Underwater at East Pit Lake

East Pit lake, Alberta, before dawn in winter

On Sunday I paid a visit to my favorite summer trout pond, East Pit Lake. The weather was terrible and I got skunked, but that wasn’t the main mission of the day. I just got my hands on an Aqua Vu Micro and I was really interested in checking out some of my usual spots. In the summer I come to this lake quite often and enjoy casting from shore or dragging the kayak from the parking lot, I feel like I know it well and I was excited to use the Aqua Vu camera here.

 

I pulled into the parking lot at 7:40 and made my way down to the lake in roughly 6 inches of snow. It was a tough hike and I now see why people convert their sleds to Smitty Sleds. Starting on the south shore I began working my way around the lake in a clockwise direction focusing on shallow water close to shore.

I thought the cloud cover and snow would keep trout active and feeding throughout the day but I didn’t see any fish at all. The water clarity was excellent and the Aqua Vu showed a lot of Daphnia all throughout the water column, even in the deepest parts of the lake. I am not sure what role they play in ice fishing but I know it is the bane of the fly fisher. A common technique is to use a fly called “The Blob” to imitate a cluster of Daphnia, I haven’t tried The Blob myself but have had success using my smallest size snow cone chironomid to fool a few trout into the net.

daphnia, fly fishing
The dreaded Daphnia

Plant life on the bottom of the lake was pretty sparse as well. Most notable was the amount and uniformity of what looked like Sago Pondweed, I was surprised to find it as deep as 15ft in some areas. As you went deeper the bottom was mostly gravel and mud. For those interested in aquatic plants of Alberta I will place a link to a useful field guide I found below.

Aqua Vu Micro

An area I always fished but never had much success was the beaver house about a third of the way down on the north shore. I drilled a few holes and using the camera I had a look around underwater and found absolutely nothing. No vegetation, fish, or signs of life. It was pretty interesting!

 

I know the proper trout fishing tactic would have been to find a shallow and flat area near to a drop off, drill all my holes before the sun came up and stay put. But since I just got my hands on an underwater camera I was more interested in what was below, maybe next time I will take my own advice and focus on the fish.

 

An Identification guide to Alberta Aquatic Plants:

https://open.alberta.ca/publications/2007633


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