Echo Lake stocked with larger-than-usual trout this month

Chris Stone herds stocked trout into deeper water at Echo Lake. Don Daniels photo

By Don Daniels

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia has concluded the fall stocking of Vancouver Island lakes and locally at Echo Lake it’s time to catch them if you can.

Tristan Robbins, hatchery manager in Duncan, advised me that on Wednesday, Oct. 9 the live trout will arrive by truck at around 3 p.m. I made my way back from Sayward and I stopped off at the old logging bridge on the Campbell River to see if anyone was fishing at Sandy Pool.

I got the call from fish culturist Chris Stone as he was leaving Cumberland headed to Echo Lake with a tank full of live trout. The Fraser Valley rainbow trout are raised in Duncan and transported by truck to Spider and Maple Lake then here in Campbell River to Echo Lake. Maple Lake got 1,500 trout and Echo received 1,200 and I noticed a few larger size trout.

While all the fish are a catchable size, Chris had mentioned the trout were a little bit bigger in size this year. The truck had backed in to the shoreline near the dock and the straight pipe was attached and the tanks were opened and the trout made their way to the water through the straight pipe. It takes very little time to pump the trout out. The trout find the deeper water then swim around and get used to the new freshwater environment.

Since Echo is a rainwater basin, the water is clear and has excellent trout habitat with all the vegetation and trees around the lake. At stocking time, air temperature was close to 15 degrees and water temperature was at 13.5 degrees. The newly-stocked trout were surfacing and swimming around getting used to their new home. All trout were active and had made their way into deeper water.

Now is the time to fish from the dock or get out and troll a leech or wooly bugger fly or small Tomic plug. These trout feed on stickleback minnows and small snails. The day-use area has a toilet, picnic tables and fire pits but remember, this is a day-use area with no camping.

Saltwater fishing is still going on but weather can be a big factor. You might spot boats close to shore and the coho are here along with springs. The chums are coming and news from the north indicates that the chum run should be better than last year.

The Browns Bay chum derby is set for Oct. 25 26 and 27 and this event is a big social event for out of towners and the locals. I will be there on the Sunday afternoon. With the recent rain, the beach and river fishing for coho will pick up. The locals get out and throw out fly patterns or lures in hopes of hooking into a coho.

Getting out this time of year is enjoyable if the weather holds out.

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