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White Lake
Headed up to the Shuswap for a 5 day weekend family camping trip on White Lake at the private Woodhaven campground on the southwest side. Weather was scorching and the Dog Days were definitely on. White Lake, if you do not know it, is a medium sized lake nestled in between the two Western arms of the larger Shuswap with crystal clear water and large marl shoals and extensive weed beds.

While the recommended method this time of year is to anchor in 40 feet of water and drop down a chironomid, I was never a fan of this method. Instead I focused on the the two insects of which there were plenty: dragonflies and damselflies. First, I tried trolling these along the drop offs and across the weed beds, focusing my attentions just after sunset and first thing in the morning. The first evening I managed to get a couple of strikes on the damselfly but I lost both fish after brief tussles.

The next morning I tried further up the lake on the southern shore near another large shoal covered in weeds, but had no luck, despite thinking it was a very promising location. That day, my family spent the day water skiing on a boat my brother-in-law rented from a guy in Salmon Arm. He met the guy that morning at the west end boat launch, but the guy did not like the look of the shallow water there so they drove up to the launch at the Provincial Campground on the north east side. When he returned with the boat, my brother-in-law told me that they spied a school of fish near the launch. That evening, after the skiing, I ran across the lake to the launch and trolled a damselfly around the bay, and finally hooked and landed a nice maiden fish of about a pound. I returned the next morning but did not have any luck again.

That day, I strapped on a pair of fins and my mask and snorkel and went on reconnaissance. I swam out along the drop off and spied a number of nice size fish in the 2-4 pound range sitting in 30 feet of water right at the end of the weeds. I returned to the same spot the following morning and anchored in the weeds in about 20 feet of water and cast out into the deeper water.

Dragonfly nymphs migrate from the deeper water towards the weed beds in the morning, where they will climb out of the water to hatch and dry their wings. I was using a very fast sinking line and counted out the forty seconds it would take for my weighted dragonfly nymph to sink to the depth of the fish I saw the day before. I began stripping the fly in back towards the weed bed. After a couple of casts I felt the resistance I was looking for. At first it was like I had hooked the weeds, but then the tell-tale head shakes that said this was not a weed. It did not take long to land the 16 inch trout because, like the fish the day before, these fish were very sluggish, undoubtedly from the warm water.

All of this was a distinct improvement on my last trip there two years ago, when I only hooked one fish and that on my last day just as I was pulling up to the dock for the last time.

by Sandman August 8th 2012
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