Last year, the spring stocking of catchable trout occurred in the third week of April and this year the stocking date was Wednesday, March 23.
Tristan Robbins, hatchery manager, has always given me the time and date the truck would arrive at Echo Lake. The tanker truck would stop first in Courtenay to provide trout to the Courtenay Fish and Game, then proceed to Campbell River and head west to Echo Lake. I met Duaine Hardie, fish culturist, at the day-use area where the tanker truck backed into position to get the pipe ready and release 1,250 trout.
Water temperature was 7.9 degrees and when the trout hit the water they scatter and head into deeper water. Then they surface within 40 feet from where they enter their new home. A few fish were sen in the shallow water but they turned around and were gone. The deepest part of Echo Lake is about 45 feet and the shallow water is covered with bush, providing cover for the trout. This time of year there is very few bug hatches but snails and sticklebacks are in abundance.
The Campbell River Fish and Wildlife day use picnic area is private property and has been developed by the Campbell River and District Fish and Wildlife Association with the help and cooperation of Mosaic Forest Management with assistance from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. Signs are posted; there is no overnight camping and the area is day use only.
If you don’t have a canoe, kayak or belly boat, you can fish from the dock and simply cast out a worm and bobber and wait and wait. On the fly, you can use a black leech pattern or micro leech. When the air temperature warms up, and it will, the 11 a.m. time has been good over the years, or even late afternoon. Late evening you can fish the trestle area and a dry fly can be fun to hook into a 12-inch trout. Since there is no camping at Echo, you can head over to Miller Creek campground just a few kilometers away.
Local salmon anglers have been getting undersize Chinooks and a few keepers have been reported. In the month of March the weather has been windy with a few sunny breaks. On a few days a number of boats were spotted at the Lighthouse and Hump.
Crabbing has been good and prawning has been fair. The herring spawn is over and a few have tried fishing from shore in Comox but the wind was a challenge and they couldn’t cast out far enough to get any results.
A few contract fishing guides, who work up north, will be leaving for work in a week and will return back to Campbell River in early September.
Remember, we are still dealing with COVID-19 travel restrictions and social distancing is still with us.