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.

Keep Reading …

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) 

Keep Reading …

The Unbeatable Staff of 2021

It is hard not get sentimental when I think of our 2021 team at the lodge. We have always encouraged the staff to embrace life on Dundas, and no team has ever done a better job of it.  These guys and gals were out on the water almost every night after work enjoying everything the island has to offer: mooching, fly fishing, crabbing, beach combing, paddle boarding, free diving, spear fishing, hiking up the mountain, and working out in the jail yard gym – they did it all on top of working countless hours to keep the lodge running like a top.

Our returning guide team was as solid as ever and seemed never to fatigue. You could not find a group of guides more passionate about fishing, the area, and the fishery than Braedyn, Hayden, and Noel. They live it and breathe it and we have been so fortunate to be able to work and fish alongside these fine young men over the last 4-5 years. 

New to the dock last year, we had Cody and Trysten – an unlikely duo, but together they made an all-star team.  They were conscientious, thoughtful, hardworking, and best of all, they were a pleasure to be around – even when they were being cheeky.   

Ashlyn and Morgan once again held down the fort inside the lodge this summer. These gals were able to roll with the punches in the early season with changing schedules, surprise guests, no guests, uncertain grocery days – you name it, it happened. They did this with kindness and grace and kept all of us together through difficult times.   

We can’t forget the other half of our team – the folks working on the town side to make sure that you make it to the lodge as smoothly as possible.  Whether it was driving to Terrace on a moment’s notice, chasing down lost bags after hours, or doing a last-minute beer run to make sure we didn’t run out of Budweiser.  Tanis, Michelle and Brady were on it. And of course, Halle and Makenna, our changeover angels who appear out of nowhere every Monday and Friday and disappear again after a whirlwind clean of the lodge.  They add hours to the day and make everything possible for us on changeover. 

Keep Reading ….

Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge Newsletter 2020

In this Issue …

It seems quite shocking that it is already time to sit down and write a newsletter! This past year has felt surreal. Such a whirlwind of effort and emotions towing and getting set up on Dundas and then back again – these are distant memories already and 2020 isn’t even over! ‘Don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ is what my dad used to tell me. Clay prefers to remind me not to ‘high-five’ too soon. In either case, we got too excited about the 2020 season too early and it jinxed us – and possibly the rest of the world!?! The stage was set for what was to be our busiest season in recent memory, but as we all understand now, COVID-19 changed – and continues to change – everyone’s plans.

After many weeks of uncertainty last spring we decided, with the support and encouragement of so many of you, to forge ahead with the season. Looking back, we feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to open our doors and to do what we love – even if it was just for a few weeks.

Clay, Jason and I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of our guests – those of you who joined us last summer – and those of you who were unable to visit us, you showed us patience, support and understanding just the same. You all helped to make a dreadful situation much, much kinder and for that we thank you.

To our American friends – we miss you! You have continued to be in our thoughts as infection rates and general unrest have surged across the country. We hope that you are all well and taking good care of yourselves and of each other.

Please enjoy this retrospective on the 2020 season while we all look forward to getting back on the water together in 2021. We are using a new format for the newsletter this year. Instead of one really long email, click below on the different articles. Hopefully this will make for a better reading experience! Please let us know what you think.

Yours very truly,


In this Issue….

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,


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!


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:

See you guys up here soon, and Tight Lines!


What to expect in August?

Haa Nee Naa-539 
As the summer winds gently blow warm air off the Pacific so comes with it one of our finest fisheries of the season.  It’s NORTHERN time:  when large, hooked nosed coho begin their journey past Dundas Island.  These large coho can grow in excess of 18 pounds and boy do they fight!  Cartwheeling through the air and making long screaming runs they are a true testament to what is still wild and pure.  Plentiful and very aggressive, they are significantly different in appearance to the early run fish.  Shiny blue backs are replaced by olive greens with noses hooked in preparation for their upcoming spawning battle.  After a long 3 or 4 year journey into the open Pacific these perfect specimens are destined to northern rivers like the Skeena, Nass, Kitwanga or the Kwinamass, just to name a few of the local watersheds.  This is exciting fishing which tests light tackle to the max!  Many guests prefer to put down the mooching rods and jig buzz bombs or Stingsildas with even lighter tackle while others enjoy bucktailing or casting a fly.  Whichever method you choose they can all be very successful and produce some heart-stopping excitement.  As table fare, coho salmon is one of the finest.  Lean, bright red meat lends itself nicely to the smoker or on the BBQ. 

Combine this coho action with the fabulous bottom fishing and it makes August a great time of year to come enjoy Haa-Nee-Naa Lodge.  Remote by nature, Dundas Island has very few local anglers or charter boats making the long trek to our waters in August and early September.  It is remote, quiet and exciting, everything that you expect out of a fly-in fishing trip.  When the day is done you can look forward to our fabulous hostess preparing you a specialty cocktail and après-fishing treats on the back deck.  A great way to wind down after a long hard day on the water, after all catching big coho and halibut and be very stressful!  

A Day at the Lodge


What makes Haa-Nee-Naa different?  To us it is the little things, the details that make the difference, from the careful choice of bait to having a fresh coffee when you need it most… we pay special care and attention to the details, so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

10552554_362529610561676_5377339183749184700_nA typical day at the Lodge begins with a 5am wake-up call to the sweet sounds of Patsy Cline – a tradition at the Lodge for over 20 years. When the music plays you know that the coffee is ready and it is time for breakfast.  Guests enjoy a full continental breakfast with the choice of cereals, fruit, yogurt, meats and cheeses, hot waffles, and a variety of fresh baking.  After a quick breakfast it is time to gear up and get out on the water.

The morning’s fishing starts at the freshie grounds.  There is no better way to start the day than jigging fresh bait for the day’s fishing.  Guests and guides descend on the freshie grounds while the sun is still low in the sky, stocking up for the day, then it is time to head to the fishing grounds – a short boat ride away.

IMG_2267By 10am, the Haa-Nee-Naa coffee boat is a welcome sight.  Brady and Peter visit each guest and guide boat every morning, delivering a fresh selection of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and a hot baked treat from Paul in the kitchen.  For an extra special treat, ask for a ‘Haa-Nee-Naa Coffee’.  The morning treat is just right to tide you over until lunch time.  Brady and Peter will also pick up your morning’s catch and take it back to the Lodge for speedy processing, ensuring you travel home with the finest quality fish.

At lunch time you’ll get a radio call from the Lodge asking if you’d like to come in for lunch or stay out on the water.  Guests staying on the water are treated to the same hot lunch served at the Lodge daily, delivered to the fishing grounds – another opportunity to pick up your catch and keep it fresh.  Guests who return to the Lodge enjoy a casual seated lunch, a chance to warm up and regroup for the afternoon’s fish.

DSC_0459Our friendly Lodge staff invite guests to come back to the Lodge at 5pm daily for happy-hour and hors d’oeuvres on the back dock.  A great opportunity to take photos and exchange stories after a fun day’s fishing.  Robyn always has a new gourmet treat in store for guests coming in off the water – usually fresh off the BBQ.

Dinner is served at 5:30pm at our group dining table.  Look forward to fresh chef prepared meals served in our welcoming dining room.  Meal time is always lively with accounts of the day’s adventures and misadventures.  Meals showcase the beautiful variety of seafood that is available in British Columbia, from Albacore tuna to Chinook Salmon to Halibut, as well as traditional Alberta Beef favourites, rack of Lamb, and many other delicacies.

After dinner guests have the opportunity to get right back out on the water for an unguided evening fish until 10pm.  After a long day on the water you may decide you’d rather kick back on the front dock with a glass of wine and a cigar instead, or relax by the wood stove and enjoy the beautiful sunset from the comfort of the Lodge.


Before you know it you will be dreaming of the days adventures and waking up again to the sweet sounds of Patsy Cline……