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