Thursday, August 16, 2012

A weekend of Kayak Fishing at Ross Lake.

This past weekend Sandra and myself loaded up some fishing kayaks and headed up to Ross Lake just outside the town of Hope (British Columbia). We had heard lots of reports of easy to catch rainbows and Dollys, and with the lack of fish caught on our last couple trips we were more than happy to try a new location.

Awesome view to enjoy a cup of morning coffee to.

Being that Ross Lake is created by a dam in Washington only the very northern tip of the lake is in Canada. We didn't want to buy WA. state fishing licences so we decided to fish the mouth of the Skagit River where it enters Ross Lake. We had heard the fish were smaller in and around the river mouth but easier to catch as well.

We were also going to try and paddle down the last couple kilometres of the Skagit River, a section that is world famous for its trout fly fishing. Having paddled the steeper sections above earlier this year in whitewater boats I knew we would likely have to portage some log jams so we decided to bring smaller lighter kayaks.

I chose to borrow the Jackson Coosa from the WCK demo fleet, that kayak is really a no brainer when it comes to rivers and creeks (Coosa review coming soon). It is also one of the lighter fishing kayaks so incase we had to do some bush whacking it seemed like a good choice. Sandra, with only 1 Coosa in the demo fleet decide to take the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 for a couple reasons. First off, its really light and easy to carry should the situation arise. Secondly, Wilderness Systems boats with Slide Trax outfitting is the quickest and east system to rig out for fishing, this is very important when you don't own your own boat. While the store is nice enough to give us free range on the demo fleet their never really excited when we start drilling holes in them to mount stuff.

We arrived early on monday morning of the BC Day Long Weekend to a surprisingly empty campground at the Lake. We wasted no time and got on the water as quick as we could. It is only a short 10 minute paddle to the mouth of the river where we first threw some lures out. I immediatly got a bite and played a fish for a short time before it wiggled of the hook. The next hour or two were pretty slow so we pushed up the river to just below the fishing river boundary sign, catch and release only in the river.

As soon as we moved up river Sandra started slaying fish! Its okay now, Im well used to her out-fisihng me at this point. Within an hour Sandra landed a Cutthroat, a fish that is apparently fairly rare there, followed by a nice Rainbow and then a Dolly. Having seen nothing but White Fish the past month we were stoaked to not only have caught some fish but three different kinds!

I did eventually end up catching a really nice Rainbow (that was bigger than anything Sanadra caught I might add!) In the end Sandra landed a bunch of nice fish and had some even bigger ones that managed to get away at the very last second.

Sandra early morning on day 2. Who ever said the Tarpon 100 wasn't a stand up kayak?

The next day we decided to return to the same spot and had a great time. We both caught several more rainbow and a couple Dolly's, nothing very big but lots of fun. Ross Lake has definitely earned a spot on my list of favourite kayak fishing locations. The fishing is good, the scenery is even better and the campsites are abundant. I highly recommend putting this on both your paddling and fishing destination to do list if you have not already.

Here are some pics form the weekend, and yes, Sandra promises to wear her PFD the ENTIRE TIME on our next trip!

 A nice little trout late in the afternoon.

My nice little rainbow.

The Coosa and the Tarpon 100. Huge thanks to Western Canoe Kayak for keeping the demo fleet so well stocked!

Pictures and Text by: Ryan Bayes

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