What a beast of a rainbow! RTM will be doing Johns mount... look for it in Nov. 2012 in the rainbow mount file.
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This was our first spring trip up to Kootenay and we were excited to see what it would bring. I had two mounts for Mike Thompson of www.split-shot.com to deliver for a couple of his clients and of course we would hit the lake for 3-4 days. The weather looked perfect with 40-60% of showers each day and overcast until after we left. You can't ask for any better conditions than that for this lake and the monster gerrards we would target.
The first morning we hit several shakers on both flies and Apexes. I think we ended up with 8-9 total trout with a couple of those being bulls. I got a 6 LB. rainbow for top honors for the day. We realized that the days were much longer in the spring as it was light around 4:30 a.m. and you could still be fishing at 9:00 p.m. if you wanted. We had to figure out how to best manage our time without total burnout fishing a 17+ hour day. We decided to let water conditions and the bite dictate the schedule and broke the day into two shifts with a nap when we could work it in.
On Tues. it was a tougher day with too much flat water for a lot of the morning. Finally, the wind came up enough for better conditions and a better bite. I was dragging an Apex when the rod went over around mid afternoon and the drag started to whine that lovely tune. When I got to my rod, we saw the bow get about 3-4 feet in the air trying to expel the lure. Luckily, she was well hooked and after jumping about 5-6 more times and then dogging it deeper around the boat, I got the gripper on her to remove the lure and then we got a couple of photos and put her back. We estimated her weight at close to 10 LB. A couple of more dinks and that was it for the day.
Wed. was better water conditions with a little more wind and a chance to "pull hair" for more of the day. We have both become enamored with the fly drill. Just imagine dragging gorgeous looking 4" buck tail streamers that closely resemble the kokanee fry that big gerrards love to sip off the surface as they are being jigged behind the boards. It is the deadliest drill I know to catch a big gerrard rainbow.....and most the fun in my opinion!
We had come out from a late lunch up in the West Arm and had just gotten out in the main lake and were heading along the west shore going south. John had picked up a 16 LB. hen a couple of years ago from the same general area. We had been seeing juvenile kokanee schools dimpling the top in slack water and good size kokanee balls on the graph in the same area for several days now. My 10 had come off the "orange buoy" the day before and that was within a half mile which is nothing on that lake. It had only been about 15 minutes since we dropped the board in and put our flies out on the only board we were working off the starboard side. According to the Solunar Table ( from my experience, they haven't been all that accurate in general) this was supposed to be the best bite window of the day. In this case it was right on.
I saw John's release pop and the rod go over. Suddenly, the drag started to scream and we were "off to the races." I saw the trout thrash on top about 300 feet back when it was first hooked and thought I saw a really BIG tail. We didn't see the fish for quite a while as it stayed down most of the time. The sun popped out between clouds and the chop had subsided some by the time we had the bruiser about worn out. When I first saw it it was reminiscent of Jaws when the big shark swam right by the boat and Roy Schneider said" We need a bigger boat!" It looked to be 4 feet long ( I am exaggerating a bit) and I hollered at John that it was over 20 LB. for sure! I finally slid the net under the big male and drug him to the stern to get the fly out. We both just stood there amazed at the size of this guy. John has always been telling me he is only looking for one bite and this was the one! Since we knew he was mounting it with me, we weighed it on the Boga-Grip and determined he was 22 LB. on the mark. He was so long that he didn't quite fit in the bottom of the 120 Qt. Igloo which is exactly 36 in. inside. Truly a "fish of a lifetime!"
It was down hill after that as far as the fishing goes but we didn't care. It probably took about an hour for the adrenaline rush to where off......but we milked it for all we could. I did catch a couple of dinks and a 6 LB. rainbow later before we were done but it was somewhat anti-climatic after sticking that big pig in the afternoon. I had high hopes on Thurs. of getting into another big bow but we had totally flat water until noon and when the wind did come up it was so strong that afternoon that it was difficult to steer and also maintain a good speed. We decided to bail as we would be dragging the boat out that evening and I would be buying John dinner at Leo's in Nelson to celebrate his "toad of a bow!"that night before we left the next morning.
Though we didn't catch as many big trout as we do in the fall, we did tie into the biggest gerrard rainbow either of us had ever caught. His male was a pound bigger than my big 21 Lb. hen caught at Pend Oreille back in 1993 but I was really glad for my dear friend to catch such a trout. Besides, I might be able to top him this fall when we return......at least I will have fun trying.