By: Fishing with Rod
Southwestern British Columbia is known to have the warmest winter in Canada, where daytime temperature stays above freezing most of the time between December and February. Although trout stockings do not resume until spring, lake fishing can in fact be productive throughout the year. If you don’t mind the cold and wet conditions, then good trout fishing can certainly be experienced.
In the past couple of years, rather than taking part in fisheries that see higher fishing pressure, I’ve taken my boat out to local lakes where solitude is easily found, and of course where fish are plentiful. Because water is not exactly warm in January and February, most of the fish tend to inhabit in deeper water where their minimize movement to preserve energy. As the water warms up in March and April, these same fish will move into shallower waters and fishing will only get better.
It is important to have good bait, which can draw these fish to your fishing area. There are three types of bait which I always carry with me when trout fishing: Fire Bait, Balls O’ Fire single eggs and deli shrimp which have been cured with Fire Cure. These baits can emit plenty of scent over a long period of time. Therefore, fish are more likely to be drawn into the area.
Because I am targeting fish in water depth up to 40 feet in the winter, a bottom rig is more appropriate. Lately I have been using a drop-shot rig, with a size 4 or 6 hook suspended a couple of feet off the bottom. A smaller hook is used for single eggs, while a larger hook is better for deli shrimp and FireBait.
While fishing is not less consistent than spring or summer due to the lack of fish stockings, I’ve found fish that are caught in the winter and early spring tend to be bigger and in better conditions. These fish are leftovers from previous stockings so have had the chance to grow and recover from injuries caused while being reared at the hatchery. They are also better fighters too, especially on an ultralight spinning setup.
If you live in Vancouver, the lakes to try out include Hicks Lake, Jones Lake, Cultus Lake and Chilliwack Lake in the Fraser Valley. These lakes produce rainbow trout up to two-pounds and cutthroat to four-pounds. These lakes don’t just offer productive fishing, the scenery is one of the main features which draws me to them. Catching nice trout while being surrounded by dense rainforests and snow capped mountains is an experience which we are lucky enough to have here in Southern British Columbia.
Give it a go next time when you are looking for fishing opportunities in the winter and early spring!
Editor’s Note: Fishing with Rod is known in Western Canada for his online show, “Fishing with Rod.” His 450 videos have been viewed more than 12 million times and are part of the largest online YouTube video channel. To watch his videos please visit https://www.youtube.com/user/fishingwithrod.