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.
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.
Picture Courtesy and Copyright by: Heidi I. Koehler, Assignment & Freelance Photography.
Tags: Nicola Lake, Lowe Jon Boat, Rainbow Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Fishing Lures, Merritt