While salmon often get all the press in the Campbell River area, one of the nicest local fish to eat and one of the most fun to catch is trout. Around here you can catch Cutthroat, Rainbows and Dolly Varden.
You don’t have to go far to find them – Echo Lake, for example, just 15 km west of town on Hwy 28, has been stocked with trout for your fishing pleasure. It is a lovely little lake and when driving by you often see people fishing off the small dock or out in the lake in their inflatable waders. With no motor craft being allowed on the lake, it is a peaceful place in which to plunk your pole.
Further down the highway, going towards Gold River, Lower Campbell Lake, Upper Campbell Lake and Buttle Lake all offer good fishing.
Pictured here is our grandson who caught a nice sized Cutthroat (about three pounds) out of Upper Campbell. My favourite way to fish Upper Campbell is to troll along close to shore in a small tin boat powered by a quiet electric motor. Doing this, I also caught a similar sized Rainbow that same summer.
At Buttle Lake, in Strathcona Provincial Park, you can cast off from the shore. (You can do this at Lower Campbell too). If you have a boat, fishing is good near the mouth of the Wolf River. This weekend, a local business held a trout derby which one of our neighbours attended, and someone caught a six pound Rainbow!
Also this weekend, my son and his friend went north of town to Morton Lake, and they caught a couple of small Cutthroat. In the past my son has caught some nice sized Cutthroat at the Oyster River. I heard that Victoria Lake near Port Alice has prime trout fishing as well.
Trout are delicious and light in texture and flavour, and are easily prepared, with pan frying being the
preferred method. Once the fish are cooked, remove them from the pan, throw about half a cup of chopped almonds into the pan with butter and sautee them, garnish your trout with the almonds and you have Trout Amandine!
Trout like worms and will also go for powerbait. One fairly offbeat method we heard of for attracting the particularly large trout is to bait your hook with a live white mouse, and fish at night when the moon is full. Apparently, the monster trout can’t resist the sight of a bright wriggling rodent in the moonlight. Not for me, but it might appeal to the more intrepid fisherman.
Since freshwater licences became available for purchase online, not as many outlets sell them, so check around if you want to pick one up in person.
My all time favourite fishing joke:
A fellow was driving down the road and was pulled over by a conservation officer. He had a large number of fish in the back of his truck, clearly over the allowable limit. The officer questioned him about this and the driver responded: “This isn’t what it looks like, Officer, these are my pet fish.”
“Your pet fish?”
“Yes, you see, Officer, I take them down to the lake for a swim everyday and after about 10 or 15 minutes they come back.”
“This I have to see,” replied the officer.
They went back to the lake, and the fellow released the fish into the water. They waited for what seemed to be a long while, and the officer finally said, “So where are these pet fish of yours, I thought they were coming back?”
The fellow turned to him and asked, “What fish?”