Although the coastal spring fly fishing season for bull trout is winding down, anglers who want to go for these powerful predatory fish can book a guided fishing vacation for the fall when the fish return to mountain streams.
The spring fly fishing season for bull trout on the Cheakamus, Squamish and Mamquam rivers is winding down, as these long-lived peak predators are finishing their annual feast of salmon fry as they head down to the Pacific. The Pacific salmon are anadromous, meaning they spawn in freshwater but spend their lives in the sea, returning to their natal river to reproduce, with a lifespan of 4 years which ends after spawning.
However, the bull trout live longer and more flexibly than their cousins. Not only do they not die after spawning, they continue to grow each year and can reach approximately 10 lbs at about 8 years of age. Instead of a regular migration pattern between fresh and saltwater, the bull trout are amphidromous, meaning they’re free to follow the food supply at any time. This means they move from spring rivers full of salmon fry and smolts, to cooler coastal waters that are rich in prey for the summer, and then back up stream for their fall spawning season.
Until recently, bull trout were reviled by fly fisherman as predators of the salmon but now they are a popular sport fish. Strong conservation efforts have helped this powerful fish to come back from low population levels. They are a species of char (Salvelinus confluentus) but were identified as trout for so long that they kept their common name after being officially labelled using genetic data. The name bull comes from their big, flat head and aggressive nature, but they look similar to and are often confused with Dolly Vardens. In comparison, the Dolly’s have a smaller head and blunt snout, with more, smaller spots on the back than the bull. The distinct morphological feature that sets the two apart is that the bull has 23 branchiostegal rays or gill rakers, while the Dolly has less than 23.
Both species are found throughout BC, but the bull trout is more prevalent heading east into the interior and is the official fish of Alberta. While there are no bull trout in Vancouver Island rivers, bigger coastal rivers like the Squamish and Lower Fraser do have strong populations that are popular with anglers. Lakes and streams in the Kootenay and Okanagan regions also provide good fishing as they feed on the resident rainbow and cutthroat trout in these two areas.
A major problem for bull trout can be overfishing; locating them can be a challenge but once found they’re easily seduced by big flies. Booking a fly fishing vacations with an experienced guide who values the ecological stability of the population, is one way to explore a new area and catch a lot of fish while respecting the population.
Finding reliable guides can be an issue, but using a trusted source of information can be a way to ensure a successful trip. The guys who started Holy Waters Fly Fishing Guides had enough of the uncertainty that comes with booking an unknown local guide, so they decided to create a company that only promotes the best guides? people that have been carefully vetted.
The bull trout spring peak is just about over but with some planning, it’s possible to book a fly fishing trip to catch them this fall.
Email us at [email protected] for more information and check out http://holywaters.ca/ to eliminate the guesswork when planning a fly fishing adventure.
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You can be assured that you will be fishing with a professional that knows the waters, knows the hatches, knows the techniques and will take care of you as you deserve to be taken care of Holy Waters was conceived to eliminate the guesswork when planning a fly fishing adventure in British Columbia .When you book with Holy Waters you can feel confident that your trip will be an adventure of a lifetime.
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