Dawn Breaks over Batstone Lake
"You don't buy a ranch anymore and pay for it with cattle" Jim O'Connor told me this afternoon. I met Jim after spending the day shooting at Batstone Lake, the jewel of his 7 Half Diamond Ranch outside of Merritt, BC. Jim and his wife Heather own and run the ranch, nestled in the rolling hills off of Hwy. 5A. Together they have diversified Ranch interest's into micro-tourism, including two beautiful hand buit log cabins, made from logs on the property. These cabins are available for rental along with an old western saloon for special occassions, such as group meetings, Christmas parties or corporate retreats. Jim and Heather encourage guests to bring their own horses for trail riding. Ducks Unlimited has worked with the O'Connor's to enhance wetland habitat reserves, resulting in great bird watching. In the winter they have snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. But the center piece of the ranch is Batstone Lake , stocked with Kamloops Rainbow trout that grow to 11lbs. Batstone is a small lake only about 12 hectares but its numerous shallow bays are incredibly rich with feed and the fish grow FAT fast! Jim has also started stocking triploids as well and is waiting to see how they take hold in the lake. It all makes for an INCREDIBLE fishery. The O'Connor's manage the lake for a exclusive trophy experience. Only 6 rods are allowed daily. Rod fees are only $50 a day. Today I was the tagging along with the owners of my local flyshop Trout Waters Fly and Tackle, Savas Koutsontonis and Nick Pace who agreed to take me up to the Ranch to film for Spring Creek: Ranchers, Anglers, Water and Trout. We arrived a daybreak and the fish were already rising. Savass and Nick had action all morning long, even I got into a fish. Lake fishing is DEFINATELY not my thing. But I only had made about 6 casts before I had one Batstone's fatties on. I was using a chironomid that Savas had gave me, 20" under a strike indicator (don't tell my friends). I just cast to where I had seen a rise and 20 seconds later I was tight to a big fish that took several long runs, jumped twice and then headed for the weeds. Once the fish tied me up in the weeds it was all over. What a great day.Thanks to the O'Connor's for hosting me and if you are a interior stillwater trout angler, I'd HIGHLY recommend a day at 7Half Diamon Ranch. I know I will be back.
Savas K. corrals a 7 Half Diamond Ranch Rainbow