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  Category   Sportfishing - Cariboo and BC Interior, British Columbia
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Fishing is 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 area.

Big 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.

Both Horsefly 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.

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