Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fly fish BC goes in pursuit of Kootenay Rainbows

Perfect conditions on Kootenay Lake
The mighty Gerrard Rainbow is the largest species of rainbow trout in the world, with leviathons occasionally topping 30 pounds. So it was with excitement and a great deal of anticipation that I hit the water of Kootenay Lake Wednesday, a fortunate guest of father and son team, Rudy and Dave.

Dave ties on one of his hand-tied flies

We climbed aboard their comfortable 22-foot Trophy trawler (which is for sale by the way) fairly bright and fairly early but not too early, as local informants indicated the bite would not kick in until about 10 a.m.

Rudy is a retired doctor and his son Dave, a school teacher, who have lived on the lake off-and-on for the past 40 years. So their combined experience and a ton of fish landed over the years made this a promising venture.

Fly fish BC lands mighty
Gerrard on Kootenay Lake

Still, the first three hours on the water vetted nary a nibble. The "Bill Normans" and Rudy's personal favourite, the "Silver King" seemed to have lost their expected magic for winter trawling at an excruciatingly slow pace. 

At 11:30 Dave decided to change it up and replaced one impotent lure with a hand-tied-polar-bear hair fly, lovely creations, that seemed somehow indignant at being passed over by the more unwieldy and ineffectual plugs. 
As if to say, "I told you so" the fly was not in the water for more than five minutes when the rod bucked and line screamed. 
I fought and landed a beautiful eight-pound rainbow, shiny and thick - a harbinger of more good things to come. 
Rudy's 20-lb rainbow from Kootenay Lk.

Soon we had all three rods pulling hair, and again, just minutes after the first fish, another one was on.
I grabbed the  pulsing rod as line tore off the reel for what seemed like minutes. I passed it off to Rudy who played the massive rainbow like a pro, patient but intent on  keeping the line tight and the hook set. Dave netted the 20-pound trout, with wild exclamations and hardy congratulations all around.

In the next three hours we released five more Gerrards ranging from two to six pounds. It was a rare day for a lake that can be unforgivingly slow at times.

Perhaps it was the alignment of the stars, perfect conditions, good flies, experience and expertise, or a combination of the lot - I find on days when I catch more fish than expected, I don't question it, I just thank the fish gods and the men who made it so.
Thanks guys for a great day.

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