Kamloops has long been renowned as the Stillwater Fly Fishing Capital of North America, and for good reason. With over 100 lakes within just an hour drive of the city, it's no wonder why Kamloops attracts an abundance of anglers each season. You don't have to venture far from the city limits to find productive lakes that hold Rainbows of impressive sizes, but what about the fish themselves?
What Makes Them so Great?
Rainbow Trout found in our local waters can be largely divided into three different strains: Pennask, Blackwater and Fraser Valley, and are stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. The Pennask strain has long made the Kamloops area famous due to their aerial acrobatics, and ability to make long runs; this combination provides ample excitement for a fly angler.
Blackwater and Fraser Valley strains each have their own unique qualities. Fraser Valleys are often stocked in lakes that are prone to occasional winter-kill, as their ability to put on weight in a rapid manner is unparalleled. Blackwaters are unique in the sense that they will feed on insects, but also have predacious qualities and will feed on shiners and small bait fish.
How to Catch Them?
How to routinely find these fish on the end of your line begins with understanding their feeding habits in each season. Lakes will shed their layer of ice in the springtime, and the first hatches of chironomids will take place. Matching your fly to the chironomid that the fish are eating will result in furious action, as fish inhale mass amounts of chironomids while they ascend the water column.
Along with intermittent chironomid hatches throughout the summer and fall, fish will also eat leeches, damselflies, dragonflies, mayflies, water boatmen, shrimp, and caddisflies. Some of the best stillwater fishing of the year takes place during late-June through July, where fish will actively feed on the surface during caddis emergences. This results in spectacular dry-fly fishing opportunities.
Regardless of the strain, Kamloops Rainbow Trout are a fantastic sport fish and anglers of any skill level will find enjoyment in pursuing them.