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Test your luck: Gateway to Fishing Adventures in the Chilcotin

Check out these detailed lake listings for fishing
Zane Zigler shows off a fish he reeled in at Kappan Lake. (Photo submitted)

These lake listings are part of the publication, Gateway to Fishing Adventures in the Cariboo Chilcotin, available now at the Williams Lake Tribune, 100 Mile House Free Press and Quesnel Observer newspaper offices

Big Creek Access


The Farwell Canyon forest access road branches south from Highway 20 about 50 km west of Williams Lake and crosses Big Creek 52 km from the highway. Wild stock rainbow trout on flies or small spinners can be taken from Big Lake July through October. Bull trout can also be taken in the upper reaches but sizes and numbers can’t be authenticated. No facilities or services are on the creek. This road is used extensively by logging traffic, so caution and courtesy are recommended.


Reached by using the Farwell Canyon road, Fletcher Lake is 113 km from Williams Lake. It can also be reached by turning south off Highway 20 at Lee’s Corner and driving 26 km on a gravel road. Wild stock rainbows that will go up to six pounds are taken mostly on conventional trolling gear or trolled spinning lures. With hot and cold periods, it’s worth a try any time from mid-May through to ice-over. There’s been some spawning enhancement work done that should result in improved lake population. All regular services and facilities are available at the lake.


Southwest of Big Creek on a good road, (tough final kms four-by-four vehicle needed in spring) this lake has wild stock rainbow trout to seven pounds that are rated highly by fishermen. Spinning and trolling are also successful, but prolonged summer heat will turn it off, and it’s subject to periodic winter kill. June and September should be good times, but it will produce all summer. No regular facilities or services are at the lake, but there is camp space and car-toppers can be launched.

Palmer Lake Road Access


Turn north off Palmer Lake Road 42.5 km from Highway 20. The next nine km to the lake are extremely rough and can be impassable in spring or after heavy rain. This five km-long lake has some very nice wild stock rainbows if you hit it at the right time. It’s relatively shallow and can turn warm in summer which shuts down most angling activity. Early or late in the year, however, can be phenomenal. Car-toppers can be launched and there’s an unorganized camp space. There is also a fairly heavy sucker population.


This small lake can be reached by turning south from Highway 20, on the River Ranch Road, 22 km west of the Riske Creek store. Drive four km on this dirt road to a parking area where a 400-metre walking trail provides access to the lake. The trail is steep and temperatures in the canyon commonly exceed 30 degrees Celsius during the summer. Rainbows more than two pounds take flies readily early and late in the season.


Continue on the main forest road past the final access to Palmer Lake - approximately 64 km from Hwy. 20 - for about six km to a well-marked vehicle parking area. A reasonably easy trail of a couple of km provides access to the lakeshore. The lake was stocked with rainbow trout a few years ago but, although there appears to be a good survival, the average fish is under 10 inches.


About 71 km from Highway 20 on the forest access road, the last six-and-a-half km of which are very steep and very rough, the access to this lake will require a four-by-four if the weather has been wet. The lake will give up three pound rainbows with amazing consistency, and there are some trout in the lake that are much larger. A couple of recreation sites provide good camping and boat launching. This area was impacted by the 2017 wildfires and is in the early stages of regrowth. Wave action caused by sudden storms can be violent on the lake, so stay alert.


This lake is located 20 km north of Highway 20 on the Palmer Lake forest access road, about 21 km west of Riske Creek. Stocked with rainbows that will weigh in over five pounds, these don’t come easily, but two pound brook trout are more readily taken. Flies are successful for both species, but trolling is the popular method here. No facilities or services other than an excellent recreation site with plenty of camp space and a gravel launching ramp are available. Motor powered boats are restricted to 10 hp. Good winter ice fishing, but it gets a lot of pressure both winter and summer. Watch for heavy use by logging traffic on the road access. Special Restrictions: engine power restriction 7.5 kw (10 hp).

Taseko Road Access


This lake lies west of Elkin and Vedan Lakes and is accessible by a road that runs between them. There is also an airstrip at the lake for air access. The wild stock rainbow trout to four pounds will hit flies, spinning lures or trolled gear. Any time from June through to mid-September will produce fish. Boats, accommodations and camping space are available.


Access to these lakes is by way of the Taseko (Whitewater) Lakes Road branching south from Highway 20 at Lee’s Corner. It’s about 87 km on this good gravel road. The wild stock lakes have both rainbows and bull trout and trolling is the preferred way of taking them, although spinning lures will also work. The rainbows will go to two pounds or better, and the dollies to 15 pounds. All facilities and services are available and there is a kilometre-long air strip.


Access from the Taseko Lakes Road, Konni Lake is 96 km from the highway. The wild stock rainbow trout average about one-and-a-half pounds, but can go to three pounds or better. Bull trout are also reported here with two pounds fish being about the largest. Trolling is the fishing method most used, but it is also excellent for fly fishing and spinning as well. Any time from May through to October seems to be okay, but the lake is subject to strong winds that change the fishing patterns. These winds can also cause some problems for small boats, so be cautious. All facilities and services are available.


Access is from the Taseko Lakes Road, at New Meadow, on a road that can give lots of trouble in wet weather. Wild stock rainbows average around one-and-a-half pounds and can be taken on flies or spinning lures from May to mid-July and September through to ice-over. There is an air strip at Scum Lake as well as all other regular services and facilities.


These lakes are long, narrow, mountain-rimmed bodies of water that are subject to high winds. Reports on fishing in the lakes are sketchy, but Taseko River is supposed to offer some good fly fishing for wild stock rainbows and dollies at the outlet of the north lake. Dollies are also present around the creek mouths flowing into the lakes, but glacial sediment in the water presents some problem for successful fishing.

Highway 20 Accessible Lakes


Branch north off Highway 20 about 10 km west of Alexis Creek and drive 25 km on good, all-weather road. Rainbow trout average 10 to 12 inches, with the occasional 18 inches being taken. The lake is about five km long and is a consistent producer from May through October on flies or spinning gear. A user-maintained recreation site on the east side of the lake provides camp space and cartopper launching. No other services or facilities are available at the lake. Special Restrictions: electric motors only, maximum 7.5 kwh.


Reached at various points along Highway 20, the Chilcotin River has resident wild stock rainbows and bull trout, as well as chinook salmon. The rainbows and bull trout will average a couple of pounds and can be taken almost any time during the open season. The current Fresh Water Fishing Regulations Synopsis should be consulted before angling on the Chilcotin.


This is a tributary of the Chilcotin River, flowing out of the Chilko Lake. (See access to Chilko Lake for the upper reaches of this river). This river has all the same species as the Chilcotin, but the most productive rainbow and bull trout water is the first 20 km downstream from Chilko Lake. Special Restrictions: Mainstream open June 11-Oct 31, trout/char release; bait ban, flyfishing only upstream of Brittany Creek, no angling from powered boats upstream of bridge at Henry’s Crossing, Sept 11-Sept 30; speed restriction (five km/h) on part Class II water upstream of Brittany Creek, June 11-Oct 31 (Steelhead Stamp not required).


About 217 km west of Williams Lake and south of the highway, acess is by dirt roads that vary according to weather. The lake has rainbow trout that average close to two pounds with the chance of taking the odd eight pounder. Trolling appears to be the best method of raising them, but spinning lures will also get some response. Kokanee are also reported to be in the lake. Fishing is generally slow up to the beginning of June, but will pick up and hold through the summer if the weather isn’t too warm. There is public camp space and car topper boat launching as well as all the other services and facilities.


An easy access lake from Williams Lake, take Highway 20 west for 32 km and turn right onto the Meldrum Creek Rd. There are two turn-offs to the lake just before the one km sign. The lake is stocked with three-quarter pound rainbows in the spring that are immediately ready to be caught. These fish grow to two pounds by late September. Eastern brook trout are also stocked and grow to a good size when the lake does not winter kill. A recreation sitewith two rough boat launches is present at the lake.


These two small lakes are at the north end of Alexis Lake (28 km from Highway 20) and are reached by taking the road running up the west side of that lake. The lakes are joined by a narrow strip of water through which small boats or canoes can be lined. Catch rainbows to five pound and wild brook trout to two pound or better. Flies and spinning lures have been the prime producers. Camp space is available at the recreation site on Two Lake where car toppers can be launched, but no other facilities or services are available. Special Restrictions: electric motor only maximum 7.5 kwh.


A good, all-weather road runs north from Highway 20, 64 km west of Alexis Creek. Puntzi Lake is about 11 km off the highway and turns out wild stock rainbows and kokanee that will average around one-and-a-half pounds, but will go larger. This is a consistent producer and can be counted on to provide good action right through the summer season. Puntzi has established a widespread reputation for its kokanee fishing, but enhancement work on the rainbow spawning stream has improved the fishing for this species. Spinning gear and trolling hook-ups account for the greatest success, but flies will produce early in the season. All regular facilities and services are available, including camp grounds and boat launching.


About 210 km west of Williams Lake on the north side of Highway 20, this long lake has a population of wild stock kokanee that average around 14 inches. Many coarse fish are found in the lake. A forest service recreation site allows launching for cartoppers.


After crossing the Fraser River and topping the Sheep Creek Hill, 32 km west of Williams Lake, turn onto the Meldrum Creek Road from Highway 20. Twelve km north of the highway, turn left onto a gravel road for about two-and-a-half km to reach the lake. Stocked with rainbow trout, some are reported to reach weights of six pounds. A large recreation site is located on the lakeshore providing good lake access.


This is one of the province’s most beautiful lakes. It’s 84-km long, rimmed by snow-capped mountains and glaciers, and a storm can whip up without warning. Chilko Lake can be treacherous for small watercraft as there are stretches of the lakeshore where beaching a boat is impossible. Trolling will produce wild stock bull trout to 10 pounds and rainbows to six pounds. Fly casting and spinning at the mouth of the creeks flowing into the lake will produce lots of excellent sport. All services and facilities are available at the lake and there’s public camp space with boat launching at a recreation site. There are also plenty of unorganized camping spots around the lakeshore. Special Restrictions: Trout/char daily quota = two ( no rainbow trout over 70 cm; only one bull trout and it may not be under 60 cm), bait ban, single barbless hook, no powered boats on Big Lagoon (west side of lake).


Continuing past the turn-off to Cochin Lake on the Chilko Lake access road, Choelquoit lies to the south of the road. Reports on this lake vary, but it is generally conceded that it has some very large wild stock rainbows and receives very little pressure from fishermen. There is camp space at the east end of the lake, and be aware of sudden storms that can result in very rough water.


About 21 km south of Highway 20, on the Tatlayoko Lake Road, branch east onto the Chilko Lake access road for about one-and-a-half km, then north onto a dirt road for one km to reach a small recreation site on the south end of the lake. It has wild stock rainbow that will average a couple of pounds with some going to 10 pounds. These trout will hit flies or spinning lures, but hot weather will slow the action considerably. Early summer and early fall are generally when fishing is best. Cartoppers can be launched and there is limited camp space, but no other services or facilities are available.


Take the Tatlayoko Lake Road south from Highway 20, 230 km west of Williams Lake. The Homathko has some stream fishing for wild stock bull trout and rainbow trout that might weigh up to a pound. Use flies and small spinners throughout the summer and fall. There are also some fishing waters adjacent to this valley that are accessible only by hiking or saddle horse. Special restrictions: no fishing April 1 - June 30.


Reached by branching off the Chilko Lake Road at Henry’s Crossing, access is also from the south by way of the Konni Lake Road. This latter route can be tough in wet weather, and four-by-four should be considered. This spectacular lake is about 97 km from Alexis Creek. A good producer of wild stock rainbows averaging about one-and-a-half pounds taken by fly fishing, spinning or trolling, it will keep up the pace through most of the summer. All regular facilities and services are available at the lake as well as public camp space. Special restrictions: bait ban, single barbless hook.


A few kilometers south of Horn Lake on the West Branch Road, this lake turns out wild stock bull trout that can weigh up to 10 pounds and it is a consistent producer. Limited camp space is available at the north end of the lake and trailered boats can be launched at the north end. Trolling is the most common method used at Bluff, but spinning lures will also meet with success. Keep aware of the weather when fishing here, because storms can move in quickly, whipping up high waves in minutes. There are no commercial facilities or services.


Past the Sapeye Lake turn-off, the West Branch Road runs close to the south end of Horn Lake where there’s a large Forest Service recreation site offering good camp space. Catch rainbows by trolling, spinning or fly fishing from ice-out to freeze-up. The lake is very popular and the recreation site gets heavy use. There is no launching ramp, but good access for car-toppers. No other services or facilities are available.


Access is from Tatlayoko Lake Road by branching west about five km south of Highway 20. Locally it’s called the West Branch Road and it’s generally good, but it does get dusty in the dry weather. The lake lies to the west of the West Branch Road and the access is relatively narrow and steep. Sapeye has wild stock rainbows and bull trout with the rainbows averaging close to three pounds, but there are much larger trout taken each season. Six pound bull trout aren’t unusual. There is limited camp space with car-topper boat launching but no other service or facilities are available. The lake is subject to sudden storms.

Highway 20 West


Access is from Highway 20, 322 km west of Williams Lake. Wild stock rainbow trout average around 14 or 16 inches, with trout pound trout reported to be fairly common. While producing some excellent fly fishing throughout the season, the most reliable is in the early summer and fall. Spin fishing and trolling are also effective. There’s a Forest Service recreation site on Little Anahim Lake, just west of Anahim Lake townsite, but access to the main lake can be cut off from this site when water level is low. The village of Anahim Lake offers services and facilities, including accommodations, restaurants and retail outlets. There is also a 975-metre paved airstrip.


This lake is 15 km long and six km wide. Access is from Highway 20, 300 km west of Williams Lake. Turn off Highway 20 before cattle-guard at Towdystan (look for Charlotte Lake business signs as indicators). Follow Charlotte Lake Road and Charlotte Lake business signs approximately 18 kms to various access sites on the lake. There is a Forest Service site with a boat launch. A resort with accommodations and camping, bed and breakfast accommodations and other facilities are located on the lake.


About 245 km west of Williams Lake, this lake is located just west of Highway 20, with easy access. It’s been a dependable producer over the years, with the wild stock rainbows averaging under two pounds, but larger trout are taken fairly regularly. Flies and spinning lures get most of the action here. There is a Forest Service recreation site with camp space and access for car-topper launching. Other commercial facilities and services are available at the lake.


This lake is 19 km off Highway 20 over very rough four-by-four road. Turn south, just west of the recreation site on Little Anahim Lake, onto the Telephone Trail. The lake has large wild stock rainbow (steelhead) trout that can be taken on flies or spinning lures. There is no improved camp space or other facilities, but car-toppers can be launched. Access from the Telephone Trail to the lakeshore is extremely rough. The lake is subject to sudden storms and high winds, so caution is recommended.


Access can be gained by taking the Pine Point turn-off at Nimpo Lake, but this can be a tough road for conventional vehicles. A good dirt road from Anahim Lake is now the preferred route. Wild stock rainbow trout is the only species. There is a user-maintained recreation site and boat launch, but no other facilities or services.


Highway 20 follows along the bank of this stream for a few kilometers, and flies or small spinning lures will take wild stock rainbow trout if the water isn’t too high. These fish aren’t big, but they’re sporty, and this fast-moving mountain stream can test your fishing skills.


This lake is 290 km from Williams Lake with good access from Highway 20 and a complete line of services and facilities. Catch wild stock rainbow trout to three pounds, mostly by trolling, but flies and spinning lures will also get action. A prolonged spell of hot weather slows fishing in the mid-summer, otherwise it should hold up all season. The completely modern community of Nimpo Lake makes it an ideal destination for a family vacation. Charter air services operating from here offer fly-ins to more remote fishing waters.


Just to the north of Highway 20, 18 km west of the Tatla Lake post office, this lake has wild stock rainbows to three pounds and bull trout up to 10 pounds. There is a recreation site offering camp space and car-topper launching. Any time from June through October should produce some action.


Turn north from Highway 20 at Anahim Lake and take the Upper Dean River access for about 25 km. The lakes are located to the east of this road and Poison Two requires carrying your boat or canoe for about 100 metres. The lakes are stocked with Pennask rainbows and are reported to be producing two pound trout to flies and spinning gear. There’s a BC Forest Service recreation site available.


This river flows out of the Nimpo Lake and into Anahim Lake before flowing north though the Coast Range, in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, to the coast. The Dean offers fly fishermen some excellent opportunities for raising wild stock rainbows weighing a couple of pounds or better. Although there are no services or facilities along the river, these are available at Anahim Lake or Nimpo Lake. The river is accessible by boat from Anahim Lake downstream to Abuntlet Lake. Special restrictions: the Fresh Water Fishing Regulations Synopsis should be consulted before angling on the Upper Dean River.

Brad, Josh and Emily Morgan enjoy their fishing adventure on Fletcher Lake. (Photo submitted)
Tatlayoko Lake (Sarah Dressler photo)
Gabrielle Pierce is happy with her catch fishing on the Bella Coola River. (Photo submitted)
Boston Pierce fishes on the Bella Coola River. (Photo submitted)