Discussion in 'Freshwater Fishing Forum' started by Cuba Libre, May 29, 2020.
big rainbows are in Okanagan lake 20+lbers have been caught not often though! , kootney lake used to have some massive hogs back in the day but those fish have long been fished out
Shuswap Bow from a long time ago...
Better link-- thanks
My good friend at Christina Lake has a 22lb mounted on his wall. Not the biggest he's caught in the lake either. Lots of nice fish to be found there, but the kokanee are dwindling and that's a big 'bow food source.
Skaha is the up and coming lake in the region now with increased nutrient levels from the ongoing sockeye spawning and hatchery efforts. Late winter/early spring is producing 10+ lb rainbows fairly often. Hopefully most are released.
I can attest to OK lake having held some big Rainbows. We hooked a few bumping up against the 20lb or more mark back in the 90's before moving . We released all the ones that looked like they might be thinking about spawning. This is likely the only pic I have of any of the ones that made it to the table. I posted it before, but any excuse to look back at the "good old days" LOL. A 15.5lb and a 17.5lb ( yes on a scale) a buddy and I took home one chilly spring morning in 1991 for an upcoming big BBQ. Put them up along with a nice Deer roast, Let the others bring the sides, and all where happy and fed. One of very few pics I have from back then.
PS: Not saying fishing did not play a roll but as I understand it, The biggest hit on the Kootney lake "Gerards" was introducing the damn shrimp.
Gerrards haven't been fished out. Currently there are too many Gerrards in the lake and they are maturing at a small size. Kokanee population is down because the Gerrard population got too high at a time when the kokanee population was trending down and the kokanee currently can't recover. Shrimp introduction likely didn't help but that was half a century ago and fishing has been great on Kootenay up till this decade. Lots of compounding factors but the genetics for large rainbow are still there and the lake will produce large fish once the food source returns to normal.
Kokanee in Kootenay Lake have been infected with a virus that has reduced their numbers dramatically for the last 5 years or so. The virus originated in the Lardeau Spawning channels. There is a lot of info on line. The mysis shrimp introduction turned out to be a big mistake but the biggest problem has been the dams - particularly the Libby Dam. The dams dramatically reduced the nutrient flow into the lake. They also cooked the fishery in the West Arm downstream of Balfour. However with the drop in the Kokanee population I have read the trout have switched to eating the mysis shrimp. They don't get anywhere near as big but at least they are still there.
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/kootenay/fsh/main/pdf/Kootenay Lake Update - Balfour Feb 23 2015.pdf
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/kootenay/fsh/main/pdf/Kootenay Lake Kokanee etc - FoKL Summit Nov 2017.pdf
Yes, IHN could be a compounding factor in this also, although it doesn't appear there is any evidence that it has had an affect on the populations (yet) as determined by mortality events. From the 2017 link it suggests that IHN is NOT an issue in this case, "Disease (e.g. IHN virus) and parasites are rarely a major factor that affect wild population status- likely the case for Kootenay Lake:". The resulting fry from those spawners tested negative for IHN and the fry mortality occurs between their first and second years in the lake (see the 'Main Lake Kokanee: in-lake September Survey' graph. Even though it has only recently been discovered in Kootenay lake doesn't mean it hasn't been there longer than that and the testing is just becoming sensitive enough to detect it. Looking at the Gerrard Rainbow spawner numbers at a record high in 2011 and this coinciding with a dramatic decline in Kokanee numbers seems to indicate a bigger issue than IHN detection.
Recent changes to Provincial regulations to encourage more predators to be harvested to help the kokanee recover.
Water In-Season Change Effective Date
Kootenay Lake - Main Body
Barbed hooks permitted.
Bull trout daily quota = 3,
Rainbow trout daily quota = 5 (only 2 over 50 cm)
Rainbow trout over 50 cm: annual quota = 10
Removal of the requirement to release rainbow trout, February 1 to June 10, north of a line between fishing boundary signs posted at Lost Ledge Creek and Salisbury Creek.
May 14, 2020
I couldn't find a good link put out by the Province explaining their recent regulation changes but this article captures it https://bcwf.bc.ca/new-angler-progr...y Lake, B.C. – A new,for a prize worth $1,000.
Recent fishing report https://reeladventuresfishing.com/fishing-report/the-fishing-report-june-2020/
Good fishing for 5-10lb rainbows on Kootenay Lake, and retention of those fish will help the Gerrard population return to their trophy sizes. And prizes to be won.
The biggest issue the lake has experienced is the dam construction and they have been trying to keep the kokanee population struggling on via a variety of problem solving approaches namely spawning channels and fertilization of the main lake. However it can never be the same as it was.
Back a few years ago they seemed pretty definite that the 2014-15 collapse was due to the virus. Maybe they have better evidence now but the BCWF sometimes seems to believe anytime there is a problem with a species prized by it's members, it's caused by predation. I spent a fair bit of time on and around Kootenay Lake from 1976 to about the early 90s. I saw what happened after the Libby Dam - the entire lake became close to as infertile as some of our larger coastal lakes. Perhaps the fertilization programs around 2010 to 2012 were not as effective as previous years.
Glad to hear the fishing is reported to be good (I take all guide and tackle shop reports with the proverbial grain). Biggest Gerrard I caught was 23lb and I saw larger. I knew the guy who caught the record fish that was over 35. Hopefully the big fish will come back. There should be a slot limit IMHO or there may never be fish over 15lbs.
Yes, the dams had a large impact on the lake, and it was a double whammy when the fertilization plant upstream shut down around the same time as Libby dam going in. The nutrient restoration program helps mitigate for much of the lost natural nutrient loading. Interesting to your hear first hand accounts on the lake, thanks for sharing. Hopefully things turn around soon.
I've been told the few large fish in Okanagan are Gerrard strain. Is this true?
I don't believe so. I have never heard Gerrards were stocked in Okanagon. Even if they were they would likely interbreed with the local rainbows and dilute the Gerrard strain such as happened to the Gerrards stocked into Pend Oreille which once produced a 37lb sport caught specimen. Many of the larger lakes in the interior such as the Arrow Lakes, Quesnel and Christina have produced a few rainbows in the the 20lb+ range. A 27lb fish was caught, killed and weighed out of Christina within the last few years.
31" Bow and 27 and 26+ went 1st 2nd 3rd in the derby
Those are some big rainbows where ever you get them. Reminds me of growing up. Good old lake Ontario trolling plugs on the lake or dunking roe bags from shore, we did manage some nice ones then. Being the 80's, they were brown, contaminated and gross and NO we never ate them. For eaters the brookies hit the pan. Always try for a big Laker when hunting up North but never fished for the big rainbows in BC, good to see some around, something to add to to-do list.
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