The tides of August have been generous so far and QCL anglers have certainly enjoyed the benefits! The salmon action has been outstanding, particularly for beautiful strong Chinooks in the 15-25-pound class. We’re getting them inshore in all the favourite places too. Coho action has been productive but more widespread, with anglers generally targeting waters a little farther offshore in 150-225 feet, fishing from the surface down to around 60-feet. The numbers are there but the bulk of Coho are still averaging under 10-pounds, a little lighter than normal for this time of the season. But no one is complaining with these chrome-silver bullets providing tons of exciting action wherever we find them! Down at the Bell Ringer, the sound of the Tyee Bell is pretty common each evening with a few over-30’s being either reported or weighed-in every trip.
This week our two largest Chinooks, both scoring out at 42-pounds, were released. Fishing with veteran QCL guide Tegan Baxter, Ray P turned back a stunning fish on Monday and on Thursday an equally impressive Tyee was released by Odon D and his guide Kyle Bell. Great work guys and thanks for choosing to release those amazing fish!
With only 5 trips left to go for the 2019 season we’re super-thrilled to see such consistent fishing and particularly good weather! There’s no space left this year but we’d certainly encourage anyone hoping to come up next summer to make plans now as most everyone is talking about their return trip in 2020!
Well it was WTF (Women that Fish) Derby weekend here at QCL, with 13 ladies from various locations across North America. The conditions have been excellent with calm seas and fairly clear skies. This has made for a very amusing couple of days on the water, with some decent fish being caught and lots of laughs!
Today we decided to spend the morning grinding it out at Cape Naden in hopes of hooking a derby winner. After a slow start we managed to put three teen-sized Chinook in the box before lunch. We also had the privilege of watching an amazing show put on by a Humpback whale that was feeding out on the horizon. All in all in it was a great morning on the water!
After lunch we decided to grab a couple halibut and then finished the day back at Naden, where we managed a nice 20lber that put up a very acrobatic fight! With another beauty day in the forecast to finish off the WTF Derby, I am looking forward to spending another day searching for the big one that the ladies have been referring to as “Walter”.
Tights lines from Naden Harbour!
It’s another beautiful June day in Haida Gwaii and guests David, Ariel and myself have formulated our game plan for the day. We’re headed to Bird Rock One excited to ‘stick and stay and make it pay’. As we run out to the fishing grounds the blue sky pokes its head through the clouds, weather is warm, drinks are cold and we’re excited. Dropping in on the west side of Bird One to fish the eddy forming in the bay we look around to see we are the only boat; however we are not quite alone as we are greeted by a big black bear combing the beach beside us. While watching the bear enjoy the beautiful beaches along the fishing grounds we drop our gear and begin trolling. First pass through and we hook into our first fish of the day, a nice 15 pound chinook! The boys get the gear back in the water quickly and we drop in for another pass. Shortly after working along we hook into our second fish of the day. This time we were able to land a nice and very scrappy 25 pounder! Spirits and excitement are even higher now as we drop in again to troll between Bird Rock One and Cape Naden. This time it takes a little longer but the fish hits and takes off running! After peeling 100 feet of line three separate times we are able to get this fish closer to the boat and get a look at it… and it’s a good one! Dave keeps his cool playing the fish as Ariel and I look at each other with excitement. After a long and well fought 10 minute battle, the fish is in the net and the Tyee beers are being cracked in celebration of this beautiful 32 pound Chinook!
As the tide begins to slack off we decide to go out halibut fishing and head off shore. After some hard work jigging at a few hundred feet the boys land two nice halibut and it’s off to the Driftwood for lunch. They’d worked up quite the appetite! Once refuelled and recharged we head out hunting for that last chinook. Working along the face of Parker Point we are able to get a couple bites but nothing stuck right away. However, we resort back to our stick and stay plan and after an hour land our fourth and final Chinook. Next stop was back to the Bell Ringer to celebrate another great day out on the water full of many laughs and some great fish! While there’s no such thing as a bad day out on the waters of Haida Gwaii, this one was definitely a day to remember!
One of the special privileges of being a guide is having the opportunity to be a part of some truly unforgettable moments on the water, creating memories that last a lifetime. Last Sunday morning, Father’s Day, Grady White 107 was cutting its way through the glassy ocean with myself and 3 generations of family, a classic father, son and grandfather fishing team.
Anticipation was high as we dropped in at Klashwun Point, low slack was approaching and there was hardly another boat in sight. As we began working the formidable structure of Big Point, reminiscent of an ancient ruined castle, we were treated to a show of humpbacks breaching and eagles dive bombing boiling balls of needlefish. The only thing missing were the salmon! After hours of fishing with only one feeder sized chinook landed and released, the current soon pushed all the baitfish out past the point. Our high hopes faded and we decided it was time to make a move.
After the boys had a burger break on the MV Driftwood, we decided to roll the dice and cruise across Virago Sound to Cape Edenshaw. We set up in Piggy’s Bay and I only had time to put in one rod when it suddenly lurched violently. Fish On! After boating a beautiful 20 pounder, we set up again and quickly hit a double header. Looks like we found the spot! Pure pandemonium ensued over the next several hours, with beautiful, hard fighting Chinooks refusing to leave us alone. The highlight fish was a serious reel-melter that later weighed in at 29.4 pounds- a true “Tryee”! I for one can’t think of a better way to spend quality time with family and friends than experiencing this one-of-a-kind fishery in such a beautiful and remote corner of the world. It’s my privilege to be able to introduce people to the amazing migratory salmon of Haida Gwaii every day – it’s a dream come true.
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!
It’s amazing that they can predict weather a week in advance and when the day comes, it actually happens exactly as promised! That brief 6-hour burst of southeasterly wind that sent us to the shelter of Cape Edenshaw yesterday was bang on the money. It didn’t blow quite so hard as we’d feared but it blew. All is well.
Guests on our third trip of the season were treated to beautiful days on Friday and Saturday and they sure made the most of it! Greasy flat water, skies just sunny enough and hungry fish everywhere. We’re starting to see the salmon species mix coming –we saw only Chinooks last week but now we’re getting some Coho, Chum and Pink salmon as well. The Tyee count continues with a 31 for Richard M, and a 34 pounder for Chris M on Friday.
Robert N caught and released our third 40+ Chinook while fishing with guide Tristan O’Brian at Yatze, taping the big beauty out to 42 pounds! Way to go Robert! Nice to see those amazing big Chinooks swim away from the boat! Five more Tyees on Saturday included yet another giant released! QCL guide Kylie Tokairin was working the legendary structure of east bay Parker Point when her guest Andrew M set the hook on a solid fish. Twenty thrill-filled minutes later Kylie was releasing a gorgeous big Chinook that they’d just taped out to 44 pounds! That makes four over forty in the first eight days of the season! Sure is nice to see! Congratulations to all involved and we’ll hope these big spawners find their way safely back to their home streams this summer!
With only a couple days left to go before we open up for the 2019 season, you can imagine that we’re a pretty busy bunch around here! While the lodge staff and the kitchen crew are shining up their programs, it’s the guides that most people want to hear from right about now!
The weather has been stunning this past week and we’ve had boats on the water every day. The guides are treating the staff to some quality fishing time and everybody comes out a winner. Moderate northwesterlies come with all this sunshine so the water has been a little choppy at times. We’ve focused on the western grounds from Cape Naden to Klashwun Point, working the inshore tacks around the rocks as well as the offshore zone…doing the Haida Drift between the two points.
Most boats are getting into a few Chinooks; feisty feeders in the mid-teens are making up the bulk of the catch. We’ve seen a few in the twenties but haven’t found a Tyee yet! It’s only a matter of time! Anchovies and spoons are producing but so are the guys running herring. There was a 21 and a 25 on the dock last night so we’re finding the usual mix for this early in the season. It’s worth noting that we have not fished any prime time, no morning or evening fishing, and only for 4-hour blocks of time in mid-day. So the guides are keen to get started fishing full-time this weekend and really see what’s out there!
Tides will be moderate this weekend with swings of about 12 feet on the morning floods. These westerlies will give way to just a few hours of southerly weather on Friday (showers and very light wind) before returning to moderate west for Saturday and fading out to light variable on Sunday. Temperatures will be cool, just 12-14 degrees. Perfect fishing weather!
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.