They say 40 is the new 20

As we enter the height of Chinook season things have started to heat up with healthy numbers of Chinook biting every trip. The average size of fish encountered has been an impressive 20 pounds, but we’ve seen more 40s this month than the last few seasons combined!  With this extra muscle these fish can put up quite the fight.  With multiple reel screaming runs and massive jumps, anglers must be patient and let these fish take line!  If you’re not careful, using the light tackle that we do, these brutes can bust lines in a hurry.

Herring fishing continues to be consistent in our favourite spots.  We are seeing big schools of juveniles in our regular salmon spots which is creating a lot of surface activity from Coho, Pinks, and even the odd Chinook jumping or slashing bait on top – a promising sight for anyone interested in fly fishing in August.

Many lifetime memories and new fishing stories have been created over the last few weeks up here. Among the most memorable would have to be the trip that Father-Son team Morgan and Oliver had. After 20 years of fishing Dundas, it is amazing to think that these guys could have a trip that makes the last two decades pale in comparison!  Together with their friend Heath, these guys boated 6 tyees over the course of the week, the biggest topping the scales at 46lbs – Morgan’s personal best at Haa-Nee-Naa, and the largest fish of the season so far.

Some great weather has allowed for great bottom fishing, with halibut and ling being taken from the far west and beyond. Large halibut have been common throughout the season.  It is great to release these breeding fish and they put up quite the fight!

The night bite has been on as well, with change over nights producing some really great fishing. Long time Haa-Nee-Naa guests Jason and Dan kicked off their trip with a 41 pounder on Monday evening!

With the abundance of chinook, many anglers throughout the season have practiced some great catch and release, releasing fish from the high twenties and over 30 have been returned to the water to continue and migrate to spawn. The weight of the released fish can be determined by a quick length and girth measurement in the net.  The formula we use is: (length x girth2) / 740. This has been seen to measure retained fish to be within half a pound on the scale.  

Out fishing after supper with fellow guides Noelsy and RBS, I got to hook my first personal tyee as well!  This beauty went back into the water at an estimated 33 pounds. 

With 10 more days of prime chinook fishing, and coho season fast approaching, I am excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us. Check back with us soon!

Tight lines, Cheeks

Early June on Dundas Island

Hello again, we are back to share some more of the goings on around beautiful Dundas Island.

Early June brought with it some wetter weather, but that didn’t dampen spirits as the Chinook fishing continued to heat up with more and more good-sized fish showing up as the days got longer. 

Freshie fishing continues to be consistent in the early hours of the morning, and we are starting to see more bait in our favourite spots with tons of signs of life in the water. As we all know – bait on the sounder is a good sign when looking for aggressive feeding Chinook.

There have also been great signs of Coho already this year.  In early June we were seeing the odd one jumping on top, slashing through bait balls, and the exciting but frustrating chasing of weights they are famous for.

With cooperative winds we have been to explore the west side of the Island and beyond.  These areas have been producing well all season for bottom dwellers, and with the first sign of a Coho run showing up offshore, some beautiful Coho have been making it back to the dock as well.

Trip 7 was a memorable one for many of us.  My parents, along with Jason and Robyn’s parents made it up to the Island for 5 days of great times on the water – a rare treat! It was great to be able to share our summer lives with the folks and help them understand what drives all of us to keep coming back every summer.  They were blown away with the scenery, wildlife, and of course the fishing.

I fulfilled a life long dream of mine by helping my mom with a belated Mothers’ day gift. With Herbie the Eagle watching from One-Pull, she battled and landed her first ever Tyee!  It was a surreal experience and I was glad to share it with my pops as well who taught me everything I know about fishing. 

Thank you to everyone who shares pictures and help make it possible for us to keep you in the loop!

Until next time,

Cheeks

They’re here!

Howdy Folks, with the first few trips of the season under our belts, I am stoked to give you an update of the goings on around Dundas.

The first trip brought back many familiar faces that were just as eager to get out there and roll some herring as all of us were, and on a 7-day trip you could feel the excitement on the dock to get out there and explore the opportunities.

The fresh herring were plentiful with many of them being what I would describe as “The Perfect Herring”: 5-7 inches and not a scale missing – the perfect weapon for hungry Chinook. The jigging was also very close to home, some mornings were spent getting bait right in front of the Lodge.

The first trip of the season, beginning May 24th, had some hot days on the water with a healthy number of chances for everyone, this allowed for some great catch and release fishing – throwing some beautiful fish back into the water to continue their journey to the rivers. This followed by some slower days, but it showed that if you stick it out on the water and are patient, you will be rewarded. The forecast was sunshine and low winds which allowed for some off-shore bottom fishing days, guests and guides had the opportunity to venture out and explore some farther flung fishing spots.

This pattern continued for the next few trips: some stellar fishing days followed by some tougher fought ones, but time spent of the water is a major factor of success, and when that bite comes, we have to be ready to capitalize on those opportunities.

Hats off to Mike who patiently waited for his bite and managed to stick a beautiful 35 pound Chinook with his good friend, Ray, and guide RBS.

Mike’s 1st Tyee!

After a slow day on the water, Guide Noel was so keen to get into some fish he and his guests skipped dinner and headed back out the wall – they made up for their tough day with three Chinook on the evening bite!

Overall the early season is showing great signs of a healthy run, with some of the elusive Tyees hitting the dock every trip and with this cold water the fight in these migratory fish is breath taking with big jumps and massive long runs giving us what we all love to hear:  screaming reels.

Along with these brutes is the first sign of early coho runs, these smaller fish still pack a punch and are a great tasting bonus to take home.  This is hopefully a sign of things to come for our fly fishing guests in August. 

Derby winner Chantel with her first Tyee!

One of the questions that we keep hearing is – what are the limits this season?  At the moment the retention limits for salmon are the same as in 2017. You are allowed eight salmon, of which 4 can be Chinook.  This means you are once again allowed to retain up to 2 chinook/day with 4 in possession.  The official management decision has not been released by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but all indications are that there will be no change in retention for the 2019 season.

If you’re interested in receiving the most current information on regulation changes, you can sign up for email notifications through the DFO website!  

Tight Lines and see you on Dundas soon!

Cheeks

And we’re back!

The 2019 Haa-Nee-Naa Season is underway! The staff were hard at work for the three week pre-season working on a couple of Lodge beautification projects and keeping busy getting the boats and gear dialed-in, but between shifts the boys were able to get dialed-in on the water as-well. 

First Chinook of the 2019 Season!

After the long wait, it feels amazing to be back on Dundas for another stellar season, and after training up on feeder chinook all winter in Campbell River, I am excited to see what the waters of Dundas have to offer this summer.

Some good early season weather has allowed for easy early mornings on the water, and great early season herring fishing.  It wasn’t long until we had our first few staff salmon showing up on the dock, along with some very nice releases!

The pre-season fishing was a breath of fresh air as the numbers of opportunities were consistent, and the size of fish was quite a surprise with some migratory fish being caught as early as May eighth and some fish in the low twenties showing up later in the month. 

Muff’s 1st Tyee!

A-little later in the month as our staff numbers increased, and with everyone keen to get on the water those who would brave the early wake-up were rewarded with great fishing. I am optimistic of what the season has yet to bring, and I am hopeful that this stellar May fishing is a sign of things to come for the season. 

To meet our 2019 team, check us out here: http://haaneenaa.com/about-us/our-team/

See you guys up here soon, and Tight Lines!


Cheeks

Here we go!

After a busy tow and start-up, the 2017 fishing season is officially underway! Let’s cut to the chase: how’s the fishing? It is the question at the top of all of your minds.

Since opening day on May 19th, we have experienced some outstanding Chinook fishing – with 12 to 14 fish days during the third week in May, as well as some very tough Chinook fishing. The weather has been a mixed bag: sunny and calm one day, wet and windy the next. The winds have at times made it difficult to spread out and find the fish as much as we would like to, but it is always possible to tuck out of the wind in one of our regular spots and fish despite the weather.

The majority of the chinook we are seeing are on the smaller side, 10-15 pounds on average, with increasingly bigger fish mixed in as well. The leader on the board so far this season remains a 35.5 pound hog landed by first time Haa-Nee-Naa guest, Fred Albert, at the end of May.

Freshie fishing started off slow, but everyday it seems that more and more herring are arriving. It hasn’t been taking long to load up for the day. With increasing numbers of feed fish moving in we are confident that the salmon are close behind.

Lodge guests have also been experiencing very productive bottom fishing. The weather has been keeping us close to home and we’ve been rewarded with consistent halibut in both the under 83cm class and under 133cm class. There have even been a few noteworthy fish released that would have weighed in upwards of 100lbs.

Last year many of you may remember landing a hatchery fish. As you may or may not know, all of these hatchery fish are implanted with coded wire tags, which allow their origins to be tracked. Of the 17 hatchery fish logged at Haa-Nee-Naa last season, we have learned that 2 were Washington fish, 1 was visiting from Alaska, and the remaining 14 were from various hatcheries throughout British Columbia: Tofino, Robertson Creek, Quinsy, Toboggan Creek, and the majority from our local Deep Creek/Skeena Hatchery. It is always interesting to learn the origins of these fish we are intercepting on the way back to their home rivers.

Stay tuned for more updates on fishing, meet our new staff, and check out what we’re working on around the lodge!

“Modified Duties”



Hello folks! I have been away from the lodge for a few trips, nursing an injured thumb, but have been keeping close tabs on the action at Haa-Nee-Naa and have some great fish stories to report.

The fishing has continued to get better and better as the season continues –

DSCN1660Our seventh trip of the season favoured guests with good numbers of Chinook and Coho salmon continued to be caught. We have started to see an increase of Coho salmon both in size and numbers caught. Typically the June Coho are smaller 5-8lb fish as they have not yet had time to bulk up before their journey up river to spawn, however this year we are seeing an abundance of 10lbers and some larger ones! A very nice treat for any angler fishing Dundas Island at this time of year.

DSCN1666This trip marked the 20th Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge anniversary for long-time guest Greg Shimek. WOW! A remarkable milestone, I’m sure Greg could write a short novel with all his memories over the years from fishing Dundas Island. Adding to two decades worth of memories was a hard fighting 39lb Chinook salmon hooked in Haida Bay with his old friend and net-man, Longhorn. Greg’s 39 pounder held up as the biggest fish for most of the trip until changeover morning….

DSCN1671Like we said last time, we’re always one tide away from a great day. On the last morning of the trip, first time HNNL guest but long time saltwater angler Elizabeth hooked an absolute monster! Elizabeth and her mom have been fishing up and down the coast of BC together for 20 years, and this year Elizabeth finally topped her mom’s 50 pound record holder with a beautiful 53 pounder – A fish of a lifetime and one she will never forget! Many happy tears were shed over this beautiful specimen, congratulations Elizabeth!

A Shout-out to “Growler” who year after year brings up fresh oysters hand-picked from his beach in Puget Sound. A treat everyone looks forward to every June. Yum!

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Fathers’ Day Weekend the salmon continued to roll through the top end of Dundas Island in good numbers. Plenty of Coho around to keep everyone busy while waiting for the big Chinook salmon to strike! We saw a large increase of baitfish up top on the surface virtually everywhere you fished. This brought in plenty of Humpback whales and they could be seen aggressively feeding right on the surface. An amazing sight to see that never gets old! Father-Son team Morgan and Oliver cleaned up in the derby with the two biggest fish of the trip weighing 32 and 33lbs! Nice fish gentlemen!

DSCN1678A couple large halibut were caught mooching in 40ft of water at one of our “combo” flats in which lingcod, halibut, and salmon can all be caught. The halibut weighed 40lbs and 75lbs, makes for a fun battle on the lightweight salmon gear.

Perhaps the best fishing so far this season occurred just last week. Huge pushes of Chinook and Coho came by keeping everyone extremely busy on the water! Large tides stirred things up and with them brought plenty of new fish. The guests shared many double headers on Chinook salmon and if you were into a school of Coho sometimes all 4 rods would go off! The action was fast and furious – what every saltwater angler dreams of! The largest fish of the trip was a fat 40lber caught on changeover morning by Art! Nice fish Art, a great way to end the trip.

DSCN1685A mammoth halibut was also caught and released by long time guest Denis. This fish was estimated to be 5.6 feet long and weighing roughly 148 pounds according to the Pacific Halibut Commission’s length-weight tables! Denis got his daily workout in bringing this beast up from 200ft. A well-earned trophy halibut-release pin!

IMG_2070 (1024x683)The Jigger on the month award goes out to Longhorn who successfully jigged 76 herring in 6 minutes and 45 seconds. Last month’s winner was Jason Bowers who brought in 92 herring one morning while all other boats got skunked. Stay tuned for July’s jigger of the month award.

Fishing has continued to be consistent for the current group of guests and we are expecting to see some more whoppers hit the deck! Until then, happy fishing everyone!

Don’t forget to get your fishing licences on-line before your visit this year.  You can visit the licensing website here: Online Licensing  to set up a profile for yourselves, purchase your fishing license and refresh your memories on catch limits.

Tight Lines,

The Ghost of Nugget

One Tide Away from a Great Day!

thumb_mh7d0160jpg_27038611424_o_1024During periods of tough fishing it is important to keep a positive attitude and to be optimistic. That is why the motto for the trip #3 was: We are just one tide away from a great day! Everyday on Dundas Island is a great day if you ask me. Any angler knows you will go through some slow periods, which makes catching a beautiful Chinook salmon all that more rewarding!

Guests on trip #2 and #3 had to work hard for their fish and made sure they were ready when that Chinook salmon bit. We had a few good flurries of action where multiple hook ups occurred in a short period of time. The weather made it especially difficult to travel around and fish some of our offshore spots, which usually hold good numbers of feeder Chinook salmon.

DSCN1544After 5 days of tough fishing, perhaps the highlight from that week was when the floatplanes could not make it to the lodge due to the 40-45 knot winds all afternoon and evening. For the first time in Lodge history the outbound guests had to stay overnight and the inbound guests got stuck for a night in Prince Rupert. So what do you do when you are stranded at Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge? Go fishing of course! The boats were loaded back up with guests and out everyone went for a bonus evening of fishing.

Hats-off to Jake Snorsky who had not landed a Chinook salmon during the trip, fate was on his side and during the bonus evening of fishing, the fish gods smiled down upon him and he was rewarded with his first Chinook of the trip! Good job Jake, perseverance pays off!

Our “One tide away from a great day” mantra proved itself to be true on trip #4. It always amazes me how quickly things change when it comes to salt water fishing. After missing the evening fish, the inbound group was rewarded the next morning by a large wave of hungry Chinook salmon. Everyone was into multiple fish and throughout the whole day pushes of Chinook salmon kept coming. Both the ebb and flood tide produced large numbers of fish. Everyone salmon fishing had no problem getting their limit and could be selective on which fish they decided to retain. 17-23lbs seemed to be the average size of fish caught with some larger ones mixed in.

DSCN1564The atmosphere at the lodge was electric and everyone was eager to get back out on the water!

Fishing remained very consistent for the following groups of guests with plenty of feisty Chinook circling the waters around Dundas Island. Congratulations go out to Jeff Lewis who until a few days ago had the biggest fish of the season, a beautiful 39lb slab!  Dwayne took home 1st place in the derby this past weekend with a 31lb dandy! Good work Dwayne.

thumb_mh7d0225jpg_27615544736_o_1024Coho have started to show up in decent numbers and everyday seem to be getting more abundant. We have started to run into the odd larger pod of fish when a school of herring or needlefish is near. This often results in a flurry of Coho action with double and triple hook-ups. These silver bullets make for a great battle and usually end up tangling one or more of your lines if you are not quick to get things under control! Their acrobatic nature and agility make them a blast to target.

DSCN1551As always, bottom-fishing remains productive for those who wish to target cod and halibut. A few 50+ pound whoppers were caught this past week. Not exactly the easiest fish to bring up from 200+ feet…. Darn good eating though!

Don’t forget to get your fishing licences on-line before your visit this year.  You can visit the licensing website here: Online Licencing  to set up a profile for yourselves, purchase your fishing license and refresh your memories on catch limits.

Tight Lines,

Nugget

Chinook Salmon Fever!

The 2016 Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge fishing season has officially begun!  Staff were hard at work during the three weeks of start up: painting, repairing, cleaning, and just about everything you can think of in-between in preparation for opening day on May 20th.

I love this time of year!  After so many months of anticipation in the off-season, it feels great to finally throw down some cut-plug herring.  Nothing beats rolling into any one of our Dundas Island hot spots and having it all to ourselves.

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The season got off to a great start on May 20th.  We welcomed back past guests and new faces to kick off the season.  It is always a treat for us guides to witness someone’s first Dundas Island Chinook – a truly memorable experience.

Patsy Cline faithfully woke us up on the first morning, getting everyone up out of bed and excited for the first full day on the water.  Along with all the other guides I had trouble sleeping the night before, dreaming of Freshie’s and hungry Chinook salmon had us all jacked up for the 4:15am wake up call.

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The first couple days of the trip yielded low Chinook salmon hook-ups for everyone.  The herring were very scattered and tough to locate during our morning hunt.  Thoselucky enough to find a bait ball of mature herring that were willing to bite their sabiki rigs had a definite leg up for the day.

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By the third day of the trip the herring were showing up in big numbers and the salmon fishing got steadily stronger.  Fishing stayed consistent through the latter part of the trip and everyone got to shake hands with at least a few Chinook.  The first Tyee of the season was brought in by Robert, weighting exactly 30lbs.  First time guest and first time salmon fisherman, John, also topped off his salmon card with a beautiful, well-earned 32 pounder.  Congratulations guys!!

The average salmon weight for the trip was 16 pounds, with a couple of Tyee and a handful of fish in the 25-27 pound range.

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Bottom fishing was excellent for all species.  Lingcod and Halibut were plentiful along with the various types of rockfish.  It is exciting to be the first rod to fish many of these humps, ledges and pinnacles that haven’t been fished since last season.  The aggressive lingcod were hiding in their caves just waiting for a freshie to be sent down!  Four halibut over 100 cms hit the dock with the largest being 127 cms.

All in all a great start to the 2016 season.  Fishing continues to get better and better everyday, shaping up nicely for great early June Chinook fishing.  Stay tuned for more updates throughout the season.  We are looking forward to seeing all of you up here this summer and can’t wait to hit the water with you.

Don’t forget to get your fishing licences on-line before your visit this year.  You can visit the licensing website here: Online Licencing  to set up a profile for yourselves, purchase your fishing license and refresh your memories on catch limits.

Tight lines,

Nugget

Cloudy, rainy days filled with chrome

Haa Nee Naa-670

by Jason Bowers

After a long stormy day on the water a pod of chrome coho finally showed up at the Gnarlies – just as the dinner bell rang.  The cold, wet afternoon was redeemed by a few hot coho at the 11th hour.  We headed back to the lodge with our heads held high – no longer minding that we were being pounded by marble sized raindrops.  Back at the dock as my fishing partners headed in for supper I couldn’t bring myself to take my gear off and head for shelter.  I needed more!

 
After a quick turn around I headed back out solo.  Dropping the anchor in the exact spot we had just left, the surface of the water in all directions came alive with fast and fierce swirling coho.  They were aggressive – tossing water in all directions with each swirl.  If you looked closely enough you could catch flashes of chrome as the coho devoured juvenile herring on the surface and quickly disappeared into the darkness of the depths below.  Tossing a gurgler from the bow, the coho were so aggressive that you could see their white mouths open as they rocketed toward the surface devouring the fly.  Cast after cast the increasingly tattered fly would disappear inside the mouth of a bright 8-11 pound coho as the fish turned, peeling off line well into my backing.
 
The current was unsettled and waffled from one direction to another.  With every change in direction the surface action would settle.  I would dash down to the stern where my wet line lay idle.  Casting in all directions with no hits I wondered, “where had they all gone?”.  Within minutes came an arm-pulling jerk from well below the surface and a frenzied coho cartwheeled into the raindrops trying to dislodge the hook.  It was time to run back to the bow and continue throwing the dry line, again hooking fish after fish.  After two hours of this routine and 20 plus coho to the boat, the tide swung and the current changed direction.  The pods of chrome bullets disappeared back into the depths.  Reeling up both fly lines I headed for home.  
 
The stomachs of the 2 fish I harvested were completely empty – they were new arrivals to Dundas, showing up with empty bellies and voracious appetites.  Back at the lodge taking off my gear I felt more than satisfied and almost in disbelief at what I had just experienced!  
 
These moments can happen to anglers frequently this time of the season and we all hope to be one of the lucky ones – in the right place at the right time.

Dan’s Focus on the Fishing Hole – Fresh is Best

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Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge has it’s own currency among guests and guides.  No it’s not the US dollar, the Loonie or even the Yen, it’s a freshie.  Walking around the dock and on any boat you will constantly hear the term “freshie”.  “Do you mind lending me a few freshies?”, ” How many freshies do you have?”, ” WOW! Look at all those freshies!”, “If there are any left-over freshies I will take them”.  These are a few of the many common phrases you will hear on the boat dock at the lodge.  
 
Now, while someone who has never been to Dundas Island and fished at HNNL may think freshie is another word for money, a freshie in fact, is something that money can’t buy.  Most important of all though, it is a treat no salmon can refuse! A morning-jigged Pacific Herring is what we call a freshie. There is a reason why we wake up at 4:30am to be the first boats on the water hunting for these little silver bullets: they are without question the best bait to use when mooching for Pacific Salmon.  Herring are exactly what a chinook salmon eats, so it is only fitting to use the exact bait.
 
Heading out to the herring grounds, gulls and diving birds are a dead give away for the location of bait, especially when the birds are literally diving into the water and slurping back these precious baitfish.  Orcas, sea-lions, porpoises and humpback whales are also often in the mix when a large school of herring is near. Many guests fall in love with herring jigging and we literally have to grab the rod from them in order to start salmon fishing.  “One more stringer, please”… Famous last words!
 
With a cooler full of fresh bait – it is time for the real fun to start.  After rigging up a cut plugged herring you must ALWAYS inspect the “roll”.  You want that fish to give off a certain movement that says “Eat Me!”.  It is important to handle the baitfish with care and leave all the scales intact.  The scales are what give them their deadly sparkle in the water – flash which we joke, can be seen from a mile away.
 
One morning last June we ran an experiment on one guide boat: We rigged two rods with freshly jigged cut plugged herring and the other two with brined bait, also known as “T.V. dinners”.  The freshies out-fished the brined herring 5-0!  The experiment ended quickly and all rods were switched over.  On several occasions last season boats using fresh herring vastly out-fished boats using T.V. dinners.
 
So trust me, it’s worth driving around like maniacs looking for fresh bait in the morning.  Some days it takes a little longer than others but the extra time spent is well worth the reward.  Plus, do you think we would reach our hands into the freezing cold ice water at 5am picking out perfect freshie if they did not work?  I think not!!