This was my first trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands and I wanted to take advantage of the world class fishing available there. After some internet research, conversations at the Vancouver Boat Show and speaking to a good friend who used to work there I decided to book with Peregrine Lodge. I was told the lodge is run by very nice people and the fishing is excellent, overall his summary was spot on.
Your trip will start at Landmark Aviation in Vancouver where you will collect your fishing licence (if required), and have a few snacks before boarding an Air Canada Charter to Massett. We received a friendly greeting and confirmed our arrangements on arrival. At Massett we had a short wait before boarding a helicopter (HeliJet is the provider) and flying into the lodge. Once at the lodge our first order of business was to collect our floatation suits for use on the water. They use Helly Hansen two piece suits and have a good selection of sizes. Chances are you will be issued a suit used by someone else just before you arrived and will see a few salt stains on the suit. The suits are in good condition and are much more comfortable than one piece suits I have used in other places.
If you haven't been to the lodge before you will have to ask a few questions to figure out the routine or just be patient and wait for the orientation that is provided just before dinner. You will find many of the guests are long time clients who have been coming to the lodge for many years, our group had several clients that had already been there a couple times this year. That says a lot about their service and the fishing at Peregrine Lodge and I found it lived up to their reputation.
The food at the lodge is excellent with a good variety of entrees and desserts available at dinner. Two of the three fishing days we had sandwiches prepared to order and the other day we had burgers BBQ'd on the water by the Safety Boat Operator. At breakfast you can have your choice of cereals, fruits/berries, yoghurt, buffet style egg dishes or have eggs made to order. Don't forget to take advantage of the pastries and zip-lock bags that are provided, these snacks are especially tasty on the water later in the day.
One of the things I didn't really care for was the fees for upgrading to a larger boat. At approximately $50/day it adds a lot to your total if you aren't expecting it. The guides really prefer working for the larger Edgewater boats and will push pretty hard to get you out of the smaller Mantouks. The reality is the Edgwater boats are a lot more comfortable and give you better range which will be important if you want to fish for Halibut. I think the upgrades could be offered for a little less or perhaps they could just drop the smaller boats and the price quotes you get would more accurately reflect what a good trip will cost.
You should also be aware of the tipping guides before going to the lodge. The expectation is $50 per person / day for the guide in the smaller Montouks and $75 per person / day in the Edgewaters or Trophy's (possibly one more reason the guides push you pretty hard to upgrade) with an additional $35 per person / day recommended for the ground staff to share. All told you can count on $350 per person for the trip. The service is excellent but it is a good thing to wrap your head around the additional costs before booking if you are like me and are stretching the budget to go on what can be the trip of a lifetime.
We had two different guides on our three days and both were extremely good fisherman who know how to fish and work hard to get you the most out of your trip. The 10 1/2 hours per day (except the last day which is a travel day) is plenty of time to try a couple of different areas and cover a couple tide changes. Jorgen was exceptional, we really hit it off with him and had good results with a 40 lb Chinook and quite a few from 20 - 25 lbs while there. We also did pretty well with Halibut hitting the slot limit really well with a 43 lb and a 50 lb Halibut in addition to a few smaller fish. Our day 2 guide was a really good fisherman and worked hard but we didn't connect as well. I wasn't really happy when he replied; "I hate Halibut fishing, it's just a meat fishery" to my question about halibut fishing. I thought I was the client. BEST ADVICE: If you plan to include Halibut fishing on your trip make sure you state that up front so they will pair you with a guide who enjoys this type of fishing and is willing to accommodate you.
The rooms are really quite nice considering how from from a town you are and how difficult it is to get supplies out there. Our room was equipped with a double bed and a single bed which means if you aren't a couple, one of you gets the small bed. The phones are activated for your stay and if required you can make calls for a fee. However, the main reason to go to a remote lodge is to escape the phone so the only use I had for the phone was our morning wake-up call.
On the trip out our pilot gave us a real helicopter ride showing of his skills and the terrain. Most of us really enjoyed this flight but a couple passengers looked a little anxious.
Overall this was a wonderful trip that I would be happy to repeat. It isn't cheap though, my total cost for a 4 day trip for two is roughly the same as a 2 week all-inclusive trip to Sandals La Source Grenada for 2 weeks. I don't begrudge the cost, but it is important you factor everything in before booking. If you are planning the trip of a lifetime and can't afford a couple re-do's Peregrine Lodge is a great choice, it won't be cheap any way you cut it so don't cheat yourself out of the best possible experience by trying to cut corners.
There is a 25 lb weight restriction so I brought a dSLR camera and just one lens, no flash. Having been there I would recommend bringing a good quality compact camera with video capability and a reasonable flash unit to capture some unbelievable experiences. Several of the boats had sea lions steal their salmon from the line and devour them in front of the anglers. The safety boat operator displayed several high quality photos of this activity and all his photos are available for purchase on a USB stick or CD/DVD.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Providing world-class fishing packages for the last 28 years, Peregrine Lodge is an all-inclusive, premier salmon fishing resort located in Naden Harbour, Haida Gwaii. We are home to some of the best salmon fishing waters on the coast and we pride ourselves on our exceptional service and hospitality. ... more less