great in the Cariboo; there are literally thousands of lakes, ponds,
and rivers in this region. Among the best of them are Loon
Lake, a long, narrow, well-stocked rainbow trout lake that also
contains kokanee and steelhead; Big Bar Lake, which has rainbow
trout too; and Bonaparte Lake and Valley (Bonaparte
Provincial Park), the dominant lake and river system in the
south Cariboo. Wild rainbow are also found in most lakes in the
Bar Lake, 42 km northwest of Clinton, has had an active fish
stocking program since 1970, and is now stocked on a yearly basis.
There have been trout up to 6.5 lb caught in the lake, and many
fish are in the two-pound range. There is a paved boat launch adjacent
to the lakeside campsites that is open until Canada Thanksgiving
weekend. Nearby Little Big Bar lake and Beaverdam Lake are also
popular for fishing.
There are two approaches to Bonaparte: either head west of Hwy 5
from Barriere or head
east from Hwy 97 at 70 Mile House. In the Interlakes District,
Sheridan Lake and Bridge Lake are the largest of hundreds
dotted along Highway 24 the Fishing
Highway, which runs about 60 miles (97 km) east to the North
Thompson River and the town of Little Fort on Hwy 5. Sheridan Lake
holds spectacular-sized rainbow trout in the 14 to 16-pound range.
The best time to try your luck here is as soon as the ice is off
the lakes in May. Mayfly hatch brings out the fly-fishers for rainbow
trout as well as burbot.
Canim Lake, a large lake
27 miles (43 km) northeast of 100
Mile House (on paved backroad), is the angling centre of a region
famed for the size of its char, or laker, as the fish is referred
to locally. Car-top boat launching is possible from the provincial
park at the south end of Canim Lake.
East of Highway 97, on the road to Canim Lake, you can take your
boat over to Mahood Lake, in Wells
Gray Provincial Park. This is the boat-only access route into
12-mile-long (19-km) Mahood Lake, which offers good rainbow trout
fishing, as well as lake trout, kokanee, whitefish and burbot. It's
subject to winds, so be prepared (as good fishers always are). Look
for the ancient pictographs on the rock face of both the north and
south sides of the lake near its midpoint. Rainbow trout have been
successfully found at either end of Clearwater Lake and Azure Marine
Lake, as well as Barella Creek and Angus Horne Creek.
Lac la Hache, a beautiful lake in a
rolling Fraser Plateau setting, is an excellent fishing lake for
Kokanee and lake trout, as well as rainbow trout and burbot during
the summer months. Lac la Hache has many fishing lodges sprinkled
along its perimeter. A double-wide, cement ramp boat launch is provided
at the day-use area. Fishing information is available at the 100
Mile House Visitor Centre on Highway 97.
Lake and Quesnel Lake are good fishing spots for rainbow
trout. Horsefly Lake is a large, deep lake and is usually fished
on a troll, In the vicinity are a number of smaller lakes excellent
for fly-fishing. The best place to begin fishing around Horsefly
is Horsefly Lake Provincial Park. There
is a single-wide concrete boat launch located at the far end of
the campground. There is parking available for vehicle/boat trailers
and it is possible to leave them there overnight. Boats should not
be left in the water or beached overnight.
In the Williams
Lake area, rainbow trout, bull trout and kokanee are the most common
fish found, with sizes ranging from 10 to 20lbs (4 to 9 kgs). There
are dozens of waterways found close to Williams Lake, including
Dugan Lake, Chimney Lake, Forest Lake and Fir Lake, all with recreation
sites and boat launch facilities. Williams Lake itself, which has
a boat launch at Scout Island Nature Centre, has the added attraction
of easy paddling around the island and marsh areas, which feature
sublime scenery and birdwatching.
There are healthy wild stocks of rainbow trout at Dragon Lake,
famous for producing huge rainbow trout, just south of Quesnel on
Highway 97. A loop road runs around Dragon Lake. If you just want
to drive a short way north out of Quesnel
on Hwy 97 (about 15 miles/24 km), you'll find a boat launch at Hush
Lake Rest Area.
The handiest guides to fishing in the region are the recreation
maps to the Cariboo, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Horsefly, 100 Mile
House, and Chilcotin Forest Districts. Stop by any Visitor Centre
to see if they have any maps.