Fly-In Fishing Trip And BBQ

We had some guests over from the UK and they had told us that they wanted to do something a bit different as a holiday experience.

Easy thing to say on the telephone from 5000+ miles away.  After some discussions we agreed on a fly-in fishing trip.

The fateful day arrived and the mist and cloud came down (that’s why it was fateful!)  My wife and our guests were to make the plane ride out to the lake and I dropped them off at 7am ready for the start of their adventure.

Float Plane on Okanagan Lake

Float Plane

Rod Hennig and I set off to take his 14ft boat up into the mountains.  We sat in the car at the base of the mountain, around 1500ft above sea level, looking at the low clouds.  The trip was beginning to look doubtful when the pilot telephoned to say he only had clearance to fly to 2500ft.

What a time to try and change plans ..  we had the cars and the boat.  No problem ..  we’d change the venue to the Okanagan Lake.  Good idea until we discovered the larger boat, which would be needed on the big lake, was blocked in .. the road outside Rod’s house had been dug up.  We waited for around 30 minutes and the clearance level rose to 2900ft.  The airport said it was sunny at about 5000ft, but permission to fly was denied.

A compromise was reached .. the pilot would extend the flying time, do a circuit of Kelowna and land on Wood Lake instead.  Success!  I duly stood at the end of the lake and waited for the plane to arrive.

Safe Landing on Wood Lake

Float Plane Landing

Once the passenegers had been collected it was away to the mountains and catch up with Rod. Hopefully he would have the BBQ all arranged on the island in the middle of the lake and a good day in the sun could be enjoyed.  Climbing 3000ft through mist does however dampen your enthusiasm .. but as they say “a bad day’s fishing is better than a good day at work!”  At about 4000ft the mist cleared and the sun shone to welcome us.

Rod brought the boat over to the shore and we were all duly ferried across to the island.

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The wives sat on the island enjoying the peace and quiet while we fished. They hoped  to see some wildlife and during the morning there were sounds coming across the lake.  Could this be moose or even a bear coming through the trees to the lake shore?   No ..  it turned out to be a group of cattle wandering free.

View from the Island

View From The Island

Rod had indeed set up the BBQ with a supply of surplus food in case we didn’t catch any trout.  Our guests were impressed with the setting and prepared themselves for a great day.  We caught enough trout for us to enjoy on the BBQ – very tasty straight from the water and on the grill.

Chef at Work

Rod In Charge

We caught plenty of fish trolling a leech pattern or fly fishing a nymph. And when Rod was preparing the food I removed my shoes and socks, wading into the water with a very light spinning rod to catch a few of the wild fish that abound in the lake.

We caught and killed enough fish for everyone at the BBQ.  No overkill as I do hate to kill the fish unless I’m going to eat them.

The Island in the Evening

Evening View Of The Island

I would certainly recommend this trip.  It has all the benefits for a day angler without the need for a long, bumpy ride into the mountains with full campsites, etc.  There are plenty of mountain lakes for that experience but, for those who want to try a short trip, check out Rod’s website and give him a call.

http://www.kelownafishing.com/

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Mountain Lake fishing

There are many streams in the area which, I am sure, would provide excellent fishing for small wild trout.  However these streams are really for the adventurous (or younger) fisherman.  I have to admit that in my younger days I would have tried many of these streams just to see…

We do have good access to many lakes which can provide excellent fishing.  I’m biased towards fishing with a fly rod, but small lures are used by a good number of anglers.  Some of the lakes are fertile and support a good head of sizeable rainbows while others are not rich in natural life and so the trout are small.

This question of size is purely arbitrary and sits more in the head of individual anglers than should ever be considered important.  A lake will provide what it can and the good angler recognises this and fishes accordingly.  I love fishing a light rod and line for 8" to 10" fish which are usually wild and rush freely to the fly or  to the well presented nymph.  Fishing in these situations is normally in beautiful situations and so you get double pleasure.  The lake below can be fished from a belly boat or small dinghy.  Motors are not allowed and so there is serenity and peace out on the lake, hard to find in modern life.  The breeze comes across the water surface and carries its own sound and, in the early morning, a distinctive aroma which will be easily recognised by those of us who spend time in such places.  If you are close to the reeds then you will hear the rustle as the stems clash with each other until the sound reaches a crescendo as the wind strength increases.

Mountain Lake

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If you sit in a belly boat or have rowed out quietly in a small boat then wildlife seems to accept you. You blend in with the surroundings and become part of the overall scene.  Now all your movements should be slow and steady so as not to spoil the ambience.  Too many anglers arrive, crash about, dash all over the lake and then go home complaining that they couldn’t catch any fish.  I say study the loon which takes it’s time or look at the heron which is a marvel of patience.

The fish below came on a day when I had the privilege to be on a lake where the trout grow to a large size and are as nervous as any fish that you might encounter anywhere.

Releasing The Rainbow

Releasing The Rainbow

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Fishing The Okanagan Valley

When you move to a new country and there is an over abundence of lakes, the fishing you hope is good but, where do you start?

 The Lake At Peace

Finding myself in this situation some 5 years ago, I faced the problem with the usual approach. Purchases of maps, studies of all available material in books, magazines, local anglers and tackle shops.  Consumption of information is great but, for a dedicated and habitual angler, a bit depressing.  You have the detail, but a rationale behind tactics, tackle, etc, was often lacking. In the early days I enjoyed some success, but the learning curve was steep, with the ever present feeling that my fishing had returned to those tentative steps as a juvenille angler.  Half a century of experience and no knowledge.  In the Okanagan valley the opportunities seemed endless, but the local anglers I met didn’t seem to be enjoying the consistent success I would have expected.  All those years as a seeker of specimen fish in the UK had led me to a point where I needed more than just a day on the water, trolling some sort of lure behind the boat.  I had questions about the lures used, line strength, light, depth and all the minutai that had driven my angling career.  A selection of answers did come my way, but the jigsaw was not bonding to give me satisfaction. Being a long time carp angler, I didn’t target the trout and salmon, but slipped back to British style carp fishing.  An easy solution to a problem, but not ideal.  Large carp came my way, with some trout to the fly rod.  My particular angling approach could not let me continue in this fashion; there had to be a way out.  I knew there were big fish in the Okanagan Lake, and the valley generally, as anglers occasionally caught them. I needed an approach that would help me to move forward.  My wife often says ‘don’t search too hard and the solution will appear’.   In this case it turned out to be a true statement.  As the queue moved to the cash desk at my local tackle store I noticed a card for a fishing guide on the Okanagan Lake.  Salvation at last ?  When I got home I called Rod Hennig of Rodney’s Reel Outdoors http://www.kelownafishing.com/ We probably spent an hour or more discussing as many aspects of fish and fishing that our imagination could throw at us.  We agreed a date and price for my first guided trip on Okanagan Lake.

 21' Thunder Jet

My son and I arrived at the dock at 7am on the day that moved my local fishing forward immeasureably.  We were met with a friendly welcome from a man who jumped off the gleaming Red Thunder Jet 21′ fishing machine.  If you have never used a guide then this is a moment of apprehension.  My earlier conversation had removed most of this preliminary nervousness.  So time to climb aboard and get fishing ! Slowly leaving the dock, Rod checked our licences and showed us his licence to guide.  Then we went over the safety features, life jackets and rules of the boat.  This is always essential.  If the guide does not do any of this then be very suspicious.  Everything checked, it was time to travel, with the 175hp engine pushing us forward, as we raced to the first fishing spot. Naturally the discussion moved on to the fish and where we were going.  I found it extremely encouraging that Rod was taking us to one of the spots I had identified, but now my knowledge was going to be enhanced with when, why and how to fish these spots.  No longer the random attack employed by myself and many of the anglers who had given me information in the past.

 Rod At Work

Rod deployed himself with great professionalism as he arranged downriggers, extention arms, trolling boards, tackle, etc.

 Trolling Board At Work

 After the first introduction to the tackle and approach, I wanted to get down to fishing which Rod immediately encouraged.  I caught fish throughout the day, with Rod offering advice and information filling in the gaps in my knowledge and correcting any little points or errors as they arose.

 Equipment Working The Waiting Rod

 In the UK it was common, among many of the anglers I knew, to examine the tackle boxes of fellow anglers.  It was interesting to see how others approached their fishing.  As confidence grew in Rod he extended to me this courtesy and I observed and talked about many of the lures in his box. My son and I caught fish and had a great day.  He caught Kokanee to 4lb and I had Kokanee and a lake trout of 2lb, which turned out to be one of the first authenticated lake trout in the Okanagan.  Samples of this fish, its length, weight and a photograph, were sent to the Ministry registering the unusual event.

 Lake Trout

 It was a great day which led me to book Rod for other excursions at a later date. http://www.kelownafishing.com/ Have a look at the link and see some of the trips that can be arranged in the Okanagan valley. You won’t be disappointed.

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Kamloops Rainbows

Note And Photo From :- Kelowna Trout Angler

Kamloops Rainbows.

I had been contemplating a fishing trip to Kamloops for some time. Throughout the season, visiting the Fraser for Sturgeon and Kokanee in the Okanagan, flyfishing had been neglected. With this in mind I spoke with a friend, who lives in Kamloops, and arranged to meet him on a lake after he left work on the Friday. He starts and finishes work early so we can always get a short trip in.

The drive from home was about 2 hours and there had been a warning of snow on route. This meant I had to get the winter tyres fitted before I left. When I set out at around 9 am the weather looked good, but mountain travel should always be taken with caution. At about 6,000′ there was fog with some snow in the air. It was not a pleasent journey, although the radio said there was sun at Kamloops. As I drove the last 50 km and dropped down to about 2,000′ there was the sun and the scenery looked great. I had made the right choice in coming this way.

Arriving at the lake there wasn’t  a cloud over head, but the distant mountains showed what could be possible if the wind blew my way. Undaunted I set up the Sage SP 5 wt and paddled out in the V-Boat. The water was about 11C and I was glad I had warm clothing under my waders.

I always use a floating line and a range of nymphs that the great Frank Sawyer would recognise. Pretty old fashioned, but the approach has worked around the world so why change?

Out from the boat launch I paddled and after about 10 casts had my first fish. A beautiful, hard fighting rainbow of some 15”. ( I should work in metric, but somehow for fishing, the old system sounds better ). The colours on the fish impressed me greatly , particularly the green on the back.

Kamlopps Rainbow In The Net

The fish was gently returned after another picture.

Kamloops Rainbow

On starting out my flippers had ‘kicked up’ a number of geen shrimps.  The first fish came to a green shrimp pattern.

A furter 3 fish followed, up to 17". By now the weather was starting to change and a breeze was beginning to blow. Up above, the clouds were moving towards the lake and snow seemed a possibilty. Perhaps 2 hours of fishing time remained, if I didn’t want to fish in the snow.

I put away the V-Boat and searched the shore for a good spot to cast. The rewards justified the decision and I caught 2 more trout, with one of 18" and the second at 23". Time to stop and and think of the journey home.

Crossing the mountain was slow and, in places, perilous. There was some snow in the air, but the damp ground was very slippery as 2 trucks, which passed me, were to discover.  After approximately 10K we passed them, in the ditch !

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The River Wye

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

The River Wye.

The river Wye in England rises in Wales and flows through Hereforshire. It is a river of contrasts, with shallows, rapid runs and deeps. Much loved by the salmon angler and the home of monster coarse fish.

I have trotted the float along margins and taken many barbel whilst I have watched the antics of drunken revellers coming out of pubs and climbing into canoes. A quick " swim " does wonders for  those that  are worse for wear.

Salmon were in decline, as they seem to be suffering everywhere. It’s probably netting at sea, but walkers, tourists and boaters must accept some blame as they stand in shallows where the salmon eggs may be. Likewise the dog owner who gets great joy from stick throwing and the dog runs back and forth across the redds.

 Ducks and little grebe are also a problem when salmon come to spawn. These feathered opportunists will often dive, disturb the gravel and grab the eggs. Nature is a hard master and life is meant to be a struggle.

A more optomistic note is being sung and commercial netsman of the lower reaches are gone ( or so I’m told ). The Salmon and Trout Association, along with local clubs and volounteers, have also added to the efforts of the many that have sought to restore the character of this beautiful stretch of water.

The River Wye

It was on a warm April evening that I sat for a meal at this riverside pub and watched the shadow creep from right to left of the river.

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Kettle River

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Kettle River.

The end of August and I made my first trip to the Kettle River, BC. For those of you who have never been and for those who have become " jaded " I found it an awe inspiring river. It flows alongside mountains and in many spots you stand in the water and look up at ragged rocks and crags. If you are lucky, as I was, an osprey or eagle may swoop down.

I tackled the water with a fly rod and Nos 4 line. Big buoyant flies were the order of the day and the fish were ready and eager to rise.

 In the picture the river can be seen turning right in the far distance. Here the water was squeezed and the pace quickened as the water tumbled over rocks into a deep pool. The day was warm and I dispensed with waders and stood in my shorts waist deep in water. Trout to about 1lb came to the fly. My grandson, who had been swimming, came down to tell me there were snakes in the water. Eels I thought, but on close inspection they were, indeed, snakes.

Kettle River

I tried several spots and my grandson tried spinning. Both of us were successful. We caught fish and picked wild blueberries from the bushes.

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Alberta Trout Stream.

Note And Photo From:-  Kelowna Trout Angler.

Alberta Trout Stream.

In the summer I was invited to fish this delightful trout stream. It was some distance into the bush and seemed idyllic as I walked it’s banks.

 Every spot seemed a likely hold for a rod bending fish. There were pools, glides and undercuts. At the start of the fishery there was a beaver pond and it was a pleasant place to spend some time before the treck up stream.

A light fly rod, floating line with a selection of floating/sinking leaders was all that was required. As usual I carried my small box of flies which I use for exploring small streams.

Alberta Trout stream

My fishing pal left me with those few words we all dread " beware of the bears and there is a moose in there somewhere judging by the crap on the ground ". He loves his hunting and I’m sure he enjoys every opportunity to spook me so that I don’t concentrate on my fishing. It usually works and he catches while I get to enjoy the scenery.

Alberta is blessed with a few good trout streams and eventually I will come to terms with my pal’s "rustic" sense of humour and start to catch the fish that live in beautiful suroundings.

Next year I will get my revenge. I’m taking him to a stream in BC, which I know he will enjoy. Lot’s of wild trout and best of all there are snakes – and he hates snakes!

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West Dart

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

West Dart.

Who can resist the temptation to put their feet into cool running water?. I always feel that the clear streams of Devon, England were designed for this subtle pleasure.

Where the streams cross the road they become a haven for human life seeking solace from the pressures of an urban existence. Young children will splash in the pools and elderly people with young dispositions will step warily from rock to rock and perhaps remember the games of youth. Paper boats can be made and it’s fun to cast them upon the water and watch them negotiate the rapids.

For the trout angler the Dart is a glory. The fish are wild and accessible for the price of a ticket.  A nos. 4 weight rod and 11/2 lb point  with small flies will work well. I would recommend that anyone seeking to pursue the fish should study that excellent book by Mike Weaver, " The Pursuit Of Wild Trout "

West Dart

As you head upstream from the  roadside, there are all manner of pools just waiting to be explored. Time is well spent beside the babbling brook and  more time will  be rewarded with fish of splendid colour. The sun may make the fish wary, but a careful approach and accurate cast will work. If you are lucky and anglers usually are, there may be a chance glimpse of wildlife that should set the pulse racing with excitement.

The stream is similar to some of my native rivers in BC, but the scenery is softer and very welcoming.

I wish you well and "tight lines and screaming reels" if you find yourself with rod in hand and walking along the banks.

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Tropical Blue

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Tropical Blue.

Could this be a tropical paradise which beckons you for a swim? That wonderful blue water in the distance with the waves washing the coarse sand on the shore.

It is indeed a paradise where silence reigns supreme. There is the sound of wind in the trees or the waves washing up on the shore. There are no sounds from  cars, planes or people. However, the water is cold and good trout swim in the deeps.The air is clean and carries the scent of the surrounding trees.

This is one of the treasures of British Columbia, Canada found at a height of 990m and awaits to be discovered by you.

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Big Fly

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler, Canada.

Big Fly.

Early one morning, whilst walking along the shore of the Okanagan lake, fish spotting.

I saw this bug on the beach  and I hope the fish don’t start taking them or I’m going to need bigger hooks and a bigger rod.

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