Stillwater Fly Fishing around Kamloops, British Columbia

Whether you’re a seasoned stillwater fanatic targeting fish weighing in the double digits, or just starting out, Kamloops offers many opportunities to fly-fish some of the best lakes in the province. There are plenty of lakes only a short drive from town where you can find excellent early-season fly-fishing for rainbow trout stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia. To offer a diverse range of trout to target, the Society stocks most lakes with different strains of rainbow trout (Blackwater, Pennask, or Fraser Valley). They also stock other species of fish, like the colourful eastern brook char.

Throughout the stillwater season (which usually begins when the ice comes off some lower-elevation lakes in March), an angler’s skill will be tested as the trout begin feeding on a wide variety of aquatic invertebrates: mayflies, damselflies, dragonflies, scuds, leeches, and chironomids. While it can take many seasons of dedication for an angler to discover the trends and secrets of local lakes, this perseverance can lead to some incredible catches. Watching your strike indicator sink during a thick hatch of chironomids, or feeling an aggressive take while stripping a fly along the bottom, never gets old.



Three lakes within a 30-minute drive of Kamloops that offer great fishing are 6 Mile, Jacko, and Edith. All these lakes have boat launches that allow good access to their productive waters.

Typically, 6 Mile will become ice-free first, and can produce high numbers of rainbows ranging in length from 30 to 50 centimetres (12 to 20 inches). Leech and damselfly patterns are often the ticket for putting a few fish in the net.

Jacko usually fishes well as soon as the ice comes off. Fishing can be outstanding for rainbows reaching lengths over 76 centimetres (30 inches), and weights in excess of 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds). Chironomid fishing is the name of the game on this lake, as hatches occur almost daily. 



Both Jacko and 6 Mile are day use-only areas. Edith, however, has a campground, and is a good weekend option for out-of-town anglers. In addition to rainbow trout, the Society stocks this lake with eastern brook char. While not really a place to fly-cast, a fishing dock on the southwestern end of Edith offers people without boats, or kids, a chance to try their luck.

There are a few things that anglers must always keep in mind if they want to be successful fishing this region’s lakes. With a wide variety of feed available to the fish, it is important to carry many different fly patterns with you. Don’t be afraid to change it up if something doesn’t seem to be working. It’s also important to try different areas of the lake – you may find that certain areas only produce fish at particular times throughout the day. Employ tactics like retrieving leech and damselfly patterns on sinking lines, or fish static patterns (like chironomids, scuds, or balanced leeches) with floating lines and strike indicators, which help in finding desired depths with consistently feeding fish. Since chironomids are a staple of a trout’s diet, and come in a huge array of different colours and sizes, many fly fishers spend hours tying different variations of this fly to help them “match the hatch” when fussy fish are keying in on specific chironomids. Dynamic anglers, willing to adjust to changing conditions, are always the ones who do well.

With any piece of water, it is important to become familiar with the provincial and regional fishing regulations. Be sure to read up on any lake you plan to fish before going.

A final word of advice: anglers who spend the most time on the water are the most likely to catch fish. It takes practice and dedication to become an accomplished stillwater fly angler, and those who take the time to learn a lake will be rewarded.



Kamloops is a city for anglers. The three lakes mentioned above are great places to start, but there are hundreds of lakes from which to choose that will challenge and reward any angler. The only thing left to do is to get out there, and find your favourite lake.

Author: Brennan Lund
Photo Credit: Brennan Lund and Maddie Horvat

Brennan is a Natural Resource Science student at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. He spends around 200 days a year on the water, whether it’s steelheading on Vancouver Island, fishing trophy trout lakes in Kamloops, or guiding fly fishing in the East Kootenays for giant bull trout and cutthroat trout.

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