Conservations with a Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout are talkative…. I enjoy conversations with ‘em. Comforting dialogue washing away woes in some of British Columbia’s most pristine remote fresh water streams, ponds, and lakes. The magnificent and peaceful solitude of BC’s remote waterways is breathtaking! Just being there, off the beaten trail, creates a sense of awe and wellbeing fostering an appreciation for life itself; I am so thankful my children have inherited my love for wilderness lore, and the value it imparts to one’s soul. Can you imagine the peace in the photo below?
Rosie, Christine & I headed to our favourite lake in Vancouver Island’s Nimpkish Valley. Set up camp for two weeks, and then launched our small SilverStreak Jon boat. The Lake was mirror calm, weather warm, air fresh, and an earlier morning drizzle gave an unbelievable vibrance to colours… wherever you threw your eyes the shore held every shade of green you can imagine… and snow capped mountains high in the distance…. perfect.
Our destination: a hidden shallow lily pad alcove that trout, elk, beaver, bear, and my family love to visit. Unbelievable serenity!
Then, as I was foraging around lily pads fly rod in hand – there he was… a Cutthroat Trout intent on inspecting a “fine fly” I had previously tied.
Cutthroat Trout usually inhabit small to moderately large, clear, pollution free, well oxygenated shallow rivers, stream, lakes. They can weigh from 1 to 5 pounds or more, and reproduce locally here in clear, cold, moderately deep lakes where I am today. British Columbia has a number of different species, and depending on subspecies, and habitat, most have distinctive red, pink, or orange linear marks along the underside of their lower jaw, hence the common name “cutthroat”,
I gently placed a net around him… a beauty…. a healthy Cutthroat trout in all it’s splendor!
We held a short pleasant discussion …… just a word or two about where the trout lived, what they like to eat, who had visited recently, and so on….. the important stuff one likes to ask trout. After we chatted a while I watched him swim away down the slowly moving water course sided by rich lush green vegetation. Another breathtaking beauty moment!
Beaver lodges, elk trails, flowering lily pads…. nature’s garden. Peaceful as it should be. Then a “Royal” Roosevelt Elk appeared. In and about our hidden paradise they are common! This is their home to enjoy as they may.
Nature grabs your attention in a spectacular manner…. and sure did today. She is wonderful that way…. always a willing giver and listener. The sun spotlighted the bulls magnificence, reflecting off a huge set of antlers, taking our breath away in awe! Truly a natural treasure of the wild kingdom.
Roosevelt males called bulls are about 1.7 m tall at the shoulders. They are quite large and generally weigh between 300–500 kgs, while cows weigh a 100kgs or so less. Roosevelt elk are the second largest of the antlered ungulates, the largest being the moose.
Indigenous peoples had many names for elk… a common one being wapiti, a generic word for all elk species; meaning “light-colored”deer or “white” referring to the elk’s white rump patch. Americans named the species of elk on Vancouver Island (and Pacific Northwest) “Roosevelt”after their President Theodore Roosevelt. It is the only species on Vancouver Island. There is a species call Rocky Mountain Elk, appropriately found in BC’s interior and elsewhere.
Vancouver Island’s back country offers prime elk foraging habitat. From late spring to early fall these magnificent animals feed upon fresh grasses, leafy vegetation and sedges. During winter months, they feeds on plants life such as bush cranberry, elderberry, devil’s club, and to the dismay of foresters newly planted fir seedlings. Elk will also eat blueberries, huckleberry, mushrooms, lichens, and salmonberries. Roosevelt elk rarely lives beyond 12 to 15 years in the wilds.
Well off now to plan the next adventure.
Safe travels.. © Gord Patterson