Steeves/Trail Mix: The sun is setting over a summer of fishing

Fishing has improved at higher elevation lakes now that it's cooled a little, and salmon fishing closes Monday on Osoyoos Lake.

The sun sets in a blaze of colour over a high elevation Okanagan lake after a productive day of fishing.

The sun sets in a blaze of colour over a high elevation Okanagan lake after a productive day of fishing.

The water turned from greenish, to gray, then pink, orange, purple, red and finally black. It was quite a spectacle.

Then, to top it all off, as I continued to watch the beaver, the last of the ducks and the loons out on the lake, I noticed a glow emerging from behind a cloud and suddenly it was nearly as bright as day, with a big white moon hanging over the high elevation lake where we were camped.

During the day we’d watched the weather as a succession of puffy white, gray and black clouds trooped across the sky, sometimes accompanied by gusty winds that nearly blew us off the little lakes.

In between there were periods of hot summer sun that forced us to rip off our sweaters and jackets and roll up our pants lest we roast to death.

I guess it was typical late summer weather, except that the mornings were sure cold—reminiscent of hunting weather rather than fishing weather.

The cooler weather did help fishing though, and we had a couple of lively tussles with trout before landing them safely in the boat.

Aside from the fishing, it was very relaxing visiting some of the Okanagan’s high elevation lakes last week.

There was a constant stream of anglers coming and going where we stayed, but all of the recreation sites were well-maintained and clean—and we caught a few fish—bonus!

I’m hearing that anglers trucking down to Osoyoos Lake to wet a line are limiting out pretty quickly on their two salmon a day, so there are likely lots of Okanagan freezers with a nice little fish hiding out, waiting for a special dinner.

Well over a half million salmon returned this fall to the Okanagan system from the Pacific Ocean, up the Columbia River system—a record number—so an unusual opening for salmon in Osoyoos was approved near the end of July, but it closes finally on Mon., Sept. 10.

There isn’t enough spawning habitat to accommodate that number of fish, so a commercial fishery for local first nations was also opened.

It’s a victory for restoration efforts conducted over the last few years by the Okanagan Nation Alliance fisheries, as well as governments on both sides of the border, and power corporations.

Locally, the land-locked salmon, kokanee, are now gathering to enter streams in the Okanagan for their end-of-life journey to spawn, and efforts are underway to monitor those runs and ensure habitat is available to accommodate them.

As clubs come to life after a summer hiatus, the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club welcomes visitors to their regular meeting Tues., Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., when Alan Burger, professor of biology at the University of Victoria and a member of the Marbled Murrelet Recovery Team will talk about Tracking Shadows, working with the elusive Marbled Murrelets and other seabirds in B.C. It’s at the Evangel Church on Gordon Drive.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.


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