It was dark outside. A slice of moon glowed above us as we made our way to the Tim Horton’s in Invermere, British Columbia. At 7am sharp, we pulled up in the parking lot to meet up with Rylan and Chris of Reel Axe Adventures who were taking us out to Whiteswan Lake for a day of ice fishing for world-class rainbow trout.
We were told this lake is much more of an adventure than lake Windermere, which would have been much closer. Whiteswan Lake is situated 1.5 hours away from Invermere in the backcountry of interior British Columbia. The road to get there is an active logging route and as the light came out to expose the beautiful mountain scenery surrounding us, we didn’t mind having to wake up at such an early hour.
It was around 8:30AM by the time we rolled up to our location and Rylan and Chris got right to work, dragging a fire-pit sled along with a winter tent, a power auger and all the supplies for getting some nibbles from the local trout.
It was chilly outside but not that bad considering it was January. We drilled five holes and dropped five lines baited with shrimp. After about an hour or so, the first fish was caught. The mini fishing rod was left by the hole and secured by a wooden block. Once the rod began to move, My dad ran over to pull it up out of the water. A beautiful rainbow trout flew out of the water and onto the ice. After some debate, we decided to keep it.
Throughout the day, we caught a total of nine trout but kept just three. Many of them had eggs inside them and we didn’t want to stop them from breeding more trout into the area. A couple others were really skinny, which meant they had likely just spawned a bunch of eggs not too long ago and were not worth eating at this point in time. Back in the hole they went.
Just by luck, I managed to catch the biggest trout. Karla was enjoying her first time ice fishing and managed to pull two great looking rainbow trout out of the dark hole. She was certainly excited but wanted to set them free.
Besides running all over the ice in pursuit of fish bites, we nestled up next to the hot fire that Rylan and Chris had started. While the temperature outside wasn’t all that bad at just -4 Celsius, a day on the ice still gets quite chilly. The fire kept our hands and feet warm while preparing us for our quick bursts of speed when we would try and make it to the rod in time to hook the fish.
The scenery surrounding the lake is absolutely stunning even with the clouds blocking the beautiful blue sky. We heard woodpeckers in the distance and Chris spotted a bald eagle when we first arrived. Rylan also brought a few beers and some delicious kielbasa sausage and oysters, which were roasted over the fire for an amazing afternoon snack.
All in all, we had a great day on the lake. Everyone, including my mother who didn’t actually fish, enjoyed our time at Whiteswan Provincial Park. It was our first time fishing with “guides” and both Rylan and Chris were terrific hosts. With all the equipment needed to have a day of ice fishing, we certainly wouldn’t have went ice fishing without the help of Reel Axe Adventures. Both of them knew a lot about the area and the quality of the fish and we ended up learning things as well. For example, a rainbow trout with a silver belly is better tasting and pinker inside than a rainbow trout with a darker belly. We confirmed this by cooking two of them when we got back to Bighorn Meadows.
If a 1.5 hour drive is daunting to you, there are many lakes including the very close Lake Windermere, which also makes for a great day of ice fishing. Reel Axe Adventures also offers summer trips, which combined with the stunning scenery, would make for a fabulous day.
If you’re planning a trip to Invermere, Panorama or Radium Hot Springs and looking to go fishing in the winter or the summer, Rylan and Chris are the guys to contact.
For more information, visit ReelAxeAdventures.com.
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This trip was graciously sponsored by Reel Axe Adventures as part of a media visit to the area. In no way does this shape my opinion. I always provide 100% true reviews as my readers are everything to me and to Must Do Canada. Any activity I recommend is because I tried it and had a positive experience.
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