Day 27 Chetwynd to Davie Lake
The group rose early to clouds, sun and 10 C. We emptied our holding tanks and refilled our fresh water tanks ready for another couple of dry camping days at Davie Lake, 70 kilometers north of Prince George.
My truck dash clock read 8:30 am as we pulled onto highway 97, earlier departure than usual. With any luck, we should arrive at Davie Lake by noon, we are planning to stay for a couple of days weather permitting and try our luck fishing.
The sky darkened and rain began as the highway climbed into the mountains. Traffic was light as it has been most of our trip, an uneventful morning drive on a windy mountain highway with intermittent torrents of rain and cooler temperatures.
We arrived at the turn off to Davie Lake on time, Henry was leading as usual. He didn’t see the turn in time, missing the obscure narrow gravel road. We turned around at the first opportunity. This time I remembered I was towing a trailer and didn’t jackknife it as I turned around, no more damage to my camper and trailer.
The rain took a break as we turn onto the lake access road. A narrow, rough road, making the three-kilometer drive into the lake slow. A couple of kilometers in we came to a fork in the road. Wilderness areas such as this don’t have road signs, there was no way of knowing which fork would take us to the lake.
It was time to take a hike rather than drive farther possibly coming to a dead end with no room to turn around, always a concern when towing. By the time Ralph and I stopped our trucks and walked forward to where Henry was stopped he and Allyson were already heading along each alternate road. They returned momentarily, Henry’s fork lead to the lake.
Davie Lake camp is a BC Provincial Recreation Site which means basic facilities, a picnic table, a fire ring, pit toilets and a primitive boat launch, and the best part, no charge. The Lake is large, about 10 kilometers long by 3 kilometers wide and shallow only about 40 ft, 10 meters.
About ten years ago, BC provincial recreation were fee-based facilities with a self-serve kiosk. I’m not sure why the fee was dropped, an unusual occurrence these days when prices of all services seem to escalate? An observation, not a complaint, I have no problem camping for free despite the limited amenities.
The main camping area is located several hundred yards from the lake and the boat launch. We had the campground to ourselves except for a family of four occupying the closest spot to the lake.
We parked our rigs circling the fire pit, Ralph maneuvered his 5th wheel with the awning facing the fire, in case an escape from rain showers was necessary. Rec. sites have no designated camping or parking areas of which we took full advantage. The only rough guideline is the picnic table and fire ring, but of course, they can be moved.
Once camp was set it was time to try our luck on the lake. Allyson’s write up on the lake indicated White Fish, Rainbow Trout, and Dolly Varden were the game fish inhabiting this lake.
As Henry, Ralph and I launched the boat the other campers returned from fishing, drifting their aluminum boat onto the beach beside the boat launch. Ralph struck up a conversation as they climbed out of their boat showing off a couple of nice looking Rainbows.
The mother was the lucky angler this trip, Ralph asked what the fish were biting on and the best area to try our luck. She was happy to fill us in, obviously proud of her catch, and proud of out fishing her husband and two teenage sons.
It was nice to see a family camping and fishing together especially with teenagers. Our teenage grandsons are too busy with their friends.
Soon we were on the lake releasing our lines into the water, slowly trolling toward the center of the lake.
Ralph was the first to strike gold hauling in a couple of nice Rainbows about a pound each. Ralph’s gay looking purple fly and floating line did the trick.
Henry wasn’t far behind, landing 3 pike-minnow (squaw fish). This type of course fish is not considered a game fish and not edible. Course fish such as these along with bottom feeding suckers will eventually decimate the game fish population if not held in check.
There was a time when the BC government wildlife branch poisoned lakes to kill off the course fish population. This practice is no longer used. Controlling the course fish has evolved to a more natural approach by stocking lakes with aggressive breeds of game fish.
In theory, the game fish eat the course fish fry/minnows thereby controlling the population. I’m not sure of the success of this system, it has been tried on our community lake several times with no noticeable increase in game fish quantities or a decline in the course fish population. Maybe time will tell.
The fishing gods weren’t with me this day, no fish for me. We returned to camp as rain showers resumed. Ralph with two Rainbows and Henry with a larger specimen.
We were welcomed back to camp by a roaring campfire the ladies had thoughtfully started. Sitting in a boat fishing can send chills to the bone even though the temperature isn’t that severe.
We removed our rain gear and cozied up to the fire till the chills wore off. Dusk settled in as we enjoyed another happy hour.
Several times during the evening we retreated to the cover of Ralph’s awning to avoid a passing shower. You know what the saying is, “a poor day camping is better than the best day at work”, or is it fishing?
Day 28 – Fishing at Davie lake
Rain pelted the camper roof several times during the night, by morning the clouds parted letting the sun shine on our camp quickly warming the cool 6-degree celsius air.
This was another man’s breakfast morning, pancakes by me, sausages and bacon by Henry and Ralph. The sausages and bacon were perfect, the pancakes not so much. They could have been a dead ringer for a plate of hockey pucks if a little thicker and a bit more burnt.
Smothered in butter and syrup made them tolerable. While cleaning up after breakfast Lynda and I figured out the problem with the pancakes, the mix was left over from a family reunion we hosted before our youngest granddaughter was born, she turns 4 this winter.
I thought things get better with age, apparently not pancake mix? Hopefully, I will get a chance to redeem myself, or if not this trip, the next for sure.
The guys and I headed out after breakfast for another go at fishing. Henry and I did our best to copy Ralph’s style using light tackle and keeping our lines close to the surface. Although we could not come up with a gay looking purple fly.
In no time the fish were biting steady, the only problem, we were losing about half the fish before they were close enough to net, soft mouths was the prognosis.
It was great fun, despite not landing every fish, we soon had a chain full. The successful fishermen returned to camp once again as heroes of the wildness earning our keep and bringing home sustenance for our starving families? Maybe a slight exaggeration????
That afternoon Henry and Allyson took a turn fishing while Ralph and I took his truck and chainsaw for a load of firewood. We returned to camp shortly before the unlucky fishing pair, not a fish was landed.
Henry said they were fishing, but I have my doubts they dropped a line, what else would they be doing on a warm calm afternoon alone in the middle of a lake? Hmmm?
Sunshine dominated the afternoon raising the temperature to 12 C. The guys and I headed out for another fishing excursion before dinner. Our experience was a carbon copy of our earlier one.
Plenty of bites and better luck netting this time. By the end of our two-day stay, we landed 15 nice rainbows. Another fish fry was sure to happen soon, yum.
Back at camp, the women spent the sunny afternoon creating a perfect dinner of BBQ ribs, roasted potatoes with carrots and onions cooked in foil on the barby. Great meal again by our talented and lovely wives. I know at least two of them read this stuff.
We enjoyed another happy hour around the campfire accompanied by an amazing sunset.
The group was up early this morning again, not sure why. A dismal morning low cloud and fog was quite a contrast from the spectacular sunset the evening before.
We left the campsite by 8 am heading back to the highway retracing our route on the pothole filled single lane road. The fog thickened as we pulled onto highway 97 heading south towards Prince George the unofficial provincial capital of the north.
The forecast was for clear skies, and they probably were above the annoying fog.
A stop in Prince George to re-stock, groceries, refreshments (booze), and refuel (98.9 cents per liter) and then continue south to Williams Lake. The fog persisted till early afternoon then glorious sunshine warming to a balmy 19-degrees Celsius.
A full day’s drive today to our destination Raven Lake, 80 kilometers west of Bill’s Pond on hwy. 20. Raven Lake is another dry camping adventure so it’s necessary to empty the holding tanks and refill our fresh water.
Allyson to the rescue again, she searched the internet for an RV dump. She found a free one at the Williams Lake Stampede grounds conveniently located on our route on hwy 20 just down the hill from the intersection of hwy 97.
My next article, Raven Lake a great Provincial Recreation Site with the best fishing yet.
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