Many of the islands at Spider Lake have merged as peninsulas

Many of the islands at Spider Lake have merged as peninsulas

Climate change affecting Spider Lake

Water that once flooded road is now at a very low level

On Sunday, Oct. 5 I went down to Spider Lake for one of my usual fishing adventures on this beautiful integrated system of narrow bays and islands plus two larger bodies of open water. I had not fished the lake for about three months; which is an unusually long period of absence from this superb fishing lake.

When I launched my boat at the park I was shocked at the low lake level. It was certainly lower than I have seen it during the past 20 years I have been fishing the lake. It was a further shock to look at the road and realize that at one time a few years ago the lake level was so high it flooded across the road.

The conditions at this lake are present throughout Vancouver Island where we have experienced a long, warm dry period without any appreciable rain. I have looked at Comox Lake and been impressed by the shocking low level of the lake, but it does not have the intimacy of a smaller lake such as Spider Lake.

In the newsletters I receive, one is an important source of climate information for me. It is the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions that is hosted by the University of Victoria in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Northern British Columbia. In the Oct. 2, 2014 issue there was the following statement in the section on Science – Untangling the climate signal: “This extreme season is, as it happens, may be linked to ‘climate change’ given that higher summer temperatures are predicted for B.C. as a consequence of global warming.”

So my simplistic analysis of the low water in one of my favourite lakes is that it may be linked to climate change. I respectfully suggest our society is not well prepared for this planet changing process that is currently creating a severe drought in California.

As I rowed around the lake I was surprised by the hundreds of Canada Geese that were using the lake. I also saw a large flock of mergansers; which suggested to me that there had to be some generous sources of small fish to keep these fish-eating ducks happy. They were probably bass or stickle backs.

The eagles were present and as usual they encouraged me to catch a fish so they had an easy chance of an evening meal. One bird that is normally present along the shoreline was the local kingfishers. During my five-hour fishing period I did not see one of them and possibly the reason is that the tree branches they sit on to launch many of their fish-catching dives were over dry land, too far from the water’s edge.

Another startling change was that the many of the islands had merged as peninsulas with dry ground between the grassy humps of the former islands. There were also islands where there had been shallow, weed-covered nurseries for insects and small fish. We hope the low water will turn out to be a once-in-a-century event, time will tell.

In the meantime I was on the lake to get caught up on some of my fly fishing adventures. The main body of the lake was certainty fish-able and there was some action on the surface. The two large bays on the western edge of the main lake were shallow, but certainly promising with floating or slow sinking lines. I went into the northwest bay, one of my favourite places, and while I saw two fish rise I was unsuccessful in getting any action.

The high density sinking lines I was using were for deep water in the main lake where the average depth is about 30 feet. The conditions were perfect with a light breeze and a few fish surfacing. I made hard contact with three large trout but none of them stayed on until I could net them.

I also had considerable action with small bass that were about five to six inches in length. I predict that if the current conditions hold we will see some excellent fall fishing in the small still water lakes. There could be some good autumn insect hatches.

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.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read