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Fishing & Hunting
Fishing in Gold Country | Brad Kassleman
Do you seek feisty fish and big game? Fishing and hunting are more than casual experiences here. It’s a way of life, part of our culture and that many enjoy sharing with others. Imagine fishing a new interior lake or a new spot along the central coast every day for the rest of your life; or, during hunting seasons, trekking into the wilderness with the aid of experienced guides to harvest mule deer, moose, California bighorn sheep, mountain goat, black bear, cougar, lynx, bobcat, wolf or coyote. In addition, the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast sound fishing and hunting practices are designed to produce results for hunters and fishers alike.
This is a place where certified guides and outfitters are as knowledgeable about wildlife habitats and conservation as they are about big-game tracking and bear-attack prevention. Some local guides are First Nations, and all have an intimate relationship with the landscape and its wildlife. Wilderness skills and knowledge of local species and habitats are based on an understanding of the complexities of the natural world and represent a special opportunity for visitors to experience the region and its wildlife in profound ways.
Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort | Kari Medig
To maximize both hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, visitors to BC must access the services of the region’s experienced, highly knowledgeable guides and outfitters, who subscribe to the highest environmental and wildlife conservation standards. Throughout the region, services and accommodations from full-service, luxury four-season lodges with all the amenities, to rough and ready backcountry camps catering to outdoor adventurers yearning for genuine BC wilderness hunting and fishing experiences.
Fishing is not just a pastime here, it’s a passion. The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast boasts more than 8,000 lakes and 17,000km/10,563mi of rivers and streams famous for rod-bending rainbow trout, cunning cutthroat and steel-hearted steelhead. The nutrient-rich waters of the rugged Pacific coast yield succulent salmon, enormous halibut, prawns and buckets of fresh-and-lively Dungeness crab and several varieties of shrimp. While staying at a remote resort, a boutique property or a luxury offshore ocean floating camp, travellers can still be just a few minutes away from exceptional angling waters.
The Cariboo’s unlimited expanse of rivers and lakes also includes a stretch of road from Little Fort (at the eastern border of the Cariboo on the Yellowhead Highway 5) to 93 Mile House (at the western terminus of Highway 24), a route enthusiastically referred to in angling circles as “The Fishing Highway”. Spring-fed Sheridan Lake is stocked annually and is famous for its rainbow trout up to 9kg/20lb. Bridge Lake is close by, with numerous bays and islands and crystal-clear waters teeming with rainbow and lake trout (char), kokanee and burbot. With 100-plus lakes typically within an hour’s drive of one another, the Interlakes area really is a fishing paradise. Check annual stocking reports for recent updates.
Meanwhile, fly fishing enthusiasts congregate on the Horsefly River, a nursery for three-quarters of the rainbow trout found in nearby Quesnel Lake. In the fall its waters swell with millions of sockeye and chinook salmon en route to their spawning grounds. Near Quesnel, cattails and bullrushes line the banks of jewel-like Dragon Lake, filled with trophy trout. In the Chilcotin, Charlotte Lake, at the foothills of the spectacular Coast Mountains, is renowned for its trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fly fishing is king at nearby Nimpo Lake, where charter air services offer many fly-in options to neighbouring lodges and remote fishing camps. Then there’s the legendary Blackwater River, renowned for its gentle, canoe-friendly grade and numerous insect hatches feeding prolific populations of trout, whitefish and squawfish. Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden churn up the cerulean blue waters of the Chilko River where it leads out of massive Chilko Lake, as pretty as it is productive. Locals know to concentrate on the creek mouths where trout gather for their evening meal and sometimes become one. Puntzi Lake is also a popular, easily accessible lake that provides fishing for the whole family.
The Coast region is also crisscrossed by lakes and streams, though it is the salt waters that bring travellers and nature lovers to this ecologically diverse part of the world. Here, the salmon rules, and numerous lodges and camps, from budget to luxury high-end, cater to an international clientele of fly-in customers dreaming of “the big one.” These fishing expeditions often begin in the town of Bella Coola and venture out to the many inlets and islands. BC Ferries and Pacific Coastal Airlines make the central coast highly accessible to all.
Though it may look like an obscure stretch of shoreline on a map of BC, the Great Bear Rainforest boasts names that fishing enthusiasts from around the world speak of with reverence; Rivers Inlet, and Hakai Pass, where millions of salmon make first landfall after battling northern Pacific currents in search of their natal streams. Along the way, these salmon pass some of the most famous fishing holes on the coast; including Odlum Point, the Gap and Barney Point, where gentle back eddies provide rest and feeding areas for salmon and outstanding fishing opportunities for anglers and orcas alike. Steelhead hunters – “fishing” is too tame a word to describe the landing of these pugnacious sea-run trout – are equally well rewarded by a pilgrimage to the Dean River, better known as “steelhead central.” Some outfitters on the river provide a base camp for exciting expeditions, known to be gloriously full of fish and mercifully free of bugs.
Late Season Hunting | Greg Thomas
Throughout the region, hunters can hike and horseback into the backcountry to find meadows full of trickling streams and wildflowers, alpine views and turquoise-blue glacial streams and colourful mountainsides, providing plentiful territory for the region’s various game. Heading into the high country in July to escape the summer heat, game including mule deer remain in the fertile alpine country until the weather drives them lower in late fall. All hunters considering a trip to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast should refer to British Columbia hunting regulations prior to planning a visit and delve into the advice and experience of regional experts, such as Greg Thomas in his “Hunting Mule Deer in BC’s South Chilcotin Mountains.”
This land without limits provides no shortage of wildlife and hunting experiences. Outfitters in the region provide a range of hunting excursions depending on the game species, terrain and season. Catering to the abilities of every level, outfitters offer a wide range of accommodations and limit group sizes. Passion for wildlife, conservation, and a strong connection to the land are an integral part of the cultural thread woven throughout this region. Many family operations are also multigenerational, providing rare insights on much more than wildlife – pioneers, history, ranching, culture, cuisine and more. Hearty meals cooked in camp kitchens or over the open fire offer warm comfort at days’ end. Hunters join outfitters with exclusive guide territories where they can choose their own method of travel − ATV, horseback, 4×4, riverboat, old-fashioned “foot” and even snowmobile in the Blackwater River region.
Choose a season that best suits your hunting or fishing style. No matter your choice, we offer the landscape, wildlife and expertise that will make your ultimate fishing and hunting experiences unforgettable. ♦
Accommodations and Activities in Fishing & Hunting