Outlook for 2022

2022/2023 Fishing licenses are now available online. There is a lot of new information included on these licenses which is causing a bit of confusion already! It is important to remember that retention and sometimes size limits are different for different areas on the coast. To best understand the rules, you need to read your license in conjunction with the area specific regulations. We are fishing in BC Tidal Area 3. For the most up to date information visit this page.

Here’s how things stand right now in Area 3:

These are the current regulations posted for 2022. If experience has taught us anything, it is safe to assume that there may be in-season changes to chinook retention, given there is ongoing concern about Skeena River chinook stocks.

As for all other species we don’t anticipate any change to the regulations!

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

Don’t forget to get your fishing license online before your trip this year!

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Fly-Fishing for Coho – Now I get It

written by Hayden Harsch

During my first 4 years guiding at Haa-Nee-Naa, August meant fly fishing… which in turn meant every switch over I was tasked with setting up fly rods for eager anglers fresh to the lodge. I dreamt of the ‘old days’ that Clay and Jason would reminisce about, but my only experience was casting heavy sink tip lines with flashy bait pattern flies into the abyss with little or nothing to show for my efforts. Catching just one coho on the fly would have excited me. I couldn’t even imagine a 6 fish day. The worst part is: I knew the coho were there. We would catch them left and right on cut plug herring but the pursuit of happiness on the fly had never delivered for me. 

Despite these seemingly terrible, overwhelming odds, my fellow guides and I kept trying – we’d go out every evening after work and give it our best shot.  Hoping and waiting for that eventual tug on the line that signaled a silver-bright feisty fish was chasing our clouser minnow. After such a long, dry streak when the first grab finally came the reaction was typical: too excited, too quick, out comes the fly and there goes the photo opportunity. The clock would then reset itself and the wait for the stars to align would begin once again. 

 Before the coho season of 2021 had even officially started, an early gaggle fly anglers headed out to try their luck – it was mid July and it was the start of something that would confirm all those old stories were actually TRUE.  I’d been hearing about double digit days and wolf packs of coho chasing your fly, where fish boiled bait into frenzies that made the ocean churn like a hot tub.  

That first night out in July we ended up hooking multiple coho on the fly; in the past the feeling of catching just one fish would be enough to keep us eager but multiple hook ups turned us into downright junkies. It was still early in the fly season and I was already daydreaming of better days with new techniques, unique fly selections and new unexplored kelp beds to fish. Fantasy had just become a reality and I was hooked! 

August came quickly: we eagerly traded out mooching rods for 8 weight fly sticks, herring coolers for fly boxes, and as our first official fly fishing trip of the season arrived, anglers were keen to see if all the hype of the exceptional coho run was for real. What followed was a month of the most incredible fishing I have ever had the honour of experiencing. The seemingly far-fetched stories of the past were coming to life right before my eyes. 

One evening a favourite anchoring spot on Holliday Island (I have those now) placed me on a sandy flat in less than 15 feet of water.  Nestled between large outcroppings of rock this structure created a unique back eddy that funneled large schools of flashy 2” jack herring into the zone. As I watched through polarized lenses I saw what looked like torpedoes smashing straight through the bait as they flailed away from the oncoming speeding bullet. 

On top of the water aggressive coho were smashing bait leaving a massive boil of water and a whirlpool in their wake. The fleeing schools of herring that got too close to the rocky shoreline would leap into the air – many landing on the rocks only to have the constant tidal flow sweep them right back into the strike zone of the feeding wolf packs. This amazing feeding show seemed like something that should be narrated by David Attenborough as part of a Planet Earth documentary.

In this moment I would have been just as content sitting back watching this spectacular show as I was casting my fly into the melee. Added to all this splendor were the feeding humpback whales in the background, the flat calm water and the orange, purple haze of the sun as it tipped the horizon – like one of these spectacles wouldn’t have been enough! I felt like I was experiencing what the first pioneers of this Dundas Island fly fishery had witnessed more than 25 years ago. Many of our returning guests have been waiting years for these exact conditions to repeat themselves, in 2021 these days were back, and now again we wait with increasing excitement to see what the future holds.

2021 may not have been as surreal as the old glory days of Dundas fly-fishing, but I couldn’t imagine how it could be much better; I can only hope to be proven wrong again. 

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Hatchery Salmon – A discussion

Hatchery Salmon have been a much-debated topic in British Columbia for many years and is quite a hot topic lately with some diminishing wild stocks throughout the west coast of North America. Hatchery salmon have the ability to do many things; they provide more fish to relieve pressure on wild stocks, allow for genetic identification and tracking of certain runs, and in some places provide a harvest opportunity when wild fish stocks are of concern. It has become a hot topic for many reasons especially on the south coast where there is a potential to have directed hatchery only fisheries which will maintain angler opportunity while still protecting wild fish.   

The main argument against hatcheries is that these fish are raised under ideal conditions, so they are genetically inferior to a wild fish. The concern is that if a hatchery fish spawns with a wild fish, it may make its offspring genetically inferior and not tough enough to survive or adapt as quickly as a wild fish. It’s a very interesting discussion considering all the pressure these fish endure through commercial fishing, sport fishing harvest, Indigenous food and ceremonial harvest, wildlife predation such as Orcas, seals, and sealions, along with habitat degradation, changing ocean conditions and then throw into the mix global warming it’s no wonder wild salmon are struggling.   

What is the answer? Decisions for the future of any species of concern must involve all user groups making management decisions together, a united force whose first priority is conservation. Management decisions that are biased in favor of one particular group will not be beneficial to the survival of this majestic species. It will only exasperate the issue and have us fighting to the very last fish!   

If you’re interested in reading more on the subject, here’s a great article to start with, written by Tom Davis:  What is a Salmon Hatchery? 

There is a lot of work being done to protect the public fishery in Canada.  A great group that is fighting to educate the public and to maintain opportunity is the Public Fishery Alliance. To find out more or to get involved, you can check them out here:  Public Fishery Alliance.

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The Drought

written by Guest & Friend of the Lodge, Mark Mandell

In 2016 my friend Joe and I finally decided it was time to find some place other than Puget Sound to fish and with that in mind began sampling lodges in BC and SE Alaska. 

It didn’t take long to figure out our requirements. 

  1. A self-guided skiff without (bullet?) holes in the gunwales.
  2. Areas to fish that weren’t an hour (or more) run from the lodge.
  3. An absence of sea lions, gill netters, and tugs hauling barges, but lots of breaching-in-your-face humpbacks and killer whales.
  4. A professional and helpful staff.
  5. Lodge owners committed to the quality of their guests’ experience.
  6. Top notch fish-processing and vacuum-packaging on-site.
  7. Beautiful, airy rooms.
  8. Cuisine so excellent that you can’t stop thinking about it, even when the fishing is hot.
  9. Fellow guests in numbers that allow us all to share the same table, and who appreciate the same things we do: exquisite natural beauty, serenity, a sense of boundless abundance, and a Patsy Cline wake-up call. 

In our search Joe and I weren’t looking to turn back the clock to what fishing the Sound used to be. Even 40 years ago it was never like Haa-Nee-Naa. 

Due to factors beyond our control, for the past two seasons we’ve missed that escape and refuge—the thing in the back of our minds as we motor out to Midchannel Bank and jig for salmon amid 200 ball-draggers and boat wake chop like Victory at Sea. The thing that restores us. 

Here’s hoping the drought is over for everyone.

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2021 Fishing Report


Chinook fishing on Dundas island last summer was quite consistent and, dare I say, at times fabulous as large number of springs in the 12-20lb range invaded our waters. Most trips saw good fishing, fantastic weather and exceptional herring fishing, which made for bright smiles on anglers faces. 

Having said that, it is clear that the downward trend continues. Despite commercial and recreational cutbacks, no-fishing zones, and protections in place to avoid spawning Skeena Chinook, the returning numbers have not been significantly impacted for the better. Stronger policies may be needed to support the long, long recovery of these majestic fish.  

Last season we experienced chinook closures and reductions in retention. Late May and saw limits of 2 fish per day 4 possession, in early June this was reduced to 1 day/ 2 possession and by mid June a 3 week moratorium on harvesting chinook salmon was imposed. Catch limits went back to 1 day/ 2 in possession for the remainder of August, and back to 2 day/4 possession for the remainder of the season. 

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans data shows that only 1 in 8 chinook caught in the Prince Rupert saltwater recreational fishery is a Skeena chinook, and 1 in 12 fish on Dundas Island is of Skeena origin. These cutbacks will do little, in my opinion, to restore a healthy system. Only an estimated 400-600 fish were saved by these cutbacks. Conservation of these glorious creatures should be of the highest of priority for all of us – recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, and first nations. Conservation of this public resource is a responsibility shared amongst all of us.

On a brighter note, Nass River fish fared much better in 2021. Even though numbers were down from the 30-year average, Chinook stocks are showing a gradual increase. An estimated 25,000 fish returned to the Nass System in 2021. The 30-year average is around 30,000 fish, the last 10-year average of returning spawners was 19,800 fish.

Bottom Fishing

When new anglers come to the lodge I am often asked “When is the best time to go chase some bottom fish?”. The truth is that fishing for bottom dwellers is likely good most of the time – however successfully being able to target them is another matter. To tip the odds in our favor I tell our guests that if you’re seriously looking for some delicious table fare, then plan your outing for when the weather is calm and sea conditions flat. This sounds a lot simpler than it really is! It may mean foregoing salmon fishing for a couple of hours. The north coast is also infamous for its constantly changing weather but if you plan it right there is usually a window of opportunity for favorable conditions during your trip. To make it easier for guests to target halibut the lodge provides anchor locations so unguided guests can tie up their boats within a short distant of the lodge in a care-free protected area. 

As for last season’s bottom fishing report, simply put, it was great! Calm seas with light winds were prevalent for most of the summer and every year we seem to add a few more spots to our repertoire complementing our tried-and-true locations. We also activated some old haunts that turned out to be extremely productive once again. Last summer we encountered some fabulous fishing for lingcod and halibut with a great mix of all sizes. It’s interesting to note that over the years certain spots will fish differently, produce more (or less) fish on certain tides and hold different species from year to year.

Like all of you – as our halibut stocks start to dwindle in the freezer – we are looking forward to getting back out there!


In a perfect world Amazon would delve into the untapped Dundas Island market and provide delivery boats that would visit Herring rocks each morning at the crack of dawn. Jiggers would provide us an array of fresh herring, ranging in sizes of 6-12 inches, perfect for whatever quarry we target that day, before sending us a text that our bait has been delivered as we sip hot coffee and baileys, fireside at the lodge. Alas, Jeff Bezos has yet to answer our plea so we must hit the water before sunrise and do the job.  There is something about humbling ourselves before the fish gods and setting our jigs over a school of herring that keeps us all well balanced. Either way, as far as I am concerned, every day is a blessing, not only do I get to do what I really love but I get to share it with all of you eager anglers.   

Jigging freshies starts our day, every day. There are no bait ponds or minions for any of us to rely on, just our experience and sometimes dumb luck. At times we are humbled, yes, but more often than not we are rewarded with the best bait on the planet, bar none. Bait that every salmon fisherman on the pacific envies! 

Photo Credit: Michael Holzhey

From a distance 6-7 guide boats and skiffs going in circles like a flock of seagulls looks a little silly. Crowded together, rod tips touching, coffee spilling with a little colorful banter being tossed around really jump-starts the morning for me.  Usually, it’s obvious when the first herring grabs your string of imitation krill flies, the quiver is unmistakable. From there – everyone has their own technique. My personal favorite is to allow the first fish to cause enough chaos that it attracts others to the flashy looking hooks.  I hold steady, twitching my rod slightly, waiting. From there I decide whether to drop deeper or do a slow retrieve a touch shallower, remembering that slack line is the enemy.  Regardless, patience is the key, full strings are the goal and hitting the salmon fishing grounds early is the reward. Remember there are salmon to catch, big ones with big teeth, ready to slash at your beautiful translucent-finned cut plug no matter how much fun you just had jigging bait. Off we go!

Coho & Fly-Fishing

Lucky for us, the 2021 Coho fishing didn’t seem to be affected by Covid restrictions, travel bans, or social distancing and on our returning Coho stocks were very, very strong. Recreational anglers all over the coast have been signaling the warning sign to the DFO on the declining Coho stocks for several years. Finally, DFO managers heeded the advice of their biologists and significantly curtailed the commercial troll fishery for Coho in 2021. The result was literally hundreds of thousands of extra fish making their way through the gauntlet to their streams of origin.  Along the way they pass through Dixon Entrance and a percentage hit the shores of Zayas and Dundas Islands where lodge guests were treated to some of the best Coho fishing in a decade.

On an evening fish with Longhorn, Ashlyn made lodge history, landing 2 coho on the same line.  Some of you might have experienced this with a fish on each hook, but Ash’s hungry coho swallow the weight and his buddy piped the herring!  Atta girl Ash!

Coho started showing up as early as late June, and in large numbers.  By August it was full blown madness at times.  Revived were the days of hooking multiple fish a day on the cast fly. The washing machines were back, jack herring were being assaulted at an astronomical rate and smiles could be found on every fisherman at the lodge. The Coho were so thick at times that while targeting Chinook we would have to move locations to avoid these aggressive feeders and keep our bait from being continuously ravaged. This was a good problem to have considering the alternative.

Buck tailing was back with a vengeance too! Good catches and thunderous takes make this an extremely effective and energizing method to target these aggressive Coho. Multiple fish tides were common, and double-digit days were not an exception.

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Haa-Nee-Naa Newsletter 2021

In this issue …

Remember March of 2020 when we were approaching life in 2-week increments? Now we are all well versed in Corona viruses, mRNA vaccines, rapid tests, spike proteins, quarantining, and so much more. Despite this increased exposure and knowledge, so much about the future remains unknown. What I do know, is that the last two years have been very taxing on every single one of us – whether it is immediately obvious or not. These two years have forced us to re-focus on the things that matter in life like friends, family, and getting the perfect spin on a cut plug herring.  

Looking back, it was a blessing to be able to spend 4 months on Dundas Island, where COVID was not the main topic of conversation. Instead, we were able to lose ourselves in projects: Clay and his apprentice loggers beachcombed logs and hand milled lumber to make huge gains on what will become our new recycle, gym and greenhouse dock; Robyn … oh wait, Robyn’s project was desperately trying to rejig the schedule while Jason worked tirelessly bouncing back and forth from project to project and training the new lodge hires. Then as guests started arriving more consistently in early July, all of our attention turned to our eager guests.   

Last summer felt like we finally got a bit of a break – the weather was kind, the fishing was good and … the coho fishing was the best we’ve seen in years. On top of that, we had the privilege of working with wonderful, enthusiastic new staff and our dedicated, returning experienced guide team. We had the added pleasure of being visited by many of you.  

Here’s a recap of the 2021 season – just in time to get you ready for the 2022 season! To read the full articles, click on the link at the bottom and it will take you to our blog site where you can read everything in full.  We are looking forward to seeing you very soon,



In this issue


From Guest Life to Lodge Life

written by Cody Simons

So, how did this city slicker from Kelowna, manage to transition from Guest to Dockhand at Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge? To be honest, I still have no idea… I wasn’t even remotely qualified. Neither my dad, nor I, thought there was any way I would be hired, but here we are.  

I found myself on a plane mid-May to begin a summer that I will never forget. I had an idea of what I was in for as I was lucky enough to have visited HNN in 2020 with my brother and my dad, who has been fishing at this HNN for well over a decade. Dundas Island is incomparable to anything else I have ever fished. When you reel in your first Tyee, changeover night, with your family in the boat, it is easy to become a little biased. 

I was thrust into the transition from guest to deckhand from day one. To start, let me tell you about pressure washing. It turns out that before the guests arrive, every inch of the docks are pressure washed…. and as the new guy, it became my responsibility. I also quickly learned the significance of doing every task the “Haa-Nee-Naa way”. Every day was a new crash course ie. How to be a Dockhand 101 with 198, or Carpentry for Dummies with Longhorn, or my favorite, and arguably most valuable, lesson… How to Keep Robyn Happy.  Other notable lessons included How to Cut a Fish Like a Boss with Noelsy or Life with a Lodge Sister (looking at you Ash). Ultimately, May through June presented a huge culture shock, it was the first time I had left home, was on a remote island with a bunch of strangers and I was being asked and taught to do things I had never done before. By the end of the summer, I can say that those strangers became family, the remote island became home, and my confidence grew with every new task I learned.  

The biggest thing I didn’t realize, as a guest, was how hard everyone works at the lodge while the guests are out on the water. Jason and Clay are constantly turning wrenches on something, Robyn is managing everything and everyone coming and going from the lodge, Morgan cooks ALL day, and Ash is constantly moving, making sure the coffee is on and the fire is lit on those rainy days. Leaving Trysten and I with all the fish. Trysten mainly on the cutting table –I mean it makes sense, he is a wizard with his cutting skills, and me on the vacpac sealing and freezing the fish. Along with extra daily duties, boat cleaning, coffee runs, lodge maintenance, and so much more. As the summer wound down the fishing ramped up with one of the best Coho seasons in history. The avid fly fishers arrived at the lodge and their ardor for fly-fishing was infectious and so remarkable to see.  

Then the season was over, and I was headed home after such an amazing summer of hard work.  Every trip was a memorable one and I am still thinking back to all of you guests from the 2021 season and what each one of you meant to me  

I will forever be thankful that Clay, Jason, and Robyn took a chance on me and gave me such an amazing opportunity to be a part of the Haa-Nee-Naa crew. From a former guest turned dockhand to our guests, I can tell you that everyone on crew tries to make your experience at the lodge one to remember. I have been fortunate enough to receive this but also attempted to do this for you all and I can’t wait to do it again next year. I hope to see you all in 2022! 


(The man that caught the first Chinook of the 2021 season… Rookie’s luck? I don’t think so) 

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