It’s no secret that British Columbia is one of the best places to go fishing in the world. With more than 20,000 kilometers of coastlines, tens of thousands of kilometers of streams and rivers, and more than 25,000 lakes in the province, there’s no way to lose on your BC fishing trip. Whether you’re hoping to while away the hours in a boat just to relax or on the hunt for your trophy catch, you can find what you’re looking for in BC.
In this hidden gems series we’re looking at the less popular or well-known waterways in British Columbia since the province is so popular for watersports and tourism. Here we give you our picks for hidden gem waterways for fishing British Columbia.
Vancouver Island South
Durrance Lake, Mount Work Regional Park
Not too far from Victoria and Sidney you’ll find Durrance Lake. Despite its proximity to urban destinations, this remains a perfect choice for the family fisherman or fisherwoman who is hoping to get in some fishing while the family enjoys hiking, picnicking, and swimming nearby. This lake is technically a fishery and is well-stocked with rainbow trout.
Lookout Lake, Colwood
Another hidden treasure among the urban scene on Vancouver Island is Lookout Lake in Colwood. It is a tranquil place to fish for rainbow trout which are stocked seasonally in spring and fall.
Sea to Sky Highway, Vancouver Area
Alice Lake, Squamish
Alice Lake is nestled inside a forested park on the outskirts of the City of Squamish. This is a particularly great find for new anglers as well as families who love fishing together because it is quiet and a very easy place to fish. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and also boasts its own native population of char and trout. If you feel like making a weekend of it, you can camp nearby.
Brohm Lake, between Squamish and Whistler
It’s easy to miss Brohm Lake driving from Squamish to Whistler, but it’s worth a stop. A small hidden gem along the Sea to Sky Highway, Brohm Lake is a nice place for small fish and peace and quiet.
Gwen Lake, Merritt
We love remote lakes on our hidden lists, and Gwen Lake fits the bill. Located just south of Merritt, it is perfect for day access although some camping is available. Gwen Lake is better for those with some experience as it’s not the easiest place to fish, but if you’ve got a few years under your belt it’s certainly worth it—the rainbow trout fished here are high quality.
Shea Lake, Merritt
Shea Lake is perfect for those who love to fish because they love wildlife. Your birdwatching and other wildlife interests can also be met here inside the Kane Valley between Aspen Grove and Merritt. Shea Lake is isolated and small, yet offers reliable rainbow trout fishing opportunities as well as family camping. Regularly stocked with rainbow trout, all skill levels can fish successfully here.
This is one of the better known lakes in BC, but it’s still one of the best fishing spots for bass in the province. Part of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, the area is carefully managed and no power boats are allowed in consideration of the nesting areas of waterfowl along the shoreline. That said, it is the restrictions that have kept Duck Lake such a fabulous fishing spot, and its difficult access will be your salvation when it comes to reeling in a fantastic catch. It is also a great spot for ice fishing in the winter.
Another remote fishing spot, you need to hike into Kokanee Lake to reach it. It’s worth your trouble to make the hike, because this deep and icy lake is home to many Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
Feeling like doing some fly casting this summer? Kootenay Lake is a great place to boat and fish, with deep, cold water and lots of great trout. Avoid the beaches to escape crowds, and stick to the boats for fishing.
Cariboo Chilcotin Region
If you’re hoping for some bigger catches, check out Sheridan Lake near 100 Mile House in the Cariboo. Here you’ll find rainbow trout that are about two and a quarter kilograms on average, and fish that reach up to nine kilograms or so from time to time. At Sheridan Lake you can fish any way you like (just no live bait) and there is a five fish daily quota, with only one over 50 centimeters. There is camping available in the area and you can also rent motorboats for fishing if you like.
For some downright spectacular views during your fishing trip, try Chaunigan Lake. The fishing is just as awesome here, with wild Chilcotin rainbow trout of about 45 to 50 centimeters on average and the biggest catches weighing in at more than 3 and a half kilograms. This is the perfect spot for predictably great fly fishing from June through mid-September.
Skeena River, Northwestern BC
Skeena River Watershed
The steelhead is part of fishing in British Columbia, and the Skeena River Watershed is one of the best places to fly fish for trophy class specimens of the steelhead. It’s also a big enough area to allow for plenty of solitude and uninterrupted fishing if that’s what you’re after. Steelhead weighing 9 and 10 kilos are commonly caught each year, with catches of up to 13 and 14 kilos happening fairly often in this area as well.
Skip the impossible crowds near Okanagan Lake and head over towards Vernon, which is far less crowded even in summer. Near there you’ll find Kalamalka Lake, another shockingly jade green lake big enough for boating and white sand beaches but small enough to avoid tons of summer crowding. Fishermen can find lots of lake trout, rainbow trout, and Kokanee in Kalamalka Lake.
You don’t have to brave the beach-going crowds to enjoy fishing in BC. Although the waterways can be crowded in the summertime, there are plenty of hidden gem waterways for fishing British Columbia. Stay tuned for our next installment in the hidden gem waterways series on the best secret spots for avid hikers.