2019 Season SummaryOctober 15, 2019 | 10953 Views
A Look Back at a Banner Season in Haida Gwaii
By Don Wells
From start to finish, the 2019 season was one of the finest in recent memory, with outstanding fishing throughout, long periods of spectacular weather, special event trips that added extra flair, and 102 consecutive days of signature service courtesy of the all-star staff at all three lodges.
The Clubhouse maintenance crew had a busy off season working to extend the back deck to give our guests more space to socialize, highlighted by a new covered pizza oven area outside the main dining room for guests to enjoy, along with new fire pits for after-dinner conversation and star gazing. And thanks to the return of the most experienced guides in the profession at all three lodges, guests were able to safely and confidently explore all the most productive fishing waters.
2019 was easily one of the best seasons in a decade. The action was hot from early June right through to mid-September, proving once again that there is no better place to fish for wild Pacific salmon than Haida Gwaii, irrespective of which part of the season you choose to go. Not only were there ample Chinook salmon from start to finish, there was plenty of tyees lurking in these mystical waters, which guests found in great numbers, including a 65-pound monster caught and released by Richard Morgan just minutes away from The Outpost under the guidance of Hanes Svub.
The early weeks of the season turned out to be the most productive time for tyees, with 40 percent of the total catch recorded in the month of June. We are also pleased to report that for a second consecutive year, approximately 75 percent of all tyees were released as a means of preserving the numbers of large fish returning to spawn. Of course, many fish are released without measurement and go un-recorded but below you can see some of the impressive fish caught and released this season at each lodge.
Coho salmon began showing up in mid-June and increased in both size and number as the summer went along. Halibut meanwhile were in abundance all season, cruising flat sandy ocean floors in various areas to the west of Lacy Rock and Thrumb Islet.
Once again, we conducted our annual 50/50 raffles at each of the lodges and matched all the net proceeds to benefit the Friends of the Yakoun River Society. Thanks to everyone who participated as this money is vital for hatchery and habitat restoration on Graham Island’s Yakoun River.
As usual, the wildlife continued to be abundant all season long with exciting humpback and orca displays, eagles soaring above and plenty of porpoise sightings.
For many years, The Club’s calendar has included special event trips that accentuate the commitment to offering experiences that go far beyond the norm within Canada’s sport-fishing industry. The season kicked off with the 14th annual Fishing for Kids Tournament where $800,000 was raised for the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and the top catch was reeled in by current Canucks player, Jake Virtanen. Very graciously, Jake took part in a long-standing tournament tradition and donated the whole of his $200,000 winnings back to CAN.
Just days later, The Clubhouse welcomed guests to the fourth annual Beef, Barbeque & Bourbon trip. Guests were treated to a wide range of tempting fare, including 150-day dry-aged prime ribeye and Snake River Farms wagyu striploin delicately prepared by Danny McCallum, Executive Chef of renowned Toronto steakhouse, Jacob’s & Co. Earlier in the trip, multiple award-winning Texas pitmaster Ernest Servantes shook things up with a southern-inspired “Langara Island taco bar” complemented by unique tequila and citrus-infused cocktails created by award-winning mixologist Grant Sceney of Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.
Next up was the annual Fathers’ Day Derby, which featured special guest Les Stroud, author, musician and host of the popular reality TV series Survivorman. Les hosted a unique group of guests of all ages brought together to enjoy an atmosphere of camaraderie and celebrate the special fathers in our lives. Things were a little more serious out on the water, with guests vying for big fish and great prizes, with first place going to Bryan MacFadden with a beautiful Langara Island tyee of 45 pounds. Les and his son Logan Stroud also made some lifelong memories when Les watched Logan successfully battle a 32-pound tyee, as did Brian Grange, who slipped the net under the first-ever Chinook salmon for his six-year-old son Ethan.
As always, the annual David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure was a highlight of the year. Guests touched down to a beautiful mid-summer day under sunny skies. There was typical action on the water, but just as much and more in the dining room. Guests unleashed their inner chefs via daily interactive cooking demonstrations, which included a session on how to make the “perfect pizza” as well as halibut ceviche under the tutelage of Top Chef Canada runner-up, Phil Scarfone and famed Montreal chef and restaurateur, Marc-Andre Royal. By night, the dining room was abuzz as an eager crowd of fisher-foodies were treated to an eclectic range of exquisite and artfully prepared dishes, each appropriately paired with wines from around the world.
The final trips of the year in September ended the season on a high note, featuring live music, special guest mixologists and strong late-season fishing under sunny skies. And the tyee train continued right up until the end, with a pair of fish that topped 30 pounds taken simultaneously on the second last morning of the year. What a way to wrap up an incredible season in supernatural Haida Gwaii!
After coming off such a memorable season, we are already looking forward to what next season will bring. In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated with exciting things happening in 2020. And before we go, here’s a few photos from our guests this season. Tight Lines!
BOOK YOUR 2020 FISHING ADVENTURE TODAY! Call us at 1-888-432-6666 or click here to fill out an online inquiry.