2020 fishing reports
Paul Lake is best known for its hiking trails its huge rock bluff and scenic viewpoints. Now stocked with kokanee, Paul Lake's kokanee fishing is quickly growing in popularity. Learn more about Paul Lake here.
December 26, 2020
The west end of the lake is ice covered, but the rest of the lake is open water. I drilled near the edge and found 4 inches of ice. I would guess that the ice tapers toward the middle. There was some people shoveling off an ice rink near shore, but I would not recommend venturing out too far.
October 19, 2020
I bought a Princecraft Ungava on the weekend and it came with launching wheels. I was pretty excited because the boat launch at Paul Lake has steel yellow posts blocking the boat launch. I figured that I would be able to maneuver my new boat and motor around them to launch it.
It turns out that I could have launched my boat here all along! As I backed my trailer close to the yellow steel posts I realized that I had a couple of inches to spare on either side of my wheel wells! The distance between the post measured approximately 70 inches.
With a little precision backing up the boat trailer I was able to launch my boat without the use of the boat's launching wheels. The boat was not floating when my tailgate was backed right up to the posts but my boat was light enough to push off the trailer.
I started out fishing near the bluff. I set up one rod with a Teton tackle dodger with 14 inches of leader to a pink wiggle hoochie and I set it to 25 feet. With the second rod, I set up with a Dogtail dodger with 16 inches of leader to pink Chromes single spinner tipped with scented shoepeg corn and set this line to 40 feet. I fished at these depths for about 20 minutes and was only marking the odd fish. Because I was marking so few fish I wondered whether the fish were closer to the surface. I reeled in my second rod and changed my setback (the distance from my lure to the downrigger clip) to 90 feet and lowered the downrigger to 10 feet. Within seconds, I caught my first kokanee. I reset, and again within seconds I had one on that got away. I changed up my bait to Berkley's pink maggots because they stay on better but the action slowed significantly. I went back to the scented shoepeg corn and put a half ounce weight on my line, and I let it out 90 feet with no downrigger and I caught three more kokanee- each one a carbon copy last. I got most of the bites at 1.2 MPH.
Once I brought my line closer to the surface I had my limit in 30 minutes. The action was so fast that I ended up only fishing with one rod because two was more work than it was worth.
When I was cleaning the fish I was surprised at the different colours of the flesh. I will be taste testing both the orange meat and the red meat tonight.
Non-stop kokanee action today once I found the fish!
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The ice is off!
April 23, 2020
The ice is off half of the lake, and I am sure that the rest of the ice will go very quick. There is plenty of open water to fish, Finding a place to launch proves very challenging with the parks being closed. I talked to a fisherman who was just wrapping up his fishing, sporting his limit of kokanee. He caught them all by jigging a small pink buzzbomb with no bait at around 30 ft.
February 28, 2020
Today I only had a couple of hours to spend on the hard water. Since Paul Lake is the closest kokanee lake for me, it was the obvious choice. The ice was still holding strong. There was about eight inches of solid ice with eight inches of white ice on top of that. I talked to three people and they had only one fish between them and they said they hadn't seen any since the one they caught .
I set up near the bluffs today just last time. I was using both my underwater camera and my Garmin Striker 4 fish finder. I jigged at 15 to 20 feet. I saw nothing until about 10:15 and then the flasher on the fish finder started to light up and the camera revealed a large school passing by. The next 10 minutes were fast and furious with the action. I managed to catch two kokanee and missed several other light bites. They were bumping my jig constantly but they only took it in a couple of times.
Jigging between 15 to 20 feet I managed a couple. I marked no fish below 15 feet.
My setup: A Gibbs Dog Tail Dodger with 12 inches to a small orange and glow jig tipped with real pink maggots. I also swapped the dodger for a Gibbs gator midway through the day.
10 minutes of fast action today! I managed two fish in the flury of action, and then nothing.
I walked over to the other fishers to see if they were seeing the same action, but the school must have swam around them because they still had not seen any more fish.
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January 31, 2020
I was starting to regret my decision to go fishing today while I was walking in pounding rain, pulling my sled, and walking over three inches of water that coated a smooth sheet of slippery ice. The ice that was so thick just the other day is disappearing fast- 8 inches of white ice with some slush mixed in and 6 inches of hard ice below that.
I set up near the bluffs today, mostly for a change of scenery, but also because I hadn't fished there yet this year and I was hoping to find some big schools of kokanee. It didn't disappoint! I was testing a new underwater camera today and I was able to record some good shots of the schools. I intentionally fished a little deeper than where the schools of fish were, so that I could tilt the camera slightly upward to see the profile of the kokanee against the ice background. It was pretty cool! Check out the videos below for a clip kokanee taking the bait.
Jigging at 27 feet I saw large schools of kokanee. Getting them interested was the hard part.
My setup: A Gibbs Dog Tail Dodger with 12 inches to a small pink jig head tipped chartreuse gulp maggots.
I had so much fun watching all the fish on screen today! I only managed one but had a great day anyway!
Everyone that I talked to on the ice today found the fishing to be pretty slow. A couple of the guys had one kokanee on the ice and the others were not so lucky.
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January 28, 2020
Such a nice day on the ice! The sun was shining, the fish were schooling by us, the coffee was good, and the company was even better! Apparently the bite was on between 8:30 am and 9:30 am according to the guys already on the ice. My buddy and I showed up at 9:45 am.
Despite the warming weather recently, the ice on Paul Lake was still thick- a good 10 inches of clear ice, with another 10 inches of white ice on top of that.
We drilled three holes in a row- two for the rods, and one for the fishing camera. Once we were set up we saw a kokanee on camera immediately. Unfortunately, we saw nothing more for almost an hour until a large school came in, and we saw 12 kokanee on the screen at once. We were able to coax some interest but they only nosed the bait. The second time the school came by I got two bites, but no fish on the ice for me.
I did visit the neighbouring tents to gather intel. Everyone was using similar setups to mine, but everyone caught their fish between 8:30 and 9:30 am. I snapped some pics of their fish to post. I only saw one fish get caught between 9:45 am and 1:00 pm by a gentleman a couple of tents over from us.
Jigging at 20 feet we saw the odd large school of fish, but there was almost an hour between sightings.
First Setup: A pink and silver Gibbs Gator flasher with 12 inches of leader to a pink jig tipped scented dyed shoepeg corn
Second setup: A Gibbs Dog Tail Dodger with 12 inches to a small pink jig head tipped with pink-dyed shoepeg corn, scented with garlic kelp and shrimp.
We tried several types of bait including shoepeg corn, meal worms, pink gulp maggots, and garlic shrimp
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Paul Lake Fishing Report
January 8, 2020
Finally!!! The ice on a kokanee lake near Kamloops is thick enough to go out on. Not only was the ice thick enough, but the fishing was awesome! There was about 8 or 9 inches of good ice underneath a heavy layer of snow, water, and slush. I am glad my boots are waterproof.
Today I fished the east end of the lake. There was three other fishermen out on the ice when I got there. I canvassed them for tips, and all three had caught their limit of kokanee in about three hours using a flasher and a jig tipped with meal worm. I decided to use what was working so I tried the meal worms with success. I changed up my bait and tried pink-dyed shoepeg corn scented with shrimp, kelp, and garlic. It turns out that this was great idea because the scented shoepeg corn seemed to be irresistable to the kokanee.
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Jigging between 10 to 25 feet proved successful with the bulk of the success coming at 20 feet.
First Setup: A green and glow Gibbs Gator flasher with 12 inches of leader to a glow jig tipped with meal worm.
Second setup: A pink and silver Gibbs flasher with 12 inches to a small pink jig head tipped with pink-dyed shoepeg corn, scented with garlic kelp and shrimp.
Last time I iced fished Paul Lake I found that there were several rainbow trout mixed in with the schools of kokanee. Today I saw only kokanee.
The Strategy :
Today was supposed to be a 'trolling with downrigger' kind of day, but today was not my day to go fishing. I towed my 12 foot Smokercraft to the lake thinking that I would be able to figure out a way to launch it by myself. Turns out I was wrong: they have put in posts that block off the boat launch and they were about two inches too narrow for me to get my easyloader trailer through. I tried to launch at the park and then again at the west end of the lake, both times my plans were defeated by bright yellow posts blocking the launch. In desperation, I decided to drive down the residential side on the south shore of the lake hoping to find a spot to launch, and I thought I did!.....WRONG! I launched my boat, parked my truck, fired up the 9.9 Mercury outboard and was just about to head out when a dump truck waved me over. He explained to me that he and his crew had just shown up to dump a load of rocks to shore up the road and if I didn't load my boat up I would be stuck on the water. So reluctantly, I loaded up my boat and headed for the fishing dock. I fished with a sliding bobber. I put a bobber stopper about 20ft from my hook (this got my bait to 20 feet deep). I used a simple hook with pink maggots.
The take :
The biggest take unfortunately was frustration not being able to launch my boat. I tried to salvage the day with some dock fishing but with no success. I did appreciate the beautiful views. Hopefully in the future they will consider re-opening the boat launch.