Thursday, November 20, 2014

Knouff Lake Cannibal Trout

Green bodied dry sedge fly with grizzly hackle and white mallard downwing
Green Traveling Sedge Fly
developed by Doug Stewart
Knouff Lake, also called Sullivan Lake, is located about 30 miles northeast of the city of Kamloops, BC. This town was named after the large Kamloops Rainbow trout that are found in many lakes throughout the province, some weighing more than 15 pounds. The record for Knouff Lake was 17.5 pounds, but on this trip one fish that was caught established a unique record for us.  

My friend Pete Jones and I anticipated good fishing as we slid my 14-foot boat into the water. We hoped that the traveling sedges would be present because when they hatched out they would skitter across the surface before flying off. This would cause the fish to explode to the surface to take them. Our timing was perfect as fish were rising everywhere so we anchored up and started casting. 

Fishing was great as we started catching and releasing 2 to 3 pounders for several hours, but the hatch was tapering off. I made one final cast and hooked another one that felt very heavy. The fish pulled and tugged for almost 5 minutes but finally began to submit to the rod’s pressure. As Pete began to net it we were shocked. It was only about 15 inches long, but its belly was abnormally distorted. The fish looked like an over-inflated football, and as I held it up numerous leeches spewed out of its mouth. It probably weighed close to 5 pounds. 

“It’s a Cannibal!” Pete said. “That’s what it is. It’s been gorging on anything in sight.” Curiosity got the best of us, so I decided to put the fish out of its misery and see what it had been feeding on. Its stomach revealed the evidence. Besides more leeches, it had also engulfed several crawdads, countless caddis and dragonfly nymphs, and two 4-inch trout. I turned to Pete, who never passed up a free meal, and said, “You know Pete, overindulgence can happen to any animal, especially people.” Pete scowled at me and said sarcastically, “Doug, if a fish had your physique, it would starve to death!”

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