BC Lake Fishing Report

A long winded report...

My wife and I took a quick trip up to the Cariboo region in beautiful British Columbia. We were staying at a cabin on Lac La Hache, right outside of 100 mile house and even though this is about a 7.5 hour drive, with the amazing scenery changing constantly, the drive goes by faster than any other. The cabin was definitely ‘rustic’, but the price is right…I have seen low end hotels in Seattle go for more per night!

This is an annual trip…for the most part! Last year I did not make it up because I was getting married and had way too much to do, but this year has been much more relaxing and my wife really wanted to hear the loons and to see the place that I always talk about.

The night we arrived the weather was overcast but mild and around 65 or so. We unpacked, went grocery shopping and headed out to a close put & take lake near our cabin. It took us a while to find the fish, but we finally did and we landed a few feisty 12-14 inchers. Pretty nice for a put & take lake! My wife was getting tired and I knew there was a lot more fishing to come, so we decided to leave the lake early even though the sun would have easily allowed us to fish until about 10:00.

The first real day of the trip, I wanted to fish my favorite lake just in case it fished well so we would have time to return. This lake is my favorite, because in the 2 previous trips there I have NEVER caught a trout less than 20” long.

The road to the lake was pretty nasty as it has been raining just as much (if not more) in BC than it has here. But this day was pleasant, with not much wind and about 70 degrees. While we were driving over the 1 hour of logging roads a light cinnamon black bear jumped off the road and ran for about 50 yards until it stopped and looked back at us to see what the heck we were…unfortunately the camera was in the back of my truck!

When we were on the lake, I went over to the shoal where I had seen the most action on the lake in the past and sure enough there was an occasional rainbow taking flight to pound flying damsels. In the past the shoals often boiled with fish attacking damsels, but this time they were not quite so active. But the thought of sight fishing for fish over 20” with damsels is too tough for me to ignore so I went at it anyways. I hooked and landed my first fish (it was about 21”) and soon after the shoals quieted down and the fish were in the deeper water. My wife and I tried plying the depths for a while without so much as a touch and then it began to rain. Soon I started to see a few mayflies popping up, and soon after that I began to see rise-forms that now looked like they were taking emerging mayflies it was definitely not the jumping rise of a trout eating a damsel. I switched to a mayfly emerger and lost 3 within 10 minutes. I set the hook too fast on two of them and the other was a pig and broke me off during his first run. The next fish was landed by my wife after I cast my rod and gave it to her to hold…5 minutes later she had a take and landed a rainbow right at 20” all by her self. She only fishes once in a while with me, but this was one of her fishing highlights. She was ecstatic! Well I might have been a little more excited than she was, but it was a great moment…As soon as we unhooked and revived that fish I saw another one cruising the shoals so I cast out watched him take my fly, I waited on the set…and brought a fat 21” fish and the largest of the day to the net.

During the next hour, the rain picked up and the rises stopped so we decided to start the long trek home. I would have loved to stick it out all night, but my wife is not quite as hard core and we had had a great time so far, so off we went…on the way out I saw a large brown blur off to the left of the road, so I stopped and backed up to see a Moose and its calf about 50 yards away in the edge of the trees checking us out. We snapped a couple quick pictures from the truck with my foot real close to the gas, because a mother moose can be deadly.

The next day we woke up to rain, so at about noon we decided to try to find a lake that I was told about at the local fly shop. After about 3 hours driving on nasty roads, we arrived at a lake we thought was the one we were looking for. After asking a guy that was fishing on the lake we found out that we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and wound up on a different lake. He explained that with the nasty weather the fishing was slow. We found that to be the truth with my wife having the only hook up of the day and that lasted all of about 15 seconds before a huge rainbow took flight and spit the hook. We saw some dark grey clouds approaching so we decided to pack it up early. We followed the short cut that the locals took to get back to the main road and it was a bad road because of all of the rain. Along the road I saw 2 places where it was obvious that people had been stuck before…I was very thankful to have a Toyota truck and 4 wheel low because my wife would not have liked pushing my truck!!

The next day was our last day of fishing and our most eventful. I decided to go to a well known put & take lake that I have had luck at in the past and kicks out 16 to 22” rainbows consistently. The day was very sunny which was nice for a change. About 15 minutes into the trip and I had already lost a nice fish. I then lost another and another…and on and on for about 6 fish in a row. Very frustrating!! For some reason they were coming un-hooked after fighting them for a little bit. We had been fishing for about 4 hours and my wife hadn’t even had a bite, I offered her my rod, but she would not accept it.

Meanwhile I was getting fried by the sun because I did not bring any sunscreen as it was cloudy when we left the cabin. So my wife offered to tie my shirt on my head and she asks me to hold her rod. I immediately set her rod down on the bench beside me and from a boat standing still the rod shot out the back of the boat and was planning on the lake like a water skier in a matter of 15 seconds. The rod disappeared before I could get over to it and I thought it was gone, but then a minute later I saw the tip sticking out of the water by about a foot. I paddled over to it as fast as I could, but I was too slow and my wife missed it by inches…

A couple minutes later the fish surfaced and it looked and sounded like he was still hooked, so I paddled over to him as fast as I could, hoping to be able to grab the line or something. We chased the fish for about 10 minutes before I came up with a new idea. I decided that maybe I would lower an anchor rope all the way out (it never hit the bottom) and hopefully drag my anchor rope between the rod & the fish. I tried this a couple times and when I pulled my anchor up there was nothing. I was pretty depressed at this point, knowing that not only have I lost 6 nice kamloops rainbows, but I had also lost a nice rod & reel. The fish then surfaced one more time, and out of desperation I decided I would lower the anchor rope and give it another go and sure enough when I pulled the anchor up there was the line!! I grabbed the line, started pulling it in, landed the fish, un-hooked the barbless scud hook released him and finished pulling up the rod! What a relief! With all of my bad luck losing fish I could not believe that this barbless fly stayed hooked without me even fighting the fish…go figure!

My wife wanted to go home at that point, but I desperately wanted to land a fish…it was not to be though, I lost 2 more fish and we called it a day…a very lucky day!

The trip was relaxing and even though we did not catch a lot of fish, spending time with my new fishing partner, the abundant wildlife, the fish that we did land and the rod that I got back after being overboard for about 15 minutes made the trip one of my best yet.

I will post pictures as soon as I can.

Great report. One question on the rod recovery. Did all the line come off the reel before the rod came up from the depths. I had a rod lost earlier by my fishing partner this year and while the rod was recovered due to the floating line. The line all came unspooled before the rod came back up from the depths and it took awhile for me to get all the line and all the backing back into the reel. I was very glad I tied a good knot from the backing to the reel. Ever since then I have wondered if I had the drag set tighter if the rod would have come back up without all the line and backing coming off the reel first.
With the size of the fish and the speed they took off when they hit the fly, I had the drag set really tight. No extra line was pulled off the reel when I pulled up my rod. I was figuring I was going to end up with all of my line at the bottom of my boat (like what happened to you) but my drag must have been a little too tight.

For the first few minutes after the rod went over I was wishing I had been using a floating line! I was using a type 3, so it wasnt helping my cause!