Ebb & Flow Week 2 | June 7, 2018
June 7, 2018 | 2078 Views
It’s Not Just About Fishing…
By Deepwater Don
Picture this. You’ve just finished a satisfying welcome brunch in the dining room of North Island Lodge. Lodge manager Todd McIntyre has just begun his orientation remarks when everyone is suddenly distracted by the sight of a pod of resident killer whales moving through Parry Pass, practically at eye level and just a hundred or so metres away. It’s a captivating sight, particularly for first time guests. “So this is Haida Gwaii,” some are probably thinking to themselves as their hearts race just a little faster than they did only moments before.
Yes, this is Haida Gwaii friends, and the sight of these tall black dorsal fins knifing through the water is always one of the most vivid reminders that a trip to this mystical place is never just about fishing. The presence of killer whales, or orcas, is always a captivating and welcome sight, and perhaps even more so at times such as this when the fishing is slower than what we typically encounter. If you’ve read Screamer’s most recent report, you already know that the guides have had to work hard to find fish in the first few days of the season. Even so, there have been some memorable highlights for North Island Lodge guests, who are now on their final full day on seas that have calmed considerably after some blustery conditions of late.
Todd’s family is up making some memories, including his uncle, Bruce Hales, who caught the third tyee for the North Island Lodge congregation with a 32. Good and loving son that he is, Todd guided his mother, Elizabeth McIntyre, who picked up a nice 16-pound fish at Channel Reef in the early-going. Trudy Diening, mother of The Clubhouse guide Jona Diening-Verge and housekeeping staff member Karlei Diening-Verge also made her way to Langara Island to check up on the kids and was rewarded with an 18-pound chinook salmon for her efforts.
Last trip Marty Ward was fishing with guide Graham Obee and they were talking about conservation when suddenly Marty found himself doing business with a fish that turned out to be the second tyee of the season at an even 30 pounds. Even though the fishing was slow, Marty reportedly had no regrets about letting that beautiful chrome-coloured chinook salmon go.
There is a whole lot more than fishing going on over at The Clubhouse right now too friends, as barbeque guru Tuffy Stone, who has won no fewer than five world championships and top Canadian chef, Danny McCallum of Jacobs & Co Steakhouse have been grilling, smoking and dry-aging up a storm for guests at the annual Beef, Barbeque and Bourbon event. Cocktail hour has been extra special too as Jack Daniel’s ambassador and master mixologist Ryan Cheverie has been pouring out the liquid nirvana that has helped make this one of the most popular trips on the special events calendar. Top fish for The Clubhouse crew that visited just before the Beef, Barbeque & Bourbon trip were caught by Bob Montgomery with a 20, Bruce Bates with an 18 and Anik Barette with a 17. I’m pleased to report that quite a few halibut have been picked up on salmon rods so far this year, mostly on the east side. Stay tuned for top fish from the Bourbon trip in next week’s report.
My old friend Tony Adrian sent me a note from The Outpost yesterday saying that he and the gang finally got into some fish down Port Louis way after experiencing winds and swells in the early going that were rather gnarly, even by north coast standards. Once the winds subsided at noon on day two of their trip they made their way out around the corner from Danger Bay and immediately doubled up on a pair of mid-teens. They then headed for Washed Rock on Salvarsan Reef and wound up catching seven more very feisty chinook between 10 and 13 pounds. Tony says he couldn’t believe how they fought way above their weight class. Noting that all were wild fish and not hatchery models, they opted to let each and every one of those great kids head back home. That said, I have a hunch Tony’s heart broke when he had to release a 120-centimetre halibut that he picked up on a mooching rod. Last year that fish would have been ready for Tony’s freezer back home in Oregon. Under revised DFO rules, this year’s size limit is 115 centimetres.
This morning I received word from Outpost lodge manager, Jordan Knight that on day 1 of The Outpost season, guest Sarah Treanor brought in an impressive 24 lb chinook from Washed Rock. Day 2 proved to be even more successful with Chris Treanor and David Beatty both bringing in 26 lb specimen from the South. Over in Danger Bay, guides found some action at the high slacks and Tian produced some nice chickens. Jordan is seeing lots of signs of life, they’re just waiting for the chinook to come in full force. It shouldn’t be too long, now.
One last thing friends, don’t let the slow start to the season fool you, and never ever be discouraged. I know, and you know too, that things can change in a heartbeat. Rest assured that a whole lot more fish are going to be making their way through these waters in the days and weeks ahead, including some big runs. Come Sunday, my wife and I will be wetting a line ourselves in hopes of proving the point.
And even if the fishing is still a bit slow, we really don’t care much. Together, we’ll be taking in the International Culinary Series event at The Clubhouse, featuring a dinner by Gary Foulkes, executive chef of London’s Michelin-starred Angler restaurant. And as always, we are looking forward to those inimitable encounters with the best of what Mother Nature has to offer, just like the folks in the dining room did last Monday morning at North Island Lodge.
Because like I said, it’s not just about fishing. It’s never just about fishing.
Until next week, stay safe and well.