Twenty-Two in Review: A Season Summary

November 17, 2022

By: Don WellsA full moon summoned guests to the deck of The Clubhouse on the last night of the 2022 season. Its enormity and brilliance lit up the shimmering waters of Parry Pass in a manner I had never before seen. It was a fitting finale to a season in which fishing folks from all over North America came in large numbers for the trifecta of exhilaration, camaraderie and comfort.

Longtime guest, Karen Wolverton, captured this stunning shot of the full moon beaming down on Parry Pass on the final evening of our 2022 season.

We were thrilled to share our newly renovated deck and terrace dining space with guests this season. There are now more opportunities than ever to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful views of Parry Pass.

The newly renovated terrace dining area overlooking stunning Parry Pass.

Clubhouse Executive Chef Blaine Robinson and his culinary team prepared gourmet pizzas all season long. But 2022 was more than just a great fishing season; it was also a year in which pent-up demand was finally relieved with the lifting of most remaining travel restrictions. For many of us, there is no better cure for world weariness than the marine wilderness of Haida Gwaii, which played to full houses all season long at both The Clubhouse and The Outpost.Chinook Salmon were already there when the first anxious guests of the season arrived at The Clubhouse, and steadily increased in number in the days that followed. Meanwhile at The Outpost, the fishing was on fire straight out of the gate, with guests having their hands full at almost any time of day. By mid-June double-headers were daily occurrences for guests of both lodges, and plenty of halibut too, including in shallow water areas where they were frequently taken on salmon rods.

Taylor F. and Tony F. certainly know how to make the most of their experience. Take a break from the action and enjoy a cocktail from the comfort of your own boat.

A family affair! The Phillips group were all smiles as they took to the water. The coho fishing picked up at both locales toward the end of June, with these acrobatic fish being in abundance by early July and throughout the season at almost all locations, and in particular along the east side of Langara Island. The rest of the summer offered superb fishing for all species, with the guest experience augmented in an indescribable manner by sunny skies and frequent sightings of humpback whales and other spectacular forms of marine wildlife.

This furry friend is the Haida Gwaii Black Bear, an endemic subspecies of the American black bear. Image captured by photographer Chase White on the remote shores of Graham Island. Tyees were recorded all season long, but predictably larger ones began to show up in the latter half of the season, with the hands-down highlight being a 66-pound specimen caught in late July by Outpost guest Scott J. Not only did that fish set a new all-time record for The Outpost, but it was also the second tyee for Scott during a trip in which just seven guests recorded a total of 10 tyees, including a 46 for Eric J and a hat trick for Linda G with fish of 30, 32 and 39 pounds.

A look back at our top catch of the season, a 66lb tyee release by angler Scott J. (guide Scott Beckett).

Not one, not two, but three tyees for guest Linda G and her guide Butcher!

Guest Steve O. and guide Mike Wilson with an early season 31lbs tyee.The top Chinook of the season at The Clubhouse was recorded by Andrew O at 44 pounds, although there were many others – far too many to mention - that taped out at north of 35 pounds. Even the final trip of the season yielded two tyees of 30 and 32 pounds. And halibut? That honour went to father and son duo of Kurt and Jack P who spelled each other off to lift a small grand piano off of the ocean floor in mid-June with a caught and released specimen estimated at approximately 250 pounds.

A nice 43lbs specimen for guest Andrew O. and guide Brent.

Guest Randy and guide DJ with a 38lb September tyee.

Jacques S. and guide Derek with a 42lbs tyee.

Mark and Karen W. scored this impressive 150lb catch and release halibut.

Mark W. took enjoyed the beautiful September weather and the productive fishery.There was lots of action off the water too, beginning with the David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure which went July 10 - 14, featuring the renowned chef and owner of the Hawksworth Restaurant Group. This year’s roster of guest chefs included Michael Hunter, chef and proprietor of Toronto’s Antler Kitchen & Bar as well as Chef Dino Renaerts, an ardent angler and executive chef and partner of Bon Vivant Catering. Sylvain Assie, Chef de Cuisine of Hawksworth Restaurant was also on hand along with Mark Davidson, sommelier and Global Education Director at Wine Australia. Chef Blaine Robinson, who set and maintained stratospheric standards all season long as executive chef of The Clubhouse, rounded out the kitchen dream team for this year’s 16th edition.Back by popular demand, join us in 2023 from July 9-13 for yet another year of culinary perfection at the David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure.

Guests enjoyed Chef Dino's demo which showcased his delicious Brown Butter Potato Gnocchi with Sauteed Side Stripe Shrimp, Foraged Mushrooms, Peas & Shellfish Emulsion.

What pairs well with a good time? Chef Michael Hunter's Salmon Gravlax with Rösti Potato, Creme Fraiche, Charred Asparagus and Salmon Roe... and wine, of course!

Even amongst all the festivities, guests still had ample to time enjoy the waterThe annual Beef, Barbeque & Bourbon trip moved from its June time slot to early September and featured the debut appearance of Texas born and raised Matt Pittman, one of the world’s most recognized names in barbeque and founder of The Meat Church. Chef Pittman demonstrated masterful use of the Traeger Grills while offering a wide range of tempting barbeque paired with daily bourbon themed cocktails.In 2023 the Beef, Barbeque & Bourbon trip is returning to its inaugural timeslot of June 4-8. Join us for another year of refined barbeque with a bourbon twist!

World-renowned pitmaster and founder of Meat Church, Matt Pittman, joined us for Beef, Barbeque & Bourbon in early September. Guests enjoyed the best that Texas BBQ has to offer, accompanied by an assortment of hand-crafted bourbon cocktails.

Matt and Traci Pittman also found great success in the September fishery. Finally, Langara rocked during late-season trips, featuring veteran Canadian music artists Mick Dalla-Vee, Marc LaFrance and Brent Knudsen (well known in Vancouver as Cease and Desist and throughout Canada as members of the Randy Bachman band), along with special guest multi-instrumentalist Ken Kirschner.Not to worry, our Far Beyond Concert Series is returning to The Clubhouse in 2023. Join us August 31 - September 3, September 3-7, and September 7-10 to discover the sounds of Haida Gwaii. It's the ultimate trip to bring friends, family or come back for an encore trip and end your summer on a high note. Throughout it all, guests were treated as royalty all season long and at every turn by the most talented and committed staff in the industry - in the lodges, on the docks and on the water. Thanks to each and every one of them for taming the marine wilderness just enough to make the entire experience that much more carefree and amazing for all of us.

The exceptional Outpost dock and guiding staff!

The fantastic Clubhouse guiding staff!

And of course, across both lodges, it couldn't be done without our phenomenal interior team! A final word about the fishing season, our hats go off to Mike Tonnesen, head guide at The Clubhouse, for providing regular fishing reports and superb photographs all season long. The authenticity of his style was greatly appreciated by those of us who never tire of news from the fishing front. A note of thanks is also in order to The Outpost manager Shawn Crawford, who checked in regularly with photos and reports on the incredible season that took place down Port Louis way.And if I sound a bit evangelical when sharing my own perspectives on The West Coast Fishing Club, well, that’s just the way I see it and always will. Haida Gwaii in general, and the WCFC lodges in particular, have been special places to me, my friends and family members for many years. The heart invariably picks up pace in the helicopter on final approach – the first glimpse of Pillar Rock, the green rich waters off Boulder and Gunia Point where the big fish lurk, or the otherworldly western shoreline of Graham Island while closing in on Port Louis – it thrills me to the core every time.Until we meet again, please do stay safe and well friends.And always, always, always keep a tight line!Don WellsReady to book your 2023 fishing adventure? Call us at 1-888-432-6666 or click here to fill out an online inquiry.

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