Written by Bob Melrose.
Summer fishing can often bring a slowing down in the action on our interior lakes. Hot weather and warm water temperatures usually requires a change of tactics when fishing for trout. Your best fishing will be before the light hits the water or on cloudy days. Trout, not born with sunglasses, shun the bright light and will come into the shallows to feed only in the early morning and late evening. Mid day should be reserved for a nap or exploring. Hit the water early and come in for breakfast when everybody else is just setting out.
I remember one August long weekend I was fishing a very large lake known for its huge Gerrard Rainbows. Fishing was terrible. It was oppressively, sticky hot without a breath of wind. No one was getting fish let alone bites. I recalled a story of a fanatic angler who held 7 out of 10 of the states trout records. He fished in the dark when the big boys would come into the shallows to feed under the cover of darkness. Since I was having no success I thought I would give the darkness a try. I left the dock at 9:30 PM, just getting dark. By 1:30 AM I had released three rainbows 8, 13 and 21 pounds. Playing big rainbows in the blackness was quite an experience. Alone in the night with a big fish had me thinking about the classic Hemingway tale "The Old Man and the Sea". Your mind becomes very creative at night.
The cure for the summer doldrums is a float trip. Pontoon boats have really opened up the fishing opportunities on some of our rivers. Some of my most recent pleasurable memories have been the floats with friends down our many rivers. The 8-10 foot rockered pontoons by makers such as Buck's Bags or Outcast will quite easily handle Grade 3 water and carry enough gear to handle a multi-day float.
In the Central Interior there are many choices available for a great float trip. These river are generally pretty safe floating but always check for the latest info you can get on sweepers or log jams and always err on the side of caution. Wear a PFD, either a vest or suspenders and carry the necessary safety equipment.
Here is a short list of great floats. Most of our rivers are low and in excellent shape at the moment. The Bowron, east of Prince George, is a beautiful float, rainbows, a few dollies, salmon are now in, lots of whitefish and wildlife. Crooked River, north of Prince George. rainbows, dollies, whitefish and lots of Northern Pikeminnow(Squawfish).
Blackwater River, southwest of Prince George, rainbows and whitefish, beautiful wild river to float. Nechako River, south of Vanderhoof, from Cheslatta Falls down. rainbows, dollies and whitefish. Morice River, south of Houston, rainbows, dollies, whitefish and salmon/steelhead and bears, moose and deer. Bulkley River, from the Morice confluence to Smithers a fairly tame section. There is some tricky water downstream of Smithers best attempted by experienced pontooners. The Bulkley has rainbows, dollies, whitefish, salmon/steelhead and great wildlife viewing. The Kispiox is a magic river and valley. River contains rainbows, dollies, whitefish, salmon/steelhead and much wildllfe. The Kitimat River from Highway bridge down is an easily accessed float. There are rainbows, dollies, cutthroats, whitefish, salmon/steelhead. From the highway bridge it is a long, long day float especially because you just can't pass up a good looking spot. Access points at mid river better for day trips. Tributary rivers entering the Skeena downstream from Terrace can also be floated. Check with local paddling clubs or your speciality tackle shop for current information.
A float trip is a wonderful experience. Exercise, new views around every bend, undisturbed wildlife, clear water and getting to know the river intimately is hard to beat, and it is a great way to beat the summer heat.
There are also maps of the Bulkley Valley that were designed for fisherman and show all the boat launches. Stop in to pick up your copy.