March Madness on the Arrow Lakes

The first annual March Madness derby was held on the Arrow Lakes this past weekend.  Following up on the success of the Gord Roberts Memorial which drew 120 entries, the March Madness event brought in 110 eager anglers looking to troll for massive trout and char.  Anything over 10 pounds was considered 'weighable.'  Anything smaller would be a waste of time in this trophy fishery.

I fished this event with my dad and childhood friend Bryan hoping for the same success we enjoyed two months ago when we won the Memorial with an 18 pounder.  We headed north in my dad's new Thunderjet welded aluminum boat with high hopes for a repeat.  We fished hard that first day, but they just weren't co-operating.  We didn't get a single bite until the late afternoon when a plug 120 feet under the surface hooked into a 3 pound bull trout.  Hardly a derby winner, but at least we weren't skunked. 

Heading out to fish the Gord Roberts Memorial back in January.

The second day we decided to switch things up and head south into a section of the lake known as "The Narrows."  While the northern section we fished on Saturday averaged about 600 feet deep and 3 kilometres in width, "The Narrows" average about 40 feet deep and half a kilometre in width.  While many anglers said the fish weren't there this time of year, we decided to go against the grain and switch things up. 

Within a half hour the decision paid off.  A plug rod pulled loose of the planer board and the fight was on.  After about five minutes of tug-of-war, a good-sized bull trout came to the boat.  While it wasn't big enough to place, it looked big enough to weigh, making it eligible for the draw prize for weighable fish that didn't place.  We fished until 1:30 and caught one more smaller bull trout, but no monsters this time around.  The weigh-in ended at two so we raced to the launch to check in our keeper which tipped the scales at 10 pounds 8 ounces.

The winning fish came in at 14 pounds 10 ounces, while two other fish in the 14 pound range rounded out the top three.  Fishing was pretty slow in general, as there were only 8 other 'weighable' fish turned in, including our fish.  Unfortunately, we didn't take any of the 50-odd draw prizes home which included two skill saws, many gif">
The Nakusp Esso station did a great job of putting on a fantastic event and will be doing the same thing next year.  Those looking to test their trolling skills against some of the best anglers in the interior of B.C. should make plans to be there.  I'll see ya then!

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