Where We Started + Where We Are
The beginning of a new calendar year always feels like something new is about to happen. Whether that’s true or not, it’s always a little bit exciting.
Here at QCL it creates a buzz; but it’s not like at the start of a race… it’s more like the final leg! We’ve been working on our 2023 season since September; a lot of plans have been made, and now it’s time to execute. Opening Day is officially in sight!
We have some practice at this… it will be our 33rd season! And over those years, how things have changed! In the early days of fishing lodges on BC’s north coast, it really was all about the fish. Transportation was a challenge, comforts were few, food was often basic, but the fishing was good! Potential guests would tell us: “As long as I have a good boat and lots of bait, I would sleep in a tent!” The success of their trip was mostly defined by the number of pounds in their box. But as word spread and more folks wanted to check it out, we soon discovered that they would be much happier in a well-appointed log cabin with a warm fireplace! So, that’s where we started.
Over time, we’ve made many changes and have come a long way. New and varied accommodations have created a range of venues offering something for everyone; from the extraordinary opportunity to stay right on the fishing grounds aboard the MV Driftwood, to enjoying the convenience of a comfortable room in the Main Lodge to private, tailor-made luxury in the Totem House. We’re constantly upgrading our boat fleet to provide the best on-the-water experience for our guests and offering more and improved options in fish processing. On the hospitality side, we now offer dining in at least seven different venues and work with several BC suppliers to deliver top quality groceries to our QCL kitchens every week.
Huge strides in our transportation program let us deliver a full complement of guests from Vancouver to the Lodge in less than 4 hours and have them out fishing within 30 minutes of arrival (if they like)!
While the scale and scope of QCL has certainly grown and evolved over the past 30+ years, we’ve worked very hard to retain the most important ingredient in our recipe. Back when we had only 48 guests and half that many staff, we always regarded visitors to the Lodge as our guests. They were never customers or clients. They were our guests in our house and every one of our staff understood that, treating them accordingly. If there is one rule that dictates our relationship with our clientele, that is it. These days we certainly have more guests and ample more staff but that connection between them is paramount. It has grown and evolved to create something that we call the QCL Experience, a very exceptional combination of friendship, adventure, wilderness, comfort, and fun in a truly unique and magical part of the world. Many people first come here for the fishing, but it’s the QCL Experience that brings them back.
And the fishing is still a big deal! Being in the gateway to the north Pacific always has the unique benefits of favourable ocean currents, abundant food supply, major migration routes for salmon and year-round habitat for groundfish. QCL anglers continue to enjoy excellent angling opportunities and most always go home with as much fish as they want.
However, we recognize that the earth is in a state of constant change that affects everything we do. The health of the oceans and of the lands adjacent are part of a delicate balancing act that we all have a part in. In recent years we’ve seen increased awareness and interest among our guests, who have come to love these places immensely and are concerned about them. We have many more conversations about the food chain, ecosystems, the life cycles of salmon, and the abundance of whales and herring. It’s great to see this engagement in what’s so important to us all. We encourage our guests and staff to learn more, to get involved and support organizations working to preserve habitat and rehabilitate species. The local Haida people are also engaged in this area, and we will be working with them more in the future to learn, to educate and practice good stewardship of the local ecosystems and environment. Raising awareness among people who have been part of the QCL Experience is the best first step in preserving it. Remember, we’re all in this together!
We look forward to seeing you back in Haida Gwaii this summer. The countdown to opening day is on!