If there is one thing I can almost always count on, it is that no matter how productive fishing can be in any lake, they never bite when I hit the water.
Since planning a trip into the wilds with someone else usually requires a mutually convenient time, the weekend is selected weeks in advance.
How was I to know this one would be a record-breaker for heat in the southern Interior? So due to the rather warm temperatures, I selected a high elevation lake as the only possibility for a fish or two.
At one of the highest points on the Coquihalla, we headed north to a little puddle, known for its “great” fishing, at about 4,500 feet. It was killer hot on the drive up but by the time we set up camp, the evening had cooled down to about 10 C.
Since we’d spent most of the day driving and setting up, we forsook a campfire, and just before hitting the sack, met the “host’ of the lake’s Forest Service rec site.
First time I’ve ever been to a back-country location, and been supplied with a “host.” I wondered if he’d invite us over for cocktails later, but other than a “hi, how are ya” introduction, that was it. He wandered off to his trailer parked about a hundred yards from us.
Next day the sun was scorching, hitting at least 36 by noon. The fish stayed down where it was cool and passed up any and all offerings of snacky things at the end of a fly line.
Fortunately, bored son-in-law was kept occupied by constantly bailing the boat, which unbeknownst to me had a smallish leak that appeared in the bow right between his feet. His first reaction on noticing the dampness was “what’s this?” Obviously a leak, I unconcernedly remarked. Bail!
Bailer acquired, and activated, we continued our troll of the lake, occasionally warding off the relentless sun by placing cold beer cans against the back of our necks. After a few hours in the heat, and the beer exhausted, it was time to relieve son-in-law’s bailing arm. Perhaps the fishing would improve in the evening.
As night was about to fall, I broke out the gas barbecue, taken along in case a campfire ban might be invoked, to grill up some steaks. The barbie was uncooperative, so out came the chain saw, son-in-law’s bailer arm got a little more workout hauling logs and before long we had a cheery blaze in the fire pit.
Steaks were cooked, a libation or two consumed with them, and we enjoyed the warmth of the fire as the night-time temperature plummeted.
Next morning, about 9 a.m., the rec site “host” shows up to tie flagging tape across the fire pit.
“You had a fire last night?!?!” he exclaimed. Well yeah, was the obvious response.
There’s a campfire ban on right now … don’t you listen to the radio or watch TV, he agitatedly declared.
Discretion being the better part of valour, I avoided suggesting that listening to radios isn’t part of a wilderness fishing experience, nor is taking along a TV.
Apparently the ban had been imposed at noon the day we arrived at the site, yet the host never informed us of same when he first met us, and the sound of a chainsaw wailing didn’t clue him into the fact we were unaware a ban was in effect.
We received a warning, were told of the dire consequences of our act, including the possibility of substantial fines.
We were appropriately contrite, promised that in future we would bring along TVs and radios (leaving unsaid admonishments that he could have told us when we arrived that a fire ban was in effect).
Eventually, the host left us on a happy note, it was time for us to head home, and near Hope the weather cooled enough to cut the air conditioning.
The fish will be there for a more seasonable weather trip, and the boat leak will be eliminated with about 10 minutes of caulking time.