by Rod Hennig
Rodney's REEL Outdoors - Sport Fishing Guide
Many people think of Kelowna in terms of world class wineries and golf courses but it is also a vacation destination with some of the best fishing BC has to offer. The Kelowna area lakes can provide some great trolling and fly fishing opportunities for the novice or seasoned veteran alike. If your idea of fishing is sitting back relaxing, soaking up the rays and enjoying the scenery then fishing Okanagan Lake is perfect for you. This 80 mile (128 kilometre) long lake is home to not only the legendary Ogopogo but trophy Rainbow Trout to 20lbs (9 kgs), and boasts the world record Kokanee catch at 9lbs. 6ozs (4.25 kgs).
Trolling is the most productive method for fishing this large-bodied lake. Anglers typically use lures ranging in size from 1" to as big as 6" (2.5 cm to 15 cm). Commonly used lures include Lyman plugs, Gibbs Convex or Gator spoons and large Bucktail flies. Throughout the summer and fall when the fish are feeding deep you'll want to use one of these large lures fished near the thermocline with the aid of a downrigger. Downriggers are an extremely effective means of controlled depth fishing especially if used with a good sonar unit.
As fall approaches and the water begins to cool the Kokanee start to feed higher in the water column and the shore spawners begin to school up in anticipation of mating and finishing their life cycle, spawning along the shores of Okanagan lake.
An angler pulling a large plug or hockey stick can have great success at this time of the year – this is the perfect time for a trophy-size rainbow to feed on these tasty meals. Shore-spawning Kokanee can be found along the shoreline next to drop-offs where they will typically spawn in 2 to 3 feet (60 – 90 cm.) of water in the riprap-type rock. Concentrate your trolling along these riprap drop-offs in the deeper water.
Another method for catching Okanagan trophy-sized rainbows is 'bucktailing'. This is not only an effective but also an exciting way to fish. Imagine ripping a 5" fly just under the surface at speeds of up to 4 mph (6.5 kmh) and wham! your rod loads and bends at the butt, your large arbor fly reel screams into overdrive, and you struggle to get the rod out of its holder. The adrenaline pumps through your veins knowing that your Kokanee bucktail imitation has just fooled an Okanagan trophy rainbow... and you're in for the fight of your life!
These are typical scenarios experienced by local fishermen in the Okanagan... so why not give it a try? You might just land your trophy of a lifetime!