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July 20, 2023 Bre Guolo0

If the 2023 fishing season will be remembered for any one particular thing, it’s very likely to be the shear abundance of fish!  From the early masses of needlefish we’ve encountered inshore since May and the dense schools of herring now over the pinnacles and halibut grounds, it’s no wonder there are so many salmon around!  Throughout the first half of the season we’ve been awash in feeding Chinook and Coho.  These early fish have been smaller than the migratory version we’re more accustomed to, but they’ve more than made up for it with their aggressive nature and persistent hunger for whatever we put in front of them!  Translation… our guests haven’t been sitting down much!

Now that we’ve passed the mid-point of the season, we’re seeing more of what we expect in July, with strong numbers of beautiful, chunky, 20-something Chinooks and those summer Coho are getting up into the 10 pound-plus class.  The Tyee Bell is tolling every evening at the Bell Ringer in celebration of memorable catches… for larger salmon, halibut and lingcod.

Another observation is the interest that our guests are showing in all things ocean and fishery related.  Whether it’s speculation on why so many “feeders” are inshore this summer, to questions about kelp beds and sea urchins, or the difference between resident and transient orcas… there’s a new level of awareness in the air.  And it’s a good thing… we all have a role to play in protecting the health of the oceans and marine life and it starts with being interested.  There’s much to learn and to understand and it’s exciting to share all of this with our guests who come to enjoy the QCL Experience every summer!

Duane Foerter


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July 18, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

This past week, the North shores of Graham Island have been blessed by weather typical of July. With light to moderate winds, and a mix of sun and rain, guests have experienced a true Haida Gwaii summer.

Salmon fishing has been consistent throughout the season, with plenty of Chinook and Coho keeping rods bouncing, and the bell rings most nights! We’ve been happy to celebrate alongside more guests choosing to release these 30+ pound fish, recognizing their beauty and that their importance extends far beyond their meat!             

Anglers have been finding Chinook on both tides, with the ebb tide producing at Cape Naden, Bird Rock 2, and Klashwun Point, and the flood producing at Bird Rock 1, Parker Point, Yahtz Bay, and the top side. Coho have been picked off all along our inshore waters, no need to leave the Chinook grounds to find them this year! While Chinook limits have remained at 1 per day and 2 possession, anglers have found themselves with some extra time to put towards bottom fishing. Plenty of “turkey” size halibut, those in the 90-126cm mark, have been caught by those willing to thump the sand and weed through the chickens. And for those brave enough to work the tricky reef structure, some sizeable rockfish and lingcod have been caught on flat water days. With some small tides this week, and mostly light wind in the forecast, it should be a fun and productive!

Tight lines!

Lead Guide, Liam Longacre


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July 10, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

These past few days of fishing have been fantastic.

With fish being caught at every point by both anglers, mammals, and birds alike. The waters, still calming down from the rough seas a week before, were rife with bait as the wind and currents pushed schools of herring, needlefish, and clouds of krill onto our grounds. In the distance tail slaps rang out as Humpbacks and Gray whales celebrated full bellies at the surface, and Eagles could be seen swooping down between boats saving daring Coho from anglers’ lines. Towards the end of day, on Sunday, a pod of Orcas was spotted moving into our grounds, off of the face of Bird 2, along with several Humpback whales that were bubble feeding; making it tough for all to leave the grounds despite the chop that was being whipped up by the strong gusts of winds, still swirling off the coast as a new pressure systems pushed its way in. 

Despite challenging waters, and large tides, giant sea creatures of all shapes and sizes were being pulled up from the depths, with several large Halibut releases being called out over the radio as well as more than a few large Lingcod brought to the dock. For those that stuck it out onshore, battling through the constant flood of coho, and smaller chinook, large chrome hogs could be found from 20-40 feet on the downrigger.

Suffice to say that there were a few extra dents added to the bell hanging in the Bell Ringer this past trip.  

Towards the end of day Sunday, with multiple hook ups on every pass, one such hog named Walter would bless the end of my line, off of Cape Naden, as we tucked our bow behind the point, right in the strike zone. Peeling out line, he raced against the rushing flood, out towards Bird One, only to be expertly brought near the boat several times. Full of energy, this continued for nearly twenty minutes until the fish decided he had had enough of teasing us, poked its head up out of the water, looked us in the eye, and spat our hooks directly back into the boat as if to remind us why we call it fishing, and not catching. While the pain of losing such a fish is palpable, witnessing it’s beauty and knowing it is still swimming out there to be caught tomorrow has me counting down the minutes until I can get back off the dock tomorrow.  

Tight Lines!

Guide, Jaxon Jones 


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July 3, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

Sometimes the fishing success of a day can boil down to the angler’s ability to capitalize on the smallest of windows. For us, this was no different. Our day started on the eastside, over at Cape Edenshaw. When we arrived just outside Piggie’s Bay, we were fortunate enough to be met by calm seas and the low sun showing promise of a warm afternoon. The report from the day before told stories of plentiful smaller Chinooks in this area, ranging from 8-12lbs on average; a perfect place to start the morning and get comfortable on the rods. We quickly had our first anchovy down and fishing at 35ft when, before we even had the chance to swing the second downrigger out, we had our first bite of the day. A brilliant battle resulted in some smiling faces, and the ultimate release of a healthy 10lbs Chinook. Our morning continued with similar sized fish every half an hour or so. A successful day, let alone a successful morning.

Our want for a warm burger pulled us across Virago Sound and towards Bird Rock 1. The Driftwood was peacefully anchored behind B1; my favorite spot on a strong flood tide. While we ate our lunch, a humpback whale moved into the other side of the rock, feeding, and rolling on what was suspected to be schools of bait fish being pushed in by the beginning of the tide change. With full stomachs we quickly made our way back into the boat and didn’t hesitate to have rods back in the water only a few feet off the bow of the Driftwood. It wasn’t long until we were into the action began. Chinooks could be seen like hungry tuna, splashing on the surface chasing balls of needlefish. The Humpback relentlessly circled the bay with an open mouth, gorging on all the bait that was helplessly being funneled into the bay by the flood tide. While we watched the ocean’s food chain come to life around us, the first rod went off. Moments later the second rod popped off the clip and the sound of the reel sent us diving for the rod. For the next 45 minutes we experienced one of the most phenomenal snap bites I’ve seen in my years of guiding. We fought double header after double header, pausing only long enough to rebait and sneak a peak at the show the Humpback was continuing to put on for us.

Just as fast as it began, the signs of the feeding frenzy quickly dissipated. The tide slowed, the birds flew back to shore, and the humpback slowly made its exit out of the bay. We finally had the opportunity to reflect on what we were just apart of.

Just another day in Haida Gwaii.

Guide Manager, Kyle Bell


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July 2, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

And just like that, we’ve had another trip of first class fishing.

While salmon fishing the past week has continued to be consistent, we’ve seen success throughout our fishing grounds. Fish have been found at Green Point, all the way east to Cape Edenshaw. Weather has been the primary factor when choosing a spot, which we will see continue into the next week. Although fishing has been quite good throughout the day, the mornings have been noticeably more productive. If you’re not afraid of an early start, some incredible Chinook action has been found just as the sun has been rising. Enjoy the sunrise and the reason we are all here – tight lines!

Anglers have seen success with anchovies producing nice fish, likely due to the abundance of needlefish and sandlance spread throughout the grounds. If you find one of these bait balls, spend some time trolling anchovies and skinny G style spoons over top of it. No need to fish too deep, 27-37 feet has been the sweet spot.

The bell continues to ring as Tyees find their way onto lines and into nets. This weekend we saw a 39-pound Chinook for our young guest, Freddie M! Congratulations Freddie, what a thrill – Thanks for letting that big one go!

When it comes to bottom fishing, the big tides have created less than ideal conditions, but if timed properly at either end of slack, bottom can be found with not too much back trolling required. The flood tide has seemed to be most productive for halibut and lingcod. A herring tipped mud racker is all you’ll need to hook either.

Lead Guide, Jake Comrie


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June 28, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

A spell of classic Northwesterly weather last week certainly brought sunny skies and some “busy water” down from Shag Rock, but along with it came a noticeable change in our fishery. That “change for the good” was defined by greater abundance of migratory salmon in the twenty-plus class and an increase in the Tyee count throughout the fishing grounds. Our guests this past weekend enjoyed some intense salmon action inshore, in the early hours of the morning ebb tide.  From Yatze down to Cape Naden, double-headers were common with a healthy mix of teen-sized Chinooks, 5 to 7 lb Coho and enough larger Chinooks to deliver a major surprise every half hour or so! The Tyee Bell has been tolling nightly for notably large salmon, some coming to the scale and some caught and released. The largest salmon on the dock this weekend was a 35-pound beauty for Laura P, fishing with friends on the 89 with veteran guide Braeden H.  Michael F and Darren S each boated 34-pounders last trip while Michael M released a 31 and Ray P sent back a big chrome buck that taped out to 35 pounds. Great work!

A huge highlight of the weekend trip was the arrival of our first 50-plus Tyee of the season!  Fishing the famous kelp bed off Yatze with Robbie C at the helm, angler Andrew A battled a stunning big Chinook for 20 minutes before Rob slipped the net under it. A quick measurement and careful revival saw this amazing fish return to the safety of the kelp… having taped out to 52 pounds!  It’s nice to see those giants returned to the water in hope that they will find their way to the river this summer!  Congratulations Andrew!  Well done!

The offshore fishery may have seemed a little slow from the start this summer, but recent catches have proven that all is well on the hali-grounds!  All the favourite benches and pinnacles are producing excellent results for anglers in search of tasty halibut and lingcod.  Finding the bottom on the ideal stage of the tide is an art that all guides work hard to perfect, and the rewards are certainly worth the effort.  So far this season QCL anglers are finding good success with consistent catches of keeper-sized halibut from 15 to 50 pounds.  But there are those who go offshore to the deep, hoping to feel the weight of something bigger!  They were well rewarded this week with some seriously large fish!  Brad G started it off on Wednesday with a “barn door” that taped out to 75 inches or 224 pounds!  On Saturday Wayne B and Dan T tag-teamed to haul up its twin, also in the 75-inch class!  And yesterday Matt L got his annual halibut workout, doing the tug-of-war with yet another halibut in the range of 76-inches!  Admittedly, seeing these giants alongside the boat is most impressive, but what a lot of work!  Congrats guys!  It’s a good thing our massage team at the Twin Creek Spa are here to help you recover!

Until next week, Fishmaster

 

 


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June 17, 2023 Tayler Fuerst0

I really do have the best job in the world.

As the Vice President of Sales and Corporate Relations for Queen Charlotte Lodge, I get to do some incredible things.

Every year has its cycle and rhythm. In the fall, after a busy summer, the Lodge is put away for the winter and our team of Sales Executives begin the huge task of selling the next season. Reaching out to potential guests to gauge their interest in hopes we can introduce them to the QCL Experience; and reaching out to previous guests to secure their spot for the upcoming year. Throughout this process, we get to hear our guests’ stories from past trips and their excitement for the next. We strive to curate exceptional memories, and hearing about them firsthand is one of my favourite things about the off-season.

It truly is the best feeling to be able to introduce or reintroduce guests to QCL, and to describe to them the first class experience they are about to have; only to have them come back after their trip to tell us we undersold the adventure and what an unforgettable time they had.

The work put in behind the scenes is nothing compared to the on-season component. Having the opportunity to create, firsthand, those special moments at the Lodge, is what makes my job the best. I leave our offices in Richmond, and head North to the Lodge spending about 40 days on property each season. The first visit is to assist in guide training. While I work in sales, my passion for fishing has developed over the 51 years of on-water experience, and I aim to share the knowledge I’ve gained with our team. After that comes the season itself. A wild, organized, all hands on deck, 120 day period. I have made so many friends over the years and to share the joy of fishing in beautiful Haida Gwaii, there truly is no job that quite compares.

Seeing the awe in the faces of our guests as they arrive onsite, the friendships made and sharing the joy of fishing in such an incredible corner of the world are all parts of what makes my job the best. QCL is a magical place. I am grateful to be involved in such an operation, to experience the best job in the world. Come on up and see what I mean!

Brian Clive

 


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June 13, 2023 Bre Guolo2

So far there are few surprises with our early season fishing.  As you would expect this time of year, the fishing grounds are flush with large numbers of aggressive feeder Springs.  These are not the migratory spawners that we see through much of the summer but young fish in their ocean phase, bulking up on the incredible shoals of needlefish and herring in these northern waters.  There certainly is a lot of bait around, evidenced by multiple Humpbacks feeding in the area. There’s lots of amazing eagle action; we’re sometimes seeing dozens of eagles circling over boiling bait balls, swooping down in turn to grab fistfuls of wriggling needlefish and eating them in mid-air.  It’s really quite a spectacle. The shallow basin that is Virago Sound is especially productive for needlefish or Pacific Sand Lance.  This year they seem to be especially abundant and all of their predators know it!

Salmon action in the past week has been consistent throughout the fishing grounds. Anglers are finding no shortage of feisty, teen-sized  Chinook salmon and occasionally they get a surprise when a 20-plus pounder goes screaming off the rigger.  It’s great to find relatively steady salmon action with a good shot at a bigger fish at any time.  Plus, we’re already seeing several Coho, Chum and Pink salmon in the catch log every day.

QCL anglers are still encountering halibut while trolling inshore, sometimes huge ones!  Over the weekend there were several flatties boated around Capes Naden and Edenshaw.  Long time QCL guest FJ certainly got more than he bargained for while trolling an anchovy along the shoreline from Eagle Rock to Green Point with his guide Jon Landry.  What certainly felt, initially, like a big strong salmon went screaming down the shoreline in 75 feet of water. By the time FJ and Jon were able to get the boat over it they sure knew why this fish could pretty much do what it wanted!  A massive halibut lie alongside the Grady and they called the Fishmaster for assistance.  Using a salmon rod as a yardstick, they concluded FJ’s catch was a 78-inch halibut!  That works out to about 254 pounds – caught on a salmon rod with and anchovy!  So we continue to be in awe of the wonders of these amazing waters – You just never know what could happen next!

We’re experiencing some classic northwesterly conditions this week with our anglers fishing the west side below Klashwun Point.  Last week’s big tides are easing and after today we’ll enjoy light to moderate west to southwest conditions, providing easy access to the full fishing grounds.  Look for more news from the offshore fishery in the next report!

Fishmaster


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May 31, 2023 Bre Guolo0

We’re almost a full week into the new season and things are ticking right along.  Our crew has settled in and the 2023 summer is off to a perfect start.  

Typical island weather has provided the full range of conditions, often all in one day!  Beautiful sunshine, grey and wet, dramatic and flat… we’ve seen it all, but have had no big winds and very comfortable seas.  The whole of the fishing grounds has been open and we’ve been exploring most of it!

Early season fishing has really been very good.  While our guests and guides all have their favourite spots, this week we’ve focused a lot on Cape Edenshaw, Cape Naden and Bird Rock 2.  There’s been a ton of bait around since mid-May with so many whales, eagles and seabirds gorging themselves continuously.  It’s mostly needlefish and we’re finding plenty of feeder Chinook pushing that bait around and stirring things up.  The tides have been moderate with only 5 to 9 foot swings so the bite tends to last longer when everything sets up. 

Chinook salmon ranging from 12-18 pounds are most plentiful, though we’re seeing fish over 20 pounds every day and we’ve had the Tyee bell ringing a few times this week. Last weekend, Driftwood guest Todd M was fishing solo off Cape Naden and boated a beautiful 37-pounder.  Sam and Alana G are fishing with QCL guide Seb this week and have 21, 26 and 31 pound Chinooks on their cards so far.  Jose C boated a 27 and Matt F found a 29-pounder on Tuesday.  On Wednesday John S joined the Tyee Club with a nice 30 lb Chinook, fishing with guide Jeff G.  First thing Wednesday morning, Dan K was fishing off the point at Bird 2 and found a salmon that seriously tested his fishing skills before he managed to get the net under it.  The big, bronze-coloured male was quickly taped out to 42-pounds, and Dan was mighty proud when he felt that big Tyee swim out of his grip with strong sweeps of its tail!  It’s nice to see those amazing big fish continue their journey back to the river.

Halibut fishing in early season often requires a bit of guesswork!  We generally find a lot of halibut move inshore in May to feed on needlefish and crab larvae but return to deeper haunts by mid-June.  It’s quite common for QCL anglers to pick up their halibut limit while they’re trolling for salmon!  In that mix we’ll see some larger fish and this week Arnold A boated a 30-pounder, Ron C kept a 31 while Drew B hooked a 36 and Glorija T boated a 46-pound halibut. 

Prospects for the weekend trip are looking great with light winds out of the south and west with continuation of these really mixed up skies!  Tide range will continue to grow through Saturday’s full moon and peak on Monday with a 17-foot swing.  Hang on!


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May 26, 2023 Bre Guolo0

We’ve had the whole QCL ‘23 team onsite for the past week and this place is buzzing. They’re in full reunion mode, settling in, catching up and meeting new friends. A solid training week is certainly the key to a successful season up here; there’s much to learn and share, and the enthusiasm is infectious. This will be our 33rd season and what a summer it’s going to be.

Our guide team has been in “guide school” – both in the “classroom” and on the water – checking out the fishing grounds. Veterans are sharing the fine points with some new additions to the team, ensuring they are entirely up to speed with the QCL fishing program.

Staff fishing is another critical part of training week. After all, those guides need to have anglers in their boats, right? So, there’s an amazing opportunity for our staff to experience fishing first class before we officially open!

They found lots of fish, mainly scrappy feeder Springs in the 12–18-pound class. Cape Edenshaw is often the most productive location in early season, and it’s been true to form. We’ve enjoyed lots of sunshine with moderate NW winds this week, so the crew has found very productive water on the west side. On Wednesday we started to see some larger Chinooks around.

The first Tyees of the season!

Fishing Cape Naden on the ebb tide Wednesday morning, Driftwood Captain Dan got his fishing buddy onto a very fine Spring salmon, working down 40-feet on the rigger with his signature “Magic Roller” herring setup. After 30-minutes they boated a stunning Tyee that tipped the scale at 37-pounds.

Right around the start of the flood, another boat worked the edge of the busy water at Klashwun Point, down 33-feet with an anchovy, finding another big chrome beauty. They taped this one out to 32-pounds before sending it back to continue its journey to the river. We’re thrilled to see good numbers of Chinook salmon feeding heavily in the area right now! There’s lots of bait around, with whales and birds everywhere… Heaven.

A number of boats have been out to target bottom fish, and they’ve done just fine. As usual, we often find lots of halibut feeding shallow in May; they’ll hit a spoon trolled slow along the kelp and really take you by surprise!

One big surprise for QCL guests this year, (actually, there are 10 of them) will be our new set of Coho Class boats at the dock this season. These deluxe Bridgeview 22-foot units will be available for both self-guided and fully-guided anglers.

Perfectly set up for 2 guests plus guide, these beauties are in a class of their own – Coho Class – and they’re quickly becoming a favourite.

Tides will be light this opening weekend with swings of only about 4 to 7 feet. Perfect conditions for halibut & lingcod fishing offshore!  Winds are forecast to be light to moderate westerly on Friday, easing to light southerly on Saturday, and returning to westerly again Sunday afternoon.  Sunny periods on Friday will give way to clouds and occasional showers for the balance of the weekend. Temps are cool… a solid 10 degrees on the water every day. We look forward to an awesome start to Season 33 at QCL!