Travelogue of The Great 2023 Canadian Fishing Adventure of Roy and Son


Travelogue of The Great 2023 Canadian Fishing Adventure of Roy and Son

In the summer of 2022 we took our youngest two kids on a cruise to Alaska but our oldest boy couldn't go because of work. I told him we would make up for it though by taking a fishing trip to BC where he served as a full-time missionary for our church from 2017-2019. He didn't get to fish at all then but always wanted to so this turned out to be a great opportunity for us to go visit the areas and people he served and try our luck. I did as much research as I could and got some OK advice but I ultimately knew it would be a "figure it out as we go" DIY trip. We didn't have massive expectations and just wanted to fish as much as we could for the week and have an adventure. We didn't really care how many or what we caught, but of course, we were going to keep score. Here is a recap of our adventure.

Days 1-3 -The Okanagan

Day 1 (8/15) - left Austin at 6AM - landed in Vancouver and drove to Kelowna, BC. Amazing drive but just before we dropped down into the Okanagan we spotted a huge wildfire blowing up to the south, the smoke would settle in on Day 2 and plague us for the next two days.


I love the Vancouver Airport - definitely welcoming!


That's some straight up and down elk territory there!



The Coquihalla views just don't quit. Unfortunately, the clear skies would not last.


I knew this was going to be a problem as soon as I saw it.


Lake Okanagan - Kelowna, BC. A gorgeous place to live!



The fires made for an awesome sunset in Kelowna though!

Our licenses were good from 8/16 to 8/23 so the fishing would start on Day 2.
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Day 2 (8/16) - The weather was hot - but not Texas hot. The air doesn’t hurt you when you walk through it. The fishing was slow and we were really just learning the area. We started out at Skaha Lake and were unsuccessful there so we moved on to Okanagan Lake in the afternoon and then moved on to Vaseux Lake that evening. Son caught a pikeminnow on Okagnagan and a smallmouth on Vaseux and we got some eerie pics of the smoke filled valley. Great start!


Of course, we paid homage to the Salmon Chief to bless our fishing.


We started out a the park at the south end of Skaha Lake to get a feel for things. The smoke was just starting to set in.


Is this kid the same one that I remember as a 5 year old fishing with a Spiderman pole? Seems like it was just yesterday. Lake Okanagan. He was ecstatic to just be there fishing.


First fish of the trip! A pikeminnow. The locals consider it a trash fish - there are big Rainbows and Kokanee in the lake - but we didn't care.

There are big rainbows and kokanee in this lake, but they run pretty deep and you need a boat and a downrigger to get them - a quest for Day 3. You might also notice the broken pole at his feet. We bought Eagle Claw Trailmasters as they were easy to pack. I had one for nearly 30 years before I lost the top piece. They used to be great quality - not any more. The pole broke in two places on the first fish - not even a very big one either. So, we had to go to a local fishing shop and found a couple of more sturdy models for a good price.

I had also decided that we weren't going to book a charter for Lake Okanagan and just try our luck from the shore. But, it was evident that we would be limited to pikeminnows and maybe smallmouths at that time of year and I was keeping a mental list of "what would I do different next time" in my head and booking a charter was at the top of it, so, to both of our surprises, I called and booked a last minute trip for the next morning. It was more than I was planning to pay, but there may never be a "next time" and I didn't want to leave any regrets.

That night, we headed down to Lake Vaseux with our new poles to try our luck on the smallmouth down there.


The smoke was thick and even ash was falling on us. The fire was about 30 miles to the south.


Son with a decent smallmouth


Tried my luck with the fly pole. At least he was able to get a good pic of me in the smoke at dusk. Still, it was a great day.

Score: Son 2 - Roy - 0
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Day 3 ( 8/17) - We started out the day bright and early with a half-day charter on Lake Okanagan with Rodney's Reel Outdoors and our guide Len Palik. Len was a great guy and we were happy he could accommodate us at the last minute and I was glad we spent the money. The fishing was slow but he put us on them soon enough and we caught some good rainbows and a baby kokanee. After getting a great burger at Fat Burger in Kelowna, we moved on to the beautiful. Lake Kalamaka. Son caught another pikeminnow there and I got some more sun. It was another hot day, but there was a good breeze and low humidity so, it was tolerable enough to have a great day together. We then drive up to 100 Mile House to fish the Cariboo region for the next two days.



Another smoky morning but flat calm water. The fish were definitely there, waiting for us.

My first fish of the trip!! A fat 14 or so inch rainbow.


Son landed a good one too. Not the BIG ones we were hoping for but we were counting them all, big or small. Beautiful colors.


I finally landed a big one! My personal best rainbow ever - 21 inches. I made sure I measured this one!


Son reeled in this pretty little kokanee that we didn't even know was on the line. It still counts!! Add it to the species list.



Lake Kalamaka - absolutely gorgeous water. Son caught a pikeminnow that we didn't get a pic of.

On to the Cariboo.

Score: Son 5 - Roy 2
Days 4-6 - The Cariboo and Lower Mainland

Day 4 (8/18) - We started the day off in 100 Mile House, B.C. after a good night’s rest with a maple donut and honey cruller from Tim Horton’s where we learned that a massive wildfire was raging out of control in West Kelowna, where we had just been the day before. Thousands of homes have been lost and the most of the residents have been evacuated. With broken hearts and concern for those people and their wonderful city, we somberly dedicated our morning to scouting and info gathering. We found out that most of the big fish are hanging deep at about 50 - 150 ft. And you pretty much need a boat to fish them. However, the two most accessible lakes without a boat are Irish Lake and Greeny Lake. So, we tried both of them out. A squall blew in while we were at Greeny Lake and we could hardly cast in the wind and did not get a bite. That afternoon we met with our friend Jim Latimer for lunch at The Red Rock Grill and had a wonderful couple of hours with him. That evening we fished at Greeny Lake and I caught a couple of fingerling rainbows that I normally wouldn’t even count, but since Kayson is intent on making this a “friendly” competition, of course I will.


100 Mile House, BC




Irish Lake - Lone Butte, BC in the background.




Greeny Lake - near Lac La Hache, BC


No fish other than fingerlings today - but how can you complain when you end your day like this. Perfect reflection of my soul at that very moment.

Score: Son 5 - Roy 4
Day 5 (8/19) - We decided the best way for us to fish for the bigger rainbows was to rent a canoe on Sheridan Lake. We made it to the end of the dock where we found that surprisingly, the lake water in Canada is not as cold as you might expect. If somebody has video of it and it goes viral I hope they give us some royalties! Bad idea from the beginning! So, we bailed (literally) on that idea and limped away with hurt pride and wet clothes and gear. We spent the rest of the day drying out and fished at Greeny and Irish again that afternoon and evening. I caught a nice rainbow at Irish Lake and we finished the evening visiting the Pulley family that Son worked with on his mission. They fed us a fabulous dinner and we had a great visit.





Hooked up on another rainbow at Irish Lake. Yes - that is a bobber, fish eat worms in Canada too.



He was still having a blast, but his patience was wearing thin.

Score: Son 5 - Roy 5
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Day 6 (8/20) - We made an early morning trip to Irish Lake and had the lake all to ourselves. Not a soul was there. Not even the fish. So, we spooled up after a couple of hours and went and attended Sacrament Meeting at the 100 Mile House Branch. Kayson said his final goodbyes to his friends there and we headed for Vancouver. The wildfires were still raging and altered our travel plans a bit because one of the highways was closed. The smoke was still thick and the normally beautiful Coquihalla Highway’s blue skies were an eerie dusky grey. We stopped in Chilliwack and finished the day fishing for smallmouth bass at Cultus Lake. I caught three small ones before we called it a night and headed to Vancouver.



There are fish there. They just weren't near where we were.

Goodbye Cariboo - until next time! Your charm will linger in our memories.


Near Hope, BC - where Rambo: First Blood was filmed. Too smoky to see it's beauty. Shame.


At Cultus Lake - near Chilliwack, BC. Definite an typical Pacific NW rainforest.



Finally some decent smallmouth action. Not very big, but I caught 3.


It counts!!

Score: Son 5 - Roy - 8
Days 7-8 Vancouver

Day 7 (8/21) - Our day started bright and early with a fishing charter with Captain Roy Tanami of Roy’s Fishing Charters in Vancouver. We were grateful the weather was cooperating with us as the previous few days the winds were gale force and Captain Roy had warned us that it was looking iffy for Monday. He made one final check on Sunday though and it looked better so the trip was on, and actually, it really couldn’t have been better. Though the skies were still hazy from the wildfires, the sun was shining and the sea was calm. Captain Roy took us to the Howe Strait and we started trolling off shore from Point Atkinson, right in the shadow of Cypress Mountain.
Salmon were jumping all over and we were excited to get fishing. Despite that, the fishing was slow and it took a while to get the first bite. Kayson had the first fish and got on a good one that he played right up to the boat. Just as we were about to net it, it took one last shake and spit the hook. We did get a good look at it, and it was about a 15 lb. King Salmon. Since we were just releasing them anyway, and we got a good look at it, I told Son we could count it. Though he was a bit disappointed he didn’t land it cleanly, he was electrified by the fight.
So, I was up next and about an hour later, I got my chance. This one fought hard and jumped twice before I finally landed it. It was another King, or Chinook, and about 18 lbs. This just made Son that much more determined to land one and he was up next.

After a couple more passes through the channel, we had another hit. Son grabbed the rod and the fight was on, but this fish was also elusive and spit the hook before we could get a good look, though it did appear to be about the same size. Another small King, only about a pound, hit next and though he did reel it up to the boat, Captain Roy didn’t net it and released it without taking it out of the water. We weren’t able to get a pic but it definitely counted. Since I had already landed a good one, I wanted Son to get one too so he was still up. A few minutes later, we had another good bite that jerked the line off the down rigger and took off peeling out line. Son grabbed the rod and the fight was on! With some patient and precise instruction from Captain Roy - Son had him in the net!

It was my turn again and I soon hooked up on another 1 pounder that we released without netting and then I landed a nice 5-6 pound pink salmon. As the hours were winding down into the final minutes, Captain Roy took us for one last pass by the lighthouse and just before we were about to start rigging down the line danced one more time and even though it was actually my son’s turn, I grabbed the pole in a move that would make my dad proud! This one was the biggest of the day, of course, and he took off on a long run. I fought him hard for a few minutes but, probably due to karma for my selfishness, he spit the hook too and was off. There always has to be the one that got away!

After that, we had a great dinner at White Spot and went downtown for some souvenirs and finished off the night with a drive through Stanley Park where we watched the sun set, not only on our day, but on an amazing father/son trip me may never top!


Heading out on the Fraser River - gorgeous morning but still a little smoky.


Point Atkinson Lighthouse, Howe Sound - North Vancouver, BC

Morning over a smoky Vancouver.


I could totally make this my regular "office" view - time for a career change?? Bowen Island, Howe Sound.



King Salmon - with Cypress Mountain in the background.

In the net!! He worked hard for this one!

Definitely a great day when you hear your son proclaim "This is the biggest fish I've ever caught in my whole life!!" His might be a tad bigger than mine. Great fish!

Chunky pink salmon


View of the Howe Sound at Sunset from Stanley Park. You can see the Point Atkinson Lighthouse off the end of the closer point - right where we were fishing all day. Thanks Vancouver!! Until next time!

Final Score: Roy 11 - Son 8

Regions fished: 4: Okanagan, Cariboo, Lower Mainland, Vancouver

Bodies of water fished: 9: Skaha Lake, Lake Okanagan, Vaseaux Lake, Lake Kalamaka, Irish Lake, Greeny Lake, Cultus Lake, Pacific Ocean

Bodies of water “swam” in: 1: Sheridan Lake (see Day 5)

Species: 6

Son - 5: Pikeminnow (2); Smallmouth Bass (1); Rainbow Trout (1); Kokanee Salmon (1); King Salmon (3)

Roy - 4: Rainbow Trout (5); Smallmouth Bass (3); King Salmon (2); Pink Salmon (1)
Nice Roy!

As You Probably Already Know!

Them Canadians Know What A TRASH Fish Is!

Here In The Basin That Pike Minnow Is A Protected TRASH Fish!

Looks Like You Guys Had Fun!

Did you Tell JENNY You Went Without Her?:D
Nice Roy!

As You Probably Already Know!

Them Canadians Know What A TRASH Fish Is!

Here In The Basin That Pike Minnow Is A Protected TRASH Fish!

Looks Like You Guys Had Fun!

Did you Tell JENNY You Went Without Her?:D
Yeah - she knew. One day, we'll take her with us.
Excellent write up Roy! You got a lot of fishing in at a lot of different water. Breathtaking scenery is a huge plus. That's a trip you'll both remember for a lifetime.
Excellent write up Roy! You got a lot of fishing in at a lot of different water. Breathtaking scenery is a huge plus. That's a trip you'll both remember for a lifetime.
I think we did OK for not knowing what the hell we were doing. It was a ton of fun and Kayson had a hell of a time.
I think we did OK for not knowing what the hell we were doing. It was a ton of fun and Kayson had a hell of a time.
You now know a hell of a lot more about fishing than you do about turtle hunting that's for sure. And you don't lie about fishing.
Thanks for sharing with us all! Beautiful country, would have been great serving 2 years there! Those kinds of trips will be remembered and talked about many years from now!!

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