Friday, August 22, 2008

Nicola Lake – Merritt

© By Othmar Vohringer

On Sunday August 17, my wife and I loaded up our new Lowe Jon Boat and headed out to Nicola Lake for a day of fishing.

Nicola Lake is only about a 15-minute drive from our house in Merritt and it’s also one of the best fishing lakes in the area with all year round good opportunities to catch fish. It was the perfect lake to try out the Lowe L1436 Jon Boat and for my wife’s first ever fishing trip.

Before I tell you more about the trip and Nicola Lake let me say a few words about my fishing boat. I have often heard, especially here in British Columbia, that a Jon Boat is not a good fishing boat. Why people say that will forever remain a mystery to me. A outdoors person looking for a versatile boat with an economic price tag can’t go wrong with a Jon Boat. I have owned these boats for many years and they served my purpose very well. A Jon Boat will get you through almost anything with ease from the wide-open water to the thickest Water Lilly patch and flooded timber. For as long that there is a foot of water that boat can master almost any situatuation. As a hunter and fisher I look for versatility and the Jon Boat is one of only a very few that offers me that. In the summer it’s a fishing boat, in the fall it takes me through flooded timber and bogs to where big moose and whitetail deer hide out. In the winter the boat becomes the perfect duck hunting boat that maneuvers with ease into the thickest reed jungle.

Built with 5052-H34 riveted aluminum alloy, Lowe Jon Boats are of superior quality that will last for many years and they are light enough for one man to load and unload from the back of a pick-up-truck. For a versatile hunter/fisher this type of boat is the ideal choice.

Nicola Lake offers the avid fisher a wide choice of fish and a lot of fish activity year round. Catching a twenty pound trout is likely on this lake but smaller rainbows and kokanee salmon of four to five pound are the norm. The lake is also home to Burbot that are protected and must be released. The retention limit for kokanee is five and for rainbows six.

Despite the close proximity to Merritt and located next to a major highway with easy access, the lake receives surprisingly little fishing pressure. With a surface area of 6,215 ha. Nicola Lake is one of the biggest lakes in the area. Located between high ridges this lake can become very quickly dangerous when the wind starts to blow. Varying water deeps from 2 ft. to 187 ft. provide for good conditions of fish survival during the hot summer months where the cold water loving rainbows retreat to the deep water while the kokanee salmon prefers the warmer less deep areas of the lake. You still can catch rainbows if you fish at 30 to 60 ft. depth, using a fish finder is a good idea on this big lake to find the locations where the big rainbows hang out.

The main method used to catch fish is trolling although jigging can work well too. Roostertails, Mepps, Flatfish, Gibbs/Nortac Wedding bands and Willow Leaf, Dick Nite Spoons and Kwikfish work very well all year long. Rainbow fisherman should not rule out Panther Martins or Flatfish, especially in the Spring and fall or a Willow Leaf with bait (maggots or worm) trolled slowly during June to mid July. My wife used a wedding band lure colored in pink and chartreuse. The fishing was a bit sluggish at the beginning but then she hooked what looked like a decent size fish. Unfortunately, she lost the fish just as it was reeled close to the boat. We used barb less hooks and that makes it difficult, especially for a novice, to keep the critter on the line. Despite that little mishap, my wife was very exited about her first success and in all the rush and giving advice I forgot to snap a picture.

I didn’t catch any fish, I was busy paddling the boat. I was a fishing guide for my wife on that day. Guides are not supposed to catch fish, the client is suppsed to do that, my job was to get my wife into the fish. I am sure that this was not the last time my eife and I go fishing together. I have not hooked a fish but I certainly got my wife hooked on fishing, and that to me is more worth than catching the biggest trophy trout. If you never have been to Merritt you should give it a try. There is a reason why we say, “Merritt, fish a lake a day for as long as you stay”. There are hundreds of lakes and rivers in all sizes that provide excellent fishing within a short distance of the town. In the future we will look at some of them here at the BC Fishing Blog.

(Where are these fish hiding again? Guidng is not an easy job!)

Tight Lines…and don’t forget to have fun!

Picture Courtesy and Copyright by: Heidi I. Koehler, Assignment & Freelance Photography.

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Anonymous said...

Othmar - Good to see you taking the opportunity to use your new boat. I love the Jon boat also. I have fished out of them several times over the years. I don't own one so I don't worry much about the rowing, just the fishing. I will leave the guiding to someone else. Happy to see your wife taking the opportunity to get out fishing and finding what this stuff is all about. I am sure she will be back for more, too!

By the way, I have started a new blog on fishing Rapala lures. I have really enjoyed some good success with them and get excited every time I go out as I know I have some nice fish following them. More for me to learn at my age!

Anonymous said...

Othmar - Just realized I signed in with the wrong I.D. oops!

It's Ol' Eagle Eyes here.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Mel a.k.a. Eagle Eyes, I recognized your name right away. Lol.
Thanks for the comment. Usually I don’t like to guide fishers or hunters, but if it is a newcomer to either of it actually enjoy it. It seems that newcomers are much more grateful for all the help and advice thy get. Seeing their eyes glow for joy makes me happy.

I am a great fan of Rapala lures and use them often with great success. I have to make sure to come by your blog and read your review.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you may have gotten Heidi hooked on fishing. Good for you. It's a nice way to spend some time together.

Othmar Vohringer said...

You can say that again Kristine. I was actually a bit surprised when Heidi said that she would like to go fishing with me. Of course I didn’t had to be asked twice to take her to the fishing shop to get outfitted with her own rod and gear. She loves it too. Perhaps in the future I can get Heidi interested in hunting too. What I am saying here. She is interested in hunting just not in the physical part of it.
Yes, I do consider myself a lucky man.

AG Fishing Blog said...

Jon boats are awesome I agree with you there.