"Fly Fishing for Kamloops" reveals a vast amount of information for the angler. Details about the 26 best lakes in B.C., photos and tying instructions for some sixty (60) of the best fly patterns, explanations and data about "Triploid" trout, lake planting, and how to get an edge (on the other anglers) are all provided here. Anglers will find this book an amazing resource.
Gould has for many years owned a cabin on Glimpse lake, B.C. and spends much of his time with friends prowling the shoals and drop offs for the mighty Kamloops trout. He has personally fished a great many of the lakes and sends data to the Fresh Water Fishing Society of British Columbia each year to help them determine fish planting rates.
Ray Gould, a retired mechanical engineer and manager for Scott paper Company now resides in Bothell, Washington with his wife Susan. He has hand crafted some one hundred eighty (180) cane rods and has taught fly tying at two fly fishing clubs in the Seattle area. Fly fishers may also be familiar with two (2) other books he has published "Constructing Cane Rods" and "Cane Rods - Tips and Tapers".
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Fly Fishing For Kamloops Trout
By Ray Gould
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Ray Gould
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Mysterious Kamloops Trout
It all began some twelve thousand years ago. Huge glaciers covered most of the interior of British Columbia and what is now known as Washington State. When the glaciers melted, a vast lake covered the region, and it formed many lakes as it drained through the Columbia River system. It was during this time that rainbow trout developed and came to British Columbia.
Efforts to scientifically identify these trout have been undertaken several times especially since the early 1900s, when tales of these mighty fish began to spread among anglers. Fishing in the lakes of British Columbia produced trout of magnificent size, strength, and power. Many trout of ten to twenty pounds were taken, and really big fish, such as the fifty-three-pound fish from Jewel Lake, caused awe amongst anglers. Even today Kamloops trout of ten to fifteen pounds are occasionally taken.
But what were these fish? Were they really rainbows or were they another species? When Fort Kamloops was established in 1812, most of the small lakes were barren and only the larger lakes had resident fish. Yet tales of monster fish began to emerge over the next eighty years. Because of this, in 1892, a Dr. Jordan of Stanford University received samples for identification. He believed that these fish were different from rainbow trout and were named Salmo Kamloops, or Kamloops trout, as opposed to Salmo gairdneri for rainbow trout. Thus the name of the fish began. But the story does not end there. Further tests showed that the Kamloops strain was only different because of its environment and was genetically the same as the rainbow. So the classification of Salmo Kamloops was removed, and it is now known as Oncorhychus mykiss.
Therefore, there is indeed a Kamloops trout that is different in its fighting ability and characteristics because of its environment but is in fact genetically the same as the rainbow trout, the Gerrard trout of the Kootenays, the Blackwater trout of the Caribou, and the mighty steelhead trout.
Kamloops trout are basically insect eaters. Because of this fact, the trout readily take the fly-to the delight of fly fishers. Yet the Gerrard strain of Kootenay Lake are piscivores (fish eaters) and grow to be very large (they feed on Kokanee fry), as do the trout in Adams and Shuswap lakes. Another well-known strain is the famous Thompson River steelhead trout, famous for its size and strength.
The Freshwater Fishing Society of BC uses eight strains of rainbow trout. Three are based on wild populations (Pennask, Tzenzaicut, and Blackwater), three are native strains (dragon, premier, and Tunkwa), one is a wild population strain (Gerrard), and one is a domesticated strain (Fraser Valley). Each of these strains has particular characteristics and is then planted in suitable places for that fish.
Some interesting facts about Kamloops trout include the following:
Trout usually spawn in their third or fourth year, although the fish-eating strains delay maturity until perhaps the fifth year.
Trout eggs hatch into alevins in four to seven weeks depending on water temperature and become free swimming fry during the summer. Spawning stream water flows, temperature, and water levels are critical to good production. Many interior British Columbia lakes suffered from poor spawning stream production during low water, such as the years of 2003-2005.
An adult rainbow can live as long as ten to eleven years. They spawn and return to the lake rather than dying, as do salmon.
Kamloops trout use their senses of sight, smell, and hearing to survive. They have monocular vision in a large radius to the sides, back, and above, but they also have binocular vision in a small cone of vision toward the front.
It's every fly fisher's dream to tangle with one of these powerful fish. Lakes in British Columbia that contain the really big ones are often rather closely held secrets, though bragging sometimes lets the cat out of the bag. However, with the advent in recent years of triploid trout, quite a few lakes are turning out really big fish. Read on in this book, and you'll see the research and recommendations as to where big fish can be found.
But that's only part of the story. To be successful one can certainly benefit from the many techniques and tips offered throughout this book.
While this is an odd word, many fly fishers understand that "Triploid" means "big fish." Anglers often want to know where to go to catch a really big Kamloops trout. This chapter provides information to steer the fly fisher to the right spot.
So just exactly what is a triploid? A triploid is a genetically altered fish. It is sterile and does not reproduce but rather expends all of its energy toward rapid growth. These fish are specially reared and planted in many of the lakes in British Columbia, where they are avidly sought. The word "triploid" is actually a variation of the word "ploid," which refers to the number of chromosomes in a cell. "Haploid" means one chromosome, "diploid" means two chromosomes (what ordinary fish cells have), and "triploid" means three chromosomes.
Scientists have discovered they can create a triploid by treating the eggs with warm water temperature shortly after fertilization. Another method used is to place the eggs in a pressure vessel. What happens is that the fish end up with three chromosomes (triploid) instead of the normal two (diploid). This makes the fish sterile, which means they have to be reared and planted. The triploid fish have fewer but larger cells. Tests show that triploids have the same critical swimming speed, a measure of aerobic capacity, and the same stress response as diploids.
One question often asked is, "Are these triploids the same as the famous Donaldson trout reared by Professor Lauren Donaldson of the University Of Washington?" The answer is no. Donaldson trout originally came from Packwood Lake on Mount Rainier and were crossed with steelhead. They were selectively bred and given better nutrition so that they too grew very fast.
In the Thompson-Nicola area alone, over 130 lakes were planted with triploids (2007 data), and some are included in the 26 best lakes shown in this book. Please note that many of these lakes were also planted with triploids in prior years as well, and that some of the plants were fingerlings while others were yearlings. Among the better known lakes planted with triploids in 2005-2009 were those shown in the following chart: note that this chart shows only the triploid rainbows, although triploid brook trout, triploid kokanee, and diploid trout are also planted.
There are five hatcheries in British Columbia operated by the Fresh Water Fishing Society of BC. Together these hatcheries stock some one thousand lakes and streams in British Columbia with more than six million trout, char, and kokanee annually.
The Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery is located at Duncan and raises rainbows, coastal cutthroat, and steelhead. This hatchery stocks about 150 lakes and streams on Vancouver Island and the surrounding islands. Their operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. There is a freshwater ecocenter adjacent to the hatchery that opens after April 1. It is an interpretive facility displaying fisheries management programs, fisheries habitat protection, and conservation efforts. It is heavily visited, so it is best to call ahead to check on their operating hours: 250-746-6722.
The Clearwater Hatchery is located in the town of Clearwater. Although originally built for producing salmon, it has been converted to use for rearing trout and kokanee. This hatchery stocks over 330 lakes annually with over 3 million rainbow trout (several strains), brook trout, and kokanee trout. It provides fish for most of the lakes in interior and northern British Columbia. Their operating hours are 8:30 am to 4:00 pm daily.
The Fraser Valley Hatchery is located in Abbotsford. It raises native and domestic rainbow trout, anadromous and coastal cutthroat, and steelhead trout. It stocks some 150 lakes and streams each year in most of the regions in British Columbia. They maintain a captive-brood stock of the fish. The visitor center there offers displays and tours. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.
The Summerland Hatchery is located on Okanogan Lake north of Penticton. It rears native and domestic rainbow trout. It is the oldest continuously running hatchery in British Columbia and is used to stock fish in some 260 lakes in the Thompson/Nicola, Okanogan, and West Kootenay regions. It also transfers fish to the Clearwater Hatchery for use in stocking the lakes in the Caribou and northern lake areas. During the three summer months of June, July, and August, free guided tours are available. Their hours of operation are 9:00 am to 3:00 pm daily from April to September, and Monday through Friday from October to March.
The Kootenay Hatchery is located at Fort Steele near the town of Cranbrook. It is responsible for stocking 150 lakes in the east and west Kootenay regions as well as some of the lakes in the Kamloops and Okanogan regions. In addition, they transfer fish to the Clearwater Hatchery for central and northern stocking programs. Of special interest is their involvement in the recovery initiatives for white sturgeon.
Chapter TwoSpecial Information Can Give You an Edge
Fly fishers are a competitive bunch. They're always trying to outdo their fishing friends. Here are some tips to help you succeed.
Choosing the right place to fish can be very important. Basically fly fishers want to know where's the hot spot, how to get there, what facilities are available, and what fly patterns work there. Many folks will go back to a lake with which they are familiar and have fished previously. Much of the information in this book is specifically provided to help the fly fisher make the right choice.
Additional pieces of information are given in the following charts: "Fish Stocking Density /Acre" and "The Last Five years of Fish Stocking for Twenty-six of the Best Lakes." This data will help the angler figure out if it seems like there are lots of fish in a given lake, or if it's a spot where it is harder to catch a fish but is worth it because the fish are so large.
A note of caution in using this chart: there are many factors affecting the fishing in any one lake at any particular time, including weather, time of year, low water, wind, when the hatches are on, and whether the lake is in bloom. Then, too, take into account whether you're after big fish or lots of fish. As examples, if lots of fish are desired, a fly fisher may wish to try Eliguk Lake; if big fish are desired, the fisher should try one of the Triploid planted lakes.
One should also consider the factors of cost to make the trip, time and distance required, and facilities available. If a short weekend camping and fishing trip is desired, choose a lake that's not too many miles away and that has camping facilities and a boat launch area.
The "Fish Stocking Density/Acre" chart provides a snapshot as to what might be expected. Some special notes using 2009 data:
Marquart Lake has 47 percent triploid brook trout, 53 percent diploid rainbows.
Stump Lake has 22 percent Kokanee trout (half of those triploids), 78 percent rainbow trout (28 percent of which are triploids).
Dragon Lake is stocked with rainbow trout only, and 40 percent of those are triploids.
Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake levels have been raised in 2006 at a cost of $750,000, and the lakes were restocked at a cost of $500,000; there are 25,000 fish in each of the two lakes.
Roche Lake is stocked with all rainbow trout, of which 33 percent are triploids.
Tunkwa Lake is stocked with a total of 40,049 rainbow trout, of which 63 percent were female in 2009.
Stump Lake has 100,000 Rainbows (40 percent triploids) and 80,000 Kokanee (50 percent triploids).
Fawn Lake has the highest fish density/acre (189).
This chart does not include fish from natural recruitment, which could be a major factor.
Last Five Years Of Fish Planting for Twenty-Six of the Best Lakes (T = Triploid)
This chart shows total trout planted, including eastern brook in Marquart and kokanee in Stump Lake.
The importance of this information is that it provides a guide to fly fishers as to exactly how each of the twenty-six best lakes in British Columbia have been stocked over the past five years, which should be an indicator of expectations. Note that natural recruitment will be in addition to the data shown and that it's important to review both the document titled "Fish Stocking Density/Acre" and the "Last Five Years of Fish Planting for Twenty-six of the Best Lakes."
Fish Finders and Depth Sounders
One of the more useful tools an angler can have is the fish finder. These devices can be mounted externally or internally on a boat, or they can be a portable handheld instrument.
The typical fish finder is battery operated either from separate batteries or from the same battery that powers an electric motor (twelve volts). A monitor is mounted in the boat where the screen can be seen by the operator. A transducer, usually mounted in the water off the transom of the boat, sends a cone-shaped beam down through the water that reads the water depth and sees any fish intercepted by the beam. (See the Lowrance X-55 scanner at the end of this chapter). Side scanners are also available. Various cone angles are available with many being a twenty-degree cone, but some have angles up to ninety degrees. The advantage of the larger cone angle is that the angler sees a larger area under the boat and thus can see more fish. Some fish finders show icons on the screen that discriminate as to large and small fish. If desired, a fish finder can be obtained that will read boat speed and water temperature.
My personal experience shows a twofold advantage to having a fish finder. First, when fishing a new lake or exploring a lake you are familiar with, the angler can troll or row the lake with the scanner switched on to locate pods of fish. Second, once this is done the angler can select a depth suitable for anchoring. One technique that works well is to anchor right on the edge of a drop-off so that casts can be made to deep water or up onto a bar or shallower area, all from the same anchored position. Double anchors (one front and one rear) are best when fishing the chironomid pattern. This holds the boat steady and helps the angler detect the soft "take" of the fly by the trout. Note that an eight-pound ball anchor seems to work best.
When mounting a fish finder in a boat, find a location for it that will minimize the number of times the fly line will get tangled up with it. There's some kind of a principle at work that proves if there is any slight protuberance in a boat, the fly line will find it!
Fish finders such as the X-55 have other features to help the angler. One is the backlight feature, which may be switched on in the evening to illuminate the screen. Another is an alarm that sounds when fish are located. And finally, some even play music for your entertainment.
The following photographs show both the portable and fixed fish finders.
This handheld fish finder is powered by four AA batteries. It is waterproof and is held underwater to read the depth and search for fish. It is lightweight, portable, and useful when traveling to lakes where to angler might not wish to take his electric motor and twelve-volt, deep-cycle battery equipment. It can be held so that it scans vertically or horizontally.
The Lowrance X-55 Fish Finder Sonar Unit (Mount on Boat Seat) and Transducer (Mount on Transom)
Fly Rods and Reels
There's an old saying that goes, "There is no such thing as too many fly rods or too many reels." To some extent this is true. Fly fishers are a competitive bunch, and it helps to have the right gear with you when you're out in a boat. That can mean not only having the right flies and gear in your tackle box, but also having the right rods and lines.
A system used by many experienced fly fishers who fish out of prams is to have along three or even four fly rods, each with a different type line. If the fly fisher is in a float tube or pontoon boat, there may be only room for one or two rods, but then extra reels can be taken, each loaded with a different fly line.
Excerpted from Fly Fishing For Kamloops Trout by Ray Gould Copyright © 2010 by Ray Gould. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Mysterious Kamloops Trout....................1
Chapter 2 Special Information Can Give You an Edge....................7
Chapter 3 26 of the Best Lakes in British Columbia....................18
Chapter 4 Must-Have Flies....................76
Chapter 5 Fly Hook Comparison Chart....................136
Chapter 6 Boat Choices....................138
Chapter 7 Cooking Trout....................146
Chapter 8 Discovering Nature....................148
Chapter 9 Recommendations: Choosing the Right Place....................158
Chapter 10 When All Else Fails....................161