Hatchery technician Chris Stone opens the truck gates for the release of trout into Echo Lake. Photo by Don Daniels

The trout have arrived at Echo Lake

In previous years, the stocking of Echo Lake with catchable-size trout usually took place in the first two weeks of March but this year anglers have had to wait for the new arrivals.

I have had the opportunity to fly fish Echo Lake for the past seven weeks and surface activity was nonexistent but I knew a few trout that were stocked last year were around, as the worm anglers were hooking a few from shore. Tristan Robbins, hatchery manager from Duncan, had contacted me and mentioned that they received permission from Mosaic to stock lakes on their lands.

On Monday, April 27, I knew the truck would arrive at Echo around noon and I made it a priority to get there a bit early and scout out the activity. Campbell River Fish and Wildlife maintains the day-use picnic area at Echo Lake. The area was tidy and few people were out, keeping their distance from each other and a lone angler was getting his boat out of the water and he was on his way. The kids were delighted to hear that the new trout would be arriving and they would stay to watch the trout go from the truck to their new home in Echo Lake.

Chris Stone, hatchery technician, is a wealth of fishing information and he had mentioned two crews are working various shifts to get trout out to the lakes on Vancouver Island. Echo Lake was stocked with 1,250 Fraser Valley Rainbow trout and the size is around 117 grams in weight. That is a catchable size and they do grow to 2-1/2 pounds. Later in the month of May, Reginald Lake will be stocked along with a number of lakes around Gold River.

Echo Lake is a short drive, 20 km from Campbell River on Highway 28, and open for families to use the picnic area and go fishing. Remember: This is a time of social distancing, so avoid contacting people beside you on the dock or parking area. I am seeing more anglers this year using float tubes to get out in the water, staying away from everybody.

The fishing in about a week will be much improved with the recent trout stocking.

I am hearing of Kokanee and Dolly Varden trout being caught, but those reports are unconfirmed, but I do know Fraser Valley rainbows and sticklebacks are abundant. Water depth varies from shallow to about 47 feet in the deepest part of the lake.

As we get closer to the May long weekend, remember to maintain social distancing, have fun and keep what we have now for the kids who will be the adults in the future.