April 30, 2019

Eight Campgrounds with Great Fishing in B.C.

Spring is here, and for many British Columbians the warm weather means it’s time to pull the tent out of storage and take off for a weekend camping adventure. While there are plenty of activities to do on a camping trip, nothing can beat a relaxing day of fishing with the family. While you’re digging through the garage for camping gear, be sure to toss some fishing rods and tackle in the car as well. We’ve done the research, and have found eight great fishing lakes with campgrounds a stone’s throw from the water.  

1. Roche Lake 

Nearest town: Kamloops
How to get there: Head 40 kilometres south of Kamloops along Highway 5A.
Stocked species: Pennask and Fraser Valley rainbow trout 

There are a host of spectacular, high-profile lakes in British Columbia, and Roche is a prime example. This popular location outside of Kamloops sees very high fishing effort – 46,200 to 72,600 angler days per year – but still manages to boast one of the best and most productive fisheries in the province. Bring your watercraft (there is a well-maintained boat launch that can accommodate trailered boats), and try your luck angling for the Pennask and Fraser Valley rainbow trout that are stocked into the lake annually each spring. Stay the night in one of the 33 sites at Roche Lake Provincial Park, but make sure you get there early, as this campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and doesn’t accept reservations.

Roche lake. Dave Lavigueur

2. Kane Lakes

Nearest town: Merritt
How to get there: Drive 26 kilometres east out of Merritt along the Princeton-Kamloops Highway and Kane Valley Road.
Stocked species: Blackwater River rainbow trout
The collection of lakes in the Kane Valley outside of Merritt is relatively unknown and underutilized. You’ll find good trout fishing in the two Kane lakes, which are stocked with Blackwater River-strain rainbow trout. However, the real attraction may be the neighbouring Second Upper and Second Lower lakes that hold eastern brook trout. The fishing in these lakes, as with other lakes in this area, is incredible.
A maintained B.C. recreation site (operated by F.H. Forestry Ltd.) is located next to the western Kane lake. There are 10 camping places available, which can accommodate everything from small tents to motorhomes. Facilities include toilets and a boat launch. For those who wish to take a break from fishing and stretch their legs, there are hiking trails (like the Harmon Lake Forest Interpretative Trail) nearby.

3. Champion Lakes

Closest town: Trail
How to get there: The turnoff is approximately six kilometres northeast of Fruitvale. Follow the access road 10 kilometres to the park.
Stocked species: Fraser Valley and Blackwater rainbow trout
These three picturesque lakes, located in Champion Lakes Provincial Park, are stocked with rainbow trout that can weigh as much as two kilograms (4.5 pounds). Since powered boats are not allowed on any of the lakes, you’ll need to bring a rowboat or canoe. As if the fishing isn’t enough, the park also boasts mountain-biking and hiking along a multi-use trail system that rings all three small lakes, and comfortable swimming in the lakes’ warm waters.  
There are 95 vehicle-accessible campsites that can be booked in advance using the Discover Camping reservation system.

4. Bridge Lake

Closest town: Bridge Lake
How to get there: Bridge Lake is located 51 kilometres east of 100 Mile House. Watch for signs along Highway 24.
Stocked species: Kokanee and Blackwater rainbow trout
The first stocking of kokanee in the province occurred at Bridge Lake in the early 1990s. With high survival and rapid growth rates, the kokanee fishery turned out to be an immediate success. Today, Bridge Lake is still known for its prime kokanee fishery, as well as affording good angling for rainbow trout, burbot, and lake trout.
Bridge Lake Provincial Park has a small campground with 13 drive-in and three walk-in campsites, and a small boat launch.

Bridge lake. Owen Schoenberger

5. Hicks Lake

Closest town: Harrison Hot Springs
How to get there: Take Highway 1 or 7 towards Harrison Hot Springs, then Rockwell Drive to Sasquatch Provincial Park.
Stocked species: Fraser Valley rainbow trout and coastal cutthroat trout
Only a short drive from Vancouver, scenic Hicks Lake offers a fantastic fishing and camping experience for families. The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC stocks the lake with catchable-sized fish in the spring and fall, which provides good fishing from shore or boat. There is a good boat launch appropriate for boat trailers or car-toppers. The Society also delivers Learn to Fish programs at the lake during the spring and summer – make sure to check the events calendar for upcoming programs.
Hicks Lake, located within Sasquatch Provincial Park, has three campgrounds that are open from early April to late October each year.

6. Grizzly Lake

Nearest town: Prince George
How to get there: Use the Willow-Grizzly Forestry Road – follow the directions here.
Stocked species: Blackwater River rainbow trout
Want a quiet and rustic fishing experience away from crowds? You’ll find some great opportunities in the central Interior. Since the region’s lakes typically don’t warm up as quickly, fishing remains productive from spring through fall. There are so many lakes that fishing pressure is generally low, with higher catch rates and bigger average fish than more densely populated areas in southern B.C. Grizzly Lake is a sure bet for lots of Blackwater rainbows that can weigh upwards of 1.5 kilograms (three pounds).
After a pleasant day on the lake, set up your tent at one of the seven sites at the Grizzly Lake campsite. Operated by Recreation Sites and Trails BC, this campsite is rather rustic, with pit toilets, tables, fire rings (check the current campfire bans), and an undeveloped boat launch.

7. Alces Lake

Nearest town: Canal Flats
How to get there: Turn off Highway 93/96 4.5 kilometres south of Canal Flats onto the Whiteswan Forest Service Road.
Stocked species:  Blackwater, Pennask, and Fraser Valley strains of rainbow trout.
Soak up the stunning views at Alces Lake, and drop a line from the fishing dock installed in 2017 (and partially funded by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC). You’ll be angling for trophy rainbow trout in one of the most productive lakes in the region. If you’d rather be out on the water, utilize the boat launch at either Alces or nearby Whiteswan Lake, but take note: only electric motors are allowed on Alces.
Snag a sunny lakeside campsite at the Alces Lake Campground, or at one of three other nearby campgrounds within Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park. With magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains and ample wildlife-viewing, this is a true wilderness experience that the family will love. This spot gets bonus points for being located right next to Lussier Hot Springs – the perfect way to finish a fishing day.

Alces lake. Adrian Clarke.

8. Dugan Lake

Nearest town: 150 Mile House
How to get there: From 150 Mile House, travel nine kilometres east along the Likely then Horsefly Road.
Stocked species: Fraser Valley and Blackwater rainbows, and eastern brook trout
World-class freshwater fishing and quiet, uncrowded lakes await you in the Cariboo. Located only 25 minutes from Williams Lake – the region’s central hub and largest town – Dugan Lake is easy to get to and has excellent facilities. The Recreation Sites and Trails BC campground is well-maintained with toilets, picnic tables, and a boat launch. There are larger sites that can accommodate RVs, and smaller, grassy lakeside spots perfect for tents. Drop a line off the fishing dock and test your angling skills for some of the rainbow and eastern brook trout that are stocked into the lake each spring.
As always, before you head out for the weekend, make sure you have your freshwater fishing licence, and that you have checked out the fishing regulations for your chosen lake. And, as many of these sites are located within provincial parks, remember to always respect the park rules, wildlife, and your fellow campers.

Author: Jessica Greinke, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
Images: Dave Lavigueur, Adrian Clarke, Owen Schoenberger