly susceptible to overfishing so they are closely managed from the Aleutian Islands all the way to Baja California!


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June 29, 2022 Duane Foerter0

It’s hard to believe… but June is almost over!  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, with full house trips right off the bat and a “green but keen” new crew to bring up to speed in a hurry.  But we have to say, it’s been a great start to the season with tons of memorable experiences and stories being created.

We’ve seen an unusually solid streak of moderate northwesterly weather in the latter half of this month, bringing lots of sunshine, but still cool temperatures.  Fishing in general had a slower start with delayed spring runoff from the mainland river systems and cold water, but by mid-June the migratory salmon were showing up in numbers and we’ve been catching all 5 salmon species ever since.  Lots of teen-sized Chinooks have dominated the catch and we’re seeing more 20-plus fish and Tyees reported every day.  Mark N boated a nice 32-pounder on the weekend with guide Nick R and Daniel T had an awesome trip, combining a 30-pound Chinook with a 32-pound lingcod!  Most anglers are going home with several “other” salmon, mostly a tasty combination of Coho and Pinks these days.

Our bottom fishing has always been outstanding out on the grounds with anglers’ favourite spots marked at depths from 175 to 325 feet!  But some know there are places where, at the right stage of the tide, large halibut are regularly caught in as little as 30-feet of water!  Just ask Brian M who boated a 49-pounder just a few minutes from the lodge or Desmond F who pulled a 55-pound halibut right out from beneath the Driftwood at Bird 2!  Sometimes in life, an in fishing, it helps to think outside the box!  Good work guys!


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September 7, 2021 Duane Foerter0

It’s fair to say that most anglers who travel to Haida Gwaii on a fishing trip dream of catching a big Chinook salmon, what we call a Tyee or, as our American friends like to say, “a big Kang”!  It’s easy to understand why.  In these cold northern waters, they are the kings, the royalty of the fish world!  Sleek and powerful and bright chrome silver, a large Chinook salmon over 30 pounds will certainly test the angler and their tackle.  And it’s never over until they’re lying in the bottom of the boat!

But if you ask these same anglers what fish they prefer on the dinner plate, the answer will often be halibut!  It might be the nice meaty texture, the brilliant whiteness when it’s cooked or the subtle, non-fishy flavour and aroma of fresh-cooked halibut that holds so much appeal.

In our early days when we used smaller boats and engines, we had no technology like depth sounders and GPS.  The halibut tackle was pretty light duty, and most anglers didn’t want to spend much time hunting for halibut.  In fact, many halibut were caught as bycatch while mooching with a weighted rod for salmon!   We’ve always been spoiled in Virago Sound, the halibut fishing is never too far from shore and anglers would make a quick run out to the “chicken coop” on the 180-foot line. They’d drop a herring down to the bottom and, in short order, they’d have their two fish limit – enough to keep a promise to their partner at home – and then it was back to working the kelp beds for that big Chinook.

But how the world has changed!  We used to use very rough triangulation to remember our halibut holes – line up that big old spruce snag with that point over there and stay even with that big rock on the beach, and you should be close to “the spot!” Well… maybe!

Nowadays we’ve planted so many X’s on the water that pretty well everyone has their own, favourite halibut hole!  Modern depth sounders synchronize with apps on your smartphone to actively upload depth and structure data to the cloud.  The detailed maps created of the seafloor have revealed a whole new underwater world, out beyond the kelp beds.  Sea mounts, pinnacles, rock piles and gravel benches provide habitats for all different species of fish and affect the tidal currents and feeding areas for baitfish.  What was, not long ago, a great, invisible, underwater mystery, is now a seascape for exploration and discovery.

We have lots of guests up here every trip who are quite happy to spend most of their time offshore doing just that.  We have larger, safer and more comfortable boats and tackle that can handle the proverbial “barn door” halibut.  We’re also able to find other species like lingcod and Pacific cod.  All of these fish are well managed and the limits are kept low to prevent overfishing of the stocks. And, of course, just because you know where they should be, doesn’t mean you’re going to catch them!  Afterall, it’s still called fishing… not catching!

All that being said, here’s a good fish story…

On Saturday morning, Curtis, Jen and Colin were salmon fishing, self-guided, near the Mazzaredo Islands. This is a location, well inside Virago Sound, where the water depth ranges between 30 and 70 feet.  It’s been very productive salmon water for much of the summer, so they were trolling for Chinook salmon with cut-plug herring.  Curtis had just rigged a new herring and tossed it into the water to set up the downrigger.  As the herring started to sink, he noticed some movement below it and leaned over to have a better look… just in time to see the dark shadow open up to reveal a huge white mouth that inhaled his shiny herring!  The shadow moved alongside the boat and then back down, flipping a wide brown tail that had to be 18-inches across!  In shock, Curtis grabbed the rod from the holder and hung on.  The sounder said 32-feet, so the giant fish couldn’t sound too far!  But the hook was in its mouth and the 11-foot mooching rod was soon arched over in a half-circle with the line singing tight.  Typically, a battle with a halibut is a weight-lifting exercise, with a short, 6-foot pool cue of a rod that bends a little at the tip.  It’s often a straight lift with lots of give and take and usually happens in 200-300 feet of water, so there’s lots of lifting to do!  In such shallow water Curtis’s fish had nowhere to go but out, so he held on as best he could while his boat-mates stowed the downriggers and made ready to chase down this sea monster.  Fortunately for them, the tug-o-war was over in about 15-minutes as Curtis was able to maneuver the huge halibut alongside their boat; quite a feat considering the noodly salmon rod!  They used another salmon rod as a measuring stick and after several attempts concluded that this giant was about six and a half feet long – 79 inches in length!  It was in no mood to have anyone poking around in its mouth to retrieve the barbless bronze salmon hook so they cut the line after taking a few photos and the giant halibut disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived!  A look at the IPHC Halibut Chart revealed that this big female weighed about 265 pounds!  Considering where halibut usually live, Curtis’s opportunity to witness this giant take the bait was a rare occasion indeed.  While it’s not unusual for us to catch halibut, even big ones, in close to shore like this, we’ve never seen one this big actually brought to the boat.  Well done Curtis, Jen and Colin!  Surprises like this keep us all interested and excited to get out on the water any chance we can!


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August 10, 2021 Duane Foerter0

A challenging but very rewarding fishery here at Queen Charlotte Lodge is the search for lingcod near the underwater peaks and shelves that litter the ocean floor. Feeding on the flood, these aggressive predators snap at nearby bait and lures alike with their powerful jaws and gripping front teeth. Nothing prepares you for the first time you haul up a large ling-dinger and see the head emerge out of the dark depths as you crank away on your sturdy Avet saltwater reel!

Before coming to work at QCL in 2017, most of my saltwater fishing experience consisted of chasing around small lingcod with buzzbombs in the inshore waters of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast region. From my dad, I learned to gut and clean my catch, and how to carefully separate the filets from the carcass. We’d cook the ling with lemon and butter, perhaps some parsley or tarragon if we were feeling adventurous.

Just as my lingcod fishing has evolved, so too has my culinary technique; in the kitchen today, we don’t just stop at lemon, butter and herbs for our lingcod dish. Inspired by similar latitudes on the other side of the North Pacific, the lingcod dish I chose to serve at QCL fuses local line-caught lingcod with Japanese ingredients and techniques for a dish packed with flavour and steeped with memories.

We start by making the tentsuyu broth, which is a slightly sweet Japanese broth commonly served with fried tempura items like tofu, vegetables or ebi. The broth starts with simmering shitake mushrooms, to which we add kombu (a dried kelp), mirin (sweet cooking wine), rice wine vinegar and tamari (gluten free soy sauce). Once these ingredients have begun to release their impressive flavours, we briefly add and steep some katsuobushi (dried and smoked bonito flakes). After ten minutes we remove the bonito and simmer the broth for another thirty minutes. The combination of kombu, katsuobushi, and mushrooms imparts an intense umami flavour. Umami is that meaty, savoury mushroomy-anchovy-raw tuna hard to quantify but “you know it when you taste it” taste.

Once our broth is prepared, the rest of the dish comes together quite quickly. Into a hot blue-steel pan we add a tablespoon of grapeseed oil, chosen for its neutral flavour and relatively high smoke point. Our lingcod filet is then slid into the hot pan, with the side first touching the pan intended to be our presentation side once all the cooking is complete. After a few minutes, gently flip the lingcod, and reduce the heat to the pan to just cook the fish through to medium-moist. You don’t want to overcook this lean white fish!

In another hot pan we start a brief sauté of sofrito (onions, garlic, and olive oil), into which we add a season mix of mushrooms, including chanterelles, baby king oyster, maitake (hen of the woods) and shimeji, as well as five Salt Spring Island mussels. After one minute, we add three halved fingerling potatoes which have been braised with some of the tentsuyu broth sous vide (under vacuum) in an immersion circulator. The potatoes are packed with that umami flavour and form the base for the plating of the dish. A short simmer with some vegetable stock under a lid to open the mussels and heat the potatoes through and we are ready to plate.

Into a wide bowl we evenly distribute the halved potatoes, forming a base upon which we can build some height and drama for the finished dish. Naturally allow the mushrooms to fall around the potatoes, settling into the bottom of the bowl. The mussels are placed around the potatoes, showcasing the delicious bite within each shell. On top of this umami platform, we place the just-cooked lingcod filet, crispy golden side up.

The final stage of the dish involves the garnishes, of which there are three. First, we do a quick pickle of thinly sliced radish, just a minute or so in a combination of rice wine vinegar, mirin and a touch of Maldon salt (a large-flaked English sea salt). As the radishes are absorbing the slightly sweet and acidic pickle, we quickly dip a cluster of enoki mushrooms and a few slices of wakame or yakinori (both types of seaweed packed with umami) in a loose tempura batter, and quickly fry them until crispy and golden brown. A quick toss in some house made furikake (a Japanese spice mix consisting of bonito flakes, seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar and salt) and our crispy nori and mushroom hay is ready to crown the piece of fish. The radishes are naturally set up against the other ingredients to showcase their colour contrast and provide some freshness, as well as some balance to the other flavours.

Once we have assembled the stacked potatoes, mussels, mushrooms, seared fish, and garnished with our pickles and crispy components, the last thing to do is to pour some piping hot tentsuyu broth into the bottom of the bowl. The heady aromas, intense layers of umami, seared and flaky white fish, lightly pickled radish, and fun and frivolous crispy tempura garnish are all essential parts to one of my favourite, and deeply personal, dishes on the QCL menu this year.

QCL Chef Chris Green


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June 21, 2019 Duane Foerter0

Barn Door Halibut at QCLAs 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!

QCL salmon fishingThe 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.


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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 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