Pend Oreille is starting to come on for big gerrards! Photo courtesy Ed Dickson of Diamond Charters.
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Fall is my favorite time of the year and for many reasons. Besides the beautiful Indian summer days with ideal daytime temps and cool nights, I look forward to chasing after brown trout and the big gerrard rainbows of Kootenay Lake and Lake Pend Oreille.
I first fished Pend Oreille back in the fall of 1990 while staying with an old HS buddy, John Dennington, on the lake. We were pretty lucky to stick (3) over 10 that week capped by a 17 LB. hen that hangs on my wall. That was all it took for me......I fell in love with that lake. Over the the last 24 years, I have probably made close to ten spring or fall trips to this massive lake.
About ten years ago, my web partner, Mark Knoch, and I along with Gary Miralles, John Werwie, and Jim Bringhurst made the trek up their with the intentions of filming one of our “Monster Trout Series” DVD’s. As luck would have it, we didn’t really hit enough big trout to make the DVD. The best of that trip was Gary Miralles’ 11.5 LB. hen caught on a nasty day with some 3 foot rollers.
I believe that our last trip up there was 2006 and by then, the fishery had been in a downward slide for a few years. Part of the problem was the increasing numbers of lake trout and the declining numbers of kokanee. In following years, the situation became so bad that the Idaho Fish and Game actually put bounties on all trout caught, implemented a commercial fishery which included netting lake trout and put the kokanee on a no-kill, catch and release only status.
The efforts to control the lake trout by open limits and netting have reduced their numbers significantly and the LPOIC and Idaho Fish and Game have helped the Kokanee to return in numbers not seen in many years. Some big gerrards have been showing the last couple of years with a few over 25 LB. and last years Fall Derby had first and second place exceeding 23 LB..
I got lucky to hook this nice 28 in. bull that was bumping right near 10 LB. I released him after the photo. My only bite that afternoon.
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I enclosed photos of some big gerrards of past trips of mine, friends, and clients to show how well we did over the years at Pend Oreille. The Thanksgiving Derby this Nov. should tell us a lot about how well the big kams are doing.
I got a call from Ed Dickson, of Diamond Charters just the other day. The feature photo he sent over is a beautiful hen gerrard that was caught recently off the riggers at over 100 feet using an Apex. She weighed a little over 16 LB. and, as you can see, is getting her fair share of kokanee. Ed said the kokanee are all over the top during calmer low light in the mornings and evenings. When the surface water temps get into the low 50’s it will be “game on” and the big bows will be up on top taking bucktails, Apexes and Lymans.
I was hoping to make it up there this fall but a recent back surgery has slowed me up. I should be fine by prime time but not sure if I am going. John had other plans this fall and a buddy that was going pulled out recently so it is up in the air for me right now. Stay tuned......