The familiarity of fisheries that we hold close to our heart due to the certainty of success is what sometimes keeps people like myself from venturing off into the unknown sometimes. I consider myself lucky to be able to leave my driveway, commute a mere 9 minutes and end up at a quality managed fishery that has never left me shaking my head & always seems to be fairy generous. It gets busy, the 5-8 pound fish that used to be a regularity have seemed to dwindle, but it’s so incredibly familiar to me. This is great and all, but it’s a double edged sword that I have noticed kept me from exploring new fisheries & finding trophy sized fish. “Trophy” is a word that gets thrown around fairy loosely, but in my opinion a trophy fish is one in the 30 inch class or greater. They don’t come easy, but persistence will pay its dividends at one point or another.
Trophy fisheries are a new ballgame. The fish are (much) smarter, bigger, and stronger but seem to have an elusiveness about them. It’s fun to put up big numbers of fish, but once you hook into fish over the ten pound class your perspective gets a tad warped. It’s almost like everything else becomes inferior and all you want is a shot at the fish of a lifetime. The amount of stillwater fisheries from the south Okanagan to Quensel & north that contain fish well over 10 pounds is mind boggling, and for every lake that you hear of holding big fish there’s an infinite amount that you will never hear anyone speak a word of. Lakes that regularly put out good numbers of smaller fish do not take a lot of time to figure out, and generally you will be limited to fish 5 pounds and under. There’s nothing wrong with that some days, but why not test your abilities once in a while?
In 2011 I began leaving smaller fish and easy success behind in hopes of finding some of the elusive trophy fish that the interior is known for. Did I get blanked? Yes, many times. I was becoming more effective each trip out but still had a lot to learn. I will never forget one particular day when lightning struck for me on a lake that had my name after the previous 3 outings. The indicator dropped like a rock, and next thing I knew I had less than 30 yards of backing left on my reel as the RPM’s were steadily increasing the more line the fish took until eventually it pulled a 180 and ran just as fast towards my boat. I did my best to keep up but the fish eventually spit the hook. I got to see the fish’s entire body once as it cartwheeled off in the distance. I don’t know how exactly how big it would’ve been, but somewhere in the 12 pound range and one I will never forget.
It’s easy to get hung up on fisheries that continually produce, but once in a while it’s worth it to put your time in on trophy lakes. It will eventually make you a better angler, if you can routinely find fish on those lakes everything else will begin to seem a lot easier. Accept the fact that you will get blanked from time to time. Your chironomids have to be perfect, your presentation can’t be sloppy and you have to be willing to step outside the box once in a while.