Monday, 23 November 2015

The Fishing Seasons of Haida Gwaii

Beautiful Haida Gwaii is known for many things.

The undeniably stunning scenery, a decidedly relaxed way of life, the distinctive art of the Haida people, and its varied and lush wildlife. We’ve got humpback whales, bald eagles, harbour seals, and even spirit bears. But of most interest to Escott Sportfishing and our guests is—of course—the innumerable fish that populate its waters.

Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is considered to have some of the best salmon fishing grounds in the world. Made up of over 150 islands and classed as a temperate rainforest zone, the Haida Gwaii, with its many protected bays and kelp beds, couldn’t be more welcoming to salmon, halibut, and other game fish that end up on the business end of our fishing poles.

Escott sportfishing
Millions of Chinook and Coho swim through the island chain on runs that take them south from Alaska to their home waters to breed. Masset, where Escott’s Haida Gwaii fishing lodge is located, essentially sits in the middle of this fish superhighway. Different species of salmon run at different times of year, with the Haida Gwaii salmon season spanning all the way from May until September.

But Tyees aren’t the only giants that swim these waters. Halibut hang about Haida Gwaii all year long, usually choosing to stay in waters much deeper than the salmon. Still, Escott’s hali fishing grounds are located only a half-hour boat ride from the Lodge, where depths plunge as deep as 275 feet.

If you book your Haida Gwaii sportfishing trip for September, there’s also opportunity to catch yet another of the prized fish that call these waters home—steelhead, otherwise known as rainbow trout.

With different species of quality sport fish swimming these waters all year round, there is no question why Haida Gwaii is known as a fisherman’s paradise.

Haida Gwaii Sportfishing

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Something Fishy: Bachelor Parties in the Great Outdoors

Escott Sportfishing: Something Fishy: Bachelor Parties in the Great Outdoors
Make Escott Lodge your next stag destination!  

One of the more fun parts about getting married is having an excuse to get all your friends together to blow off steam before the stress of the big day.

Back in 2009, when The Hangover came out, Vegas seemed like the place to head for a bachelor party. But by the time Bridesmaids was released, only two years later, director Paul Feig said he didn’t want the cast to end up there for the bachelorette—because it was already tired.

Now, with 2016 weddings being planned, real-life wedding parties are taking a different approach to the bachelor/bachelorette party. Instead of brash and loud Las Vegas, many best men and maids of honour are taking wedding parties on more adventurous getaways, far from the beaten path. Whether escaping to a vineyard, renting a cabin in the middle of woods, or heading to a yoga retreat, pre-wedding celebrations are increasingly heading to the great outdoors.

Not surprisingly, a getaway to a sports fishing lodge also lands on the list of unique bachelor and bachelorette parties: it’s got everything you need for a special and memorable time—without all the slot machines.

Whether you’ve got a group of seasoned anglers or it’s everyone’s first time out in the boat, at Escott Sportfishing we’ll have each and every bridesmaid reeling in salmon. And as fathers and sons have known for centuries, there’s nothing like being out on the open waters to get everyone bonding.

Not only do our experienced guides take you out on the water each day of your trip, but every evening your party finds itself back in our first-class accommodations at Escott Lodge—included as part of your fishing trip package. Decked out with flat screen TVs, a pool table, a poker table, and a hot tub, our Haida Gwaii fishing lodge provides all the luxury a groom-to-be deserves before he takes the plunge. On top of it all, every meal at Escott is prepared by Executive Chef Mike Redinger, whose take on West Coast cuisine completes the experience. As does our fully stocked bar.

Taking a stagette party to beautiful Haida Gwaii is already enough to make it more memorable than most, but add in the days spent on the fishing boat with a group of your best friends and family, and it will become unforgettable.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

From Coho to Chinook: The Many Salmon of Haida Gwaii

From Coho to Chinook: The Many Salmon of Haida Gwaii
Photo By Owen Perry
Located on the West Coast of Canada, the Haida Gwaii of British Columbia have some of the best salmon fishing in the entire world. The reason the fishing is so good is because the island chain comes early on in the fish’s migration from the Arctic southward. Escott Lodge, which sits on the northern tip of Graham Island, is in the middle of all this frantic salmon activity, with the sportfishing season running from early May until the end of September.

Though they all pass along the BC coast, there are five different Pacific salmon species that inhabit the waters Escott trawls, and each salmon has its own season, behaviour, and appeal.

The main salmon people come to come to Masset to land is the Chinook. Also known as the King salmon, the Chinook grows to the largest size of all the species—hence its royal nickname. These fish live the longest (up to 9 years) and can weigh in at over 100 lbs, although most average closer to the 20 lb mark. Anything over 30 lbs is classed as a “Tyee”—the ultimate trophy for any fishing trip. Chinooks start appearing around Haida Gwaii in early May and stick around until mid-August.

Another fish that lures anglers to the BC coast is the equally mighty Coho. It doesn’t match the Chinook in size, coming in at an average 10 to 15 lbs, but many prefer the more mild taste of Coho (a.k.a. Silver salmon) for eating fresh. Easy to identify by their hooked upper jaw, the acrobatic Coho are in season from early July until the end of September.

Chum, Sockeye, and Pink
Though Chinook and Coho are what many sport fishermen are after, the most abundant salmon in the Pacific are Pink, Chum, and Sockeye. Pink salmon are the smallest of the bunch (4 to 6 lbs) because they have the shortest lifespan, living 3 years maximum. Chum and Sockeye share the same long and thin profile, but while Sockeye average 7 lbs, Chum grow to up to 25 lbs.

No matter what salmon ends up on the end of your line, Escott Sportfishing will make sure it’s properly prepared for your table or released back into the ocean to continue on its way south.

From Coho to Chinook: The Many Salmon of Haida Gwaii

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Making Waves: Today’s Women Anglers

Escott Sportfishing: Today's Women Anglers
Tyee Catch & Release.  Photo by Kyler Vos.

Although popular culture often paints a masculine picture of sports fishing, in reality, women make up around 30% of the angler population in North America. And, according to survey results from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, that number is growing. 

Another impressive statistic is that women hold a disproportionately large number of fishing records—and especially salmon fishing records. Perhaps the most famous women salmon angler is Georgina Ballantine, who, after a two-hour battle, landed a record-breaking 64 lb salmon in Scotland’s river Tay in October 1922. Two of Ballantine’s fellow Brits, Doreen Davey and Clementina Morrison, went on to break their own fishing records, in 1923 (biggest spring salmon, 59.5 lb) and 1924 (the biggest fly-caught salmon, 61 lb), respectively.

Lest you think it’s just British women who smash salmon records, there’s Canada’s own Deborah Whitman-Perry, a novice angler who, in 2012, caught an absolutely massive 83.3 lb Chinook in beautiful British Columbia, not far from Escott’s fishing waters.

The legends continue today. Below, we explore the careers of four of today’s top women anglers.

Kathryn Maroun
Hailing from Halifax, Maroun is best known as the host and producer of the TV series What a Catch, but she’s also president of Casting for Recovery Canada, a fly fishing retreat for women who have or who have had breast cancer. She’s a certified Federation of Fly Fishers casting instructor, proponent of proper catch and release methods, and has landed game fish all over the world. These days, she’s also an activist for Lyme disease, which she has unfortunately suffered from since receiving a tick bite during a BC trip (always remember outdoor health and safety!).

Check her out on: 

Anietra Hamper
Hamper quit her two-decade career as a news anchor in America to pursue the outdoor life full-time, and she has since featured in many fishing shows, articles, podcasts, and more. A fan of all adventure and travel, she has an active YouTube channel  and writes regularly for Women’s Outdoor News.

Check Anietra out on:

Vala Arnadottir
Lifelong salmon fly-fisher Arnadottis has most recently joined the BBC series Earth’s Wildest Waters: The Big Fish as its Iceland judge. She is a major advocate for women’s participation in sport fishing: she’s previously called for the start of a “Women’s Fishing Week” and doesn’t let anyone in the sport get away with sexism, as you can see from her recent blog post “Your Calendar Also Says 2015, Right?” 

Check her out on: 

Anne Woodcock
Following in the footsteps of her record-setting British forbearers, this Scottish angler is a major player in the UK fishing community. Woodcock founded Ladies Fishing, which holds events for both first-time and experienced women anglers, and she’s also Marketing Director of FishPal, the UK’s top salmon fishing information site.

Check Anne out on: 

Women anglers in Canada, from novice to expert, can find angling events and log their fishing activities with Great Canadian Female Anglers here.