Kamloops boasts some of the best lake fishing found anywhere in North America. We have hundreds of small, highly productive lakes in the surrounding area and 100 lakes within a one-hour drive of the city. Many lakes receive annual stockings of Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and Kokanee while several large lake systems including Shuswap, Adams and Kamloops Lake are home to wild stocks of Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout, Lake Trout and Kokanee.
Why is the fishing so good?
Kamloops lakes are managed for a diversity of fishing experiences from family to quality or blue-ribbon waters. Numerous lakes in the area have public fishing docks to make it even easier to go fishing. Lakes that are managed for quality fishing have specific regulations to ensure the fish will attain “catch of a lifetime” proportions.
How do you get to these lakes?
Access to lakes varies from direct highway access or maintained gravel roads to secondary dirt roads to four-wheel drive and hike-in locations. An excellent resource for access directions, maps and lake specific information are the backroadmaps.com series of adventure topographic maps and lakes and rivers guide books.
When to go fishing?
There are both open water and ice fishing opportunities on many of the lakes around Kamloops. The spring and fall months offer the most consistent open water fishing however, with so many lakes to choose from, good fishing is also available during the warm summer months. Early winter provides the most exciting ice fishing action as the Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and Kokanee are still actively feeding.
What are the fish eating?
Kamloops lakes are rich in aquatic life, which is why the trout, char and kokanee are such well-conditioned fish. Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout in our small lakes feed heavily on freshwater shrimp or scuds, midges or chironomids, leeches, mayflies, dragonflies, damselflies, water boatman and backswimmers. The most intense insect emergences occur from mid-spring to mid-summer and that’s when the ardent fly fishers flock to the area. Kokanee fishing is excellent during the summer months as they feed mainly on zooplankton in the deeper areas of the lake.
Where do you fish for trout in small lakes?
The majority of Trout and Brook Trout feeding occurs in water less than 25 feet in depth. That’s because their primary food sources are living amongst the aquatic vegetation growing on or off the bottom of shallow or shoal zones of the lake. Common aquatic plants include chara, potamogeton, coontail and longstem bulrush.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC delivers the provincial fish stocking program as well as promotes freshwater fishing in the province. Their website www.gofishbc.com offers detailed information on how to fish lakes using a variety of tackle types as well as lake stocking information and links to buying your freshwater fishing licence online.
8 Must Fish Lakes
in the Kamloops Area
Monte Lake is located along Highway 97 just 50 km SE of Kamloops. It is a well-known Kokanee fishery during both the open water and winter ice fishing season. The fishing is good from late spring to the early fall period with trolling as the best method for consistent success. The ice fishing season usually gets underway sometime during January when the ice is thick enough to access the lake. Small boat launches are situated at the north and northeast corners of the lake.
Edith Lake is situated in the backyard of the City of Kamloops. A short 15 -minute drive will put you on the shores of this picturesque lake nestled within rolling hills of native grasslands. A provincial recreation site has camping for about 15 units along with several smaller day-use areas complete with picnic tables. A fishing dock located along the SW shore of the lake is well-used for good reason. A lot of nice Rainbow and Brook Trout are caught from this dock all season long. Three boat launches make it easy to get your cartop boat or small trailered boat in the water. Edith is also a very good ice fishing lake.
Tunkwa and Leighton Lakes
These two lakes are located within Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park located just 33 km north of the town of Logan Lake and 63 km SW of Kamloops. Designated campgrounds are located on both lakes and Tunkwa Lake Resort is situated along the north shore of Tunkwa Lake. A fishing dock is also located within the provincial park campground on Tunkwa lake. Both lakes offer great fly and spin fishing for Rainbows up to 3 lbs. Well-maintained gravel boat launches are present on both lakes and there is also a 10 hp motor restriction on Tunkwa Lake. Ice fishing is also popular at both locations.
Knouff Lake is located 52 km NE of Kamloops via Highway 5 and well-maintained gravel roads. This is a clear-water lake with abundant shallow areas and abundant insect life. A small provincial recreation site sits along the western shoreline and Knouff Lake Resort at the north end of the lake offers cabins, RV sites, camping and boat rentals. The good fishing for Rainbow Trout starts mid-May and continues through to late fall. Knouff Lake is also open to ice fishing.
Roche Lake is situated within Roche Lake Provincial Park and surrounded by another 6 smaller lakes. Located approximately 35 km SE of Kamloops on Highway 5A and Roche Lake Road (well-maintained gravel), the provincial park provides camping and Roche Lake Resort offers cabin and boat rentals. The lake is managed for quality fishing and anglers can expect to catch fish up to 6 lbs. Roche lake is one of the more popular fly fishing lakes in BC.
The recent stocking of Kokanee and ongoing releases of Rainbow Trout into Paul Lake has increased the popularity of this larger lake located just 23 km NE of Kamloops. Access to this lake is through Paul Lake Provincial Park where a small cartop boat launch, camping and day-use sites await the visiting angler. The trout fishing is best during the spring and fall months while Kokanee fishing heats up during the summer and again in the winter months.
Jacko Lake is one of the most productive stillwaters found in B.C. Located 15 km SE of Kamloops its a short 12-minute drive from the city on Lac Le Jeune Road and then an 8-minute drive west on Inks Lake Road, a bumpy gravel where a 4x4 vehicle is recommended. Jacko Lake is stocked annually with Rainbow Trout that can grow up to 10 lbs. This very popular lake has a gravel boat launch and a day-use only access site. Jacko Lake is open to fishing during the open water season but closed to ice fishing.
Kamloops Lake is a large, deep, river-fed lake that is known for it's healthy population of large Kamloops trout. You will be stunned by the beautiful rugged backdrop that surrounds the area.
Area Fishing Guides
dnaflyfishing.ca – Mike Porco
Interiorflyfishingco.com – Jordan Oelrich
firstname.lastname@example.org – Steve Maricle
riseformflyfishing.com – Brian Chan
fastactionfishingadventures.com – Wally Tywoniuk
Need a fishing rod?
The Tourism Kamloops Visitor Centre is a Go Fish BC free rod loan location. Try fishing without having to purchase gear. Borrow spinning rods with reels and a basic box of tackle for free.