Waiting for the bite. Glenn Gerbrandt

May Long Weekend Fishing Favourites

February 22, 2024
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The May long weekend is fast approaching, and many people in B.C. are planning their first outdoor trip of the spring. Anglers are eager to get their lines in the water and harness the longer days, sunshine, and ice-off on many lakes around the province. Whether you are planning an overnight adventure or a day trip, here are our nine favourite lakes to fish during this May long weekend. Fishing is always more exciting when some fish are caught, so target the newly stocked rainbow trout in all of these lakes using a bobber and bait, or by casting and retrieving a spoon or spinner. If you want to try casting a fly, chironomids are a popular food source for trout in the spring. And if you’re really lucky, you might even experience a May fly hatch.

Shannon Lake (West Kelowna)
Shannon Lake Regional Park lies in the heart of West Kelowna. The lake is accessible for both boat and shore anglers, and there is a new fishing dock that makes fishing from shore even easier. It is stocked by the Summerland Trout Hatchery each spring and fall with catchable-size rainbow trout. 

Whiteswan Lake (East Kootenays, near Cranbrook)
Whiteswan Lake is just over an hour’s drive north of Cranbrook, in Whiteswan Provincial Park. There are several camping areas scattered around this large, emerald-green lake with its stunning setting right in the Rocky Mountains. Access is about twenty kilometres along a well-maintained gravel road that is suitable for most vehicles. Rainbow trout weighing up to 2.5 kilograms can be caught at this time of the year.

Alces Lake (East Kootenays, near Cranbrook)
Located approximately two kilometres from Whiteswan Lake, Alces is a smaller lake with a provincial campground. If you don’t have a boat, you can still fish from shore along the road, or from a new dock that the Society installed right by the campground. With eager-to-bite rainbow trout weighing up to 2.5 kilograms, Alces has great fishing. Get there early though, because the campsites can fill up quickly.

Lac Le Jeune (near Kamloops)
With its well-maintained boat launch and large fishing dock in the day-use area, Lac Le Jeune is extremely accessible for every type of angler. Lac Le Jeune is renowned for its excellent rainbow trout fishing, and it’s not uncommon to catch 1.5-kilogram specimens. Lac Le Jeune is stocked with Pennask rainbow trout yearlings each year. 

Quesnel Lake (Cariboo region, near Williams Lake)
Quesnel Lake, with its pristine waters and abundance of large rainbow trout, is one of the most popular lakes in B.C., and the deepest! There are designated campgrounds for overnight adventures, and sandy beaches offering lots of shore access to fishing. Guided fishing tours can also be arranged at the many resorts around the lake. Note the No Fishing sections of the lake that are listed in the Freshwater Fishing Regulations.

Buntzen Lake (Port Coquitlam)
This deep BC Hydro reservoir contains kokanee, cutthroat, dolly varden and stocked rainbow trout. Take a stroll around the lake (approximately 8 kilometres) to find a perfect shore-fishing spot, try the dock or floating bridge, or bring along your float tube, SUP, or other non-gas powered vessel.

Kootenay Lake (near Nelson)
Kootenay Lake is a short drive from scenic Nelson. It offers a variety of activities for all ages: guided fishing tours, shore fishing, boat access, and hiking. Harvest regulations for Kootenay Lake have been lifted for rainbow and bull trout. This liberalization encourages anglers to harvest their catch and, in turn, decrease these fish-eaters’ predation on kokanee (the sockeye salmon’s freshwater counterpart). Check out this blog for tips on targeting Gerrard rainbows and bull trout in Kootenay Lake. 

Echo Lake (near Campbell River)
Echo Lake is conveniently located on the Gold River Highway, outside of Campbell River. Try your luck fishing from the dock for one of the catchable-sized rainbow trout stocked in the lake or resident cutthroat trout and dolly varden. There are some nice picnic tables and firepits at the day-use site and a good boat launch for non-motorized boats. 

Staff from the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery stocking Echo Lake. 

Fuller Lake (near Duncan)
Fuller Lake is located off the Island Highway just north of Duncan. Fuller Lake Park offers a fishing pier, boat launch, and lots of shady shore-fishing spots around the park. There are change rooms, pickleball courts, a picnic area, and washrooms. The Society stocks Fuller Lake catchable-sized rainbow trout each year, so this lake is the place to bring family and novice anglers. Grab your swimsuit, picnic basket, and fishing rod, and enjoy the day.

Kissinger Lake (near Lake Cowichan)
For those wanting to explore more remote lakes, head to Kissinger Lake, 30 minutes outside of Lake Cowichan via a logging road. There are 26 campsites operated by Mosaic, a boat launch, and shore fishing. Toilets, potable water, and garbage bins are provided at the campsites. The Society stocks Kissinger Lake with catchable-sized rainbow trout in March, so those fish are ready to bite. Check out our up-to-date stocking reports on our website.

Before you head out fishing for the May long weekend, make sure that – along with your cooler – you have a valid freshwater fishing licence, and that you have checked out the fishing regulations for your favourite lake.

Author: Hayley Atkins, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC
Photo Credit: Glenn Gerbrandt (banner image), Tess Hingert, and Brian Degelder