Looking back on 2016

Another summer at Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge has come and gone! We’d like to extend a big THANK YOU to everyone who joined us this year and made it a very memorable fishing season. It is always a pleasure for the staff to see your familiar faces getting off the plane and to create new relationships with first time guests! This is something we all look forward to every trip.

We have had a busy fall: With some well-deserved time off, Clay went on his annual fly-in moose hunt this September. He has been doing this two-week trip for many years now, which provides him with fresh caribou and moose meat throughout the year.

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Another trip many of us look forward to is the annual Bulkley river camping/fishing trip in October.   This year chef Paul Williams attended along with Jason, Clay, Tanis and family and friends. Enjoying his time away from the kitchen, Paul managed to catch his first-ever steelhead on the spey rod! A proud Aussie to say the least! This year’s Bulkley trip also marked a milestone birthday for Longhorn, pretty soon he will need a wading staff on the river!

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The team up here has now transitioned back into our winter lives – going to school, playing hockey, being new dads, and of course, working! Clay, Jason and Robyn are back at work, already preparing for the 2017 fishing season, doing all the required maintenance on the building, boats, engines and office work handled by Robyn. Before we get ahead of ourselves though we’d like to take a moment to look back on the last season.

Looking back here are a few highlights that stand out in our minds:

Early June we saw a good push of feisty Chinook salmon. Some guests had amazing salmon fishing hooking into double digits. I remember when the first large wave of fish came in on the 4th of June. Fishing Kelp Point during a flood tide we had two double headers in 30 minutes. Boy oh boy did that get the blood flowing!

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Halibut fishing was once again amazing throughout the whole season with our off shore spots producing numerous of large 100cm+ fish. Guide Clint and his guests, Randy and Dwight, released not just one, but two of the largest halibut the lodge has ever seen! No one will know the exact weights however according to the length chart the fish were estimated to be about 220 lbs and 150 lbs. True giants!

Veteran guide Nugget had an unfortunate hand injury during the 2nd week of June, which required surgery and put him out of commission for the season. Dan Bertrand stepped up to the plate and did an excellent job guiding. He worked very hard and guided his clients into many Tyee!

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Although it was a tough year overall on the Salmon front, it definitely had its memorable moments.  Sometimes it’s the fish you really have to work for that you remember the most fondly. I think guest Elizabeth Barnard would agree – Elizabeth landed her personal best Chinook, a beautiful 52 lber, in the final minutes before the radio call the last morning of her trip. Congratulations again on the fish of a lifetime!  Elizabeth’s fish held up as the largest Tyee landed in 2016.DSCN1671

As always the staff at Haa-Nee-Naa takes great pride in customer service and want to leave a positive impression on each and every guest. Thank you to those who joined us this year and we look forward to seeing you next year for another memorable adventure! Stay tuned for our annual newsletter coming out in the New Year.

If you have not yet heard from Robyn, she’ll be in touch soon to confirm the dates and details of your trip for next season.

See you next time!

“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

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!!

2015 Year in Review – Bottom Fishing

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Fishing for the bottom dwellers around Dundas Island seems to keep getting better and better.  Several new halibut and lingcod spots were discovered and explored last season.  Some of these new holes consistently held large halibut and massive lingcod.  Often the moment your bait hit bottom and was within eyesight of these behemoths, it would be engulfed.  We are very interested to see if fishing in these areas will remain as good in 2016 – the true test of a secret fishing hole.

 
All of our regular spots produced well again last season.  Most anglers that put the time in pursuing these tasty creatures were rewarded.  Our staple “chicken” halibut (<25lbs) fishing was great throughout the season.  Several flats are within mere minutes of the lodge – these local hot spots can be fished under almost any weather conditions and always seem to produce well.
 
One technique that has been very productive over the last several years has been the ‘drop mooch’ or ‘dangle’ as it is known.  While anchored halibut fishing we fish a deep running salmon rod rigged with a cut plugged herring.  Depths range from 40-90 pulls down.  While you wait patiently for the flatties to grab your hali-sticks you have a great opportunity to hook chinook and coho on the salmon pole. Chaos often ensues when you “double up” on both a salmon and halibut. If you are up for a new challenge then give it a try!  Ask any of our knowledgeable, friendly guides and they will set you up and direct you to a deep-water combo flat.

Saltwater Freight Trains

Things picked up right where we left off for the next group of eager guests. On the weekend trip, long-time friends and guests, the M.A.P group, from Alberta joined us for some great fishing.

The large saltwater freight trains continued to roll through the waters surrounding Dundas Island and another massive Chinook salmon was reeled in! A big Congratulations goes out to Joerg, who reeled in a 52lb. hog! This was Joerg’s first time out to Haa-Nee-Naa and his largest salmon to date!

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That same morning 3 other tyees were brought to the dock – including a solid 40lb chromer caught by the “Candyman” Mel! It is mornings like these that really make us appreciate this spectacular fishery and beautiful area we have to chase these fish of a lifetime! Both Coho and Chinook fishing stayed very consistent for the following two days with plenty of action to be had. Periods of frantic, aggressive Coho action kept anglers very busy during certain times of the day. It was vital to jig at least 75 herring to make it through the day! The M.A.P boys all left with sore arms, smiles on their faces … and like everyone else, wishing they could stay for just one more day!

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Salmon fishing stayed very consistent for the weekday trip with plenty of action to keep everyone smiling. The largest Chinook caught was a hard fighting 41lber, reeled in by long time guest, and no stranger to big fish, Gary Lewis. There seemed to be an abundance of Chinook between the 25-29lb mark … oh so close to that shot of Goldschalger and a HNNL tyee pin! Beautiful fish.

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The Coho are continuing to gain weight, averaging 8-13lbs, making them a blast to catch on mooching gear! Chef Paul was out fly-fishing at Holliday Island and hooked the first Coho of the season on a clouser. Conditions are setting up nicely for productive fly-fishing in August.

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Halibut fishing has remained excellent and all of our hot spots are producing the usual 10-20lb chickens with the occasional 100cm+ one caught.

This last weekend another guest joined the Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge 50+ club! Congratulations goes out to first time guest Jon who fought the 54lb slab, guided by local expert Clint. That marks the 3rd 50+ Chinook caught this year at the lodge. Another personal best was set last trip by newcomer Chris who landed a pretty 43lb Spring salmon with rookie guide Clayton Vanier.IMG_1810

Knowing that your next bite could turn into one of these monsters really gets the adrenaline going when you are out on the water! Big fish continued to roll in throughout the trip with a couple 30+ pounders caught each day.

On a side note, Monday morning we received more rain in two hours than we have in the past two months! But not to worry, we are back to Northwest winds and sunny skies. Time to get some shuteye as 4:30am comes quickly and I wouldn’t want to miss the morning freshies!

Tight lines,

Nugget

 

 

Let the Good Times Roll…

It has been an amazing first half of June here at the Lodge. Not only has the weather been great, but we also have been fortunate enough to experience some of the most consistent Chinook salmon fishing in recent years. The fish average 17-20 lbs and are very aggressive and pulling hard!DSC_0141Over the past week fishing has continued to get better and we are starting to see more and more large fish invade the surrounding waters. Last week the ladies dominated the fish board – with Dianne and Lynne tying for big fish of the trip with a couple of tyees weighing in at 31 lbs.  June 20th saw the first 40+ fish on the dock with first-time guest, Gunn’s, Chinook tipping the scales at 47 lbs.

Coho have also started to show up in large numbers. The Coho are averaging 5-8 lbs in size with the occasional bigger one.  A couple of these beauties were even caught trolling a buck-tail just below the surface on Friday!

Halibut fishing has been outstanding – Lodge records were broken today  with 4 fish over 50 lbs and a total of 12 halibut over 100cm!DSCN0043

The abundance of Chinook salmon is also keeping the Orca’s well fed. It seems like every second day a pod of killer whales makes it’s way through the North end of Dundas, stopping at most of the fishing spots. They are magnificent creatures and have been putting on some great shows for us on the water.

DSCN0030The fishing is a very exciting right now at the lodge and us guides can’t wait for sunrise and the 6:30am high slack that awaits us tomorrow morning.

Tight lines,

Nugget

And We’re Off!

It has been an excellent month of May on Dundas. The lodge was towed up on May 2nd, calm seas made for a smooth, successful tow and buildings were easily nestled in place.  We have enjoyed spectacular weather so far with virtually no rain and low winds. Typical Dundas Island weather…. Last season’s crew is back and in fine form to start the year. We are pleased to welcome our new hostess Kimberly Ateah and dockhand/guide Peter Merth to the Haa-Nee-Naa team.

Nugget’s Fishing Report:

IMG_2196The first trip of 2015 is now under our belts. The season opened with a 7 day trip starting on May 22nd, allowing the guests plenty of time on the water.  The first couple days yielded plenty of Chinook salmon.  All of our favourite hot spots produced fish on both the ebb and flood tide. The biggest Chinook so far is 24lbs caught by first time guest Anthony. The majority of fish have been in the mid teens with one 10lb Coho. Each guest left with their limit of 4 Chinook salmon. We hope another push of aggressive Chinook is on its way!

IMG_2279We have been able to find herring every morning and the past couple days have been exceptionally productive with large schools in the morning. Bottom fishing has been excellent to start the season with plenty of halibut and cod for all guests. A couple of large halibut were caught, 65lbs (Robert) and 45lbs (Pat) along with a whopper 38lb ling cod taken by long time guest Franklin. We are looking forward to a weekend of great fishing with new guests arriving this afternoon. Tight lines!!

Nugget