Golden Trout, Rainy Ridge - August 2008

rainy ridge




rainy ridge

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.

golden trout




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  Michel and South Fork 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 lake.



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.


rainy ridge lake









My first ever Rainy Ridge lake Golden Trout.
Conor fighting his first ever Golden Trout.



golden trout, rainy ridge



















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.

I 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 Ridge lake 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.






Rainy ridge lake