A ninety-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver BC, lies the trail head. You check your gear, and test fit your pack a couple times while trying to even the weight on both shoulders. A small stream is reached as the terrain drastically changes and you find yourself in a steep canyon. The climb begins. Almost instantly you regret the weight of the neoprene waders and curse the 3 cans of beer that you stuffed into your pack as a lake side reward. A two hundred metre climb in a short, one kilometre stretch leaves you winded, sore, and questioning your ability to reach the target lake that still lies five kilometres away. The trail flattens out. Before long you find yourself staring at the most picturesque lake you’ve ever laid eyes upon. The teal blue surface reflecting the tree lined shores and the towering bluffs above. Gin clear water reveals rainbow trout patrolling the shallows for an easy meal. You want nothing more than to drop your pack and toss in a line but your target lake is still far down the trail. You settle for a quick drink from your camel pack and head on.
It’s over a kilometre before you reach the other end of the lake and the small creek that feeds it. Although the terrain has leveled out, the trail gets trickier as you have to navigate massive rock piles and dense brush, with only the occasional orange marker exposing the correct path ahead. You follow the creek, eventually crossing it and head up another rock pile as you leave the valley floor. A short ascent up and across the talus slopes leads you back into the forest where the trail narrows and climes steadily for another hundred metres or so. The forest continues for a while. The river comes, then goes, then seems to reappear right out of the ground itself. Your research before the trip informed you that both the inflow and outflow of this lake are subterranean and it occurs to you that this could be the outflow. An encouraging thought, the lake cannot be much farther ahead. A short while later you see a clearing in the trees ahead. You’ve arrived at the lake and instantly your fishing instincts kick in, scanning the surface for evidence of fish. Almost immediately you are rewarded with a series of rises all over the lake. Time to find a place to set up.
You head around the east end of the lake and much to your chagrin encounter a group of campers who are currently all set up on what looks to be a perfect beach to inflate your belli boat. As you say hello and continue pass you take note of the spinning rods propped up next to a tree. The campers tell you that fishing has been pretty good and there is a second beach spot a little farther down the trail. You continue on and find the “beach”. It’s a steep rock slide that simply will have to do. Out comes the belli boat. You take your time blowing it up, not by choice but necessity as your pretty exhausted after the long hike. Get on the waders and pick out a leech. In this case a small red feathered one with a red bead head looks good. You slide into the water, and troll straight across the lake to what is obviously an inflow. A tall, slender waterfall drops from the cliff face above and falls behind the trees. No visible current can be seen on the surface but the foliage between you and the waterfall among a shoreline of rock clearly marks the path of the hidden creek. Before you even make it across you’ve got a good tug on the line. Not a monster, but you treat it like the only fish you’ll catch all day, carefully playing it for fear of getting skunked should this fish get free. You land it carefully, and release it unharmed. Only about twelve inches. You know that eighteen-inch fish have been caught here so you continue on. At least you’ve got one under your belt.
Within a stones throw of the “inflow” your rod bends hard and beauty rainbow trout breaches the surface giving you a glimpse of what you’re up against. The real screams as the would-be catch fights hard. Then he turns. Coming straight at you. You’re reeling and reeling, paddling backwards as fast as you can in an attempt to keep tension on the line. Another jump. You’ve still got him. You pull the net out and luckily get the fish in the first attempt. This time you line the trout along the ruler on your belli boat. Sixteen inches. Not too shabby for this high coastal lake. The trout is released. You breath a sigh of relief while pulling out a beer to celebrate your triumph. This is what you came for. This is what you’ve hiked for. The day continues with a total of six fish. Nothing larger than that sixteen-incher you caught early on. The sun gets lower. Time to go.
You’re still at least two hours from the truck. The tear down and pack up is by far the worst part of the trip. There is nothing to look forward too besides a grueling six and a half kilometre trek back to your truck which will take you away from this mountain paradise. The walk back gives you time to think about next week’s trip. The rivers are about to open up. You know where the big fish are. A smile spreads across your face as you’ve already finalized the next adventure in your head. Your fishing buddy looks at you intrigued, but then seems to read your mind and nods. No words are needed. The next adventure lies ahead.