Roche Lakes, BC. area report

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by dbk, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Finally made the trip from Oroville to fish a few days in B.C.... I arrived at Roche Lake Resort on Wednesday evening and stayed through Friday morning. I will say that the people there (both the owners/workers and other fisherman I met) were incredibly friendly and went out of their way to help make my first trip there a memorable one. The weather never really cooperated (aka- wind), with the exception of Thursday morning, which made for some difficult fishing conditions. It was so bad Friday morning that Roche Lake was not fishable from my pontoon. Couple that with the lack of any hatches and poor reports from other fisherman I spoke with (upon arriving Wed. evening as I was driving in I stopped to speak with a couple of guys who had been there for a week and they said "don't bother"- no bugs, no fish).

    All that being said, the fishing and catching turned out to be incredibly good in spite of the windy conditions and little to no bugs emerging on the water. When I woke up Thursday, morning, the weather was perfect (slight breeze, air temps in the low 70s) so I decided to fish Roche lake. I arrived at the lake about 8:30 and there were lots of guys fishing indicator rigs or trolling offshore in the deeper water. Following a tip from the lodge owner's son, and given the dismal reports on chiro hatches, I worked a small bay loaded with reeds and lilly pads (and even a few beaver huts) hoping to find fish cruising in search of an easy meal. The water depth ran about 3-4 ft in the open water areas along the reedlines and in the "channels" between the lillies. Working a bloodworm under an indicator a foot off the bottom, I began to "hunt" for active fish.... not anchoring, but instead casting to likely areas and covering the water throughly, I was on the move all morning. If the fish were there, the takes would consistently come within 30 sec (quite often even quicker than that) so I rarely allowed my indicator to sit still in one place for more than a minute before re-casting or repositioning myself to cover a different section of the area I was fishing.

    Being on the move allowed me to bring the fly to the fish rather than wait of the fish to come to the fly.... it also allowed me to cover more water yet return to productive water after resting it for a bit. Rarely would you take more than a fish or two out of an area anyway... and there were no emergences taking place to concentrate the fish. Fishing like this for 2.5 hours, I easily hooked over 25 fish and had a number of large fish break me off. The highlight was a bow that was an honest 27 inches and thick with broad shoulders... hooked and landed another 4-5lb bow with many other fish in the 18-21" range landed..... all on the bloodworm. Never had to change flies all morning... about 11am the takes started to come with less frequency and after hooking but failing to land a couple nice fish, I decided to call it a day (on Roche) and left the lake around 11:45am.

    Not sure why, but I was the only guy back in there fishing. There were a few boats anchored out in the middle part of the bay but not in where the reeds and lilles were... It was not until 11am or so that a few guys ventured in there, but by then, the bite had started to die out. I suspect everyone was looking for a chiro hatch in the deeper water that purportedly had been crazy good just a week earlier... it just never happened. Throat samples of the fish I landed never revealed anything other than bits and pieces of random food sources- scuds, daphnia, an odd damsel nymph, etc... That being said, they loved the bloodworm, though I suspect micro-leeches probably would have worked just as well...

    After taking a break, at 1:30pm I hit another small lake in the area that reportedly held large numbers of 3-7lb bows.. getting there required a 4wd drive vehicle as there was one stretch which was just plain nasty... I made it in okay to find three other boats on the water- 2 of which did not seem to be catching much and 1 that seemed to be doing pretty well. I fished the "light to dark" transitions along the north eastern shoreline where there was a slight ledge and change in depth figuring it might hold some active fish.... and it did. Same thing as Roche... no bugs hatching but I found some nice fish in the shallows (4-5ft) crusing the ledge. Nothing huge, but hit about 8 or so fish in two hours or so with the biggest running 3lbs.... all on the same bloodworm.

    Left the lake around 4pm and headed back to Roche lake resort. I was tempted not to fish anymore, but I ventured out to Black lake (just east of Roche on a rough 4wd drive "road") about 6:00pm and fished for about an hour with only one take down.. the wind had picked up and I called it quits shortly after 7pm. Went back to the lodge and ate a wonderful steak dinner at the restaurant there and heard more reports of poor fishing on Roche.... which made me feel very fortunate to do as well as I did.... quite often its me on the other side of that equation.

    Friday morning I hoped to hit Roche again, but the wind was insane and it would not be an option. Not sure where to go, and not being able to spend another night at the lodge, I took a flyer on Corbett lake near Merrit and went there hoping to fish and find a place to stay for the night. Its a private lake with cabins/rooms for fisherman to stay and thankfully, there was a cancelation just before I arrived or else I would have been out of luck. I was on the water by 12:30 and again "no bugs"- a constant theme of the trip. In the first hour I did manage to hook and land four fish under indicators (2 on a bloodworm, 2 on a stillwater nymph) in the south end shallows. The wind was bad here too, but this part of the lake offered some protection. Shortly after 1:30pm, I noticed fish starting to feed at/just under the surface.... there were no midges to speak off (either emerging or ovipositing adults) and damsels were no where to be found. I did not see any callibeatis duns on the water, though there were tons of spinners hovering just above the surface... but not spent in the water. The rises were mostly "gulping swirls" with a smattering of "slashing" type risesforms.

    Based on the available clues, I suspected the fish were taking the callibeatis nymphs just under the surface or the emerging duns breaking through their nymphal shucks. I tied on an "IOBO" emerger tied for callibeatis and fished it like a dry... This worked well at the beginning of the hatch and I managed to take 4-5 nice trout up to 20"... after this I could not get a another take though the fish continued to feed at the surface.. I noticed more aggressive, slashing type rises than "gulping swirls" but the key for me to stay "in the game" while the bite was still on came when I stripped in my fly line a bit and pulled the fly just under the surface in an effort to recast... I immediately got a strong hit which I missed on. I recast my fly to the same area and intentionally pulled the emerger pattern under the surface and began a slow hand twist retrieve... another fish took the fly and then another and another.... fishing this way produced another 10 fish or so. One other "adjustment" was to keep adding desiccant powder to the fly which allowed the fly to "pop up" through the film to float on the surface when I stopped the retrieve... A fair number of fish struck when the fly was breaking through the film as opposed to when I was retreiving it just below the surface. Throat samples revealed callibeatis nymphs with bulging thoraxes as the primary focus of the fish, so fishing this way most thoroughly imitated not merely the stage they were keying on, but the behavior/movement as well... When the bite on this pattern stopped after it had been working, my initial reaction was to change it out... yet the problem was not the pattern, but in how I was fishing it. Once I made that adjustment, the fish started taking it again with great regularity.

    The hatch ended a bit before 3pm and then it was back to leeches, bloodworms, etc.. under an indicator for a few more hours, which produced some more fish, but it was a grind. I left the water for the day shortly after 6pm pleased with just having an opportunity to hit a hatch. I fished again the next morning for a few hours before calling it quits and hit the road for Oroville a bit after noon on Saturday the 8th.

    All in all, it was a great first trip to fish a few of the lakes in B.C. and hope to do it again soon...
  2. nice report. let's see that bloodworm pattern!
  3. Great report! I was fishing the same spot at Roche. We noticed the same thing, and we fished the lily pad, bulrushes were the fish were cruising around. There was not a lot of bugs popping, so we were using scuds, damsels and leeches! image.jpg
    Jeff Dodd and Irafly like this.
  4. That's the spot! Great fish.... looks like one I caught back in there...
  5. Love the detail on how you found 'em. I've never done a BC lakes trip.
  6. Enjoyed the report
  7. It looks like I was on the wrong side of the border last week, solid report dbk.
  8. I fished that same area with a friend a few years back when the wind was real bad there. We were the only ones back there (after this report, that is likely never going to happen again, but no big) and we found fish when others on the main lake failed. But we never found any of those big fish. In fact one area we would catch decent fish on one side and then smaller fish on the other side.
  9. Sorry to hijack, but I have a question or two for you guys that have been up in that area the last couple weeks. I have a trip planned up that way with my family weekend after next. It's going to be my girlfriend, brother, mother and her boyfriend. A couple of them have cast fly rods before, but would probably be more comfortable fishing with a spinning rod and a lure (single, barbless of course). Are we going to get dirty looks from people up there? I know fly fishing isn't required, but we plan on fishing one of the busier, quality lakes and I haven't really seen much info that would suggest that anyone uses conventional gear. Also, I plan on forcing a CnR policy, but are there others in that area who harvest? The reason I ask, is CnR is going to be a hard sell if they see people cleaning fish. Any other tips are appreciated as well - I've never been stillwater fishing above the border, but I can muddle my way through a chironomid hatch.
  10. Excellent report! Appreciate all the detailed information on your techniques, particularly on the callibaetis emerger technique.

    I love fishing the BC lakes. The BC lakes usually have better quality fish, better fighting fish, fewer fishermen (except at popular lakes, like Roche), nice scenery and lots of wildlife).

  11. Lot`s of people use gear , and lots of people harvest fish up here . So , all is good .

    Check your regulations though . There are lake that are "FLYFISHING ONLY" there are lakes that have a size restriction for retention (usually one fish over 50 cm (about 20 inches) ) , and some lakes are designated for barbless hooks . Some lakes have hp or electric motor only restrictions (and speed limits) . Roche has a designated are where only electrics are permitted , and some lakes have all the above restrictions
  12. I enjoyed your detailed report, someday I'll get up there. Thanks

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