I had a chance to meet Graham Nessman, fish culturist with the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery, on March 8 at Echo lake when 1,250 catchable size trout were released into the lake. The weather was ideal to see the trout go from the truck to the lake and head into the deeper water to begin a new life searching for insects and growing to about two pounds or more if they can carry over, meaning not get eaten by eagles or being caught by anglers in months to come.
The water temperature in the tank is about 14 degrees Celsius and the lake temperature was 6 degrees. Graham said it’s no problem with this water temperature change, it’s better than the lake temperature being 20 degrees. Once the trout hit the water, a few get stunned but they move around and finally head out to begin their new life. It takes about a week before the trout get active, so that means now is the time to go fishing.
The day use area is a great location to get the rod out, soak some worms and wait for a bite. Echo Lake is ideal to get out fishing in a belly boat or pontoon boat. After fishing Echo Lake for many years, the prime month for angling is May and will taper off during the warm weather months when the trout will go deeper.
Fly patterns that are successful include the California Neil leeches and woolly buggers. I use a size 10 fly pattern that utilizes three sections of rubber legs, a black body along with three strands of rubber legs to be tied in the front and continue along the top of the fly. The fly can be weighted and using a floating line gets me results fishing in about 20 feet of water.
Maple Lake, near Cumberland, has been stocked on the same day Echo was stocked. Other lakes in the Campbell River area will be Beavertail and Reginald. Langford Lake near Victoria has been stocked with trout that can be three times the size, meaning a five-pound trout can be caught and they have been caught. Long Lake in Nanaimo has trout in there, along with a good parking area. In summer the lake is visited by families who can spend a day at the lake and find a spot on the beach.
In Victoria, Langford Lake will be stocked at a later date because the cormorant birds are on the lake and the hatchery staff will have to wait until the birds move out to the ocean. At this moment, a new tank truck is being fabricated here in Campbell River and should be ready to deliver trout to various lakes across Vancouver Island.
Plans are in the works to have one more session for fly tying for beginners to be held at the Vancouver Regional Library in Campbell River with a date and time to be announced here in the Fishing Corner. A number of donated fly tying books will be drawn for along with other prizes.
Now is the time to get behind the vise and tie up some patterns to get out and enjoy fishing in the area.