Student stories

Recreation and health education student guides tourists and locals on unforgettable experiences

Dayna Clark

Queen Charlotte Lodge

Recreation and health education student Dayna Clark completed a work term as a saltwater sport fishing guide at the Queen Charlotte Lodge in Haida Gwaii. Though the days were long, the fun-filled fishing trips Dayna led were well worth the early mornings. Dayna reflects on her co-op experience below.

Working for Queen Charlotte Lodge

My summer co-op term was spent at Queen Charlotte Lodge (QLC), working as a saltwater sport fishing guide. QCL is one of the largest lodges in BC and it aims to serve ‘fishing first class’ to all of its guests. The guests range from professionals on corporate trips to people who come 5-6 times a year to tourists who are here for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was a part of a forty-member guide team, working alongside roughly a hundred other staff from varying departments ranging from food and beverage, mechanics, operations and dock staff.

Long days, unforgettable experiences

Above is a photo of me during an average day at work as a fishing guide in Haida Gwaii. This photo shows me enjoying a beautiful day of fishing at one of my favourite spots, Bird Rock 1. I had a wonderful trip with my guests both in terms of fishing but also in the working relationship we built. The weather was wonderful and the fish were biting. Both my guests and I had no complaints about this weekend trip.

However, what is not pictured are the hours spent off of the water, filled with long days and hard work. Wake up time was often 3:45am, aiming to be down at the dock for 4:30. This gave me half an hour to make sure the boat was ready before departure off of the dock with guests at 5am. Though times varied depending on guests, many people wanted the full experience which often means early departures. Days on the water are 11 hours dock to dock, meaning if we left at 5am we were back at the dock for 4pm. After returning to the dock we weigh the fish with our guests and then clean and prepare our boats, bait and tackle for the following day.

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What I learned from my co-op work term

Although the days were long, working at Queen Charlotte Lodge was an amazing experience. During this co-op I was able to develop important competencies including personal management, teamwork and appropriate behaviour. I found challenges and opportunities to learn and gain experience in each of these competencies on an almost daily basis. Throughout this co-op I was able to explore a new outlet for outdoor recreation while also gaining experience teaching people about one of my passions. It was extremely fulfilling to teach people how to fish, and then watch their own abilities and passion for the sport grow. This experience has made me realize that I would love to work in an educational capacity in future employment, ideally with sharing my passion for fishing and the outdoors.

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