British Columbia is sprinkled with a plethora of world-famous fisheries that draw anglers from all of the planet, year after year. Among these, the still waters of our interior region harbour some of the province’s greatest trout fishing. Beginning south of Kamloops (commonly referred to as “The Stillwater Fly Fishing Capital of North America”) and stretching north past the town of Clearwater, the Land of Hidden Waters is a Stillwater anglers paradise.
What makes this fishery so unique?
British Columbia’s interior stillwaters are primarily shallow, nutrient-rich waterbodies that are rich and abundant in aquatic life. Leeches, chironomids, damselfies, mayflies, and hoards of freshwater shrimp provide a diet that caters to growing giant rainbow trout in a very short period of time.
Another unique aspect to the Land of Hidden Waters and the many lakes found in this region, are the fish that inhabit them. Under the watchful eye of Brian Chan, a (now retired) fisheries biologist, lakes in this region of British Columbia were stocked with what we know today as a triploid.
Triploids are rainbow trout that are sterile, non-reproducing fish that have no ability to spawn. What this translates into, is the redirection of energy expenditure that would have otherwise been spent on spawning, channeled into doing simply two things: eating and growing.
As these fish have no ability to spawn and their energy is focused solely on growing at a rapid rate, it is not uncommon to find lakes that hold rainbow trout over 10 pounds. There are a multitude of different strains found in our lakes, each one displaying unique characteristics, behavior, and preferred environmental structure.
Credit: Jeremy Koreski | Sheridan Lake
Locals tip: Sheridan Lake is one of British Columbia’s most famous fisheries for producing big rainbow trout that patrol waters upwards of 80 feet deep in search of ascending chironomid pupa
Who would enjoy the many fishing opportunities found in the Land of Hidden Waters?
The beautiful diversity of this fishery allows it to cater to just about anybody. Be it stillwater fly fishing experts in constant search of their new personal record, those looking for somewhere to test the capabilities of their four-wheel drive in order to access new lakes, or those just starting out and looking to learn the basics, this area is rich in angling options and opportunity.
What is the best time of year?
Fishing British Columbia’s interior is a four-seasons game. Anglers will typically reap the benefits of the first ice-off in the early spring months, followed by a spectacular springtime chironomid hatch. Chironomids are small bugs, no bigger than the length of your pinky fingernail, that make up the majority of a rainbow trout’s diet during the open water season. If you can find a day of consistent chironomid emergence and happy, hungry fish, it is not uncommon to hook upwards of 50 fish in a single day.
As spring transitions to summer, anglers will find a mix of hatches available at any given time. June brings the migration of both damselflies and dragonflies as they transition from the nymph stage to begin their adult life. Mayflies and caddisflies are plentiful in the late spring and summertime, and offer spectacular opportunity for the dry-fly enthusiast.
Locals tip: Though many lakes in the Cariboo experience stellar caddis emergences, Lac des Roche is one of the province’s best.
As summer turns to fall, fish will begin sensing the onset of winter, and will make their way into shallow water to revert back to the staple food sources they began their season with. Leeches, shrimp and waterboatmen will make up a majority of their fall diet, this is often the time of year when the largest fish are caught.
Locals tip: The marl flats of Roche Lake are known for excellent fall fishing in shallow water with shrimp and leeches
Lastly, as the lakes freeze we are graced with a productive ice fishery. Especially during the early months, fish will remain active below the surface and are readily caught with a multitude of techniques. For those in search of a weekend getaway, many resorts offer ice fishing along with their accommodation packages.
Credit: Hooke | Roche Lake Kamloops Area
Locals tip: Edith Lake, just a short drive from Kamloops, is an excellent opportunity for multi-species in close proximity to the town of Kamloops
How do I travel to the Land of Hidden Waters?
Travel to this region is simplistic, and easily done in a day from the city of Vancouver. With a number of different access points from the lower mainland, as well as those travelling west from Alberta, typically the scenic drive will begin in the city of Kamloops. Alternatively, there are a number of airports strewn throughout the many small towns and communities in the Land of Hidden Waters. See the Getting here section of this website for a downloadable map and to plan your route.