Haida Gwaii

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Fishing in Haida Gwaii

If you’re looking for a taste of escapism, a Haida Gwaii fishing adventure will see you exploring an area so stunning and remote that it’s often described as “the end of the world” and “spectacular by nature.” This archipelago of islands is located on the north Pacific coast of Canada. It’s known as both Haida Gwaii, it’s indigenous name, and the Queen Charlotte Islands – which makes sense, considering that these waters are full to the brim with sportfishing royalty. From huge Tyee (Chinook) Salmon, to Halibut, to Rockfish and Lingcod, leave the real world behind and come cast your line in this magical location!

How can I get there?

Despite Haida Gwaii’s remote location, it’s never been easier to reach these fabled fishing grounds. You’ll find regular flights departing out of Vancouver airport and landing in either Sanspit or Massett. If you’re already up north, your options widen: there’s a seaplane that departs from Prince Rupert, as well as a ferry. This means that a fishing expedition to these incredible waters is accessible to everyone, not just the most hardened of anglers willing to make the trek!
 

Which trip is best for me?

Day charters

Thanks to the many transport options on offer, it’s possible for visitors to experience the Haida Gwaii fishing scene all in one day. Even better? There aren’t many places where you can hook “barn door” sized Halibut and trophy-sized Salmon in one trip, but Haida Gwaii is one of them. The majority of day charters run out of centrally-located Massett and Queen Charlotte, and will have you fishing for Salmon species, including the locally-loved Tyee, dropping traps for Dungeness Crab, and more. These species can be found inhabiting the coastal waters around the islands, as well as skinny inshore waterways, meaning you won’t have to travel far to start fishing.
 

Fishing lodges

By far and away the most popular way to experience fishing in Haida Gwaii! If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the Canadian wilderness, or a truly authentic island-fishing experience, this is the way to do it. You’ll find plenty of lodges located around this archipelago, with the northernmost island of Langana offering up the widest variety of options, all located a short run from the best fishing hotspots. Lodges are a great option for hardened anglers who want the chance to cover more ground and hook the full quintet of Salmon species (Coho, Chinook, Pink, Chum, and Sockeye all inhabit these waters!) or that trophy-sized Halibut. They’re also perfect for families who want to turn their fishing trip into a serious vacation. 
 

How to prepare

If you’re looking to hook huge Salmon, visit in May, June, or August – Tyee Salmon regularly reach up to 50 pounds. For Halibut enthusiasts, the best time to visit is during the summer months. Make sure you discuss local regulations about keeping your catch with your guide or captain, as these are subject to change.
 
Whether you’re staying in a fishing lodge or embarking on a full day trip, you’ll be provided with top-quality rods, reels, bait or lures, and tackle. You’ll need to purchase your own saltwater fishing licence beforehand, and it’s recommended that you bring along sea sickness medication and waterproof clothing, as the weather here can be turbulent and unpredictable. One thing that’s for certain, though: Those who come to Haida Gwaii for a taste of escapism and some incredible angling action won’t want to leave!
 

Haida Gwaii Fishing Seasons

January

If you’re willing to brave intense weather conditions, you’ll be rewarded with an excellent start to the year! Waters around central and south Haida Gwaii offer up Salmon fishing action, with Tyee being the most popular.

February

Temperatures remain cold, but you’ll find some charters on offer that are ready and waiting to take you out on the hunt for Tyee Salmon. Drop some traps on the journey for the chance to haul in some Dungeness Crab!

March

The weather starts to heat up slightly, and so does the angling action around the islands. The first few fishing lodges start to open their doors, and charters get ready for the season. Tyee Salmon fishing remains strong.

April

Spring has arrived, and usually brings with it plenty of rain. If you’re willing to brave these conditions, you’ll be in for some hard-fighting Tyee Salmon action! Depending on regulations, Halibut may be up for grabs, too.

May

May hails the real start of Haida Gwaii’s fishing season! Fishing lodges open their doors, and the mainland’s seaplanes dust off their wings and transport anglers from all over to the islands. Salmon fishing stays hot.

June

Salmon fans, mark this month in your calendar – it’s locally thought of as one of the best possible times to hook this species, which regularly reaches up to 50 pounds. Halibut fishing is strong, too.

July

Coho, Sockeye, Chinook, Pink, Chum...the waters around Haida Gwaii are full to the brim with every kind of Salmon. Get ready for the chasing to begin! Halibut fishing is strong, and Lingcod and Rockfish are also on offer.

August

Coho Salmon are at their best, and species weighing 20 pounds or more are regularly caught. Fishing for other Salmon species remain strong, and bottom fishing fans will have plenty of chances to hook Halibut and Rockfish.

September

This is when Haida Gwaii’s fishing season usually starts slowing down. If you want to target the last huge Salmon, this is the time to visit! Lodges start preparing to close, as Salmon migrate and weather conditions drop.

October

The Salmon run starts to come to a close, but keen anglers will still be able to target the last few species. Halibut are on their way out but can still be found in deeper waters, and tasty Dungeness Crab are on offer.

November

Most day charters and fishing lodges are closed for the winter, but anglers willing to brave the cold can find the last few Salmon south of Haida Gwaii. Lay out some traps for Dungeness Crabs, too.

December

The weather and waters around Haida Gwaii can be pretty uncompromising at this time of year, and it’s rare you’ll find a charter or lodge running trips. Willing to withstand the cold? Head to the mainland for freshwater fishing.

Haida Gwaii Fishing Calendar

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Reviews of Fishing in Haida Gwaii

Fishing with Kevin
Ray M. fished with Reel Fun Fishing Charters on July 13, 2019
Be ready for any weather. Always remember it is called "fishing "not "catching" so never be disappointed if you don't get a limit just enjoy what you do catch and the amazing beauty of the north coast..

Top Targeted Species in Haida Gwaii