We have boats and canoes on over 20 small , secluded and pristine lakes, ready to be used for a fly fishing day in paradise.
We can reach over 100 lakes within an hour from Lac Des Roches Resort including : Bridge Lake ( 5 minutes ), Sheridan Lake ( 10 minutes ), Deka Lake ( 20 minutes ), Hathaway lake ( 20 minutes ), Sulphurous Lake ( 20 minutes ), Bonaparte lake (30 minutes ) in both the South Cariboo and the north Thompson Nicola region.
Flies and tackle available if needed.
Reservation is required.
Rates and fees : please ask owners.
Ask us about our Father’s day specials.
Fishing trip to the great north available from September 10th : catch salmon, pikes, walleye, grayling , dolly warden and other unforgettable trophies in the beautiful Northern BC, in the spectacular Northwest Territories or in the Yukon, the land of the midnight sun.
Though it has been known to reach lengths of 30 cm (12 in), in the wild the golden shiner is usually between 7.5 and 12.5 cm (3 to 5 inches) long. The body is laterally compressed (deep-bodied). The back is dark green or olive, and the belly is a silvery white. The sides are silver in smaller individuals, but golden in larger ones. There can be a faint dusky stripe along the sides. The anal fin is large and has 8-19 rays, while the dorsal fin comprises almost always 8 rays. Scales are relatively large and easily lost when the fish is handled. The mouth is small and upturned. Two characteristics can distinguish the golden shiner from all other minnows: first, the lateral line has a pronounced downward curve, with its lowest point just above the pelvic fins; and second, there is a fleshy keel lacking scales on the belly between the pelvic fins and the base of the anal fin.
The golden shiner is found throughout the eastern half of North America, north to the St Lawrence River, Great Lakes, and Lake Winnipeg, and west to the Dakotas and Texas. Because of its use as bait, it has also been introduced in many places outside this native range.
Golden shiners prefer quiet waters and are therefore found in lakes, ponds, sloughs, and ditches. They are sometimes found in the quietest parts of rivers. They do better in clear water with dense mats of vegetation, but can deal with pollution, turbidity, and low oxygen content. They can tolerate temperatures as high as 40 °C (104 °F) which is unusually high for a North American minnow Golden shiners prefer quiet waters and are therefore found in lakes, ponds, sloughs, and ditches. They are sometimes found in the quietest parts of rivers. They do better in clear water with dense mats of vegetation, but can deal with pollution, turbidity, and low oxygen content. They can tolerate temperatures as high as 40 °C (104 °F) which is unusually high for a North American minnow.
Golden shiners are omnivorous. They eat zooplankton,insects, plants, and algae. They can feed at the surface, in mid-water, or at the bottom. They can locate prey visually, or filter-feed on high-density zooplankton without resorting to visual cues.They are themselves food for all manner of game fish such as trout and burbot and hence their popularity as bait fish.
Golden shiners lay sticky eggs amid vegetation. There is no parental care. Occasionally, like a few other minnows, golden shiners can deposit their eggs in the occupied nests of other species. This behaviour is called egg dumping and resembles thebrood parasitism of birds such as cuckoos, inasmuch as the shiner eggs will benefit from the parental care that pumpkinseed, largemouth bass, and bowfin provide to the content of their nests. As opposed to parasitism by cuckoos, however, the parent's eggs do not suffer from the presence of parasitic eggs, and may actually benefit from a dilution effect when predators attack the brood.
Golden shiners live in large groups ( shoals ) that roam widely. Several laboratory studies have shown that the movements of a shoal can be determined by a minority of individuals at the front of it. For example, an individual that know when and where food is available within a large tank can lead many other fish to the right place at the right time of day.If all fish have similar knowledge, there is still a tendency for some individuals to be found always at the front of a moving shoal, possibly because they are intrinsically hungrier and more motivated to find food. Small fish are also found more often at the front of a shoal than larger fish, again possibly because they are more motivated to find food. Like other minnows, golden shiners are sensitive to the release of an alarm substance, orSchreckstoff contained within special skin cells. If a predator catches and bites into a minnow, the skin is broken, the substance is released, and other minnows in the vicinity can detect the substance and react to it by leaving the area. The substance can also survive intact in the feces of a predator, and minnows can thus detect the presence of a minnow-eating predator through the presence of its feces. In the laboratory, golden shiners were found to react strongly to water that contained feces from snakes that had eaten other golden shiners, but not nearly as much to water laden with feces from snakes that had eaten green swordtails, a fish that does not possess an alarm substance.
Like other fish, golden shiners have a good daily time sense and can anticipate the arrival of food when this food is made available at the same time of the day or night.
They can also do this when there is more than one mealtime a day.This anticipation is expressed as swimming and positioning towards the food source, and other naive individuals can perceive this and join the anticipating fish in the hope of sharing its food.
Golden shiners are also capable of time-place learning (associating different places with different times of day). They can be taught to feed in one part of an aquarium in the morning and a different part in the afternoon; or to feed in one part in the morning, a different part at mid-day, and back to the first part in the afternoon.
The white sucker is a North American species found in freshwater lakes and streams from Labrador south to Georgia, west to Colorado and north through Alberta and British Columbia to the MacKenzie River delta. In Canada, it is absent from Newfoundland, eastern Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Southwestern British Columbia, and much of the far north.
The white sucker has the following characteristics:
- a torpedo-shaped fish distinguished by its sucker-like mouth, which is located on the underside of its blunt, rounded snout; its mouth has thick lips covered with little fleshy bumps (papillae);
- its colour varies from grey to coppery brown to almost black on the back and upper sides, becoming lighter on the lower sides to white on the belly;
- during spawning, the darkness on the back intensifies and the body becomes more golden in colour;
- spawning males develop coarse bumps (nuptial tubercles) on the anal fin and lower tail (caudal) fin;
- it has relatively large scales, one dorsal fin, no adipose fin and the lateral line is complete;
- young white suckers 5-15 cm (2-6 in) in length usually have three large dark spots on the sides. >
- They can grow to 63 cm (25 in) and more than 3.2 kg (7 lb) but reach about 46 cm (18 in) in Nova Scotia.
Although most fish are aged by examining the growth rings on their scales, this method is not always reliable for suckers older than five years. They are best aged using sections of their pectoral fin rays.
The flesh of the white suckers is bony but can be very tasty, particularly when hot-smoked.
Suckers used as bait should never be used in lakes that have no suckers.
White suckers are not a popular sportfish but they can be caught on wet flies, small spinners and small hooks baited with doughballs or worms.
The white sucker can adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions but generally lives in the warm, shallow waters of lakes and quiet rivers. They prefer summer temperatures of 24øC. In streams they are most abundant in pool areas with ample underwater debris, streamside vegetation, and water depth to provide cover.
In lakes, they are usually found in the upper 6.2-9.2 m (20-30 ft) of water, moving to shallows to feed. They browse the bottom, sucking in aquatic insects, small clams, and snails, and then spitting out the inedible sand and gravel. They feed mostly at dawn and dusk and are active year round.
White suckers spawn in the spring (May and June), migrating upstream to spawning areas (small streams and tributaries) when water temperatures are 10-18øC. Suckers typically spawn in shallow gravel riffles where the water is up to 30 cm (1 ft) deep and where the flow is moderate. Lake populations of white suckers with limited access to streams will occasionally spawn on gravel shoals where there are waves. Although some spawning occurs in daytime, most takes place at sunrise and sunset. One female spawns with several males. Females usually produce 20,000-50,000 eggs, but can produce up to 139,000 eggs. Suckers do not build a nest, but scatter their eggs, which stick to the bottom or drift downstream and attach elsewhere.
The eggs hatch in 8-11 days, depending on the temperature (10-15øC). The young remain in the gravel for one or two weeks and then migrate downstream at a size of 12-17 mm. Sometimes only 3% of white sucker eggs survive to this stage. Young suckers in lakes are found along shorelines with sand or gravel bottoms. In streams they prefer sand and gravel shallow areas with moderate currents.
At first white suckers do not feed on the bottom. Their mouth is at the end of their snout, and they feed near the surface of the water on plankton (tiny organisms suspended in the water). When they grow to about 16-18 mm (0.6-0.7 in), their mouths shift to the underside of the head and they begin taking food from the bottom. White suckers grow most rapidly during their first year and can reach a length of 17.9 cm (7 in). Growth rates vary considerably in different areas, but in all populations females grow more rapidly than males, reach larger sizes, and live longer. They usually mature at ages 5 to 8, and males mature a year earlier than females. Suckers can live up to 17 years.
Although there is evidence that suggests the white sucker can compete for food with other sport fish, they can be a major food item in the diet of other fish such as Atlantic salmon, brook trout, pike, and bass. They are also eaten by birds and mammals.
Also known as peamouth chub, redmouth sucker and northwest dace
Peamouth are dark brown to green on their backs, with two dark strips on their sides. The top stripe goes from the head to the tail, but the bottom stripe stops about half way to the tail. Their bellies are silver-yellow and their fins are yellow to brown in colour. Peamouth are long, thin fish with a large eye and a long, round snout. The male has red on his side, belly, mouth and gills when mature.
The peamouth is a western minnow native to the several rivers in British Columbia, Alberta and the western United States. It prefers lakes and slow-moving portions of streams and will school where aquatic vegetation is abundant. Peamouth can live in brackish (slightly salty) waters for a limited time. They eat mainly aquatic insects and plankton.
Peamouth spawn in shallow streams and along lakeshores over a gravel bottom. In late spring, eggs are laid on the bottom where they stick to the rocks and gravel. A female may lay between 5,000 to 30,000 eggs, depending on her age and size. The newly hatched fish stay in schools in shallow water until late summer. They then move into deeper waters, but tend to stay in small schools.
Spawning fish come close to shore in groups of 50 to 400. Females are crowded by 2 or more males into 1 or 2 inches of water by the shoreline and eggs and sperms are released.
The burbot is edible. In Finland its roe is sold as caviar. There is an annual spearfishing tournament held near Roblin, Manitoba, Canada. One of the highlights of the tournament is the fish-fry where the day's catch is served up deep-fried. When cooked, burbot meat tastes very similar to American lobster, leading to the burbot's nickname of "poor man's lobster."
In the 1920s, Minnesota druggist Rowell and his father, a commercial fisherman on lake of the woods, were using the burbot as feed for the foxes on Joe’s blue-fox farm. They discovered that the burbot contained something that improved the quality of the foxes’ furs; this was confirmed by the fur buyers who commented that these furs were superior to other furs they were seeing. Ted Rowell felt it was something in the burbot, so he extracted some oil and sent it away to be assayed. The result of the assay was that the liver of the burbot has 3 to 4 times the potency in vitamin D, and 4 to 10 times in vitamin A, than “good grades” of cod-liver oil. The vitamin content varies in Burbot from lake to lake, where their diet may have some variation. Additionally, the burbot liver makes up approximately 10% of the fish's total body weight, and its liver is six times the size of those of freshwater fish of comparable size. Ted also found in his research that the oil is lower in viscosity, and more rapidly digested and assimilated than most other fish liver oils. Ted went on to found theBurbot liver products company which later became Rowell laboratories inc, of baudette Minnesota, and is today a subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals of Brussels, Belgium.
The IGFA recognizes the world record burbot as caught in Canada by Sean Konrad on March 27, 2010. The fish weighed 25 pounds 2 ounces (11.4 kg). The biggest burbot caught on Lac Des Roches weighed 19 pounds : it was caught by Marcel Bointerie in 2003.
The burbot is a tenacious predator , which will sometimes attack other fish that are almost the same size and as such can be a nuisance fish in waters where it is not native. Recent discoveries of burbot in the Green River at Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Utah have concerned wildlife biologists who fear that the burbot could decimate the sport fish population in what is recognized as one of the world's top Brown Trout fisheries, because it often feeds on the eggs of other fish in the lake like Sockeye salmon. The Utah Division of Fish and Game has instituted a "No Release" "Catch and Kill" regulation for the burbot in Utah waterways.
The northern pikeminnow is the largest minnow in British Columbia - adults often exceed 400 mm in fork length. There is an old record from Shuswap Lake of a 29-pound (13 kg) pikeminnow. Some minnow ! The largest Squawfish caught on Lac Des Roches weighed 3.7 kg ( slightly over 8 pounds ) and was caught by Randy Michinsky in 2006. Adults are easily distinguished from other B.C. minnows: they lack barbels, possess a large, toothless mouth (the upper jaw extends back beyond the front margin of the eye), and the length of the upper jaw exceeds the diameter of the eye. Juveniles (up to about 200 mm) have a conspicuous black spot at the base of the tail.
Young-of-the-year pikeminnows often occur in mixed schools with young redside shiners and peamouth. They are separable from young redside shiners by the relative position of the dorsal and pelvic fins (the dorsal fin in redside shiners originate well behind the origin of the pelvic fins) and from young peamouth by the dark spot at the base of the caudal fin.
In British Columbia, pikeminnows occur primarily in lakes and slow-moving streams. In the summer, adult pikeminnows cruise the littoral zones of lakes and reservoirs (mainly in water <5 m deep) and on the offshore side of weed beds but within about 45 m of the shore. In the winter, adults move into deeper water and are not as bottom oriented. In a few lakes, some adults even occupy the limnetic zone in both winter and summer. In rivers, there are similar patterns of habitat use with adults in deeper water than juveniles and young-of-the-year in shallow water along the river's edge.
In lakes, juveniles typically occur closer to shore and in shallower water than adults. Unlike adults, they are commonly observed inside weed beds. In rivers, juveniles usually are found in low velocity areas (back channel and sloughs) in water less than 2 m deep. The substrate is usually silt, sand, or fine gravel. In lakes, young-of-the-year pike minnows are typically found in shallow water within a metre of shore. Early in the summer they are usually associated with aquatic vegetation.
Apparently in the spring, rising water temperatures trigger spawning in northern pikeminnows. The threshold temperature is about 12 °C (late April to early July). Spawning occurs in both flowing water and lakes, but most of the known pikeminnow spawning sites in our area are in inlet streams. At these sites, it is rare for pikeminnows to ascend the stream for more than a few hundred metres and spawning usually occurs in the first or second riffle above the lake. There is a dense aggregation of males with females cruising slowly around the edges of the aggregation. Females ready to spawn enter the aggregation and swim more rapidly than cruising females. Many males follow the female down to within a few centimetres of the substrate where eggs and sperm are released. The eggs are adhesive. Fecundity in females is a function of body size and ranges from about 5,000-95,000 eggs. The eggs take about six days to hatch at 18 °C. Newly hatched fry are about 8 mm and strongly nocturnal.
Pikeminnows grow rapidly in their first summer and, depending on spawning time and food availability, usually reach between 35-65 mm by the end of the first growing season. In males, sexual maturity is attained in about 4 to 6 years, while in females sexual maturity is not reached until 6 to 8 years. So far, the oldest pikeminnow recorded in B.C. was in its 19th growing season.
Young-of-the-year pikeminnow consume a wide variety of prey including organisms taken from both the bottom and the water surface (e.g., cladocerans, copepods, ostracods, and chironomid larvae and pupae). As they grow, pikeminnows take larger prey. Juveniles often are surface oriented and at times forage heavily on terrestrial insects. At about 100-125 mm, they start taking fish. Adults above 300 mm are primarily piscivores, although they will eat almost any prey of suitable size (e.g., crayfish, frogs, toads, and even small rodents).
The pikeminnows (Ptychocheilus) are restricted to western North America. The northern pikeminnow is the Columbia representative of the genus. Other species of pikeminnows occur in the Umpqua, Sacramento-San Joaquin, and Colorado River systems.
In B.C., they occur throughout the Columbia and Fraser drainage systems, and from the Fraser, they have colonized the Skeena, Nass, and upper Peace systems. Along the central B.C. coast, they occur in the upper portions of the Klinaklini and Dean rivers. Although primarily an Interior species, pikeminnows reach the coast in large rivers like the Fraser and Skeena; however, they are intolerant of seawater and have not reached any coastal islands.
The kokanee is generally similar to the anadromous sockeye except in ultimate length and weight. The permanent freshwater form of this species, the kokanee, was originally described as a separate species. Later it was realised that it and the anadromous form were the same species but they were given subspecific status.
A silvery, trout-like looking fish usually without dark spots on the back sides, or dorsal and caudal fins (occasionally a few spots on the outer edge of the tail and sometimes kokanee in Williston Reservoir have fine black spots on the back). Long anal fin base (13 or more bony rays), hind margin slants backwards. Fry (25-50 mm) and parr (50-500 mm) lack a dark stripe on the leading edge of the dorsal fin.
Commonly, kokanee develop a red colouration on the body as they approach spawning condition. Often the red is more intense in males than in females and males typically develop a green head (olive-drab in females). The jaws of males become elongated with the upper jaw hooked and with enlarged teeth. Males also develop a fleshy hump anterior to the dorsal fin. The body of native kokanee in the Finlay River is a light burgundy colour along the top and sides with a white belly and a dirty grey head.
Adult kokanee live in the offshore habitat of lakes. Here, they feed in the food-rich middle or upper strata at dawn and dusk and migrate down into the cool hypolimnion at night and during the day. Basically, juvenile kokanee use the same habitat as adults. In some lakes, however, after juveniles reach a threshold size they move inshore to forage during the day. On entering their nursery lake, the fry of some kokanee populations immediately move offshore; others remain inshore and forage for variable amounts of time. These differences in fry behaviour are probably related to food availability, temperature, and predation risk.
Kokanee spawn in the fall, usually when water temperatures drop below 12°C (September or October). Spawning occurs in both streams and in lakes. Entry into streams or onto shore-spawning sites occurs at night. In streams, females select the spawning site (usually in a riffle below a pool or on the outside of bends) and dig redds in the gravel. After spawning, the female moves slightly upstream and begins gentle digging movements which do not move gravel but force the eggs into interstices at the bottom of the nest. The digging movements gradually become more vigorous and gravel is displaced downstream over the nest. Like other Pacific salmon, kokanee die after spawning.
In lakes, kokanee usually spawn inshore in areas where there is upwelling or some subsurface flow. The site is cleaned of sand and silt by the female's attempts to dig and the fertilized eggs fall into interstices between the gravel and cobbles. The depth of known lake-spawning sites usually is less than 10 m. Egg number also varies among populations and ranges from about 200 to about 1500. As in most fish, development rate is a function of incubation temperature (45 days from fertilization to emergence at 14 °C and 73 days at 8 °C).
Upon emergence, kokanee spawn in streams and migrate to a nursery lake before starting to feed. At hatching, kokanee alevins average about 15.5 mm in length, and on emergence fry are about 19.5 mm in fork length. Growth rate is influenced by temperature and food availability, but by the end of their first summer fry range from about 40-50 mm in length. Kokanee continue to grow over the winter and are about 180 mm by the end of their second growing season. Sexual maturity typically is reached at the end of the third (2+) or fourth (3+) summer. Size at maturity also varies and kokanee in Williston Reservoir are 25 to 30 cm in length when they return to the streams to spawn.
Migrating kokanee fry usually do not begin feeding until they reach their nursery lake. Once fry start feeding, their primary prey is crustacean zooplankton, and zooplankton remains their major food throughout life. The species of zooplankton, however, change with the seasons and lakes. These common food items include: Cyclops, Bosmina, Daphnia, Diaptomus, and sometimes chironomids. Sockeye salmon are native to western North America and eastern Asia. In western North America, anadromous sockeye originally ranged from the Sacramento River in California, to the Mackenzie River and other Beaufort Sea tributaries in the north. The region of maximum abundance, however, was much narrower (the Columbia system north to the Kuskokwim River). The freshwater resident form of sockeye (kokanee) has a North American distribution (Columbia system to the upper Yukon system) similar to sockeye but is not widespread in Alaska.
Postglacially, the non-migratory form of sockeye (kokanee) evolved in many of B.C.'s lakes. Natural populations of kokanee are widely scattered in the province, and from the Fraser system northwards many of these populations still are in contact with anadromous sockeye. The only two native kokanee populations in the upper Peace system are from southern stocks at Arctic Lake in the headwaters of the Parsnip River and Thutade Lake in the headwaters of the Finlay River. Thus, kokanee appear to have colonized the upper Peace system at least twice - Arctic Lake is adjacent to Pacific Lake (a Fraser tributary) and Thutade Lake is adjacent to Skeena tributaries.
Lake trout are the largest of the chars, the record weighing almost 46.3 kg (102 lb).
Lake trout inhabit cold, oxygen-rich waters. They are pelagic during the period of summer stratification in dimictic lakes often living at depths of 20–60 m (60–200 ft).
The lake trout is a slow growing fish. It is also very late to mature. Many native lake trout populations have been severely damaged through the combined effects of hatchery stocking (planting) and overharvest. Lake trout have been known, very rarely, to hybridize in nature with the brook trout but such hybrids, known as”splake” are almost invariably reproductively sterile. Splake are also artificially propagated in hatcheries and then planted into lakes in an effort to provide sport fishing opportunities.
The term fontinalis comes from the Latin fontīnālis (of or from a spring or fountain).
The brook trout is native to small streams, creeks, lakes, and spring ponds. Some brook trout, referred to as sea-run brook trout, are anadromous. It is native to a wide area of eastern North America but increasingly confined to higher elevations southward in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia, Canada from the Hudson Bay basin east, the Great Lakes–Saint Lawrence system, and the upper Mississippi River drainage as far west as eastern Iowa
Colouration: green to brown basic colouration with a distinctive marbled pattern (called vermiculations) of lighter shades across the flanks and back and extending at least to the dorsal fin, and often to the tail. There is a distinctive sprinkling of red dots, surrounded by blue haloes, along the flank. The belly and lower fins are reddish in color, the latter with white leading edges. Often the belly, particularly of the males, becomes very red or orange when the fish are spawning. The species reaches a maximum recorded length of 86 cm (33 in) and a maximum recorded weight of 6.6 kg (14.5 lb). It can reach at least seven years of age, with reports of 15-year-old specimens observed in California habitats to which the species has been introduced. Typical length: 25 to 65 cm (10 to 26 in). Typical weight: 0.3 to 3 kg (11 oz to 7 lb).
S. fontinalis prefers clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range in lakes, rivers, and streams, being sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain. Its diverse diet includes crustaceans frogs and other amphibians, insects, molluscs, smaller fish, invertebrates, and even small aquatic mammals such as voles. It provides food for seabirds and suffers attack by lampreys. The brook trout is a short-lived species, rarely surviving beyond four or five years in the wild.
Individuals normally spend their entire life in fresh water, but some—colloquially called "salters" or "sea run"—may spend up to three months at sea in the spring, not straying more than a few kilometres from the river mouth. The fish return upstream to spawn in the late summer or autumn. The female constructs a depression in a location in the stream bed, sometimes referred to as a "redd", where groundwater percolates upward through the gravel. One or more males approaches the female, fertilizing the eggs as the female expresses them. The eggs are slightly denser than water. The female then buries the eggs in a small gravel mound. The eggs hatch in 95 to 100 days.
A potamodromous population of brook trout native to Lake Superior, which run into inflowing rivers to spawn, are called "coasters". Coasters tend to be larger than most other populations of brook trout, often reaching 2 to 3 kg in size. Many coaster populations have been severely damaged by overfishing and by habitat alterations, especially by the construction of hydro-electric power dams, on their inflowing streams. In Ontario and Michigan, efforts are under way to restore and recover coaster populations.
The brook trout is a popular game fish with anglers, particularly fly fishermen. Today, many anglers practice catch-and-release tactics to preserve remaining brook trout populations, and organizations such as Trout Unlimited have been in the forefront of efforts to institute air and water quality standards sufficient to protect the brook trout. Revenues derived from the sale of fishing licenses have been used to restore many sections of creeks and streams to brook trout habitat. Brook trout are also commercially raised in large numbers for food production, being sold for human consumption in both fresh and smoked forms. Because of its dependence on pure water and a variety of aquatic and insect life forms, the brook trout is also used for scientific experimentation in assessing the effects of pollution.
Partially as a result of its popularity as a game fish, the brook trout has been introduced in some areas to which it was not originally native, and has become established widely throughout the world. In some parts of the world, the brook trout has had a harmful effect on native species, and is a potential pest. Brook trout can sometimes hybridise with other species and both natural and artificial hybrids are known. Native populations of bull trout (S. confluentus) are in danger of hybridization with introduced brook trout in the Pacific Northwest
One such intergeneric hybrid, between the brook trout and the brown trout (genus Salmo) is the tiger trout. Tiger trout occur very rarely naturally but are sometimes artificially propagated. Such crosses are almost always reproductively sterile. They are popular with many fish stocking programs because they can grow quickly, and may help keep rough fish populations in check due to their highly piscivorous (fish-eating) nature.
A less frequent natural hybrid is the splake, a hybrid between the brook trout and lake trout. Although uncommon in nature, some jurisdictions artificially propagate splake in substantial numbers for planting into brook trout or lake trout habitats. An example would be in Ontario, where both splake and a fish known as the lake trout backcross have been planted for several years. The backcross is the result of an F1 splake male being crossed with a female lake trout (i.e., 75% lake trout and 25% brook trout).
Although splake were first described in 1880, Ontario began experimenting with the hybrids in the 1960s in an effort to replace collapsed lake trout stocks in the Great Lakes. Due to mediocre results, the experiment never really progressed beyond Georgian Bay. The theory was that splake would grow more quickly and mature sooner than lake trout with the hope that they would be able to reproduce before being attacked by the invasive sea lamprey. Unfortunately, although splake are relatively unusual among hybrids in that they are fertile, fertility in nature is behaviourally problematic—very few natural progeny are produced by introduced splake populations.
After some experimentation in the late 1970s, stocking in the Great Lakes and, especially, in Georgian Bay, was converted entirely to the so-called lake trout backcross in the early 1980s. Although the backcross program did succeed in creating some localised angling opportunities, it never achieved any degree of success in terms of natural reproduction—the backcross was only marginally better at reproducing than was the F1 splake. The F1 splake has proved to be a success, however, in providing angling opportunities in smaller lakes and most of the planting of splake in Ontario now goes to those situations. There are two general cases. In the first case, former brook trout waters which have become infested with spiny-rayed fish to the point where they no longer produce brook trout are stocked with splake. The splake grow more quickly than do wild-strain brook trout and become piscivorous at a younger age and, hence, are more tolerant of competitors than are brook trout. In the second case, relatively small lake trout lakes that experienced poor recruitment due to insufficient deep-water juvenile lake trout habitat will support fairly good splake fisheries since splake are less dependent on extreme deep water than are the lake trout and they grow more quickly, providing a better return to anglers. In both cases, due to the behavioural sterility of splake, all such fisheries are entirely dependent on artificial propagation.
Unlike other rainbows, whose diet consists of invertebrates, crustaceans, insects and eggs of other fish, Gerrard trout feed mainly on kokanee, Kootenay Lake’s landlocked version of the sockeye salmon. While this privileged diet helps them to grow big and strong, it was threatened during the early 1900’s by a drastic decline in the Lake’s kokanee . Recent indications of a resurgence of Kootenay Lake kokanee bode well for the giant Gerrards.