Every year, at this time, there is a spring rite of passage so to speak up the Lardeau River. Trout, from Kootenay Lake, follow the same route up the Lardeau River to spawn as the Kokanee salmon use. These trout are called Gerrard trout and they head up to Gerrard at the junction of the river and another lake, Trout Lake. Gerrard, which no longer exists except for a few old buildings, was a busy community in the late 1800’s, serving as the terminus for the railway that came up the Lardeau River, and the steamboats that came down Trout Lake. Goods and people travelled the corridor on their way to prospect for gold and silver, join the business boom in the area, farm and start new lives here.
The Gerrard Trout grow big as you’ll see in the photos and delightfully, they don’t die after the spawn unlike the Kokanee. Nor are they food for the Grizzlies and Eagles as the former are just leaving hibernation now and the latter are only now returning to the area. The few eagles that overwinter may try but these are big.
Today, we headed up river to watch them and I was lucky to capture a couple of them jumping. This can be tricky because you have no idea where they will jump. And when they do, you have to focus on them very quickly, just about when they hit the water again. The key is to zoom out so that you can cover a large amount of water surface and then when you see one, zoom in and hope the fish jumps again. They usually do, three or four times and then disappear into the ruffled water.
So here are my fish. Oh by the way, fishing is prohibited in the river. So sights like these must make fisherpeople cry.
Of course what is missing in this photo selection is the group of photographs that just show a splash!!