Golden Trout, Rainy
Ridge - August 2008
rainy ridge lake
Finding any information on Rainy Ridge lake was almost as difficult as reaching the
trailhead. Being as determined as we were scouting out the trailhead the
day before turned out to be a good idea. What was described as a road
years before was now merely an old rough trail for several kilometers.
However, after fording the river with the 4 X 4 and driving through narrow grown
in sections that looked more like a dried up river bed than a trail we found
where we would start the following day.
At about 5:00AM, just before sunrise,
we got ready at the starting point we had picked the evening before. The
warning that finding a route that wasn't merely a game trail proved to be
accurate. In the end we knew the general direction of our destination. So, once
it was light enough outside, with compass in hand we headed into the woods and
started the 3km ascent up the side of the mountain.
About 2 hours later we reached the top and found the trail that would take us
the final kilometer to Rainy Ridge lake.
About 1/4 of a kilometer from the lake this is the outlet stream where the
Golden Trout go to spawn in July. A quick check of the water showed
that there was a healthy population of successfully hatched Golden Trout
fry. Even though I had seen the other outlet streams of
lakes, it was very cool to again see one of the only places in
Canada where Golden Trout naturally reproduce.
After seeing how low the water was in the stream and then seeing the
impassible mouth of the outlet at the lake, it would appear that the
likelihood of any fry surviving would be questionable. However, having
fished the lake it would seem obvious that some Golden Trout fry do in fact
make the journey. It is perhaps likely that after a good rain water
levels come up enough so that these little guys can make it back into the
Arriving at the lake in the early morning we could see Golden Trout rising.
The lake was like a giant glass mirror with not even the slightest hint of a
breeze. Although the far end of the lake was shrouded in fog you could hear
the splashy rises of trout with the echoes of a distant Wood Pecker
being the only other sound breaking the eerie silence.
Conor choosing a fly to use.
This is an early morning view of Rainy Ridge from the lake. It would
be a few hours before the sun would crest it's peak.
Although we could see blue sky, and it looked sunny everywhere except where
we were, it seemed to be getting colder and darker as the morning wore on.
It wasn't long before we had to put on another layer of clothing.
My first ever Rainy Ridge lake Golden Trout.
Conor fighting his first ever Golden Trout.
After catching his first one, Conor was on a role catching more
beautiful Goldens on dry flies.
This Yellow Bellied Marmot dropped by while I was having lunch.
As soon as the lake was illuminated by the sun it was like we were fishing
somewhere new. You could now see all the way to the bottom and very
far out into the gin clear lake.
The sun finally makes it out from behind the mountain peak.
Fishing from this new perspective was surreal. We watched this guy
slowly come up from the depths and come right up to at least 10 different
fly patterns we presented only to refuse and go back down. Not only
that, throughout the day, this was the first time I have ever seen trout
(including this one) rise for and then refuse real flies.
was extremely patient while I watched him rise for the last time to my #18
dry fly presentation.
As the early afternoon wore on both the weather and the lake seemed to only
get more beautiful..
In contrast to the morning it finally started to get pretty hot so
around 2:30PM we decided to head back down the mountain.
Final thoughts: Since the start of the trail is not marked
on the way in, it would seem that the reward for having found Rainy
is easily following the trail's route back to it's source. Thus
gaining the knowledge of an easier return journey that only those who
have previously been there will have attained.