SEA TROUT - When the Interior Lakes are Frozen

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

As per my recent Hardwater Blog Post, The lakes are frozen and the current fishing opportunities in the BC Interior are limited. Even our surrounding rivers are either closed or still too frozen to cast a line. Fortunately, we are only short drive from some incredible fisheries in the lower mainland, case in point the Chilliwack/Vedder Rivers Winter Steelhead run which primarily starts around late Dec and fishes well right up into April. And I can't think of anything much better to be doing in the middle of winter than hunting, chasing, searching out our BC rivers for these elusive Sea Trout. In fact it was an encounter I had with a summer run Coquihalla river Steelhead many years ago now that reinvigorated my love for fishing entirely. I consider myself very fortunate to live where I do, I have some of the very best trout fishing right in my back yard (Kamloops) but also have so very many other angling opportunities all within a reasonable drive year round. There is no time of year that I'm completely without opportunity to get out and catch some fish. Now while Vedder salmon runs can be a very easy fishery, Steelhead is a whole other ballgame. These very elusive fish are a challenge and also the most prized fish of all to tangle with. Unlike Salmon these fish can leave the Ocean and enter the rivers to spawn multiple times which makes them genetically superior in my opinion. Many people refer to them as the "fish of a thousand casts" and "silver ghosts" amongst many other names but you get the idea. I'm fortunate enough to have a brother who has spent as much time chasing Steelhead on the rivers as I have spent mine on Interior Stillwaters. Both of us have become very good at what we do as it is our passion and become part of who we are. He has taken me out many times chasing these "ghosts" as we call them and I have even spent many days all on my own hunting these magnificent creatures with the knowledge he and others have shared with me. Truth is, I sometimes don't know for certain where I'd rather be, knee deep hiking through the river currents into a valley of moss covered rocks and deep pools of turquoise green water chasing sea run fish or kicking back on my jon boat double anchored over top of a school triploid pennasks just inhaling bugs like a fat kid in a candy store. as much as I love catching stocked triploids and our put and take lakes, they will never feel as special to me as a Steelhead or Beauty of our Wild fish, this is for certain, but as much as I love steelhead the feeling isn't mutual. They just plain don't seem to like me. Though I'm no seasoned veteran, I know how to read the water, I know where they like to hold, how to entice the bite in given conditions, how to fish depths effectively and how to work a stretch of water and hoof it from run to run for until your legs hurt and so on and so forth. Regardless of the knowledge I have retained and the aid of knowledgeable people, or the countless miles of water I've worked thoroughly on foot, If they are the fish of a thousand casts I've probably gone thus far and then some. Going days with nothing, is certainly disheartening at times but the rewarded of shaking the tail of one is well worth the effort. It had been sometime since I had caught one and was beginning to lose confidence entirely. Even when I managed to get a strike or hook one of these brutes they would all end up giving me the slip. Well this past February I redeemed myself, Finally, and only about 4 hours into my first day of the year on the river! Though my brother had a monster on briefly in the first half hour of fishing, It was my day for once. When I first initially hooked the beauty hatchery doe it took off full speed ahead directly at me putting an eternity of slack line between me and the fish, flashback to an episode of Deja Vu of the last Steelhead I lost on the previous year that did the exact same thing! Trying to catch back up to it with all the slack line and barbless hook I thought for certain she was gone. When I finally caught back up to her I was so relieved and almost panicked thinking to myself "just don't screw this up again". My brother while extremely happy for me is rejoicing "YEEEHAW!" And naturally followed by every attempt to amplify the stress but trying to coach me into landing the fish. Though I don't blame him, he seen me lose more than I ever caught. It was one the best moments I've had fishing in a long time and the only thing that would have made it any better was if I had got it on my spey and not the centerpin, though 1:1 ratio doesn't get any better. What an Epic beginning to 2019! Can't Wait to see what else is in store and my confidence has been rejuvenated once again and thinking I may just go back down again in March to see if we can get into some more together. For those interested in seeing the fight here I managed to get I all on my gopro though the video I put together does it no justice, It's just one of those you moments that can only truly be experienced by being there in person. Whether or not you live within an hours drive, 2- 3- 10 or 12 hours catching one of these “unicorns“ is something every die-hard angler should have marked at the very top of their bucket list, I only wish I lived much closer for more frequent opportunities to target them. However once you've had the experience, It surely becomes a life long passion that will never die! I hope you enjoyed the read and I look forward to spring when I can start putting forth much more up to date Stillwater journeys here for 2019. Tight Lines

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