2009’s wintery weather has been pretty harsh, which does not motivate me to do a proper fishing trip. Beside a couple of steelhead outings in early February and regular brief visits to the Tidal Fraser, I have been home-bound. Dampness, ongoing coughs, work, constant achings are factors… I meant, excuses that kept replaying themselves.
Kawkawa Lake has been opened since March 1st. Although the usual reports of good catches flooded the inbox right after opening day, we held off our visit until the weather was more reasonable for us whiners. The plan was to head out last Friday, but I couldn’t myself organized enough to join Mark and Marco. The first boat trip of the year always takes a bit more effort to get organized, because there are a gazillion extra items you have to remember. On that day, I phoned at lunch as I was of course curious to find out how they were doing. The first words were, “We do not want to talk to you right now, we got fish jumping all around us!”
Those words were enough to trigger a bug. I began organizing my stillwater gear in the last few days. Today, Marco and I took advantage of this brilliant weather that we have all been longing for. I was so excited about catching ten inchers that I actually lost quite a bit of sleep last night. Insomia, a sympton that is clearly induced by the ol’ fishing bug!
We arrived at Kawkawa Lake at 10:00am. The sky was blue, the lake was flat, but fish were not rising. Reports of poor catches in the last several days did not keep me optimistic, but it is always worth a try.
The view that we see from the middle of the lake once we motor out never gets old. Many people pay top dimes to catch fish in this setting, so we are pretty lucky to be able to do this whenever we want.
The fish may not be rising, but the late morning hatch was strong. Shells could be seen all over the surface. It is hard to believe that they would not be feeding.
Time to match the hatch, I reached into the cooler for a match.
Just kidding of course, a red dyed krill is a pretty effective bait on kokanee, as we have found out over the years. I decided to focus on baiting near the lake bottom while Marco worked the surface with his fly. By covering both sections of the lake that may possibly produce, it cuts down the search time.
An hour went by and it was not looking too promising. At least the weather was good, so we could actually relax. Occasionally a big school of risers would swing by, but none seemed to be too interested in whatever we were offering.
This photo makes me laugh whenever I look at it. It somehow reminds me of the seinfeld episode where Kramer smoked a cigar and set his hair on fire.
Here is another look at Marco’s new Outcast Power Drifter.
From 10:30am until 4:30pm, we did not have a single bite! We ate, wandered around to different spots, waited, ate some more, wandered around some more. I eventually fell asleep for a brief moment and I don’t even have a seat with a back rest.
Six or seven other boats were also not having much luck and everyone except us left once the wind picked up. Deflated, we drifted around to figure out what to do. I suggested that we should try one more spot where it has produced in previous summers. By this point my battery for the electric motor had died. It’s always good to figure out what are needed before the Interior stillwater season starts by doing a couple of local trips. We slowly rowed ourselves over there and were delighted to find the little bay was shelted from the wind.
We anchored, sent our bait down. In less than a minute, I watched my rod tip quivering away. A fish for sure! I gave it a good yank and finally there was a bent rod. That did not last long, the fish popped itself off after a few seconds. I was quite happy regardless, because once there is a fish, there are many more when it comes to kokanee fishing. I waved at Marco, signalling him to come over. Anchoring side by side, we detected many more bites. Some were hard while others were simply light quivers. The hooksets were difficult, perhaps we were slowed down by the cold weather or the fish were too fast. We missed or lost just about every fish in the first 30 minutes. It was a good thing that everyone had left, because the loud screams coming out of our mouths everytime a fish was lost would not have been too enjoyable for other anglers.
Finally, I managed to keep a fish on the line long enough for it to surface. A kokanee it was, but surprisingly not a very big one. Marco followed by bringing up a coho salmon.
Then it was back to more misses. By 6:30pm, we each managed to land one more kokanee and a few more coho salmon.
These landlocked coho salmon seem to be much bigger than previous years’ fish. We ended up the trip when this little one came up.
No Fishing with Rod journeys end without drama of course. While rowing my way back to the boat launch, the piece of wood that holds between the electric motor and boat fell off. I was too tired to return and pick it up, but was hoping Marco would spot and pick it up behind me. He looked at it, paused and passed right by it! Just when that was happening, a bolt on one of my oar collars popped off. Now I only had one workable oar and no motor. After some scrambling on the boat, I managed to find the bolt and rowed slowly back with the aid of a tail wind. Stranding in darkness would not have been the ideal ending for this rather uneventful fishing day.
This was quite a sharp contrast to last year’s trip. I think we may give Kawkawa Lake a rest for awhile.