Following on from our last article, Our Wild Neighbours – Part 1, where we looked at the bears and birds in the area; this week we’re taking a closer look at the fish and mammals that live in the region.
Thanks to the pristine lakes and picturesque streams surrounding Tyax Lodge we’re blessed with having some incredible fishing on our doorstep. Book a stay at Tyax Lodge and explore the waterways of the Gold Bridge area. Make sure you have the appropriate licensing and safety gear before you go!
The rainbow trout is a very popular and common fish in North America. Their colouring changes depending on regions and subspecies. Some are found with a darker, olive-green to black shades, while there are others with more earthy green and even blue colouring. However, no matter the colour they all have a strip of red lengthwise down their body on both sides.
Rainbow trout are strict carnivores and are often seen gulping at insects that land on the water’s surface. While they also like to eat mussels, small fish and shrimp, these are rarer occurrences. Some rainbow trout migrate from freshwater streams and lakes to saltwater. Here they turn into steelhead trout. The fish then grows bigger and eats larger prey, such as octopus.
One of the reasons why rainbow trout are so popular is because of their excellent suitability as a sport fish. Rainbow trout are the easiest trout to catch and can be caught with a relatively low-weight setup. A thin line is best as rainbow trout have excellent eyesight and are able to spot thick fishing lines. They are attracted to a range of lures – people have success with spinners, plugs, jigs, and spoons. PowerBait and worms work best for bait while fishing for rainbow trout.
Kokanee spend their whole lives in freshwater environments and do not migrate to saltwater, like some rainbow trout. Kokanee have large eyes, an absence of black spots, and have blue backs and silversides. As they are strictly freshwater fish, they tend to be quite small. They range from 30 cm and 1 lb to 50cm and 5lb. While rainbow trout are the most popular fish in BC, kokanee is a close second. They’re just as much fun to catch and taste even better!
Thanks to modern advances with fishing technology, Kokanee can now be caught with a light setup. Kokanee are known to be aggressive fish. So instead of using a natural looking lure, its best to use a lure that is alien to the fish environment so the fish attacks it. Pink maggots and shrimp are the best baits to use.
Due to Canada’s sheer size and variation in habitat, we have a wide variety of different mammals in our country. BC is home to some true Canadian icons such as beavers, wolves, and horses.
Beavers are truly unique and synonymous with Canada. They are the only mammal, besides humans, that create their own living environment. Beavers are semi-aquatic animals and fell trees by gnawing at them with their extremely strong teeth. Their teeth contain iron, never stop growing, self-sharpen and are orange! The trees are then used to create their dams. The main purpose of the dams is to protect the colony of beavers. They build their dams in slow-flowing streams and create an underwater entrance to their lodge, this helps to deter predators.
Beavers are important in Canadian culture. Without beavers, there would not have been such an interest in the fur trade and exploration in Canada. This would’ve had knock-on effects on companies such as the Hudson Bay Company and the development of Canada as we know it today. Such was their importance at the time, they were included on the coat of arms of the Hudson Bay Company in 1678. At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, the official mascot was a beaver and the beaver is also used as a symbol in many Canadian Forces organizations.
Wild wolves are found in remote parts of North America and Eurasia. The wolves found in the BC wilderness are grey wolves and are truly majestic creatures. They can weigh up to 45 kg with the females weighing up to 35 kg. Wolves are reclusive animals, they are most active at night time and try to stay hidden for the most part. While many imagine wolves being aggressive hunters who take down large moose and deer, they are also known to scavenge for animals that have recently died.
Even though they are fierce animals they very rarely attack humans. When they do hunt, wolves like to avoid hunting in the heat, so they usually wait until dusk and hunt in packs. They are predators who predate on the weakest members of a group of animals. They are known to stalk their prey until launching an attack on the weakest member.
Horses have been central to the growth and development of the Gold Bridge area. Without horses, exploration of the area and discovery of gold in the area would’ve been much less successful. The trails that the pioneers used still exist today. On your visit to Tyax Lodge, you can take a step back in time with a horseback ride on historic trails.
There are a number of pockets of isolated wild horses in Canada. Most of these groups have descended from the first horses that Europeans brought to the New World. However, the wild horses of the Chilcotin Plateau north of Gold Bridge have Russian ancestry. This makes them truly unique. The home of the wild horses here is protected by Xeni Gwet’in First Nation in Western Canada’s only horse preserve.