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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!


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June 3, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Well its finally here, the first day of the season!  All the hard work and anticipation has been for this moment, when the first group of guests show up on property and we finally get to head out on the water. For us returning guides it’s back to business as usual as we take our seat and settle into the best office in the world with a view that’s nothing short of world class. The sound of the helicopter flying in is a familiar one, the look of excitement and anticipation as people walk down the dock is contagious, and there is nothing that beats hearing the fleet of boats powering up as they leave the harbour to take eager fishermen out on the water. To me this is familiarity, this place is home, these waters are calming. I look forward to all the new people I’ll be meeting this summer, all the familiar faces that make the pilgrimage to this special place every year and spending time on the water with the friends I’ve made over the years. I look forward to a season of telling stories, hearing new ones and most importantly making new ones.

Welcome to the 2018 season at QCL in Haida Gwaii. Let’s get after it, and go get ‘em!!

Regards,

Dan Rainville
Lead Guide


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May 17, 2018 Duane Foerter0
A few decades ago, it was all about catching a big fish. Most visitors to remote fishing resorts and lodges were only hooked on fishing; accommodations and amenities were barely a thought. Nowadays people come for the experience. In fact, some guests don’t even care if they catch a fish. Being there, immersing yourself in nature is reward enough.

Some resorts have no trouble baiting travelers angling for luxury. After you’ve been out on the briny blue, celebrating over cocktails with your new fishing chums, immerse yourself in a hot tub, tuck into chef-prepared superb cuisine with fine wines and then drift off under plump duvets and sheets made of the finest Egyptian cotton next to your private bathroom. Several fishing lodges are land-based, where you can stroll pristine sandy beaches, hike through old growth forest. Or spend the afternoon watching wildlife—whale sightings are the norm.

However, there’s nothing like the thrill of reeling in a big fish. For beginning anglers, a good day’s fishing can be a crapshoot, but not in the waters surrounding these resorts. The rugged shoreline of the Central Coast, the west coast of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii provide ideal habitat for vast shoals of baitfish. There are countless nooks and crannies for salmon, as well as gravel banks and pinnacles for halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. Snagging a salmon is more the rule than the exception – the resort guides know exactly where ocean fish are biting.

There are fishing lodges and resorts throughout B.C. that can provide all-inclusive packages– including accommodation, meals, fishing gear and service– to meet most budgets. Here are a few of B.C.’s finest…

Queen Charlotte Lodge, Haida Gwaii

This remote part of the world is a welcome escape from daily life, and Queen Charlotte Lodge (QCL), on the northern shores of Haida Gwaii in Naden Harbour, offers a unique mix of adventure and comfort, friendship and fun.

Once the site of an old whaling station, QCL sits on 20 acres, surrounded by old-growth forest and beachfront. It offers five different kinds of accommodation, from the main lodge with 24 rooms to private chalets with private chefs. While nowhere can guarantee that you’ll catch a fish, QCL guarantees you’ll never be hungry, and you’re spoilt for choice.

For instance, the main dining room offers three appetizers, six entrees and three desserts, with a big barbecue buffet the night you arrive. Variety kicks in at other venues:  Chef at the Buoy Teppanyaki House will prepare surf ‘n’ turf at your table, or maybe you prefer to hang out at the Bell Ringer and pick a lobster from the live tank after enjoying just-prepared salmon and albacore tuna sushi (all Ocean Wise) at the Kingfisher lounge…

A typical day:

4.30 a.m. Full-on breakfast in the main lodge or if you need to be on the water before dawn, cappuccino and breakfast sandwich to go at the dock.
6 a.m.: Catch 20lb chinook salmon
9 a.m.: Stop by the Driftwood (anchored on the fishing grounds) for a bathroom break, coffee and muffin.
11 a.m. -2 p.m.: BBQ lunch on the Driftwood, including salad bar, chowder and chili.
5 p.m.: Cocktails (go for the Twin Creek Smash) and pub snacks at the Bell Ringer, a social house with a weigh scale and excellent bartender. Here is where you tell stories and trade lies and your catch is weighed. Party central.
7 p.m.: Main lodge for dinner: Ponzu-cured Albacore or BC spot prawns followed by herb-crusted halibut and an extensive wine list.
9 p.m.:  Kingfisher Lounge downstairs with port and cheese or Irish Coffee around the fireplace.
Charters depart Fridays and Mondays from Vancouver to Masset for three- or four-night stays from June through August.  All-inclusive fly-in fishing packages start at $4,895.

queencharlottelodge.com

Jane MundyJANE MUNDY

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April 24, 2018 Duane Foerter0

In case you missed it, we made an appearance on local TV this week.  Hospitality Manager Jin Chong was under the bright lights on Monday morning at Vancouver Global TV, sharing a tasty lingcod recipe.  It’s all part of a current promotion series we’re doing with PostMedia.  There’s a trip for two up for grabs with Global TV running this week thru Sunday April 29th.  You can enter online on the Global TV contest page.

The studio was filled with the fantastic aroma of soya, ginger, garlic, sake, sugar and seared lingcod filet!  That’s for good reason as Jin’s recipe is Ginger Soy Lingcod with Dungeness Lo Mein – and it is delicious!  Here a link to the video lesson and the recipe!  https://globalnews.ca/news/4162566/ginger-soy-lingcod-with-dungeness-lo-mein-recipe/

This recipe is also included out new cookbook, available at the lodge this summer, A Taste of QCL 2.  Here’s the recipe in the cookbook:

A Taste of QCL



April 9, 2018 Duane Foerter0

With less than eight weeks to go before Opening Day there’s lots of excitement around here!  Are you ready?

Every day on the water is an adventure at Queen Charlotte Lodge! It might the fishing, or the magnificent environment, the good friends on board or the crazy stories you shared. But it’s something we all treasure and we love to do it at QCL!


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January 10, 2018 Duane Foerter2

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 salmon 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!)


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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


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August 5, 2017 Duane Foerter0

August has roared in with the welcome return of some northwesterly winds and it’s marvelous! What we generally think of as the prevailing summer winds have been strangely absent this year. Weeks of southerlies – swinging from southeast to southwest – have made for nice gentle seas and easy access to the expansive fishing grounds. But northwest winds serve to drive the bait to the northern shores of Haida Gwaii and into our home waters of Virago Sound in particular. And we all know that where there’s bait… there’s great fishing! Of course we won’t sneeze at the gorgeous sunshine and warm temperatures that are mighty uplifting for all of the staff around the lodge as well!

QCL salmon fishingAs a result we’re quite happy to report that the fishing has turned on quite nicely this week. Chinook action has moved back onshore and QCL anglers are finding lots of nice chunky salmon in all the traditional haunts – Bird 2 has seen some nice hot bites in recent days, the waters from Cape Naden to Bird 1 have produced some Tyee action and the kelp beds in front of Yatze bay are providing pretty steady results, especially on the flood tides. Derald W boated a stunning big Tyee while fishing with veteran QCL guide Ryan Winger on Tuesday. He always tries to release his big fish but unfortunately this one couldn’t be revived and at the Bell Ringer it tipped the scale at 42 pounds. We also saw several nice Tyees in the 30-plus range on the board this past week. We’ve been trolling up Coho all over the offshore waters recently but are now seeing decent numbers showing up closer to shore. The average size is still 7-9 pounds but we are getting some beauties over 10 pounds starting to appear, as we would expect for this point of the season.

QCL halibut fishingThe halibut fishing continues to be a nice reliable part of the experience and lodge guests have been happily picking up some nice “chickens” for the fish box while releasing a number of big females over 60 pounds. Andre C released a giant that taped out to just over 100 lb., Eric S. reeled up a 134 and Haydn S. got a serious workout pulling up an 82 pounder followed by a bigger one that taped out to 123! Lots of great fish stories go along with these catches to be sure.

Looking ahead, the northwesterlies are forecast to continue right through next week so we’ll keep the sunscreen on the table and be ready in the Bell Ringer to celebrate many more great catches! Stay tuned!


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August 3, 2017 Duane Foerter1

Halibut fishing has become more popular than ever at QCL and with good reason.  “Back in the day” most of our guests picked up a couple of random halibut while mooching for salmon and they were happy with that; not going offshore to jig for halibut meant more time for catching salmon!  With the introduction of GPS mapping of the fishing grounds many anglers have found their own favourite fishing holes and return to them year after year.  Releasing all of those big breeding females over 75-pounds has been a good thing too.  As a result, many QCL guests make fishing for halibut and lingcod a priority during their stay.

We know that there are some big fish out there; some really big fish.  It’s not unusual for us to see a number of halibut in excess of 100-pounds released every week.  And sometimes they are massive – over 6-feet in length.  Well last week, working with some largish tides, lodge guest Derek Benson and his father spent some time in a couple of boats with friends, fishing offshore in the hunt for a big halibut.  They tried out a few of our favourite waypoints but found their best luck over a hump 215 feet down.  There was a fair bit of excitement when they returned to the lodge and shared their many photos and videos of the results!

Derek tells the story pretty well!

“We pulled up to our GPS mark at “Hali-wood”, knowing we were in a good spot from the sizable halibut lost there the day before.  Dropping back down to the same spot, my Dad hooks up.  Thirty minutes later we are cheering over the 254 lb. halibut lying alongside of the boat.  I had laid my 7-foot rod down to her and it was 6” short of the tip.  After a quick release, I reset on the GPS mark and dropped the same jig back down.  The fight started as I was adjusting the Lowrance sounder with one hand and jigging the rod with my other.  After 15 minutes of not raising the halibut up an inch, I asked my Dad to get the boat in gear and start circling around her.  My plan was to get momentum on the halibut to help angle her up, rather than trying to lift her straight up, with the boat in neutral.  An hour later (and 30 corkscrews later!) we gasp in disbelief at the width and length of this fish.  Again I laid my 7-foot rod on top of the fish, and there was still nearly a foot of fish extending past the rod!  It then took another 30 minutes to unhook it and 3 more times to the surface.  I was using my Shimano Teramar rod and Shimano Talica 16 2-speed, a tuna setup but multi-purpose.  Measuring out to 94 ½ inches it converted to 474 lb. on the IPHC chart.  This was definitely the fish of a lifetime, and I’m happy to say, it was safely released.”

Congratulations to Derek and his crew on a great angling achievement!  Two years ago we recorded a fish for Bruce Severson and George Best that measured out to 90 inches in length for a score of 405 pounds and we doubted that we would ever see another fish in that league.  This one certainly is and we’ll be happy to add Derek’s 474-pounder to the QCL record book!  We’ve seen a lot of great fish up here and we’re always in awe of the quality of our fishery!  Every time a new record is set, we’re happy to celebrate it!

QCL halibut 474QCL Halibut recordQCL Halibut 474QCL halibut record 474QCL Halibut Record


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July 21, 2017 Duane Foerter0

The Tyee Bell was ringing last night in celebration of a couple of the season’s largest catches.  We just love celebrating at the Bell Ringer!

Joe & Ruth H spent some quality time on the halibut grounds this week with their guide Jake Harach… and they made the most of it!  Ruth boated a perfect “over” at 51 pounds but Joe had to contend with some serious heavy lifting.  He got his 30-minute workout wrangling a massive fish that taped out to 71 inches in length for a calculated weight of 187 pounds.  A few quick photos alongside the boat and a measurement and then she was gone with a splash!  Eighteen cracks of the bell on Thursday night and presentation of a gold halibut pin capped a great week of fishing.

Ten-year-old Hayden B returned to the lodge this week with his Grandpa Sam and his Aunt & Uncle to share their annual fishing adventure.  Hayden was learning to use the single-action salmon gear that we use on the BC coast and he was making good progress, albeit with a few bruises and mixed success.  On Thursday morning their veteran guide “Rainman” Dan chose to “turn right” to fish the kelp beds past Cape Edenshaw and they hooked up with “a real good fish.”  It was Hayden’s time.

And he was up to the task – kept the tip up and didn’t lock up on the Islander!  Twenty minutes of tug-o-war and Dan slipped the net beneath a very sizable salmon.  Here was one excited young man!  Of course he was dying to know how big his fish was but managed to stay out all day.  When his turn at the scale came at the Bell Ringer last night there were lots of bets on the size of Hayden’s fish.  “Rainman” hoisted the big beauty onto the hook and covered the numbers while the scaled settled.  Seconds later he lifted his hand… 45-pounds was the weight!  Welcome to the Tyee Club Hayden!  That’s a marvelous catch and quite an achievement for a young angler.  Congratulations!  With a little boost from his guide he gave the Tyee Bell four good dings to a huge round of applause from the crowd, a moment that we’re sure he’ll remember for a very long time.


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