THIS EAGLE AT Spider Lake seems to be daring fishers to 'Go ahead: catch a trout and make my day.'

A wilderness high on Spider Lake

No fish for supper for columnist Shaw and lurking eagle

 

 

 

Last Thursday was a cold, bright, sunny day that added much to my first day of fly fishing in 2013. When I arrived at Spider Lake just before noon there was a brisk breeze from the northwest and the lake looked inviting.

What we call cold on Vancouver Island and what real cold weather is are two different things. To illustrate what I mean I had just talked to one of my fishing buddies in the Interior and he was going brook trout fishing on the Red Lake where the thermometer registered -10C in Kamloops and the lake was covered by over a foot of solid ice.

Now that is getting quite chilly. In the meantime, Spider Lake was unfrozen with no shore ice at the end of the lake when I launched my punt.

In order to enjoy a cold day on the open water in a small boat there are certain essentials that make the day pleasant. A number one priority is to dress warmly with layered clothing. I have found that if you keep your upper body toasty warm it acts as furnace for your extended parts.

Wear a toque or suitable warm cap. Mitts are warmer than gloves, but not so handy when you want to use your reels. In my case I am blessed with good circulation in my hands and feet so that most of the time I do not wear anything on my hands. A second priority is a thermos of hot tea. Note: If you are fishing with children during this chilly weather make certain they are well dressed and it is not a bad idea to have high energy snacks for them to nibble on.

As is my custom when I start fishing on the lake I put out two lines with suitable flies. This day I started with a damsel fly on a medium sink line and a dragonfly nymph on a high density fast sinking line.

I started to move into the first bay when I had a solid hit on the dragonfly nymph. The fish didn’t stay on, but it was a welcome shot of adrenalin. As I left the first bay there was a shore angler casting lures from the beach, otherwise I shared the lake with no other visible anglers.

I slowly mooched my way along the western edge of lake in a course I use when prospecting for fish. I was rewarded by three or four light takes on both flies, but nothing really taking hold. It was about this time that I noticed a large swan swimming in the lake and headed into the bay at the north end of the lake.

I followed the swan and soon realized I was being watched by one of the eagles who lay claim to first rights to many of the fish we catch in Spider Lake. I no longer considered myself to be the only presence on the lake. It is times like this that watching wildlife can take over from the business at hand – fishing. I poured a cup of hot tea, had a sandwich and let the boat drift in the presence of these two majestic wild creatures.

The shadows started to lengthen as I moved away from the presence of my wild companions and back into the main body of the lake. I was suddenly jolted into reality when the reel with the high density line was screaming as a large trout took out line. After a considerable time I experienced what we call a long distance release – jargon for “it got away.”

Another unusual thing happened – under the concentrated stare of the eagle the swan followed me back into the main body of the lake. A day spent in the presence of wild creatures is both spiritually uplifting and soul enriching.

As I loaded my boat I was aware of the confidence I expressed to Elaine when I left home because I said we would have fresh trout for supper. When I got out to Highway 19, I pulled over and phoned her to tell her we would be having leftovers for supper. To myself I noticed my hat got a little larger and I still have much to learn about this marvelous madness called fly fishing. But “my oh my” I had a wilderness high.

 

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.

 

 

Just Posted

Open house opens access for those suffering from vision loss

Pat Chicquen understands how isolating losing vision can be, which is why… Continue reading

Valley SPCA overwhelmed with 45 cats taken from local property

Many of the cats have never been around humans, or have never been touched or handled.

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Applications open for record bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students can now apply for scholarships… Continue reading

Second Stage Players present laughter and love in We Are Family

Get your tickets early to see the Evergreen Club’s Second Stage Players’… Continue reading

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

Water bottling debate continues

Merville resident says plenty of water in Aquifer 408

Most Read