It took 30 minutes, weighed 84 pounds and was beyond priceless for Chris Lewis — it was historic.
The Queen Charlotte Lodge guest reeled in the Chinook salmon that broke the famed fishing lodge’s 11-year-old record by more than two pounds. Located in pristine Haida Gwaii — the Galapagos of the North and one of Canada’s greatest treasures — the QCL is a delightful place run with some of the finest people you’ll find in the hospitality industry. Duane Foerter, the marketing manager at QCL, reported to me that Lewis, his fishing partner Stephen Mason and guide Derek Poitras “were fishing along the kelp just east of Klashwun Point when both rods went off in a matter of seconds.”
Mason had hooked a 31-pound Chinook while Lewis battled with his monster catch, reeling in and then letting it run for half an hour until they could force it closer to the boat.
“They could tell by the wide shoulder on the fish that this was no ordinary salmon,” Foerter wrote about the silvery fish caught on August 20 in northwest British Columbia.
One of the QCL’s finest attributes is its employment of a fishmaster, who routinely monitors the many boats in the lodge’s fleet to see if anyone needs assistance on the water, or, in this case, a measurement. Keith Burdett quickly came aboard to get the record-setting numbers: “51.5’’ length x 35.0” girth for a score of 84.12 pounds.”
Foerter said the fish “was an absolutely perfect specimen.” The lodge encourages its guests to return such large fish to the waters of Haida Gwaii. That practice helps sustain the salmon poplulation that’s vital to the ecosystem of the Pacific coast as well as to our own food consumption. It also helps maintain the sportfishing industry.
Poitras spent 15 minutes reviving the big female, who reportedly, “crested 30 feet from the boat, flashed its tail and went on its way!”
If that sounds magical, that’s Haida Gwaii.
Read about the unforgettable experience I enjoyed at the Queen Charlotte Lodge last August. And visit the lodge’s website for information on booking a dream trip for yourself.